The First Land Herald/429-10-15

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Dateline: 429-10-15
ELEMENTAL ENLIGHTENMENT: A LECTURE BY GROVE SCHOLAR URYUTIS

Having become aware of current experiments with Aether by some mages, Scholar of the Grove Uryutis recently gave an open lecture in Riverhaven exploring his perceptions of Elemental Magic, the Planes, and some history as well.  He touched on several subjects, providing many fascinating insights.

The Study of the Elements

It was clear from the beginning that Uryutis comes from a different tradition than that of the mainstream Warrior Mage Guild, one that focuses on the study of a single Element.  "I'm not going to debate politics," he said, "but it is my view that by spreading your focus, you have diluted your understanding of the Elements, and this shows in your fumbling."

He further commented that "as Telo'Getha, successors to the Imperial Collegians," the Warrior Mage experimenters (and attendees of the lecture) are lacking in the more subtle aspects of Elemental Magic.  "I was sent because my teacher believed that due to your guild-taught vantage and the fumbling it led you to, you all may not have the language to understand the forces at play. That you hear of the ocean, and take the pond for the seas."

This hearkens back to the first studies of Elemental Magic, where "in the early days, we studied an Element and learned of its ways.  The dance of Fire, the flow of Water, the whisper of Air, the heft of Earth. Focused study of a single Element led to its mastery, and great works were completed."  These Elements form the physical basis of our Plane, and were the first to be studied.

The Planes

He offered a rather poetic vision of the Planes, saying, "The Planes are distinct, separate, whole and pure.  Their influence bleeds into our own, shaping it and making it possible. Our Plane is beautiful, unique in the mingling and suffusion of these [other] Planes, a magnificent painting whose every brush stroke is wrought in the Elements themselves.  Where these Elements mix in their pure form, you have the chaotic flow of our existence. An ocean wave painted in Water, but also Air and Earth. Where these forces manifest, the Elements provide the substance for them to do so."

There are more "non-negligible influences" too, of course, in ways that are not always clear.   "[The Immortals] may bend our Plane to their will, the course of celestial movements affects us from afar, and curiously, life itself impacts its own weight."

The Importance of Aether

"Aether is vital insofar as the Elements are concerned.  Without Aether, there is nothing. Our Plane is unique in that it is subject to the influence of so many different Planes, for better or worse, and Aether is evident, in trace amounts, everywhere you we look.  And I mean everywhere."

In a surprising twist, he also reported that collaborations with Moon Mages have revealed a framework of Aether in the Astral Plane: "glimpses of Aether [suffuse] through their open Moongates when they access the Astral Plane."  He believed this "confirms [his] hypothesis that the Plane of Aether has suffused throughout the other Planes, making them possible." He said, "I don't believe it is merely my sensory bias -- Aether is everywhere that isn't the Void."

"Aether," he says, "is fundamentally different from the other Elements, and suffuses everything, giving the other Elements weight and heft."  Borrowing an analogy of a painting, he compared the other Elements to the pigments, while Aether was the medium, the canvas, upon which they sit.

The Plane of Abiding, and Planar Influences

But this canvas is not fixed.  "It flows and ebbs, in response to various influences and whims.  It mends when torn, eventually. When you summon an Ethereal Fissure or weapon from another Plane, you are poking a fine hole in the canvas, a bridge that leads to another Plane, and drawing a small portion of it to you, here.  These small punctures are fairly minor, and we see them repair almost the instant they are released, but the effects can be seen, even from afar." Such Elemental energies he characterized as "untidy blobs of color or a splash of dissolving spirits, damaging the painting for a time."

Elemental domains, which change the rules of a local area to be similar to one of the Elemental Planes, he said are more subtle still, and akin to "pressing a finger into the canvas of the painting, deforming it.  These changes are subtle, and while they appear awfully strange from afar, like the smaller punctures, eventually relax back to normal."

So, minor distortions and tears are eventually healed.  "The Void will reclaim the separation between things eventually.  Aether is not, afterall, everywhere."

The Othersight

This Aetheric "canvas" can be used to sense these holes as well.  "Aether is the foundation, and with the right focus, can be probed from afar.  This has been called Othersight by some, though that term describes the wrong sense."

"By tuning out the other senses, and feeling the Aetheric streams, we can induce them to carry our will, which can be directed, and reflected, lending a sense of the shape of things afar...  Of note, Elemental charge gathered in our bodies reflects particularly well. We stand out like fireflies against the night sky." In other words, the Othersight is akin to echolocation, allowing the mage to "see" things at a distance.

Bards, he said, excel at detecting and responding to Aether because of their unique relationship with music.  "Aether is the medium through which all others manifest, similarly to how sound is the vibration of Air. We can sense the Aether that is foundational to all things by sending energies along its streams, just like a Bard can hear a single instrument played among an orchestra."

As a demonstration, he placed a head on Navesi’s forehead and the rest of us felt our skin tingle, and our mouths taste of copper.

Of the experience, she said, "I heard a sound not unlike a gong, high and pure, and it rang out from Uryutis's location.  I heard the reverberation of it play off of him and -- come to think of it, all the other Warrior Mages here. It was as if they were clearly outlined.  Another gong sound struck, of a lower pitch, and again I heard it echo through this area, revealing fine details. I believe I could even tell a bird was in flight.  Finally, a much lower sound rang out, and it was as though I could sense things from a great distance. In a similar way, but farther."

These are fascinating revelations, with potentially great import for the Warrior Mage Guild, as well as the Bard Guild.  The Othersight, in particular, is a revelation worthy of study. Perhaps more will be revealed when the mages involved in this experimentation go public with their work.

Saragos Daerthon
Knight Magister
Reporter, the First Land Herald

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