Everything that makes up the Tapestry from the people who inhabit it to its countless worlds are made up of the five Aspects woven together into countless shapes and forms. All of it can be broken down into those five basic substances and then no further. These base substances are not only the building blocks of existence, but also the material that Weavers work with most in the creation of spells and enchantments. Each Aspect flows out from its respective elemental plane, saturating the rest of existence with their presence. The Aspects, while infinite on a universal scale, are often rare to find in their most base form. Instead they are often compounded with each other and themselves to make a variety of compound Aspects that construct materials like wood, stone, and flesh encountered on a day to day basis. The only exception to this cardinal rule are the Spirits themselves and their blessed.
Associations: Life, Destruction, Plasma. It is from the flame that life blossoms. In the heartbeat and breath of every living thing it’s impossible to miss the telltale trace of the heat that gives them life. Life is as wild and untamed as the fire that sparked it into being. The aspect of fire can be restrained and guided, but it can never be truly controlled. Though it may be the source of life amidst all the aspects, it is the most destructive when left free in its raw and primal state. A single blaze allowed to form and act uncontrolled can devour an entire rainforest. When it passes and at last extinguishes, life will begin there anew, rising from the ash. While the role of Fire in life and destruction is well documented and understood, the nature of its physical forms in the universe is far less understood by the common man.
Associations: Death, Creation, Liquids. The tide both gives and takes away. With water comes new beginnings and a cleansing of the slate. From it and its natural processes the world continues to ever slowly take shape, carved away by unseen and careful hands. It takes itself and the other Aspects and shapes them into something more than their component parts, giving meaning to the meaningless. As the tide rolls onwards it washes over the flames and even extinguishes the spark of life itself. Water holds dominion over the acts of creation and death, and it lies in opposition to its partner Fire.
Associations: Time, Chaos, Gases. The passage of Air marks the flow of time as it travels across the Tapestry in slow and miasmic eddies without rhyme or reason. Air is responsible for determining the difference between the past, the present, and the future. Whereas Earth divides what is and isn't Air divides what will be from what was. It breaks up monotony and patterns leaving only chaos and disorder in its wake. All things shift and change under its slow and gradual influence. Air holds dominion over the passage of time and disorder, and it lies in opposition to its partner Earth.
Associations: Space, Order, Solids. Earth divides the ground from the sky and the walls from the room they contain. It creates order where there was none and provides form to the formless. It is responsible for providing definition to the Tapestry and its contents. Chaos and havoc are brought into alignment in its presence, falling into place like an avalanche. Air holds dominion over space and order, and it lies in opposition to its partner Time.
Assocations: Conjunction, Disjunction. Among all of the aspects Essence is the only one without a matching mate. Each has its partner in the grand fabric of our world that both balances and complements them, defining their role and place. Essence is alone. It is said that in the making of the world that as the Spirits were reaching for the sixth spool that would have been Essence’s partner their tired hands slipped and it went tumbling forever into the darkness of the void, leaving our universe forever flawed and Essence forever lacking a true identity of its own. The aspect of Essence adopts properties from the other aspects it borders, crudely emulating them in all things. With it the universe both blends the threads together and keeps them separate, allowing fire and earth to merge to create magma and earth and air to stay separate so that there is both a sky and a ground.
Each Aspect can be combined in a myriad of different ways, creating new substances and new materials. Each of those in turn can then be combined with each other to create new more complicated and elaborate creations. Essence is used to demarcate and blend the properties of the other four primal Aspects, allowing countless ways to alter and create new compounds. The more complicated something is, the more complicated in turn its properties are. While the possibilities that can be crafted are endless, there are some general rules that every talented Spinner knows when it comes to working with compound Aspects.
Laws of Aspects
The Law of Saturation
As you weave more and more yarn into a compound Aspect, both the complexity and the difficulty of adding yarn to it increases. There is a rough limit to how many possible combinations of the Aspects an average Weaver can thread into a single compound. Most Weaverss cannot exceed a threshold of eleven total components.
The Law of Color
The amount of an Aspect in relation to the others determines what properties are dominant. This occurs both on a local (between two component Aspects in a compound Aspect) and a global (between all Aspects in a compound Aspect) scale. When one Aspect starts to gain significant headway over the others, its properties become increasingly more pronounced. After a certain point if an Aspect grows too ‘heavy’ in relation to its peers the rest of the compound collapses into it, leaving nothing but that aspect behind. A common occurrence is for an overzealous Weaver threading their spell to find it collapsing into nothing more than a puff of smoke.
The Law of Fading
When a compound grows either too complicated in size or the partnered Aspects fall too far into balance, the dominant force becomes the Aspect of Essence. Essence itself is without a partner other than itself, leaving it both lacking properties and another force to balance it against. A substance where Essence becomes dominant quickly becomes like the fifth Aspect, losing its properties, its features, and everything that defined it. It isn’t long until it collapses (often explosively) into pure Mana unless a Weaver manages to salvage it.
Mana is perhaps the most ubiquitous compound across all of existence. There is no particular reality ever without Mana. It is comprised of a generally even ratio of the five Aspects held in harmony. It’s formless, insubstantial, and it does nothing on its own. It is however an excellent material for spellcasters and any being that might possibly want to manipulate the raw energies of creation. With Mana a spellcaster can draw out the Aspects they need for a particular feat of magic, leaving behind the rest as generally harmless byproducts that settle into the world. It’s not uncommon for a pyromancer to leave soot behind as they pull fire out of Mana for their flames. There is one other unique property particular to Mana alone of all possible compound elements: a world’s Mana is reflective of its overall makeup. Indeed, when distilled down to its components and measured by the most talented of arcanists, Mana will always uniquely be comprised of the average ratio of the five Aspects in the dimension its from. This knowledge is the basis for effectively all advanced and extraplanar magic.
Earth and Essence knit together to make a geometric lattice of woven thread and that takes the physical form of crystalline structures. Crystals are common in deep underground caverns in most worlds but rare to find out in the open and even rarer still to find in large quantities. The natural corrosive properties of the Void often break down many materials into Crystal due to its relative simplicity. Inside a Crystal’s empty framework it’s relatively easy for Mana to get caught, entangling its own Earth and Essence into the lattice. This makes Crystal an excellent material for storing vast quantities of Mana, though the nature of its framework means that it’ll be inherently unable to generate Mana of its own except in exceedingly rare scenarios.
Temporary barriers, platforms, and other constructs briefly conjured out of raw mana are predominantly composed of Water, Air, and Essence with miniscule trace amounts of Earth and Fire. This compound is most commonly referred to as Ectoplasm. It is created by artificially imbalancing the Aspect ratio of Mana. It is relatively easy for a Spinner to conjure. The ratio of Aspects in Ectoplasm inevitably rebalances back to what it was before, causing the substance to shift back into raw Mana if not actively maintained. While Ectoplasmic structures are a common product of magical spells, it also sees natural occurrence in the universe as the predominant substance in the physical forms manifested by Spirits.