There is an echo within us.
An echo of something grand, and an echo of something tiny.
When you listen, when you truly listen to your inner soul and purpose, that echo sounds. And it tells of birth. Not the birth of your body, or the birth of your ideas. It tells of the birth of everything, and what it tells you is the truth.
There is a Deep within us.
And it tells you words you’ll never understand.
You think of this phenomenon with different names. Your philosophers would call it arché1, the first, and in poetic terms as the Ethereal, which means: “Of unearthly delicacy and lightness.”2
To my kind these are merely words. Words to describe what cannot be told by words, but merely hint at something that eludes telling. We call ourselves “Kai’o’neth”, or “The Children of Neth”3 in your tongue.
We are of the Neth4, the solid thought born from perfection, but soiled the second we were conceived. We try to see, with our eye shut, listen without ears, and feel without body. We try to not sense by sensing, we try to not try, we try to perish by being born, and we will always fail.
We are in our own understanding the Primal Matter trying to understand itself, but so…
You see; everything is from the Deep. You or me, matter or thought, dead or living, believer or god, lies or truths. By now you might conclude that everything is born from it. That in all things there is the Deep, and even in your mother’s womb the Deep sat, waiting to create you from your beginning and leaving you in the end. This is a misconception, but not without a smaller truth.
The Deep is the One True Substance. It is the original spark of creation, and thus; like a spark, it is not the flame itself. It is merely its cause for existence.
Does the spark care what happens after it sparks? Does it guide the flame toward destruction, or to gentle warmth?
No. The spark is the thing that makes. As is the One.
And without a one there are no twos.
See the Deep not
as a metaphor
for birth, or lies5,
See it as the
thing that birth,
lies and thoughts
are a metaphor of.
- Lucifer Morningstar - 7
You may know that there are ghosts in the ether. Ghosts walking the shores to the deep, forever stalking the homelands they once enjoyed in life, loosing hope and dream until they finally succumb and disappear.
Your greybirds has speculated on this matter since their beards started greying, and countless theories have risen and fallen through their endless paradigms and discussions.
You see: Spirits long for purpose. When they die on the material plane, they face choices. They can go of to their next life, wherever they want that to be, or they can refuse to wander, and stay put.
When those souls decide to stay put, they do. But where do you go when you refuse to go anywhere, and nature refuses you to stay?
You go back to one, to arché, to Ethereal.
You wait on the shore, forever seeking the meaning your life staring out at the sea8, when the sea is the one thing that most resembles meaning, and when you finally realise this you walk into it, and your meaning ends with your life. Merged with the beginner of beginners.
1 of Greek for: The first cause; the primal matter; the principal that explains everything, or that everything can be explained from.
2 OXFORD Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, Fourth Edition.
3 Bruce R. Cordell / TSR - A Guide to the Ethereal Plane p.68 (Nethling)
4 Bruce R. Cordell / TSR - A Guide to the Ethereal Plane p.49 (The demiplane that lives)
5 See essay on the Shadowlie for speculations on The Plane of Shadows
6 See essay on Silvery Thoughts for speculations on the Astral Plane.
7 Misquote from the Lucifer-series published by DC/Vertigo comics. Mike Carey, author.
8 This essay assumes that the optional Deep Ethereal is used from p. 55 in the Manual of the Planes.
Taming the Ether (General)
This feat allows for a more advanced form for ethereal travel, developed by the Etherfarer Society from observations and tutoring of natives from the Ethereal.
Requirements: Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5 7 ranks, must have stayed on the ethereal for a period of one month, and received tutoring from the Etherfarer Society.
¨ With a successful Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5 skill roll (DC 15), you can see clearly through the ethereal mist, attuning your eyes to the wavering condition in both the Deep, and the Border Ethereal. You can see as far as you normally can do on a cloudy day for a period of one round/point you roll above the DC. After using this ability you are unable to use it again for one turn, while your eyes recover from the visual strain.
¨ If you have the Track feat from the Player Handbook, you can follow a trail of ephemeral ether produced by a body in motion on the Ethereal.
¨ You can draw sustenance and nourishment from the Ethereal mists with a Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5 skill roll, as per the normal rules in the Player Handbook. The nutrition is far from a gourmet meal, and for every successive use of this skill adds a +2 to the skill’s DC, for determining success. If you fail this skill roll, you have to eat a real meal before you can try again.
¨ In addition you can simulate the effects of the Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound and Prestidigitation 0-level spells for as long as you maintain concentration, using your Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5 ranks to determine caster level.
Special: Natives of the Ethereal replace the description of the Wilderness Lore skill with the Taming the Ether benefits. To gain the normal benefits of the skill, they have to use a feat.
Upon taking this feat you receive a penalty to your Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5 skill equal to your current ranks in Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5 when making skill checks related to this feat. For every time you add a new rank in Wilderness Lore/Survival3.5, you can also take away one penalty point.