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The Lore refers to short back stories in The Aether II, written and illustrated by Oscar Payn. These lore entries will eventually be added into The Aether II in the in-game Book of Lore. New lore is posted weekly on the Aether Facebook page and the official forums by Brandon Potts and Oscar Payn.

Recent changes to the lore have led to the entirety of the previously accessible lore to be retconned. It can still be accessed through the Aether's facebook page but is no longer officially canon.

Ambrosium

Ambrosium concept art

Ambrosium artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"The primary source of fuel in the Aether, Ambrosium is a volatile material, that naturally emits heat and light without burning, but can also be ignited to cause rapid burning. Used for both fuel, lighting and even in some cases medicine, Ambrosium is a multipurpose material that has become valuable for modern society.

"Another ability Ambrosium has is “Enchanting”, this is where Ambrosium reacts with Zanite, this causes rapid burning and dispersal of the Ambrosium around the Zanite, and into any other materials placed nearby. This can cause heavy changes in the material properties of the subject. Quicksoil, when “Enchanted” crystallizes and turns transparent, Gravitite Ore layers up into even plates and Simple foods gain healing properties.

"Overall Ambrosium is a useful, however incredibly common material that every adventurer should have a large stock of. But be warned, Ambrosium is not to be consumed raw. It can cause instant healing but has adverse side effects in the long term. Do not eat it...'"[1]

Zanite

ZaniteArt

Zanite artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"The Zanite Gemstone is one of the more mysterious materials in the Aether’s geology. It is found only embedded within the rocks, yet reacts uniquely with Skyroot, the Aether’s most common species of tree.

"Strangely, once cracked open, the Zanite Gemstone becomes a resin, which quickly reforms and crystallizes on its own, though if near Skyroot, it binds itself around the wood, embedding itself deep within whatever structure the Skyroot embodies. Once crystallized, the Zanite forms a hard shell around the wood. The benefit of this bond is that upon impact, the Zanite resists any force, and transfers it to the wood underneath, yet if the wood cracks or breaks, the Zanite merely seeps deeper inside, creating a denser, stronger structure. Meaning anything made from these Zanite shells becomes stronger as it breaks.

"This said, Skyroot is not a long lasting material; the Zanite makes anything made from it more durable, of course, but tools or armour constructed from it still don’t measure up well against traditional metals. Luckily Zanite is incredibly common and easy to use, making it a great material for cheaper travelers or less experienced warriors."[2]

Gravitite

GravititeArt

Gravitite artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"Gravitite, one of the strongest naturally occurring metals in the Aether, holds many interesting properties. Most notably is its ability to bend the gravity of objects around it, and its own. The cause is currently unknown, but it appears to be related to some kind of invisible energy source.

"This gravity defying effect can also be caused by electrical impulses through the metal, but only once the Gravitite has been treated with Ambrosium, which causes the metal to layer itself into thin plates.

"Gravitite can also be used for tools and armour. Its physics bending attributes cause it to feel incredibly light to the user, when in reality it’s almost as dense as lead, but the layered structure of the metal sheets also causes it to absorb impacts incredibly well.

"All these attributes, coupled with the rarity of the metal make it incredibly valuable to adventurers, warriors and traders alike."[3]

Zephyr

02 - Zephyr

Zephyr artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"Of the abundance of creatures found in the Aether, none are quite as infamous as the pesky Zephyr.

"Originally thought to be a kind of elemental creature of wind, it came as a shock to Angel researchers to find that the Zephyr is in fact an unintelligent, primitive insect that seemingly possess the ability to control the wind and clouds it surfs upon.

"From their research we learn that the Zephyr just creates an outer shell consisting of a wet, silky substance that latches to Aerclouds, which gives the creature its wispy, cloud-like appearance. Upon inspection, the golden highlights form due to the creature's breathing, creating moist patches on the shell that change its color.

"But something that did baffle researchers until recently was how the Zephyr controlled its signature Wind Attack, where it blows large gusts of wind at predators and prey, throwing them far back and into the air. It turns out this process is all done within the body of the insect, in a pouch filled with varying chemicals including Zanite, Ambrosium and the silky substance the Zephyr makes. It can mix these together with incredible precision to create powerful concoctions that emit large amounts of gas. The Zephyr then brings this mixture up its body and releases it through the mouth, creating a powerful stream of gas.

"The Zephyr has a glaring weakness though: its ability to fly rests entirely on its outer shell, which can be stripped off easily with enough force, leaving the inner insect flightless, confused and vulnerable.

"It is much easier to harvest the Zephyr’s exoskeleton shell in this state. Zephyr shells are used often in weapons crafting, as they can be ground up into a powder that increases the strength of metal blades. This has caused Zephyr hunting to be quite the profitable profession... Even if the casualty rate is quite high."[4]

Sentry Golem

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Sentry Golem artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"The Ancient Labyrinths that make up the Valkyrie’s precious Vaults house many mysterious machines known as Sentries.

"These Mechanical Constructs are styled to look like living creatures, but act more like self driven tools, each having a distinct purpose that it is restricted to.

"An example of this is the Sentry Golem, the most humanoid of the Sentries, it’s purpose can vary depending on the model, but this one in particular is designed as a guard, so it has the ability to identify threats and neutralize them accordingly. It does this through what is known as a “Mind Core”, a Cube inside the chest of the Sentry that can somehow process complex inputs like vision and calculate outcomes, very similar to how a biological brain works.

"The Mind Core is also responsible for the distribution of Ambrosium impulses through the Body, which control its limbs and different processes, for example the Sentry Golem can generate explosives from its back, but the parts used for this are only turned on when the Mind Core tells it to, meaning the Sentries waste very little energy.

