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A howling realm of ancient fire and magic starlight, the Lux Aeterna is undoubtedly a treacherous yet mystical domain. An abode for the Angels, the Lux Aeterna is widely known as the source of Thaumic power. The Aeterna, as it is colloquially known, is too home to a boundless sea of aberrations and other chaotic oddities, seen nowhere else outside its violet blaze. Even so, courageous civilizations nestled in Aylathiya's saffron spirals have managed to break the barrier of the Aeterna's unreality, giving themselves huge technological advantages.

The Aeterna's size is massive, rivaling that of Aylathiya's colossal expanse. To place the Aeterna to scale, estimates have placed its size at roughly 280,000 light years in "diameter". Like a dream, however, the Aeterna itself is not a stable. Within it lies not physical dimensions but the concept of physical dimensions. As such, it is ever-changing, its "rules" often contradicting themselves. Even the oneness of the Aeterna is not a stable idea as pockets of relative "stability" are often severed from one another, set apart by the direct forces of the Void. Furthermore, the Aeterna's great sweeping chaos can intrude against the rest of Aylathiya, waging war against stable reality as the Aeterna spills its wrathful fire across space.

Pylons

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A Pylon is a manifestation of consciousness within the Aeterna. As life evolved across Via Aylathiya, as it struggled in a race towards civilization, the hand of natural-selection guided life towards sapience. This sapience, however, was not the typical sapience seen across the universe —no— it was a form of sapience accompanied by a soul. The first life to evolve access to the soul, with wildly different brain patterns to better harness it, would be the first life to conquer their home worlds. For the vast majority of life-bearing worlds in Via Aylathiya, gaining access to this trait would be impossible. These worlds very rarely evolved sapient life. Save for the Dotsk, all of Aylathiya's sapient species would gain souls, now called "pylons."

Manifesting as a glowing white orb that appears to move aimlessly throughout the Lux Aeterna, pylons influence the behavior of their corresponding host. Since all Pylons are fundamentally the same, it has caused psychology across Via Aylathiya to be similar across all sapient species. Pylon-based life have similar ways of thought, motivations, and the same methods of conceptualizing the universe. This creates a common Noosphere, sometimes called a Psychosphere, which is the common "sphere of reason" similar to a biosphere (expanded below). While unconfirmed, the working hypothesis is that every individual that is a member of a pylon-bearing species, past, present, and future, has a corresponding Pylon.

Thaumaturgy cannot be transferred, it cannot be taught, and it cannot be made. For the vast majority of individuals, their pylons behave as normal. For those whose pylons existed as not spheres but hyperspheres, they can bring what is known as "Aeternal Energy" into realspace.

Pylons are located all across The Aeterna. Each Pylon has a different "weight" or dimensionality, which is directly related to one's ability to channel Aeternal Energy. The more dimensions to one's Pylon, the more energy they can draw. The higher the dimensionality, the stronger ones pylon is. Individuals with a considerably large dimensionality are known as Magi. Extensively using Thaumaturgy causes one's Pylon to grow in weight. The larger the weight, the more energy that can be channeled.

A Pylon gaining weight too quickly may cause Thaumic Insanity, a debilitating condition incurable by any means. The process is slow, taking many decades for most people. The onset of this disease is harmful, as those effected exhibit unusual physical and mental characteristics. The severity of such effects vary from person to person, but all become extremely unstable. After a certain point, the mind of a person breaks down, resulting in the mental disorder. Mania, hallucinations, and occasional delirium are common. Additionally, symptoms mimicking Ganser syndrome, dysmetropsia, and memory distrust syndrome.

Pylons may also 'shatter' following the overuse of Thaumaturgy. When shattered, Magi lose control of the flow of power, rendering any Thaumic usage impossible unless it heals. Irreparable shattering is often characterized by the complete death of the Magi in question, as their bodies begin behaving much more like material in the Aeterna. These exotic forms of matter are largely incompatible with the physical universe. The afflicted individual often physically distorts into strange shapes.

