Some people excel at math while their peers excel at language, and so too can one see a range of natural preferences in the Weavers of Hevna. While religions may attribute these preferences to stellar alignments, the particular Storm one was born under or other similar ideas (which admittedly may have more truth to them than surface scrutiny implies, as aether and the stars do seem to impact each other), the cause is not necessarily as important as an understanding of the results.
In the shortest terms, every Weaver will inevitably be best at using aether in one of six definable ways, to the point attempting Weaving outside of ones natural attunement is an arduous or sometimes even impossible process. Nevertheless, most Weavers are aware of the six major spheres of attunement, especially the one they find easiest to work with, and many Weavers branch into other fields when possible to aid their primary skillset.
Those attuned to kinetic Weaving fill the niche one might anticipate of manipulators of a raw energy source. Be it heat, cold, water, lightning or other elemental force in motion, Kinetic Weavers possess an innate ability to draw aether into a tangible effect form, from fireballs to flash freezing. Kinetic Weavers are the most common one may find on Hevna, and it is their understanding of how aether can manipulate and defy gravity that allows much of Hevnan technology to work. Airships and structures such as the Floating Library of Wessenland couldn’t exist without them.
Weavers with kinetic abilities can be found in many industries across Hevna. Obviously, there is a clear military use for people of this nature, but the skill-set is also extremely useful in manufacturing, environment management and just about all levels of industry.
While divination may suggest some link to the divine, practitioners of this form of Weaving will be quick to explain their skills as much more mundane and of the earthly world. For the men and women attuned to divinitic arts, their skill-set has much more to do with an ability to read the flow and lay of aether in an area, particularly in terms of locating resources and assaying people.
Divinitic Weavers are often employed by mining operations, rescue services, and even some law systems for their abilities to pinpoint precious seams in rock, or trace the unique aetheric signature of some individuals. A number are also retained by governmental services, ostensibly for finding water sources and food for certain peacekeeping forces, though if one can track an aquifer, one can almost assuredly also track certain undesirables.
When energy can be light, and aether cheats by also being intangible until activated or stored, it is little wonder illusionary skills come naturally to some. Unlike the realms of true magic, where an illusion may possess certain physical qualities depending on the skill of the caster, Weaving an illusion relies entirely on extremely fine manipulation of aether for the desired effect. Many Weavers can cause a degree of illusion in the way they visualize their own abilities working, but those truly attuned to this sphere of aether work excel beyond mere see-through constructs.
Illusionists can be found working in many of the theatrical and artistic fields and form the largest portion of transitory Weavers in the modern age. While entertainment may seem the most obvious place to put their skills to work, they can also be found in military and peacekeeping settings for training purposes and diversions, as well as in other diverse industries such as fashion and design, where their facsimiles can trial ideas before any materials are cut or wasted. Unsurprisingly, one may also find a number of illusionists swayed by the criminal lifestyle, where even the most junior of Weavers may excel, in the right circumstances.
Depending on the scholar or Weaver asked, restoration attunement sometimes finds itself as a subset of the kinetic skill-set, rather than a sphere of aether use all it’s own. The reason for this is simply that there is very little understanding of exactly how restorative Weaving works. When asked about their skill, restorative Weavers will often descend into the usual search for words to explain their craft that do little to impart actual meaning to the non-attuned. What is certain, however, is that spontaneous generation is not a factor aether is able of, thus simply creating missing flesh to fix wounds is not within the remit of a restorative Weaver.
Restoration as an attunement does seem to give Weavers some innate understanding of how the body works, and while no Weaver can simply cause a sword wound or gunshot to immediately disappear or fill itself in, they are experts at pain management, stemming blood flow and reducing infection rates. For those Weavers that are fortunate enough to attend any of Hevna’s medical schools and gain a more scientific understanding of the flesh they work on, their Weaving often improves as exponentially as it will with proper Weaving instruction also.
Restorative Weavers work all manner of medical posts, from hospitals to dock fronts, and some specialize in the care of animals, particularly for industries that rely on animal labor. The usefulness and general utility of their skills, coupled with the knowledge and intelligence required to excel at this sphere of Weaving mean that restorative Weavers are often held in the highest regard and with no small amount of mystique surrounding their persons.
In the case of Hevna, theurgic attunement generally refers to those who specialize in infusion and ritual Weaving. Most indeed sport strong religious views, aligned to their faith of choice, but whether the two are linked is still an ongoing debate between scholars.