"Another interesting aspect of the Sentries is how they move. Their joints are made up of supercooled Gravitite gears, surrounded by Icestone. These allow for fluid movement without parts grinding against each other, but also means the joints are incredibly weak, being broken apart quite easily.

"Further study of the Sentries also reveals that they are not of Valkyrie design, but are too ancient to be the product of Angel research, so their origin is left a mystery."[5]

Gruegar

OwenandTheGruegar

Owen and the Gruegar artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“In the northern reaches of the Aether, there lies a land bound in Ice; the Frostpines. The islands are covered in unique vegetation that thrives in the cold, the trees developed thick, warm bark, the creatures bare soft furry coats, but most notably, it is the home of the Gruegar, a mysterious race of Giant Mammals.

Masters of language, the Gruegar work mostly as translators for the many native languages of the lands, but are also fierce warriors, brought up to covet physical and mental strength above all else.

It is rumoured that the Gruegar were not originally from The Aether, and were instead placed there by a divine being called The Wind Writer, also known as The Great Lorist. It is said that this being gifted the Gruegar with language, and the ability to understand all tongues, including The Lorist’s writings themselves.

Unfortunately this legend has caused other races to discriminate Gruegar colonists, leaving little to no interaction between the Gruegar and the native Angels. This said, the Valkyries still offer protection from injustice, as long as the Gruegar do not retaliate unlawfully.

This prejudice puts the Gruegar in a very similar situation to the humans, who are seen as bottom feeder vermin to most. This has created a mutual agreement between the two races, that any human is welcome in Gruegar settlements, and vice versa.

One famous traveller is Owen, the warrior for hire, who is looking for a new life in the Aether’s islands. He is seen as a kind of ambassador for humanity, creating strong relations with Gruegar chiefs across the Frostpine islands, sharing knowledge of human language and traditions, history of Gaea’s nations and kingdoms, and training younger Gruegar in hand to hand combat.

There are few images of Owen, but one stands out as a strong sign of the bond between humanity and the Gruegar. This image was drawn and painted days after a Drac’san raid on a Gruegar village, which Owen helped rebuild shortly after the attack. He was gifted a Frost resistant coat, and had his picture drawn with the chief, ‘Klurahng the Wise’...”[6]

Angel

Angels

Angels artwork – created by Oscar Payn

The Aether is home to many people, the most common of which are the Angels. It is understood that the Angels are descended from a race that existed before the Aether itself, developing intelligence and unique abilities over a long history of evolutionary improvements, the most significant of which being the merging of the Angels and the Wynd Crystals, which allow them to control gravity and wind flows. This gives them the capacity for artificial flight, which allowed them to become the dominant sentient species.


Angel culture is not that different from Humanity’s, except Leader roles are given almost exclusively to the Women, due to religious ideas relating to the Valkyries. This said, Men and Women live relatively equal lives, but their physiology is quite different, meaning different jobs are better suited for the different sexes. Physical jobs that require muscle strength and precision are better for the men, while jobs that require multi-tasking, social skills and intense mental strength are more suited for the women.

The Angels focus most of their governmental efforts on Science, although this focus has also divided them into two Sects, The Sun Sect and the Moon Sect. The Sun Sect occupying over half of the species it is considered to represent Angel culture as a whole, believing in moral good and societal progression, while the Moon Sect, the smaller of the two, has more radical ideas, morals being seen as incredibly subjective and situational. This lead to more freedom of research, more experimental means of scientific progression, which could be seen as unlawful by the Valkyries, meaning the Moon Sect’s research is done in secret.

The Angels also conflict directly with another race, The Drac’san. This conflict is caused by differences in Religion. The Drac’san hunt Valkyries, which the Angels happen to worship, both see these acts as heresy in their respective cultures, and with Drac’san and Angel territories bordering with one another, violence is starting to brew. Unfortunately it is a situation that the Valkyries cannot interfere with either, as they are restricted from acting against Religious beliefs, they even consider Drac’san hunts as lawful, as they always challenge their Valkyrie prey to duels, with the heart of the prey as the prize. If something is not done to calm these small battles, there may be a full blown war between the nations.”[7]

Valkyries

08 - Valkyries-0

Valkyrie artwork – created by Oscar Payn

The Valkyries, magnificent protectors of justice and order, their only purpose is to maintain and uphold the laws laid out by their deity, Arkenzus.

These laws revolve around the idea of social and natural order, they are designed to root out chaos and keep the world in a state where natural growth can occur. These laws are decided by the High Queen, a Valkyrie born with a unique bond to the “Will of Arkenzus”, what they say is the living soul of their God speaking to them.

Each High Queen interprets The Will differently, so each Queen’s rule has drastically different rules and regulations, due to these differences, each new High Queen birth starts a new “era”

Most Valkyries are resurrected upon death, but High Queens are mortal, so they are heavily guarded, usually in hidden fortresses. The Royal Guard, the Legionnaires, are the second closest tier of Valkyrie in terms of connection to Arkenzus, they are tasked with protecting the High Queen and maintaining order over the lower tiers of Valkyrie.

Valkyries are highly respected among all Aetheric races to be protectors of their common interests, so most settlements contain some form of Valkyrie outpost.”[8]

Blight

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Blight artwork – created by Oscar Payn

“After the death of the Sun Spirit, night time returned to The Aether, this was hailed as a push to freedom, and a sign that the Sun Spirit’s rule over society was finally done. But unfortunately, as the darkness rolled over the land, another force gained power.

