The Element Our Existence Runs On
The element that drives not just the world of Tikor, but life itself. The phantasmal element simply known as Ether that is the fuel for mystical arts called Hekan.
It's not the deities that keep the universe flowing and law of order contained. Behind everything, from the mightiest god to the lowest creature, is the same element. The primordial energy known as Ether. It can be found in every single thing that exists in the cosmos that could have ever had life. Or will ever have life. Though, despite its prevalence, it itself remains the greatest mystery of them all. The element can be traced back to the earliest of creation stories and has been discussed by every divine being on Tikor. Ether simply is everything, in everything, yet is also nothing. It can not be seen, touched, smelled or heard. None of the mortal senses can perceive this vital element. However, it can be felt deep within the mortal coil like oxygen filling lungs. Where did such an abundant, yet fundamental energy originate from?
Copious amounts of time and energy have been spent by humans over millennia, trying fruitlessly to understand the energy that makes life itself possible. Many have tried, and all have failed. Their reasons for the search have ranged, from those who wish to unlock the secrets of the universe. To those who seek to control the energy for their own personal gains. Regardless of the motive, the secrets of Ether remain locked. While time has allowed humans to detect the energy by either mortal senses, divine means or technological devices; none of these methods have helped discover where it comes from or how its created. The deities such as The Divinity, have steadfastly refused to share any intimate knowledge. Assuming that they have any at all. The cosmic nature of the energy may even be a secret the deities do not know.
We've spent our entire lives trying to understand what Ether is. And frankly, I don't think we're any closer to finding it out either. In a way it's almost TOO basic, its an element yet doesn't behave like one. It just works. Its the most powerful element in existence. It's everywhere, in everything, fuels our most basic arts and yet we only know its name. If that's not a human experience, I don't know what is.
Stream of Life
The only thing more mysterious than the origins of Ether is the flow of it. The life energy doesn't just float or stay in motion like a base element. It flows like a current, washing across the planet of Tikor. The creation stories themselves state that the plane was built on the current on purpose. This seemingly eternal flow is called Etherforce, and its intrinsic to Ether. This naturally occurring river of Ether is what keeps the world flush with life. Just as much as Ether is natural to all living creatures, so too is the Etherforce. Its the ethereal gravity that in a sense traps Ether on the planet. It's also a torrent of Ether that can be tapped into by celestial forces. It's through the flow of Ether, the Etherforce, that they say Ishvana used to seal the corruption god, Xavian. However, doing so required her to become one with the eternal current, her essence merging with the energy. Rumors persist that her essence becoming apart of the Etherforce is what enabled humans to develop the means to manipulate this force.
Advent of Hekan
With Ether abundant across the world and the planet sitting within the stream of it, it's no secret that Tikor is abundant with life. As well as things outside of the normal rules of nature. Aspects of life that appear when ones own Ether is manipulated. This manipulation of Ether is called Hekan. And Hekan is the reason why humanity has prevailed over many of the obstacles in life. In the same way that able-bodied human can learn to walk, so to can every able-bodied human use Hekan. Once a person is able to find their spiritual footing manipulating small amounts of Ether is easy. The ease at which humans can perform Hekan is why many believe that the creation goddess Ishavana is now apart of the Etherforce. There is a caveat, however, much in the same that adults have to guard children once they begin to walk, so too must you do a new Hekan user. The most natural way of using Hekan is through one's own Ether. A person's own lifeforce. And using it comes with its own dire consequences.
Ether in the Air
It's through Ether that there's life and that life is in a way measured by how much of that force is left in a person. The human body is in itself a spiritual container for Ether. It's this that humans first tap into when using Hekan. How much Ether a human has or can possibly contain are fairly uncertain values as they waver from person to person as well as over the course of their life. Everyday humans go through a cycle of losing Ether during the day or when active, then recharging themselves while sleeping. It's the only surefire way to replenish personal Ether, especially that spent when manipulating it. Using Hekan will deplete a person's Ether levels. As these levels drop the user will begin to feel extreme fatigue as the body struggles to deal with the lack of energy. If this continues the user will reach critically low Ether levels where organs threaten to shut down. If this continues and the user loses or spends all their Ether, they will die.
