"You have heard of many phrases that reference reality and unreality, but nobody truly knows what unreality is. They assume it to be a void, or nothingness. That is not the case." Miria Mistwalker | 1031 AC
Inside the Aether
In concurrence with the plane known as reality, or Rhyst, exists the exact opposite: the Aether. Proving that it exists is difficult through just verbal explanations, but with the aid of a Mistwalker, it is possible to remain within the Aether and learn how to remain there.
Those who remain in the Aether are able to experience its beauty: arrays of turquoise, cerulean, ruby, and silver lights surround them. Similarly, these colors construct large geometrics of differing dimensions, from flat patterns to three-dimensional octagons. Illusions are also prominent within this space, taking the form of familiar scenes from places within reality, or unique mosaics that are almost incomprehensible.
Unlike the Astral Sea, the Aether does not contain terrifying beasts, except the odd Mistwalker or two. Neither does it exist as an intermediary plane between the Void or the Faewild, but instead as a metaphysical plane juxtaposed with Rhyst.
Due to its linkage with Rhyst, time does exist within the Aether, though experiencing it may be disorienting.
Accessing the Aether
Transportation to the Aether is simple: through arcane weaving a body is dispersed into raw mana and transported to the Aether where it collects but does not combine. Immediately, this mana is transmitted to a single point in Rhyst where it combines, forming the body anew. This technique does still require some focused practice, however.
Documented by Undine of Clan Mistwalker, this concept applies to: - Mass Recall; - Teleportation Runes; - Shimmer; - Blink; - Any form of mana-based teleportation;
A Mistwalker adjusts their flow of teleportation, such that they spiritually coalesce within the Aether itself, becoming a mana-based projection of themselves. That is to say that, while they are not physically there, their mana is in the shape of themselves. This means that to exit the Aether, they are required to disperse once more, and reappear somewhere within Rhyst.
The Function of the Aether
The Aether abides by the closed system principle, defined by Miria Mistwalker in her privately published journal, 'Soulsilver'.
"My definition of a closed system is a system within which mana is maintained and cycled. Much like how the hydrological cycle is a closed system. We all know rainwater is recycled, and that the amount of water we have in Rhyst is the exact same through each iteration of this cycle. There is no net movement of water within Rhyst -- it's all here."
1. A spell is casted and fades into ambient mana. If this mana is not absorbed into the environment, it is considered to be excess ambient mana.
2. This excess ambient mana is absorbed into the Aether.
3. Ambient mana slowly cycles back into Rhyst from the Aether to maintain a constant level. (This is a constant cycle of mana between the Aether and Rhyst.)
In this way, the Aether can be likened to a capacitor.
Without the existence of the Aether, the overabundance of mana could overwhelm those who are unable to produce mana or those with less potent mana than the ambient level.
Mana produced from the soul possess a 'mana signature', that is, a unique identifier that references the creator's soul. So long as an individual is familiar with the source of mana, they are able to identify who it belongs to. Due to the presence of a mana signature, when accessing the Aether the mage will not have their mana compounded with that which exists within the Aether.
...Unless they are a Mistwalker.
Mistwalkers possess the ability to interact with mana within the Aether, being, another individual's detached mana. So long as that individual is in Rhyst, it is possible for the Mistwalker communicate with that individual, but at the heavy expense of compounding their mana with another's.
Upon reformation in Rhyst, depending on the amount of mana toyed with, the Mistwalker will receive physical injuries, for they have reformed with less of their own mana that originally entered with.
Research within the Aether
The shift of mana within the Aether is constant, but occurs at a slow pace due as Rhyst's ambient mana is not being consumed or flooded past normal limits.
Successful uses of the Aether include:
The Aetherlink Infrastructure: How you can teleport anywhere in Rhyst
Additional Canon Notes
The Aether is largely believed to facilitate the fluctuations of mana in and out of Rhyst. While mortals are caught within the Cycle of Souls, the lifeforce and mana of the spirits is contained wholly within this system; a spirit is born from the Aether into the natural world, and when it dies it passes on
The Aether is why the souls of the dead aren't seen as they travel toward the Styx or why the souls of the reborn aren't spotted gliding back into the world where they'll soon be infants. Souls, like all mana, exist within the Aether ordinarily. Necromancy and other magic that disrupts cause ghosts and undead to become present
The Aether is the unseen world of mana
The Mistwalkers are not typically blood-related, they are a Clan. It is possible to become a Mistwalker.
It is unknown if someone has become stuck inside the Aether. Assumed otherwise.
There is no proof of a corresponding concept Aether existing in the Void or Faewild. Miria Mistwalker deems this to be incredibly likely, however.
Infants should not be transported to the Aether.