A large, illustrated tome with an unusually bound cover; the leather shifts hues like chaos energy, as does the ink. Otherwise, the book does not appear to be magical. Inside, information on the 'Rift' phenomena may be found.
In these pages, the text seems to shimmer and glow when not looked at directly; it explains the Rifts, what they are, how they may be formed, what effects it has upon those inside of one, etc. There is a note to keep in mind that Rifts are unpredictible, and these effects are not set in stone.
The phenomena known as 'Rifts' are little understood, but what is known is recorded in this tome. Rifts are caused by an imbalance in the Realm, and are small, independent dimensions where the normal laws of physics seemingly do not exist. This is caused by a tear in the Veil where the Void's dark energies have begun to eat away at the Realm's essence itself - but the Realm recovered before too much damage was done to it, forming a boundary around the tear that generates its own existence. If a Realm already has a Rift and unbalances again, then the current Rift could expand or a new one could form. Why this is isn't understood, but has been recorded over the centuries in a handful of studies on the nature of Realm imbalance and existing Rifts.
Each Rift has unique physics and a warp in general reality within its borders. Perception and reality are so twisted that something that may appear slimy may be fuzzy; gravity may be reversed or may not exist at all, colors may be completely different than what is considered 'normal', etc. Portals may work or may fail at random within a Rift; they rarely lead to where one wishes, much as in a Realm without Markers. Every Rift is different, and those that find themselves entering one may be unable to escape for days, months, or even years.
Rifts may have a variety of side effects depending on how long an individual was trapped within. These effects may include physical mutations, magical diminution, and madness. For subtle changes, it may take only a few days of exposure in most Rifts; others may take weeks. Exposure over the course of years will have permanent, irrevocable effects, ones that may not be changed back no matter what magic is put in place to reverse it. Some may be able to feel the energy trying to warp them, while others may not. Aside from this, energy storms are extremely common in Rifts, and are at the heart of the latent, chaotic forces that wreak havoc upon the occupants of a Rift at any given time. In larger Rifts, there may be structures built to provide temporary havens from these effects, though these are few and far between.
Rift openings may be formed anywhere, though those that forge themselves to be self-sustaining are quite rare and will be documented, their entrances marked. Openings to self-sustaining Rifts may appear at the bottom of the sea, even in the stars that strigine tend to find. Some may form at the bottoms of deep lakes or oceans where suddenly one may breathe the water like air; when walking, one who finds a Rift may see the ground suddenly turn transparent all the way through, seeming to drop out from under unwary feet. However, Rift openings may shimmer or distort in subtle ways from the area around them, and a crackling feeling - much like just before a close lightning strike - may be felt with a Rift doorway is approached.
The size of a Rift cannot be determined from the outside. Even from within the Void, determining the exterior would be difficult, if not impossible; they appear to be a slight, floating orb of light beside the Realm sphere, often mistaken for an oddly-colored Void star. While the region isn't vast from an external view, they may be very large on the inside, depending on how long the Rift had to form and how powerful its connection to its mother Realm is. Most are not much bigger than a city or so, though may be larger or smaller depending on the individual Rift. Sometimes, should a Rift prove too dangerous, the greater gods might try to close them. Ethers often keep an eye on these Rifts, and seek their closure or sealing should the danger become too great. Artifacts may be created and used to contain the larger ones, keep them from expanding, or seal things away in them.
In every Rift, there is a potential for new flora, fauna, and even entire species or subspecies to evolve or be created there. These may grow to be aware of the Rift's entrance, and may try to make their way out of the Rifts on their own volition. Most often, these are closely monitored by Ethers, and threats within may be sealed away from the Realms.
In the deepest sections of a Rift where it turns into the Void itself, a Rift may form a connection with an alternate Rift either in the same or a different Realm. These are loosely connected to the Realms that spawn them, and while travel between Rifts is possible, it is incredibly dangerous and may prove fatal if used.