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Interlude: The Nature of Aether


April 30, 2019 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

The force which is sometimes called sira and sometimes called aether runs all through the long mountain range down the eastern coast of Reiassan. It can literally be mined out of the ground – and, indeed, the smaller deposits on the west coast, near the first landing sites, are what sent colonizing and mining crews to Reiassan in the first place.

There are a number of theories about how it came to be infused into rocks and gems that can be pulled out of the ground, and to date, nobody has actually determined which of these theories has any chance of being correct, but among philosophers there are a couple prevalent theories:

The Three Made It That Way

Although there is a tendency in “modern” (Edally-Era) Calenyen towards a sort of pretense at atheism – a distancing from the church and a suggestion that perhaps things might have been not so directly guided by the deities, at least – there has always been a strong force that believe that the Three wanted the world here to have aether in minable veins and so it exists thus.  This theory is sometimes challenged with questions like but why make it difficult to get to? Which is generally answered with condescension and impatience as the Three prefer to see their people work for what they are given and not simply sit on the beach and eat raw fish.

Aether Leeches into the ground from the rain

This suggests that aether slowly trickles further and further underground every time rainwater or snow melt soaks into the ground.  The further down, the more concentrated the deposits of aether, as the rain may pull it further and further downwards in subsequent rainfalls.  Aether is pulled from anything that gets wet, and from the rain itself – animals and plants, the dirt and wildfires. When it settles in large enough concentrations, these become veins of the rocks known as aether-rocks; those that look like gems are heavier concentrations and thus likely older or deeper.

People Put it There

This theory is obviously out of favor now, although a similar the movement of animals put it there is sometimes posited.  

The anthropogenic theory of aether suggests that with every movement on the ground, people send little bits of aether downwards.  Much as, if hit with lightning, the lightning will take the most direct path to the ground – through the person – people are considered to be a very good vessel for moving aether.  If there is aether in the air and someone steps on the dirt, then they send that aether straight through them to the ground and through the ground to a place where it collects.

The problem with this theory – other than the obvious issue that in the current (Edally-era) environment, discussing the concept of humans and aether in the same sentence is likely to get one’s Philosophy Instructor very irked with one – is that there was definitely aether (sira) in the rocks when those who would be the Calenyena and the Bitrani landed on these shores.

How it actually got there?

Well, that is not an answer anyone in-universe knows, except perhaps the gods, and they’re not telling.


  1. Kunama says:

    I have a memory of a rather horrible side story about terrible ritual and mass death, and someone either seeing it in dream or/while studying it. (As in it described a horrible thing. It was a good piece of writing.)

    I am also pretty sure said witness/scholar is not alive in Edally-era though.

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