These shapes are often physically impossible, causing them to fly apart in a burst of energy or, sometimes, to collapse into a singularity. The few survivors of shattering usually develop Thaumic Insanity. Sufficiently large Pylons shatter and cause rifts between the Aeterna and realspace. Such is the center of the Wane of Reality. Overuse is relative to the size of one's Pylon, with smaller Pylons being easier to shatter. As such, this phenomenon occurs less commonly amongst proficient Magi.

If a Pylon is removed or otherwise displaced from the Lux Aeterna, they will be unable to funnel Aeternal Energy. Therefore, the afflicted Pylon becomes useless. Furthermore, Pylons appear to be significantly more fragile and slowly degrade outside of the Lux Aeterna, making displaced Pylons a great risk for any Magi connected to one. Pylons eventually shatter after increased exposure to normal space, greatly diminishing or removing one's Thaumic abilities. This risk is rather minor however, as breaching the Lux Aeterna and moving Pylons are two difficult tasks on their own, let alone performed one after the other.

Faux Pylons

Faux Pylons are artificial constructs created within the Lux Aeterna whose applications have only barely been explored. The creation of such machines, one could call them, requires numerous Magi. Faux Pylons do not have any brains to connect to, requiring an artificial brain to be constructed. No mere artificial brain will work, however. What is needed is an all new class of computer only barely within the realm of feasibility for the majority of civilizations.

The Aeterna does not allow for conventional matter to be placed within it. Conventional matter breaks down as its atoms become stripped of their physicality and replaced with the "concept" of atoms. In order to build within the Lux Aeterna, one needs to build in concepts. A certain arrangement of concepts will be able to conceptualize themselves. What is meant by this is that it is possible to create a sort of very simple mind within the Aeterna whose only capability is conceptualizing itself. How this is done is a complicated process based on the knowledge that certain patterns of thought within Via Aylathiya will allow a user to affect the Lux Aeterna. This is the basic idea behind all Thaumaturgy, so a specific type of Thaumaturgy whose affects lie mostly within the Lux Aeterna is most useful in the creation of Faux Pylons.

After the creation of the simple Faux Pylon, it exists as a solid foundation for which more complicated concepts can be layered on top. Eventually, the Faux Pylon will grow in complexity to the point of being able to engage in simple calculations. This is more than enough to then implant into an artificial mind within Via Aylathiya. This process gives pylons to machines. Machines with pylons exhibit increased emotional capacity, ability to grasp abstract concepts, and an increased desire for self-preservation. POLIKY is one example of a machine with a Faux Pylon. Other machines such as The Sovereign and Claudia are also believed to have Faux Pylons although this remains unproven.

Aeternal Energy

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Aeternal Energy is the all-permeating energy-field within the Lux Aeterna. Objects with conceptual potential have Aeternal energy whereas objects with little conceptual potential have none. In other words, sapient beings who are capable of conceptualization have far more access to Aeternal Energy.

This energy exists in an open system, with the very existence of sapience capable of producing an indefinite amount. It is thought to have existed since the Aeterna's creation following the Cosmic Primordia, implying a very early start to sapience as well. Aeternal Energy is responsible for numerous things, and many have believed that it is the cause of the Lux Aeterna's constant state of flux. Aeternal Energy does not have a force carrier. In areas where it is highly concentrated, it glows very brightly, exhibiting effects which appear to warp space around it.

Aeternal Energy is thought to come through a user's Pylon to perform Thaumaturgy. It can be morphed in various ways, allowing an adept Magi to do a variety of different feats. Channeling Aeternal Energy is difficult for most people, requiring intense focus and mental fortitude. A learner must also be careful enough to keep their Pylon in a stable state, as too much Aeternal Energy may shatter one as mentioned previously.

Cores

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The Aeterna is a host to independent entities, called Cores, within its boundaries. Cores hold the appearance of large, white wisps of light which flicker and move quickly. It is thought that these Cores manifest from high-energy events, though this is not entirely proven. Most Cores are found floating aimlessly, typically around large coagulations of matter. It is thought that there are quintillions of Cores in The Aeterna, appearing and disappearing over many years. Independent Cores are hazardous due to their high energy and sporadic movements.