Emptiness of Death
If a human drains all of their Ether, they die immediately. Without this celestial force, even the mightiest humans will perish. The earliest records of Hekan's development shows a shocking amount of deaths. Humans, eager to dive into their new found freedom, would greedily sap their Ether in pursuit of more. Their hasty death would show the next user the limits to the Ether of man. For a while at the beginning, Hekan was assumed to be used for small and redundant tasks. The simple sort of things that could be done using Hekan but without putting anyone at risk of dying of Ether Depletion. This personal roadblock kept Hekan at a level of household use. While Hekan use wasn't flashy or impressive during those cryptic days, many future pioneers could see the potential of it. However, for Hekan to break to the next level, a greater source of energy was required. A humans personal Ether levels were too sensitive and small to continually tap into. It would be through the connection to the gods and spirits of Tikor that the answer would lie.
Most of my colleagues snicker when I suggest this. But I think Ether itself is alive. The way it defies study is abnormal. It's not for lack of trying either. Sometimes it's almost as if the element evades our study. It's choosing to keep its own secrets. You think that's crazy right? Well, imagine if I told you we knew nothing about the air you breathe. What its base elements are? Or where it comes from? What if I said we had no idea what even caused air currents. You'd think us silly right? Well, that's how little we know about Ether. Now, tell me again it's not alive.
As is often said, all living things contain Ether. Including the deities themselves and the spirits of the deceased. Death, life, mortality or immortality are not exempt from the cycle of Ether. In fact, the immortals, be it gods or ghosts, are deeper into the Etherforce than the average mortal. As humans developed better ways to venerate the fallen and built relationships with their gods, something changed. The seeming entanglement of Ether between a human and deities enabled Hekan users to tap into the energy pool of gods. Over time humans would learn that it wasn't just that the immortals had bigger Ether levels, but they were spiritual access to the fearsome current of Etherforce itself. It was this revelation that catapulted Hekan to the current levels it is now. With the blessing of the deity or spirit that is called on, humans may drain for their Ether rather than their own.
Told you so.
In this new era, the Age of Reckoning, a new form of Ether has been discovered. The discovery has had researchers and Hekan users around the world terrified. In 5 A.R. the infamous Ether expert Nessa Deepcraft would discover Corrupted Ether. A broken and dangerous offshoot of the Ether that flows across the planet. She made the discovery while continuing her controversial research into Sentient Ether, her theory that Ether itself is alive. While on a forbidden trip into the edges of the Ebon Cascade she detected something strange. While measuring ambient Ether levels in the area, something seemed to be wrong with the numbers. In some spots, there was a detection of negative Ether. Something that until that point, had been impossible. The flatline for Ether was always zero, never negative. Yet that's what her instruments clearly detected.
Her claims were initially dismissed until other researchers dared the venture to verify her readings. A few would lose their lives in the attempt in the dangerous region, but the readings were eventually verified. There was some sort of corrupted Ether that was causing this negative field. Could this be why the Ebon Cascade continues to be a festering wasteland?
Life & Expiration
Ether is unlike any other naturally occurring element on Tikor. It seemingly has no half-life and never degrades. It has no true consistency either. Even in humans the amount of Ether in a person's body is trapped within it. Spirit Mediums think that this could be why the spirit maintains after death.
History & Usage
Ether is the fuel for all Hekan arts. This applies from the most basic Divination to the most complex Invocation, all of them require Ether. In day to day life, most people use Hekan as a means for life. Using it light paths at night and such.
As of current knowledge, animals are not able to perform Hekan. Or at least in the academic sense that Hekan is taught in. Numerous animals, however, have demonstrated an ability to affect the Ether around them, though never in a purposeful manner. Some academics argue that this is itself Hekan. Or at the very least the early stages of developing their own flavor of Ether manipulation and should not be taken lightly. As one researcher infamously, "Humans greatest flaw is often assuming we are the only special ones."
- No Value
- Common as Air
- Ether is completely odorless, another side effect of its non-material state.
A faint shimmer can be seen when large amounts of Ether are concentrated. This usually only happens when Hekan arts are being performed.
- Common State
- Ether is almost always in its natural incorporeal state, an intangible gaseous form.
- Related Locations
- Related Species
- Related Professions
A planet crafted directly on the lifecurrent, Etherforce, by the divine goddess Ishvana.
The Hekan art of holding onto a spirits forces. Allowing the user to temporarily merge with the spirit.
What if you had more options for power than the petty gods? What if I offered you....a different path.