Theurges make their mark on the world by fine control of aether for its own sake. They are, without a doubt, the most proficient at aether storage and extraction, and thus many find lucrative work in the Magus globe industry, especially as quality assurance officers for re-used items. They also find working together to be far easier than any other sphere of attunement. Their skills also make them far better at extracting a maximum amount of aether with minimal effort when channeling Storm energy into storage, can innately tell the critical point for any storage device, and often form unnerving understandings of machines such as Aether Engines. Theurges command some of the highest prices for their work, especially when working as chief engineers for airships with more complex engines, project managers on construction sites utilizing Aether Engines, or, most of all, working as part of a group to realize some large scale feat (disaster relief, for example.)
Considering the inability of aether to allow for spontaneous generation, despite its descriptor as ‘raw potential’, conversion is nevertheless a present skill on Hevna, and sometimes considered another sub-set of kinetic attunement. The reason for this is due to the physical nature of what one can do with this attunement, such as turn sand into glass or purify ore, using aether in place of the energy one might normally use to achieve the same end. Needless to say, smelting metals without needing the high heat of an industrial forge-works can be extremely beneficial, but conversion does also grant more esoteric skills too.
Weavers of conversion can be found in a myriad lines of work. Alongside heavy industry, another common place to find Weavers of this sphere are the docks of any major settlement, as their skills allow them to breathe underwater as well as harden their own skins or use aether to erect barriers and scaffolds for a short time. Sadly, conversion attunement is one of the rarest spheres among Weavers, and thus the mechanics behind much of what can be done is not well understood.
The Seventh Sphere
At most, the majority of Hevna’s cultures recognize only six spheres of attunement among Weavers. But there is an unofficial seventh sphere, uniquely belonging to the most strange of Hevna’s sentient races, the Nososphores.
The Seventh Sphere, as most euphemistically choose to call it, is perhaps better known as ‘summoning’ magic, and has not been truly studied or documented much outside of the halls of the Nososphorae themselves. Sadly, the skill is much misaligned and misunderstood due to the errors often made when dealing with the ‘undead’ of Hevna, so much so the term ‘necromancy’ has occasionally reared it’s head too.
Just as Nososphores are not in actuality dead in any fashion, the unique form of Weaving the most aged of them are capable of does not even begin to stray into Necromancy. Instead, the Weaving of those ancient few has much more to do with a burgeoning understanding of anti-magus abilities, and the regulation of a Nososphores own nature and body to allow a symbiotic existence with the species known as Wraiths. Due to this, the ‘seventh sphere’ is likely not a true sphere at all, but instead a simple natural feature of the Nososphore species merely awaiting better science and understanding.
With Weaving a natural and useful part of everyday life across Hevna, not much about the practice is outlawed, no matter where one may venture. A law forbidding murder is as applicable if Weaving is the source of the death as a bullet, for example. Due to the limitations of aetheric power, few laws need stand for Weavers alone, beyond addendum’s to common laws preventing, for example, tampering with public services, or anyone damaging the wards used to protect towns against Aether Storms.
This said, there is one notable forbidden practice on Hevna, which may hint at a true seventh sphere of attunement, and it concerns a banned item related to Magus globes.
While a globe is used to store aether for aether use, there is another kind of crystal in the world, with a more deadly effect. Geas stones, as they are known, are pieces of worked celestine – a particularly fragile mineral with a blueish hue. When found natively, the crystal is entirely benign, but the same cannot be said after the mineral has been worked (carefully) by two theurges. When cut by aether, the stones form a unique resonance with activated aether, and blood.
While blood Weaving, in general, is not a factor on Hevna, as blood simply cannot hold an aether charge, in the presence of a geas stone, the will of an individual can be enforced. Geas stones exist in many stories and myths wherein unscrupulous Weavers have bent others of their own kind to detrimental promises, but the items are in fact all too real. In many places, the discovery of even the possession of such an item can carry hefty penalties, though other nations are a little less stringent.
In those countries where Geas use carries the death penalty, knowledge of the practice and of Celestine as a whole is all but unknown to the general populace as use has died out, but one might say this has only opened the door for a greater abuse of their power, by those willing to risk the noose.