The Blight is a microorganism that rapidly infects its host, causing their offspring to be genetically altered, effectively speeding up and guiding the evolution of a species down a narrow path towards aggressive, violent qualities. But the Blight is weakened and eventually killed by exposure to the Sun, so it can only reside in the darkness or at night.

The Tempest is one example, early in the Aether’s time, before the Sun Spirit, the Blight lead to a new species from the Zephyr, it rapidly mutated into a new beast, that can control electricity using an altered chemical makeup of its silk shell. Around this time the Cockatrice also emerged, a twisted mutation of the humble Moa, it feeds on scraps and carcasses, preferring the indirect attack and gang ambush.

These creatures survived the Sun Spirit’s rule by hiding in Caves and underneath larger islands, driven from their Blighted Forests as they started to decay in the sunlight, but now that the night has returned, their original homes have started to re-emerge, and with fresh new Blighted creatures to inhabit and spread this mutation.

The Blight is starting to claim back more and more land every night, and is even starting to approach Angel territory, so it has become a significant concern to the general public, as Blighted creatures ravage any that intrude on their territory and convert any new species they encounter into their own ranks.”[9]

Drac’san

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Drac’san artwork – created by Oscar Payn

'“The Blight, as powerful as it is, struggles in one respect when mutating its host. It relies heavily on warping the mind of the creature it is inhabiting, and the brain of any potential offspring, usually developing them drastically beyond their initial capacity. This causes the Blight to struggle against creatures with brains already highly developed, like Angels, Gruegar or Humans. The Mutations cause the brain to shut down and die off, causing the blighting process to be fatal to sentient creatures.

That said, there was one species, the lowly Carph’san. A race of lizard like creatures who dwelled in the Petrified Hills, that survived the Blight, and became giant, fierce hunters, now known as the Drac’san. Kings of the Ashen Isles.

The Drac’san have two forms, which they can switch between at will, each with their own attributes that can be used in a variety of situations, the process of switching forms is painful and can take several minutes to complete, but the freedom of abilities is worth the anguish caused by the transformation.

The Warrior” is a form that more resembles a four legged beast than a human, with patagia, folds of skin between their arms and body, that let them glide across gaps between islands, giant claws, exposed and spiked vertebrae to stop creatures from riding them and bowed legs that give them tremendous running speed.

The other form, “The King” has the Drac’san standing upright, with more defined fingers and a much shorter tail. This form allows the Drac’san to utilize their unique ability, Blood-bending.

Blood-bending is powered by the blood of Valkyries, the Drac’san challenge wandering Knights to duels with their hearts as the prize. The Drac’san, upon victory, drain the hearts of their blood, and consume it, granting them the ability to control, shape and change any blood that they infuse with their own. This power is often used to create lethal projectiles, torturous appendages and even “Death Seals” special talismans that rapidly reconstruct wounded parts of the body and revive the dead.

The Drac’san have also been rumoured to be experimenting on the Blight itself, creating new strains of it that carry their own genetics. What this could mean, is yet to come to light.”[10]

Stephen

11 - Stephen

Stephen artwork – created by Oscar Payn

“There are many people who could be considered heroes in the Aether, but none are more controversial than the human known as Stephen.

Credited with the murder of the tyrannical king, Karthuul, often referred to as the “Sun Spirit”, Stephen is known by many as a bastion of freedom for the many races of the Aether, but to the Valkyries, he is an uncontrollable force, dangerous and unlawful. Stephen in many ways, to the Valkyries at least, is the embodiment of chaos, a concept that greatly opposes the Will of Arkenzus. His random acts of vigilante justice, coupled with reports of violent murders and rage filled raids on Valkyrie temples, have made him the first ever human outlaw in the Aether, Valkyrie orders are to kill on sight, although they have had little luck in finding him.

Although Stephen is an enemy of the Valkyries, he has many allies in the other races, his studies and pursuit of the Lorist have offered great insight about the divine being for the Gruegar. His apprehension of ancient technology has assisted Angel research for decades, and his regular slaughter of Valkyries has formed a profitable deal with the Drac’san. These alliances are one of the reasons Stephen remains so hidden from Valkyrie gaze, though he is an outlaw, many see his heroic acts as too important to lose.

Stephen is also abnormal compared to most humans, he has incredible strength, stamina, healing ability and doesn’t appear to age, he first appeared in the Aether some two hundred years ago, and has only gained battle scars and experience from these years. These abilities may be linked to artifacts found in the Sun Spirit’s fort, the markings across Stephen’s face, and his interactions with the Valkyrie Soul Wells that first earned him his Outlaw status. But no one really knows, his abilities, his origin and his motives are unclear to all.

Either way, whether you see him as a hero outside Valkyrie law, or a chaotic madman, Stephen’s influence has changed the Aether drastically over the years, and will continue to do so for however long he lives.[11]

The Sun Spirit

12 - Sun Spirit

Sun Spirit artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“Hundreds of years ago, before humanity had touched the Aether, there was a powerful being who came from another world. This being brought great power, eternal daylight. This gift shed the Aether of Blight, a mysterious force of darkness that plagued the skies.

Unfortunately, this being was not a kind creature, we know him now as Karthuul, the Sun Spirit, a tyrannical king hell bent on control over all living creatures in the Aether. Karthuul swiftly made enemies with the Valkyries, who believe in the freedom and liberty of individual cultures. So Karthuul’s sweeping “kingdom” did not sit well with them.

Karthuul had few friends in the Angel’s Sun Sect either. He believed pursuits of technology and the study of the elements to be too dangerous, and attempted to sabotage their efforts through his many acolytes.

Little did the powerful Sun Spirit know, making enemies with these two races would bring an end to his reign. The Valkyries and Sun Sect conspired to assassinate Karthuul, by sending the Angel’s most elite soldiers to the great Hellfire temple, The Sun Spirit’s castle.

