Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Center Cannot Hold: Aether-Blooded and the Aethamir

Aether-Blooded (Original Concept by +Aaron Thomas)

Wizards are arrogant, and all of them will gladly explain how their class was the First class.  The first Chosen was a Wizard, who unlocked magic and power when they learned the first spell.  Wizards forget, often, however, that the very first wizards also became something else.  Unable to control the flow of primal energies, they committed a grievous error, and took power from the Aether they couldn't handle.  It tainted their bodies, cursing them with a tainted form of immortality.  Today, they are called the Aether-Blooded.

As civilization has grown through the countless years, the concentration of magic in most parts of the land has diminished greatly.  As a result, the well-being of the Aether-blooded has diminished as well.  Where once they were powerful and prosperous, most now live very short lives outcast from the rest of society by way of their condition.

Tied to the ebb and flow of the Aether, the Aether-Blooded live as outcasts.  They live in secret, trying to find any source of magic they can exploit without interference.  Aether-Blooded need magic to feed.  Most Aether-blooded are stricken with a need to "feed" on sources of magic they come across, just to keep them alive - similar to vampires' need to feed off of blood.  Without magic to devour, their forms wither but don't die.  The Aether won't let them.  Ravenous Aether-Blooded hunt down mages and anyone with sorcery, attacking out of hunger.  Other ambitious Aether-Blooded create cults, using their worshippers to gather magic items from which they can replenish their reserves.

In some areas where alchemy is prevalent, a few have found artificial ways to supplement the magic in their blood.  These few slow their degeneration almost completely, and realize a power similar to that of their ancestors.  They are the most powerful arcane spellcasters in the world - though they seldom use their power, for fear both of being hunted and of accelerating their degeneration.

Typical Aether-blooded are tall - reaching heights between 6 and 7 feet.  Their skin always carries a purplish hue, the few who have escaped their untimely end having skin that is much darker than their ravenous kin.  The ravenous tend to appear a very pale, almost ghost-like lavender.

In combat, an Aether-blooded hardly ever tries to evade a magic spell, no matter how powerful.  Rather, they throw themselves directly in the path of said spells, attempting to absorb the magical essence of that spell.  This makes them very dangerous opponents...especially in those who can turn spells on their casters in a more powerful reflection.  This is called "feedback" by most, and is the reason why Aether-blooded are seldom hunted by those with magical aptitude, but rather by those of martial classes.

Modern spellcasters, both arcane and divine, do not often know about the Aether-Blooded.  Even those aware of their existence remain unsure if Aether-Blooded still exist.  They are regarded as a mage's nightmare, something that is told to scare apprentices.  In Ith, stories are told about how an Aether-Blooded and the Archmage Ith clashed.  Another story is told of an Aether-Blooded in Crux, who slew an entire vampire clan in a act of vengeance for a insult a millennia before.  In Othebea, Witches and evil spellcasters are often mistaken to be called Aether-Blooded.  In Maliph, some claim the Aether-Blooded rule in secret, guiding the Khans and Sultans of the Wastes.

But what is known about the Aether-Blooded is that they work in secret, hunger for magic, and have been around for a very, very long time.

The Aether
This plane is the source of all magic, touched every time a spell is cast.  Wild, full of energy and unpredictable, it is coterminious with the prime material plane, and exists along with the other elemental planes.  Magic always draws from the Aether.  Some other planes have a weaker connection with the Aether than the prime material.  Some have stronger connections.
The Aether has the following traits:

  • Subjective Directional Gravity.
  • Erratic Time.  The energies of the Aether make time malleable here.  Sometimes travels find time flows faster in the Aether (1-33), 1 day passed in the Aether is only 1 round in the material.  Time sometimes flows normally (33-66).  Other times, time passes much slower (67-100), 1 round passing in the Aether is a day in the material.  
  • Highly Morphic.
  • Wild Magic.  The energies of the Aether cause spells to act differently, sometimes unpredictably.

The Children: Aethamir
Aethamir is a ancient word that means "Blood of my Blood."  To the Aether-Blooded, the Aethamir are their descendants.  Aethamir are often the children of Aether-Blooded, but are mortal with lives no longer than any human's lifespan.  The Aethamir are raised unaware of their pedigrees.  Often Aether-Blooded observe their children from afar, only interfering once they've reached adulthood.

Aethamir look human, except for purple flecks in their eyes.  Whenever they cast a spell, a Aethamir's skin flashes in color, looking purple or lavender as the spell is being cast.  It reverts back to normal color afterward.  Some notice, others just take it as another instance of magic being magic.

Aethamir inherit their parentage's talent for magic.  Not all Aethamir pursue classes or abilities that reflect magic, but the talent still is their for all of them.  Some Aethamir even find able mentors, who teach and guide them.  Even if these mentors are their parent in disguise, most Aethamir never learn about their heritage.  A few Aethamir are even raised like livestock for some Aether-Blooded- born and trained in magic in order to one day sate their parent's appetite.

Since Aethamir live as humans, they tend to follow human social mores and cultural identities.  There are no Aethamir communities.  Aethamir feel little attraction toward faiths of any kind, although many of them are drawn into the Faith of the University.