The role of the Ether is one of balance; he/she oversees the stability between parallel Realms and the life within them. For the most part, they tend to stray to the outskirts of mortal life, though they are free to lead lives of their own, unless the very life of the dimension itself is at stake. At such point, an Ether must attempt to do whatever is in their power to right the balance and save the Realm. An Ether may stay away from their Realm for an average of one year without permanent damage, though the time varies for each individual and their respective world. If longer, the Realm may begin to corrode and the balance will tip, sending it careening towards destruction.
A Spark is what makes an Ether an Ether, or a Sage a Sage; it is a shard of Realm's core, blessed with divinity, and imbued with a sense of intricate balance. They are always neutral, never held to any alignment, and therefore cannot influence alignment of the one who holds the Spark. Any particular Spark, belonging to any individual, cannot be seen by mortal eyes, but when beheld by the eyes of the gods, appears to be a glowing rainbow-hued shard of light.
Sparks can be found in potential Ethers or Sages, and can be awoken to either, though those without a Spark will not be able to become either. Sparks can be sensed by any Ether, and Sages can be awoken by an Ether and oracle; Ether Sparks must be awoken by the leader of the Ethers and no other.
An Ether cannot be killed easily. If slain, he/she shall go into a semi-dormant state for some time as a Soulgem. Upon awakening, they are in their most powerful form, able to command the element or power they use with little or no restraint. After a time, they regain their body and 'mortal' qualities. If, however, their Soulgem is destroyed, or they are killed in this all-powerful state, they will be sent to the Soulplane and stripped of their Ether status. When an Ether dies, a new one must be chosen not six months from death lest that Realm fall into chaos.