As far as we know, their efforts failed, but whatever damage the elite soldiers did severely frightened Karthuul, and sent him into hiding. Effectively putting an end to his chokehold on the Aether’s people.

For over fifty years, the Sun Spirit continued to maintain a certain level of influence through the cults and alliances he had made. That was until the human Stephen found his secret hiding place, and put an end to Karthuul once and for all.

That said, the ancient cults that followed Karthuul say that the Sun Spirit’s alien mind can never die, even without a body. And that one day, he will return from death to burn all those who opposed him, and make kings of his acolytes.[12]

Thilus

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Thilus artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“The Sun Spirit may have been killed by a human, but it was not entirely his efforts that lead to the Sun Spirit’s death. Years before Stephen had even entered the Aether, there was a squad tasked with the Assassination of Karthuul. Lead by one brave Knight, Thilus, a retired material engineer and thundersmith turned military advisor, they stormed the Sun Spirit’s stronghold, and armed with giant rings of heavily refined icestone, and supercooled machine weaponry, attempted to battle Karthuul and his many acolytes.

“Unfortunately, only Thilus made it to the top to face Karthuul, and was left with only the Icestone Rings to fight with, but this was not a battle he could afford to lose. The Icestone Rings were intended to trap Karthuul’s fiery powers and solidify his flowing gaseous body, after which they hopefully could stand a chance of destroying him.

“Thilus battled for hours, using the Rings to deflect and absorb the flames Karthuul threw at him, Thilus saw no end to the fight, his armour was weakening, and his arms beginning to tire, so in one last effort for victory, he lured the Sun Spirit into a stance where he could lock the Icestone Rings around Karthuul’s wrists, hopefully weakening or stopping his ability to throw fire. Luckily Karthuul was arrogant in his ability, and slow to realise Thilus’ plans, and fell into the trap. Locking his arms within his own molten flesh.

“Weakened, The Sun Spirit had no defence against Thilus’ main weapon, the largest icestone ring, made from the purest stone found in the furthest reaches of the Frostpine forests. This ring would encapsulate Karthuul’s entire body, turning it to stone. And hopefully killing him once and for all.

“What Thilus did not know was Karthuul’s abilities were heightened when enraged, and even through the agony of his body turning to stone and embers, Karthuul threw one final blow at Thilus, tearing his left arm clean off, stripping away all of his Wynd crystals and launching him off the side of the tower they fought upon. Down below the Aether’s lowest clouds, leading to certain death.

“Karthuul thought he won, assuming the icestone was not powerful enough to best him, his body still burned hot with anger, that was until he realised one detail, the icestone could turn his fire to deadly ice. Ice so cold and so intense that it could extinguish his own fire.

“Knowing that this weakness could be the end of him, Karthuul went into hiding, in hope of maintaining his influence from the sidelines, away from his enemies and away from danger of discovery.

“Thilus’ sacrifice inevitably led to the Sun Spirit’s murder years later, he is considered to be a hero by all who live in the Aether, and his work against the Sun Spirit is still celebrated to this day.

“His death was a great loss to the Aether.”[13]

The Lorist

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The Lorist artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“Stephen’s intentions on his quest may be obscure, but one thing is certain about his goals, he’s out to find the Lorist.

“The travelling human is often sighted investigating and contributing to the Gruegar archives, the Aether’s largest libraries. Questioning settlers about their mysterious god and his writings. Some say Stephen believes the Lorist has the answers to every question in the universe, and requires his aid on some pressing matter, and that Stephen can attract the Lorist’s attention with heroic acts.

“Others say Stephen wishes to kill the Lorist, to stop his writings from setting events in stone and let chaos prevail, some even believe Stephen merely wishes to assist the Gruegar in their own understanding of their God.

“Either way, Stephen is very interested in gathering and translating the Lorist’s works, and has spent many years searching for a way to contact or meet the Lorist himself."[14]

Edison

15 - Edison

Edison artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“As many “heroes” appear in the Aether’s many kingdoms, there are an equal amount of villainous, selfish individuals that only aim to benefit themselves.

“People who act this way make enemies fast, so rarely do they survive long in the harsh wilderness between the Aether’s main cities, so those who wish to make a home have had to mask their intentions. One man has made a fine living based solely on his ability to deceive, this man’s name, is Edison Wrenk.

“Edison runs a network of trading platforms and expedition societies, purely based in funneling shoddy goods into a huge market without the end consumer being aware of the poor deals they are faced with.

“That said, Edison would not be able to hold a reputation based on poor deals, so his wares are littered with high value items, legendary weaponry, ancient artifacts and useful trinkets. Those who know Edison personally often see through his crafty salesmanship, and cut through to the good deals. They also know that, due to his paranoid and protective nature, you have to meet Edison in person to get the best items.

“That said, even with the masking of his selfish deeds, a few deals that pushed the buyers too far have caused some towns and city districts to become sceptical of Edison’s wares, some banning his trade completely.”[15]

Arkenzus

Arkenzus

Arkenzus artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"Valkyrie Religion is ever changing and warping as new Valkyrie High Queens come into power, with their own interpretations of the Will of Arkenzus and their own personal beliefs, it is often difficult to really define what the Valkyrie’s religion actually is.

"One thing that stays consistent though, is the legend of Arkenzus, The life giving, world shaping God that the Valkyries believe they communicate with and act on the behalf of.

"The legend says that Arkenzus was the first life form in existence, materialising himself from the infinite ocean of Souls. He gifted himself infinite power, with the Great Hammer of Creation, he built the planet Thera, sculpting the surface with ease like a fine painting.