Occasionally, Cores merge with one another, creating a conscience with multiple minds. If this happens often enough, a unified sapient core may appear in its place. Such Cores represent an island of stability, similar to a faux pylon, within the chaos of the Aeterna. Sapient Cores may combine with others as well, resulting in a collective conscience of two or more Cores. The largest of these have the equivalent of billions of minds in a single body.

Aeternaborne

Main Article: Aeternaborne

The Aeternaborne are sapient individuals who are created from the combination of many Cores. While lesser, non-sapient Cores disintegrate outside The Aeterna, Aeternaborne may survive and wander near rifts. They usually have a long lifespan, though they also disintegrate if given time. If an Aeternaborne leaves, they have a longer lifespan depending on how many Cores make it up. They typically hold an innate affinity for Thaumaturgy, and are thought of as dangerous or enigmatic. Surviving Aeternaborne have hardly been studied due to their rarity. Additionally, an Aeternaborne is able to retreat to the Lux Aeterna at any time, resisting its chaotic effects with little to no effort.

Mother Sydiah is likely the most recognized Aeternaborne in history. As the leader of Sedrua, she has used her abilities to expand her empire in the name of The Aeterna. One of her most notable feats was creating Sydiah's Architects, millions of Aeternaborne which served under her. They were responsible for making Sedrua, building many structures and populating countless worlds as the empire expanded. In an attempt to re-enforce her empire, Sydiah attempted to use a great amount of power. It instead triggered a large Aeterna Cascade, returning her to The Aeterna with no way out for millennia. This is known as the Wane of Reality, an event which started Sedrua's downfall.

Aeterna Cascades

Since natural rifts are extremely rare, most Aeternaborne exit through events named Aeterna Cascades. These events are caused by a Core creating rifts, subconsciously channeling Aeternal Energy in a way similar to Thaumaturgy. This allows an emerging Aeternaborne to leave the Aeterna. If a large collective conscience attempts to leave the Aeterna on its own, the co-responding Cascade may emit large amounts of energy. This is especially true with any Cores which have the conscience of thousands or more. The energy caused by Aeterna Cascades may disintegrate the Cores, scattering them back to The Aeterna. Ones which survive this are regarded as the strongest of all Aeternaborne.

Dangers

As mentioned, The Aeterna is a very hazardous place for most operations. Matter from realspace that enters it through rifts quickly degenerates. Most matter dissipates shortly after degeneration, effectively absorbing it into The Aeterna. The same is applied when material from The Aeterna is brought into realspace. Lifeforms are affected similarly, though some remain in a state of constant degeneracy. This has made close study of The Aeterna almost impossible without the use of Magi.

Magi are the only known exception to The Aeterna's dangers. With great proficiency, a Magi may be able to protect themselves by channeling a large amount of Aeternal Energy. They must maintain a high concentration and flow to prevent degeneration. Exclusing Reality Anchors, Magi remain the only known group of people capable of surviving The Aeterna's fire.

Travel while initially difficult, has been made viable with the aid of Magi. The Thaumic Drive is based around the Aeterna's effects that it has on distance, as traveling a short distance in the Aeterna may reflect a large movement in realspace. Travel between The Aeterna and realspace may cause undesired effects between arrival and destination points however. Instances of hazardous non-euclidean travel are more than common, though they may be avoided with the use of Reality Anchors or experienced Magi. Even with said aid however, spatial or gravitational disturbances may poorly impact any sojourner.

There have been countless reports of hallucinations, extreme disorientation, and dissociative episodes resulting from The Aeterna. Even with protection, these effects can manifest after a given time. After long exposure, A Magi may lose their sense of self, losing consciousness and causing degeneration. Additionally, A Magi's ability at channeling Aeternal Energy may worsen, making them temporarily dampened or useless. The hostility of The Aeterna has led others to believe that nobody is truly secure from the hazards therein.

