For information on the types of Weaving possible on Hevna, click here!
No resource is worth anything, without a way or a means to exploit it. In the case of aether, both of these are met by the same answer – Weavers.
Weavers are those individuals born with an innate sixth sense, attuned to the natural ebbs and flows of aether as Storms pass over the planet. These individuals are universally born within the throes of a Storm, though not every human born during such a time will inherit the power to gauge aether.
It is worth noting that the Nagan tribes are made up entirely of individuals with the capacity to Weave, however the techniques and laws to do so are the same between both them, and the few gifted Men who can also tap the aether.
Non-Nagan Weavers are an ongoing mystery to the science of Hevna, with no definitive understanding of how such individuals are born, beyond a few categoric patterns. For example, it is known that should two Weavers conceive during a Storm, there is a much higher chance their offspring will also be able to Weave.
For those who are indeed born with the power, Nagan or Human, aether use is both an instinctive skill, and one which must be honed through practice and learning.
Drawing aether from the world around one and turning into an active effect comes naturally to all Weavers, at least at a base level. Even a child of five will quickly come to realize that forming their fingers into circles will allow latent aether presence to make the transition from raw potential into a mold-able force, but it is only with the practice and study of older masters and teachings that one may come to refine such hand motions to best use the element.
Indeed, any circle made by living and controlled flesh may generate the passage of aether from passive to active form, which has led to some prestigious schools perfecting much larger scale body movements to channel more aether at once into a desired outcome. It also means that Weavers can work in unison to increase their impact on the latent power around them.
Regardless of one’s chosen school of mastery, it is also universally true that most Weavers will specialize in one specific type of aether manipulation.
The Faith of the Seven Guiding Lights attributes the specializations a child may display with the position of the stars at their birth, however, this is but one unproven theory among many, most of which relate to other religions of the world.
For example, those who follow Lodaism argue that Weaving attunement can instead be attributed to a blessing from one of the Seven Dragons of their belief system, and the Lodestones around the planet.
Despite any Weavers’ personal religion (or lack thereof), the ‘types’ of Weaving and manner in which aether may be used seem to remain fairly universal across the planet, though a few individuals have been born with slightly ‘odd’ abilities compared to their peers.
Note: Approximately 5% of the human population are able to Weave. For the Nagan races, conception is only possible during Storm years.
Bottled Power: Magus Globes
While the storms of Hevna cover a fair degree of the surface at any given time, their sedate march over the course of nearly four decades often leaves countries with long periods devoid of aether – the Weft.
While in the past this may have meant industry and building slowed significantly until the storms returned, the development of storage technology has spared most nations from true aetheric drought ever since the discovery that crystals can hold a charge.
The oldest records of aether storage that can be verified date back to the early oral history of the Okan Islands. A volcanic area, the Islands house a large store of obsidian glass as part of the natural geology, most of which absorbs aether during Storm seasons. The practices developed to work obsidian by the early settlers of the Islands can still be seen today in the many villages around Okan’s largest volcano.
Thankfully, the difficult art of working volcanic glass has been overtaken in the centuries since its discovery by far more efficient and safe techniques that have spread the world over.
While obsidian forms a natural medium to prevent aether continuing its onward flow, most reflective glass-like constructs have the potential to do likewise, with more spherical objects retaining a higher charge for longer.
As an upshot, glass-blowing is a booming industry in many nations, especially during the Warp.
Magus Globes, as the blown items are known, not only hold aether with a very low dissipation rate but also come with the advantage of easy transportation and use by Weavers. The biggest downside, however, is that the Globes tend to shatter upon release of the last of their charge.
Some larger orbs can be charged back up, however, so long as more aether is injected before letting the orb drop below its critical threshold.
While the reason aether can be trapped inside glass and crystal structures is not innately understood, the reliability of storage techniques across the world means the items form a secondary currency, with their value ebbing and flowing between countries as storms come and go, and have gone on to allow for the settlement of some of the more dangerous and remote areas of the planet in the last century as aetheric technology has exploded in capability alongside the globes.
Magus globes are also core components in most aether technology, from the mighty Aether Engines used in construction, to the plethora of airships that ply Hevna’s skies.
A Conduit of Potential
Storing aether is all well and good, but pointless without an ability to draw the power back out for use at a later date. This is, of course, where Weavers come in once more, be they the naturally gifted Nagan races, or the chosen few of Humanity’s own.