"Through the use of his connection to the ocean of souls, he created other life. Lesser than himself, they were wild and unorderly, destroying and tainting the world’s perfect image. Arkenzus gifted them with one of his abilities, though, to stop them from spreading chaos across the world.

"After he created life, Arkenzus raised the highest mountains to the sky, creating a holy canopy known as The Aether. Here he created the Valkyries, the protectors of life and order. Arkenzus, afterall, was a mortal man, and would eventually die. So the Valkyries’ duty was to carry on his work, to maintain order above chaos and protect all living on Thera.

"Nearing his death, Arkenzus created two last gifts for the world, two metals, Arkenium and Valkyrum.

"Valkyrum represented stability and order, and was forbidden for use by any other than the Valkyries, whereas Arkenium represented progress and change, and was a gift to those who lived in Thera, to be used for their benefit and the progress of life.

"This legend has stayed consistent through all interpretations of the Will of Arkenzus, and has been used as the basis of of the laws through the ages. Arkenzus will always be seen by the Valkyries as the father of life and the protector of the world, and his will respected for all time."[16]

The Kingdom of Veradex

Veradex

Veradex Kingdom artwork - created by Oscar Payn

"The Aether is comprised of many different types of island, but mainly islands are either giant continental landmasses that sit in fixed positions, or smaller more freeform islands that move about. This difference is what in the end governs the borders of many of the Aether’s countries, with only the continental islands being recorded on maps due to their stability, and colonials not wasting resources on settling on drifter islands, Country borders usually follow closely to the Continental islands.

"Veradex is the home to the Sun Sect Angels, and takes up a large portion of the Western hemisphere of the Aether. The area is mostly highlands, with lush grass and woodland, with occasional lakes and shallow mountaintops. It is thought the Highlands were the first area of the Aether to develop sentient life due to its relatively peaceful ecosystem and relative immunity to the Blight, which rests more on the East side of the Aether.

"The Valkyries also occupy most of Veradex’s main islands, while also venturing out into the uncharted islands surrounding it, this is due to the Valkyries historically being the governmental figures in Angel society, before the Sun Sect became a significant political force.

"In the central island is Veradex’s capital, Brexul, a City surrounding a set of twin mountains. It is both the centre of Sun Sect culture and the home of the Valkyrie High Temple. It is seen by many to be the perfect example of Valkyrie occupation, as the Sun Sect government and Valkyrie High Queen often work together to solve issues in the city and wider islands.

"The uncharted areas surrounding Veradex’s borders are quite interesting too, the central “inner islands” are rich in Arkenium and Gravitite, so have become mostly a mining colony, and due to them being only accessible through Veradex, The Sun Sect has had little competition for their mining resources.

"To the East are the Cloud Plains, a huge scape of Aercloud with very few islands within, although the Aercloud is not of much use to the Sun Sect, they have been able to hide top secret research projects and hold military exercises in the few islands that lie within these clouds.

"To the North are the "outer island" that lead to the North Pole, these are mostly considered to be peaceful turf but in the past acted as battlegrounds between The Angels and The Drac’san, who had progressed through Moon Sect territory on the East side to reach the northernmost islands.

"To the West is the "scattered badlands" an area of mostly gang territory, with various bandit clans and outcasts taking over large amounts of land, this area is also the only connection between Veradex and the vast Quicksoil Deserts in the South West, the gang occupation of the territory has made the gathering of Quicksoil, a key material in Sun Sect research and manufacturing, incredibly difficult and expensive.

"And finally to the South are the "bridged isles" where the Highlands transition into the Frostpines, which eventually lead to the Southern Gruegar kingdoms. This area used to be highly contested for between Gruegar and Angel during the War of Territory, but a peace treaty has left this area wild and uninhabited, only being used for trading routes and transport via the many bridges connecting the islands."[17]

Owen and The Necromancer

The Necromancer

The Necromancer artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“Owen was known through Thera as the most brutal, calculated and violent mercenary to put blade to flesh, but within the Aether is hailed as a heroic ambassador for humanity. A change of image that surprises many of few humans in the Aether, Owen’s reputation for emotionless slaughter seems entirely absent in the Aether’s communities, some attribute this to the involvement of one of Thera’s most mysterious entities, The Necromancer.

“The elusive Necromancer is said to be active in the northern forests of Grinstol, Thera’s undead infested country. Leading many to believe that the Necromancer is in fact responsible for Grinstol’s undead problem.

“But his involvement with Grinstol is not of much interest to those in the Aether, what is strange though is his involvement with every single human who has reached the heights of the Aether. Strictly speaking it should be impossible for those on Thera’s surface to traverse the void to the Aether, but it appears that The Necromancer possesses some advanced technology to create “rifts” that can transfer organic material into energy, then reform at a set location.

“These Rifts have appeared multiple times through both Veradex’s isles and the Frostpine hills. Every time bringing more human “colonists” through, each been given a strange or obscure set of tasks from The Necromancer, usually one that somehow assists The Necromancer himself, and one that is some form of “redemption” for the humans he sends. No doubt Owen’s change of attitude is part of one of these tasks.

“Although many have theorised that The Necromancer’s tasks are involved in Owen’s actions, he refuses to comment on it, only saying that he has been sent to save The Aether from ruin. Which confuses most as there has not been a world threatening event in decades, and one lowly human is unlikely to do much against a world destroying event.”[18]

Edison's Illness

EdisonsIllness

Edison's Illness artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“Though most humans refuse to speak of the Necromancer, there is one man who appears to have no issue talking about his past, those he has met and the Necromancer himself, this loose tongued man is none other than Edison, the travelling salesman.