Given that Weaving is something one is either born with or without, and that one’s dominant sphere of ability is likewise decided, it is perhaps surprising that Hevna has schools for the skill at all. After all, it is simply not possible to teach a sphere of Weaving to someone who struggles to use aether in that way. No complicated set of hand gestures, words or infused artifacts will ever change the interaction a Weaver has with the aether at a fundamental level, so there is little point in, say, a School of Kinetics.
Despite this, there is a vast want and need for Weaving schools – it is simply that the syllabus of any of these places will not so much be on the result of one’s abilities, but instead the how.
Weaving in Motion
Most schools, be they the local village elder who Weaves or the high-class Collegiates of Wessenland, will start with the most basic teachable skill for Weaving – the actual motions used to draw aether forth.
Forming a circle with one’s fingers (most often thumb and middle finger) may form the core of many Weaves, but the motions used to begin an aetheric flow can vary vastly from individual to individual, and on where the aether comes from. For example, one might use much larger motions in Storm time due to how much aether is available, but need to be more measured with a Magus globe, to prevent drawing all its charge at once and shattering it. Equally, fine control is sometimes needed in the Warp to ensure a Weave isn’t too powerful, depending on one’s intent.
Due to the variables in every student, a good tutor for the physicality of Weaving very much comes down to finding a teacher whose methods work best for you, and your body’s flexibility. Some schools, particularly on the Okan islands, specializing in full body motions, so there are many choices for the aspiring Weaver to learn from.
While the physicality of Weaving forms perhaps the most expected part of most schools, it is usually a relatively small portion of the overall courses on offer. After all, there is only so much one may do with their hands and bodies before a certain plateau of ability will be reached.
That said, there is a lot that one needs to know alongside how to draw the aether, and this forms the bulk of any tuition one might expect.
Most students of the aether will begin their first year (or more) of formal tuition with basic knowledge of the element itself. From the earliest history of aether use, all the way up to modern advancements in understanding will be imparted to most students at formal academies, before studying the interactions of these theories with one’s own Weaving.
Interestingly, studies have shown a marked improvement in the Weaving of those with this basic knowledge compared to those never instructed, indicating personal understanding helps to better control aether, though quite why is uncertain.
After finishing ones basic education in motion and theory, most students in the developed world will go on to study the particulars for their long time vocation in a given aetheric field.
This is the point where many students move on to learning to Weave in concert with other Weavers, to activate and control Aether Engines, and for those wishing to enter the medical field, this is the beginning of an intense course to understand anatomy and health to better heal the sick and injured. For those working towards a military bent or policing, school is often split between the specific aetheric training one needs, as well as the more mundane schooling of their chosen institution, such as Army boot camp, or the local police academy.
Practical application, practice, group acclimation and understanding have so far proved the best way to get the most out of one’s Weavers, but there are of course those who maintain a degree of personal artistry and dedication to meditation can achieve the same effects. There is every chance both are as viable as each other, of course, depending on the nature of any given Weaver.
The Shamanic Routes
Perhaps somewhat ill-named, as few cultures across the world recognize ‘shaman’ as a role, the ‘Shamanic Route’ is a term most often used to describe those teaching methods Weavers make seek out that do not formalize training in the same way a college does.
Shamanic teaching is most often those lessons passed down by word of mouth, oral tradition, tribe or clan writings or other less ‘scientific’ methods. Some religions, such as Lodaism, technically train their priests and holy men in the Shamanic Route, though one would be hard pressed to call it any less intensive than that of the more formal schools.
In the case of the Nagu, many of the tribes rely on and trust the Shamanic Routes more than the formal schools of men, though this is much more likely to do with racial tensions which have only really begun to ease within their last generation. More extreme still, the island peoples of Okan almost exclusively prohibit any training that isn’t of the Shamanic Routes thanks to their unusual history and geography (see more in the Nations of Hevna section.)
Interestingly… the Faith of the Seven Guiding Lights relies very much on its Weavers, yet it is perhaps the greatest driving force behind and in the formalized route of learning, and rarely accepts Shamanic Routes of study except in the most remote areas. The Lights’ faith funds more scholarships to vocational schools than any other organization on Hevna.
Note: Despite the presence of aether, the Hevnese do still believe in magic. Similar to our own world, there have been a large number of questers for the impossible in terms of items such as the philosopher’s stone and fountain of youth, the only difference being aetheric theory to both speed up and hinder such searches. Even in Hevna’s ongoing age of enlightenment and discovery, there are still many in the world seeking the truly magical, the inexplicable or just a lucky three wishes.