Aether stored within a Magus globe ‘feels’ like a dense pocket of the element to those attuned to it, and may be drawn out with the usual application of curled fingers and will as aether naturally moving through the air.
Once given the invitation and channel through which to leave the recursive prison, aether will naturally follow the Weaver’s stream, allowing the orb to be placed down without cutting off the flow of power. This is of particular significance, as it directly pertains to the use of Aether Engines and airships.
Of those great constructs conceived by the brightest minds of Hevna, all of which require a stable and extensive source of aether, the technology within them relies on the desire of the element to escape any prison to function.
While a Weaver is always, always needed to begin a reaction and draw forth the first strands of power, the complex engines and devices that use multiple globes can become automated after initialization.
While every type of ship or Engine will have a different set up, the premise for channeling aether is fairly universal – the initial globe (or globes, especially for airships running their Engines in base-pairings of seven) will be sparked by a Weaver to transfer power into a central rod or resonance chamber for use by the systems of the machine in question. Aether levels are then measured in active orbs based on changes in light levels until each orb nears critical discharge.
At this point, organic elements of the Engine or ship will then be responsible for ‘tacking on’ the flow of aether from an active orb to an untapped one, adding its power to the stream. Critical orbs will then be removed from the cycle, with just enough charge left for the Globe to be recharged later, without shattering.
It should also be noted that most Engines and ships will only reuse any given globe five times at best before seeking to replace it, as glass shards can stray into and ruin the complex machinery of these constructs.
Quality control of globes is, therefore, a significant factor between manufacturers and consumers made only more critical to the most specialized machines as their globe arrays often also spin in order to maximize the power output of their engines.
Finally, while in technicality a Weaver is only needed to start an aetheric reaction and the organic components of aetheric devices need not be something entirely alive or sentient once the reaction is started, nigh all airships will be Captained by a Weaver and keep several among their crew for safety reasons. Doubly so for those airships which use aether cannons and pikes as weaponry.
When discussing anything sensitive to the aether, the collective term for all such beings is ‘the Magus’. In technicality, this means all Weavers, Human or Nagan, are Magus beings, though they aren’t often called such.
Generally, when someone mentions the Magus, they are usually referring to the non-sentient life-forms that also have an attunement to the aether.
For many breeds of animal, there exist variants of the same body plan that instead evolved to make use of the plentiful aether resource in their native homeland.
In the cases of most of these creatures, they are a separate genetic strain to their mundane counterparts, though there do exist a few species which have Magus members depending on aether levels in the breeding season, rather than an entirely separate genetic line.
Examples of Magus creature include, but are not limited to, the Thunder Bears of Duntilik which use kinetic effects to hunt fish, all variants of Crawlers with different breath effects depending on their attunement, the Ur-mouse with divinitic abilities and the Magus Spider which uses aether light to lure its prey.
A more in-depth look at these creatures may be found in the Bestiary, alongside many other species.
Finally, in recent times the discovery of ‘anti-magus’ elements has been quantified by the scholars of Hevna.
Rare and unusual, to date there are but two known species of anti-Magus creatures upon Hevna’s surface who negate and absorb aetheric effects rather than actively use or manipulate them.
Of these, the Nososphores are the more well known, if little understood. More information on them may be found here, as they hold a unique position in Hevna’s ecology.
Alongside the Nososphores, and far less intelligent, are the Wraiths. Intangible creatures of the Warp who feed soley and entirely upon aether and proliferate where the storms are most dense. They may most often be found in the remote and cold areas of the world but are not strictly limited to any climate.
The Weft: A time of no naturally present aether. Weavers speak as if the latent force turns ‘sideways’ after a Storm passes on, leaving them unable to Weave.
The Warp/The Spin: A time when aether is naturally present. Aether can be felt in long ‘lengthwise’ strands for use, enabling Weaving.
The Draw: The act of drawing aether either out of the air, or from Magus globes. Traditionally involves forming circles with ones fingers to make the aether move as desired.
Weaving: The act of transforming aether into active effects (see overleaf).
The Magus: Collective term for Human, Nagu or animals sensitive to the aether.
Magus Globe/Orb: Crystal or glass items designed to entrap and store aether energy for use at a later date.
The Aetherium: Theoretical realm from which aether originates to form the Storms, as yet unproved.
Aether Storm: Aether-active weather fronts, moving east to west, that bring aether across the planet in a thirty-eight year cycle.
Aeric Period: The thirty-eight year period the Storms take to circumnavigate the planet.
Attunement: The particular nature of aether an individual is specialized in, or attuned to.