“Edison has told many the story of his life, so it is very widely known that Edison is not a healthy man. He is plagued with a condition called rotwind, an infection in the lungs that causes his breathing to be irregular and his muscles slowly get less and less oxygen from his breathe. Strictly speaking, this should have killed Edison years ago. But as he has told many, making a deal with the Necromancer has many benefits.

“Edison was a dying thief back in Grinstol, with a large skill set and a way with words, The Necromancer saw potential for information gathering and, according to Edison, knew of a material in the Aether that could prevent Edison’s condition from taking his life.

“Ambrosium, the Aether’s common fuel source, is what Edison was looking for. Its miraculous healing properties have successfully kept Edison well for over twenty years.

“Unfortunately if he stops ingesting it, the rotwind won’t be the only thing threatening Edison’s life. Ambrosium residue is extremely dangerous to delicate organic tissue, so overusing Ambrosium dust or ingesting large quantities over a long time and then stopping will rapidly degrade muscle tissue and damage organ integrity. A swift but painful death usually follows.

“This is why Edison made a living from trading, connecting with plenty of sources allows him to take in a steady supply of freshly mined Ambrosium.

“But Edison’s large network of trading has raised many questions. How is the Necromancer benefiting from this “deal”? Where does Edison find his goods? Many believe Edison runs a secret network of spies, trading information and dealing in espionage. Edison has refused to explain this aspect of his life, but has not denied that he is working for the Necromancer in some fashion.”[19]

The Necromancer's Rift

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The Necromancer's Rift artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“The Necromancer is believed to have not only recently assisted humans to enter the Aether, but is also responsible for helping Stephen, the first human to reach the Aether, in his travels 200 years ago.

“How The Necromancer does this is through an ancient and forgotten technology known as “Rifts”, these Rifts are constructed out of an incredibly rare material only found deep underground Thera’s surface in small ore veins. This material mysteriously absorbs water and generates dangerous amounts of energy, which can be channeled through itself in a proper frame. It is currently unknown exactly how the Rift works beyond this, but it seems the energy continuously builds through the frame until it breaks down into a portal, of which the Necromancer appears to be able to influence into opening at a specific location.

“What also remains unclear is exactly how the Necromancer has gathered such a ridiculous amount of this rare material when it only appears in incredibly small quantities, it may be possible that The Necromancer has found a more plentiful source for it, or that he has found a way to synthesize it.

“There is one problem with these Rifts though, they only go one way, once the portal has been used the frame collapses on itself, removing any way of passing back through it, so any humans who travel through are stuck in The Aether for seemingly the rest of their lives.

“But none of this explains The Necromancer’s apparent involvement with Stephen over 200 years ago. Naturally no one knows much about The Necromancer’s true nature, but he does appear to be to a living being, seemingly human in fact. So his strange ability to live beyond the reaches of a normal human perplex those few who get to interact with him, but still remains "[20]

The Mysterious Necromancer

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Mysterious Necromancer artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“Thera’s undead are incredibly powerful, ferocious and terrifying creatures. They have the ability to raise themselves from death, each time becoming more grotesque and powerful. This makes large groups of undead incredibly hard to exterminate or redirect away from populated areas, leaving many smaller villages and towns entirely abandoned after the undead arrived.

“Much effort has gone into discovering the source of the undead, as they only appear in Grinstol, one of Thera’s largest Kingdoms. Many point towards the dreaded Valley of a Million Holes, a large tear left in the surface of Grinstol after a war with the neighbouring kingdom Arinsgrad. Many undead are seen exiting the Valley through its many tunnels, leading to the assumption that it acts as a sort of nesting ground for the Undead, hiding from the sunlight until they can emerge come nightfall.

“But some are not convinced by the idea that the Undead naturally occur in the Valley, some believe they are the creation of the mysterious Necromancer, who resides in the forests south to the Valley. He has been seen to have the ability to summon and control monstrous Undead using his mechanical arm, even being able to change the shape and abilities of the Undead he controls.

“The Necromancer is feared by locals for his ability over the Undead, yet strangely the villages and towns nearest to his forest appear to be the least attacked by the Undead. Maybe the Necromancer is protecting them to ensure they don’t drive him out of the forest? Possibly he has a motive for where the Undead attack. It may even be possible that The Necromancer is not involved in the Undead crisis. No one really knows as contact with The Necromancer is incredibly limited.”[21]

Angel Culture

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Angel Culture artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“Angel society is almost entirely dependant on the pursuit of science. Every job within Veradex contributes in some way to maintaining the scientific work of the higher ranks, from mining to trading, it all feeds back into the scientific sector. This is in part caused by their worship of The Valkyries, Angels within the Sun Sect believe that Arkenzus, the first Valkyrie, gifted the world with hidden knowledge, power concealed behind mystery that his creations could gain if they learned of the world he had created. These beliefs cause the Angels to feel it is their duty as creatures of Arkenzus’ world to discover and understand his creations, to honour the Valkyries and their father.

“Even through this devotion to discovery, Angels still participate in recreational activities like sport, art and performance. The Sun Sect capitol Brexul is well known for its bustling theatrical district. Showing elaborate plays and musicals involving great tragedies, love stories and retellings of grand historic events like the famous play “Thilus the Great” which depicts the elaborate and dramatic life of the warrior Thilus, ending in the great battle with the tyrannical king Karthuul.

“Children of the Sun Sect often participate in the traditional sport of layerball, a game based in a vertical arena where Angels must use their Wynd Crystal abilities to great extents to duck and weave through the tight layers of the glass arena, attempting to score the Gravitite ball into the opponent’s gates, which shift layers every time either team scores. Attempts to recreate the sport for non-Angel settlers have not worked well, many professional layerball players state that a flat open field is just too easy to score with, and the ability to fly is what makes the game what it is.

