Ether Spirits and Sages
This page will include information on the Ether Spirits, Sages and their oracles, as well as what an Ancient First is; this will also list the Sages that guard the still-living Firsts, as well as all active Ethers.
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. Some Sparks carry the essense of whatever Realm the individual was born in, and may sometimes be used to judge whether or not they may become an Ether of that particular Realm or not.
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.
A Sage is a unique individual with a divine Spark, awoken by an Ether and an oracle, powerful guardians of the Ancient Firsts. There is one Sage per First, and each Sage is tasked with keeping the First sealed away and asleep, closely watched in case of escape. A Sage is selected by an Ether and the old Sage's oracles by awaking a dormant Spark within them - a Sage may only be awoken by a former Sage's oracle(s), and any Realm's Ether.
Sages may have any ability, however they always have abilities of sealing and barriers, and sleep spells, control spells, and paralysis spells are common in regards to controlling their First. A Sage that normally is mortal will stay mortal, and the oracles will seek a new Sage when it is known that the Sage will soon die, most often seeking someone young; a Sage that is killed will initiate the search immediately, for an new, adult, Sage. Any Sages that are of an immortal species will stay immortal, though all are subject to death via any unnatural circumstance, such as fatal injuries or diseases.
Each Sage has one to five oracles, though the most common number is usually one to three.
An oracle, or First's Oracle, is a specific god Ward tied to a Sage that currently guards an Ancient First. They can be of any species and have any appearance, though they are always immortal (even if their species is not). They act as mouthpieces for the gods, and act as a way of direct communication between god and Sage, and are often Seers and diviners, gifted visions of possible futures and prophecies.
They can hear the gods speak in their minds, See visions that the gods send them, or can be overtaken by a god to speak directly at any time. When overtaken by a god, their voice may change, and their eyes glow very brightly with whatever color that god's reiatsu happens to be. After such an event, oracles are left exhausted, and must sleep for several hours to regain their energy.
Oracles will seek a new Sage with the help of an Ether, when a Sage has died. As they cannot sense a Spark themselves, they will find the Ether of the Realm they reside in before releasing orbs of light to help seek a new Sage. When these orbs find an individual with potential, they will split into three differently-colored orbs representing attributes or emotions - each orb differs by the oracle that sent it.
The orb that is chosen will dictate if, in that oracle's eyes, the potential Sage can become a good Sage, but any potential must have a Spark (which the oracles cannot sense). The Ether that accompanies the oracle will be able to see and unlock the Spark into a Sage, if the one the orbs have chosen has a Spark to unlock. If there is no Spark, the oracle and Ether must look for others that the orbs react to, and find one with both potential and a dormant Spark.
An Ancient First is the very first, god-created or god-changed individual of a specific species, even if hundreds upon thousands were created as a first generation afterwards. These ancient beings are slumbering, giant, powerful animals or humanoids; primordial, with views old and lost to the ways of the world currently accepted now. Some may be very similar to their race as they are now, others may be very different if a race has been built upon, evolved, or otherwise changed over the years.
The Ancients are not meant to be neutral, good or evil; they existed before these concepts did. They embody certain qualities that the gods will have come together to create and shape the world. In addition, the Ancients are experiments; they have personalities, flaws, strengths and generally represent raw emotion before experience has tempered it.
Very few of these have learned or accepted the societal rules that exist now, and some have been sleeping for thousands upon thousands of years. When awoken, they are often confused and may be frightened by the new world in which they find themselves in. Some may be driven to violence, and they're often unpredictible and chaotic in nature.
The Ancient Firsts and their stories can be found on each species info page.
The Spirit Realm has no Ether, and its balance is connected to its currently-reigning goddess, Linath!