“Another recreational activity is homemade experiments. Young Angels are encouraged to pursue scientific studies even out of the classroom, and often have their own equipment at home. Studying simple Crystal compounds and the properties of biological material often yield useful or insightful discoveries, and repeating famous or recent governmental studies offer good experience for budding scientists.

“Unfortunately the Sun Sect’s culture does have a dark side, there is an inherent xenophobia within the population. Distrust of foreigners or other races is common, and it is very hard for a non-Angel to find a home or services in the smaller cities in Veradex. As well as a distinct hatred for the Drac’san, who are often depicted as literal demons, feasting on the innocent and burning cities to the ground. It is theorised that much of this comes from the effort of the Sun Sect to recruit young Angels for their military forces in an attempt to match the large numbers of the Drac’san forces in the Ashen isles.”[22]

Gruegar Culture

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Gruegar Culture artwork - created by Oscar Payn

“The Gruegar officially operate under one nation that encompasses the entirety of the Frostpine isles, however as a culture the Gruegar are still separated into distinct tribes, each with their own unique cultures and traditions. But there are still underlying similarities that persist across all Gruegar tribes, mainly focussed around their central belief structure, the worship of the Wind Writer.

“It is said that the Gruegar were given the ability to understand all language by their immortal, ethereal God the Wind Writer. With this unique ability the Gruegar swiftly started documenting and studying other cultures and creatures. This was until the War of Territory, where the Angel’s retaliated against the Gruegar who appeared to be invading their land and claiming territory within Southern Veradex. After the Gruegar lost this war and a peace agreement was met, the Gruegar decided that this tragedy was a sign by the Wind Writer that the Gruegar are not to interfere with the environment around them, and instead become part of it.

“Given this new insight into their place within the world, The Gruegar decided that they needed to integrate their society with the Frostpines themselves, tending instead of taking, coexisting instead of conquering. This is the point where they split into distinct tribes, each tending to a different area of the Frostpines, maintaining the natural order while compiling documentation found both through the Wind Writer’s own pages and through observing the environment around them.

“Another thing that unites the Gruegar tribes is their Great Libraries, giant halls filled with many tomes and novels from varying cultures and sources, all free and open to anyone who wishes to gather knowledge from within. These libraries also act as a bank of seeds for the many different types of vegetation found throughout the Aether, in an effort to preserve anything that may be destroyed by the less environmentally focussed cultures of the Aether.

“Some tribes in the more dense areas of the Frostpines take their responsibility to the natural order in a different direction to the norm. Where it is known for animals to over breed due to lack of predators or the Frostpines themselves growing too large due to lack of felling, these smaller “hunter gatherer” tribes feel it necessary to reduce the population of the flora and fauna in the area to levels where each species has a sustainable amount of food and habitat. Effectively being the curators of the natural area.

“The differences between the many tribes of Gruegar are too extensive to detail, but it should be known to any traveller that decides they wish to venture into the Frostpine Isles that many of the Tribes have varying customs and traditions, but are mostly open to questions, so it is safer to ask about their culture than to risk making a mistake.”[23]

The Downfall of the Drac'san

24 - Drac'san Culture

“The fall of the once proud Drac’san nation is a tale often ignored due to racial tensions between neighbouring peoples and the reformed “Coalition of Blood” that now rules the Drac’san territory, but it is an important part of the Aether’s history and future as the Sun Sect and the Coalition of Blood continue to battle for hold over Valkyrie land.

“The Drac’san originated as a tribal race that had survived the infamous Blight, which consumed their natural habitat entirely, but slowly grew into a proud yet seclusive race. They colonised and terraformed an entire continent to suit their needs and to escape the hostile Blighted Plains. They built gigantic cities carved from mountains and mile long bridges to transport goods and resources between colonies, the Ashen isles were a safe haven for this new culture to thrive in. All this in an area of the Aether no other race knew of, even the Valkyries had never ventured far into the continent’s outer islands, thinking it a wasteland devoid of life.

“Within the Drac’san upper ranks, a pursuit of knowledge started to take hold. Similar to the Angels of Veradex, the Drac’san wanted to understand where they came from and the world around them. This led to extensive research into the Blight, the same parasitic mutagen that created their race. Eventually through decades of unregulated experimentation, the Drac’san developed a way to harness the Blight with selective mutations, the Drac’san could now design their own biology.

“Initial implementations on more basic animals yielded positive results; the mutations did not require offspring to take hold and instead were enacted on the initial host, creatures subjected to this new mutagen rapidly developed desirable traits. The Drac’san were pleased with this and thought it time to start experimenting on their own species.

“The traits the Drac’san wanted to develop were that of defensive and traversal ability, in an attempt to ready them for colonisation outside the Ashen isles, as well as removing the Blight’s inherent weakness to sunlight. To ensure the mutations did not ruin the highly developed brains of the Drac’san adults, the mutagen was applied to five eggs instead. The results were initially impressive, but had some startling side effects...

“The newborn Drac’san were dubbed “The Red Children” due to the discolouration of their plating and lack of the signature Drac’san golden glow. These children were shown to indeed be incredibly agile and possessed an ability to at will physically change their own skeletal structure, giving them incredible running speed and the ability to glide in the air.

“Deemed an incredibly successful experiment, the Drac’san were ready to start subjecting more eggs to the mutagen, until they realised some startling behaviour: At first they had observed that the mutagen was still active within the children's blood, and could actually be transmitted through their fangs. But before the researchers could test and isolate this trait, three of the Red Children began to savage livestock, running rampantly through the Castles they were trained and tested in and had to be put down to protect the researchers looking over them.

“This development halted further application of the mutagen, but the Drac’san still attempted to further their colonisation efforts, reaching out into the Highlands to the North of their territory, which is where they encountered the Valkyries. Shocked by the discovery of a new sentient species in such a harsh area, several Valkyrie Legionnaires were accompanied by the Drac’san colonists to their central cities. Here they established the first Valkyrie outposts within the Ashen Isles.

“Several decades passed, and the remaining two Red Drac’san had continued to sustain normal behaviour and had become active members of Drac’san society, they were given names based on their preferred jobs. The larger of the two had become a master blacksmith, and helped develop  new weaponry for the Drac’san colonisation and hunting efforts, he was named Vam’ka Ironclaw. His brother, the smaller and faster Drac’san, became a scout and archery instructor, and took the name Iriteth Fareye. Vam’ka and Iriteth considered themselves brothers, and often worked closely with the Drac’san Kings in colonisation efforts. Life was good for them, until the accident.

“The remaining Red Drac’san were often called back to visit the researchers that created them to check on their physical attributes and social standings, after the failures of the other three they were apprehensive about letting two grown Drac’san adults suddenly develop savage tendencies, and were forbidden from infecting others with the mutagen due to the unknown long-term effects of the treatment.

“At around the age of 50, the brothers were called back as usual, but this time there was something different; the Valkyries were present as well. It seemed the Legionnaires had learned of the other three Red Children and wanted to see for themselves that Vam’ka and Iriteth posed no threat to wider society. And so usual testing was resumed under Valkyrie watch until, by complete accident, a Valkyrie opened one of the cages housing a previously mutated animal subject. The creature was so startled by the Valkyries’ shouts and orders that it flew into rage and killed several of the Legionnaires. It was only stopped as Vam’ka stepped in and ripped the creature apart with his bare hands, which is when the researchers discovered what sent the other three Red Children into rage...the taste of blood.

“Vam’ka went berserk and started to kill Valkyries himself, injuring the researchers around him and feeding on the Valkyrie corpses that littered the ground around him. What is unique about the Valkyries though is their immunity to the Blight. It has been discovered that this is in part due to a chemical in their blood that continuously regenerates their cells, giving them their supernatural strength, endurance and healing factor. This chemical appeared to root itself into Vam’ka, giving him tremendous physical strength and a red aura. What happened after the incident remains unclear, as all the Valkyries who could have witnessed the events have subsequently died. But what is known is that Vam’ka managed to infect several of the Drac’san and lower creatures in the facility with the mutagen.

“This created a horde of Red Drac’san, all mad with rage and a thirst for blood, quickly either killing off or infecting a swathes of the population within the central cities. Society within the cities crumbled fast, leaving only ruin, flame and blood. The Valkyrie outposts were destroyed and the infection of the Red Drac’san could not be contained by any force. Mysteriously though, Iriteth was never witnessed in the killing, and has since been presumed dead.

“The outer cities and colonies took much longer to fall, but fall they did. The Red Drac’san with their enhanced defensive and traversal traits made it impossible for even a large group of Drac’san to fend them off. Within ten years, the Drac’san colonies had all been wiped out, leaving the new Red Drac’san in their place.

“The old Drac’san still survive to this day as refugees in Gruegar and Angel villages and towns, but recent conflicts between the Red Drac’san and the Sun Sect have disuaded the old Drac’san from seeking refuge in their cities. Fear of the Drac’san is very real even if these citizens have nothing to do with the Red Drac’san that now hold the Ashen isles.

“These survivors are now referred to as the “Greys”, and survive mostly in exclusive communities within other settlements, only appearing at night due to their weakness to sunlight, living in fear of discrimination from those who believe them to be spies or undercover agents for the Coalition of Blood, the new government that the Red Drac’san formed in the ruins of the Ashen Isles.

“The future of the Greys remains uncertain, their numbers diminish every year, leading more and more people to believe they are going extinct, both through lack of mating partners and by hate crimes either driving them out of civilized areas or simply by murdering them in the streets.”[24]

References

  1. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/11/book-of-lore-1-ambrosium
  2. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/12/book-of-lore-2-zanite
  3. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/13/book-of-lore-3-gravitite
  4. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/14/book-of-lore-4-zephyrs
  5. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/15/book-of-lore-5-sentry-golems
  6. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/16/book-of-lore-6-the-gruegars
  7. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/17/book-of-lore-7-the-angels
  8. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/18/book-of-lore-8-the-valkyries
  9. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/19/book-of-lore-9-the-blight
  10. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/20/book-of-lore-10-the-drac-san
  11. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/21/book-of-lore-11-stephen
  12. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/22/book-of-lore-12-the-sun-spirit
  13. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/23/book-of-lore-13-thilus
  14. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/24/book-of-lore-14-the-lorist
  15. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/25/book-of-lore-15-edison
  16. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/26/book-of-lore-16-arkenzus
  17. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/27/book-of-lore-17-the-kingdom-of-veradex
  18. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/57/book-of-lore-18-owen-and-the-necromancer
  19. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/58/book-of-lore-19-edison-s-illness
  20. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/59/book-of-lore-20-the-necromancer-s-rift
  21. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/60/book-of-lore-21-the-mysterious-necromancer
  22. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/61/book-of-lore-22-angel-culture
  23. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/62/book-of-lore-23-gruegar-culture
  24. https://forums.gildedgames.com/topic/63/book-of-lore-24-the-downfall-of-the-drac-san

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