History

There is currently no reliable method to date the Aeterna. Current understanding places it at sometime after the Cosmic Primordia, during the creation of the Azurade. Shortly thereafter, the Azurade filled the empty plane with matter and energy. In the first moments of the universe, when it was far hotter, the boundary between realspace and the Aeterna was blurry. After several microseconds, the plane stabilized and cut itself off from the main universe. It expanded at a slower rate than realspace, lending to its smaller size. A small number of rifts formed, although these were microscopic in scale.

Little happened in the Aeterna for the next several billion years. When the first sapient organisms came into existence, activity resumed in the Aeterna. The activity of the first lifeforms and, consequently, the first Magi sent shockwaves through the Aeterna. The first sapient life forms triggered numerous Aeterna Cascades as they disturbed their Pylons. At this point, the Pylons began to move about as they do to this day. The Cores began stirring as well during this period. This took place at an indeterminate time in the deep past.

These Cores likely combined to create Aeternaborne as they do now; however, concrete evidence before 7.5 million BCE has not been found. It is thought that Azurade had a part in this, increasing the Aeterna's activity to produce such entities. As matter flowed into The Aeterna, it disintegrated, though fragments remained and exhibited unusual characteristics. As the number of sapient individuals increased, the Aeterna became more chaotic.

The Aeterna underwent many large Cascades, with several more happening until the most recent one in 129,591 BCE. This would be the creation of Mother Sydiah, a result of billions of sapient Cores. She went on to extract other Cores from The Aeterna, creating Sydiah's Architects and going on to establishing Sedrua. Aeternalism was spawned from faith in her origins, as Sydiah believed the Aeterna was like a heaven or oasis. Her followers grew in numbers, expanding Sedrua until the Wane of Reality created rifts and trapped Sydiah in The Aeterna. With Sydiah's Pylon shattered, she could not leave The Aeterna. Instead, she existed in a state of perpetual degeneration. Many Architects followed Sydiah through the rifts, choosing to abandon Sedrua as they thought it was their time. Approximately 19% of all Architects disappeared during the Wane of Reality. The remaining 81% were left to pick up the pieces, including Vurilia Jutopati who founded Novel Aeternalism alongside his comrades.

In Sydiah's place remained her Hinterlands, a series of growing rifts connecting directly to The Aeterna. These rifts were very much hostile, wreaking havoc in their proximity. As such, many Architects died, as they either failed to contain them or sacrificed themselves as previously mentioned. Sedruan sectors had to deal with them on their own, using technology in an attempt to close the rifts. Perceived inaction from Sedrua caused mass distrust in its government, eventually fueling the need for change. Novel Aeternalism was popularized as more believed the Wane of Reality to be a mistake, and not an intended action. This belief evolved and made the relegion evolve in the following millennia. From then, Sedrua entered into a state of decline.

By the War of the Final Transition, The Yohjan Confederacy began to employ Magi while the Commonwealth began using it by the time of the Eclipse. Eventually, Scientific discoveries created Eidolite, and allowed Hardlight to be produced in significant quantities. Further research refined the understanding of The Aeterna, with many nations unlocking its history. Pylons, Cores, and remnant materials were studied alongside historical documents, revealing its nature to many people.

Around this time, several nations became the forefront of research into the Aeterna. With a far more naturalistic view of the plane, various organizations took advantage of its energy in different ways. Most notably, the integration of Thaumaturgy with technology. Numerous weapons, megastructures, and even settlements became integrated with direct connections to the Aeterna. In 17,809 CE, Hal Drusus II became an entity known as Mars. From the Aeterna, this entity still governs the Greater Martial Consilium. Later on, Aylathiya's Totality happened, with Magi being used in its highest quantity of any war of the Common Era. The War of the Ancients passed with similar use in Magi.

Upon the turn of 99,678 CE, the Angelic Awakening occurred. Mother Sydiah and her Angel brethren rose from the Aeterna after Itrian Yutira and Thonde Yutira freed them. Upon her re-emergence, Sydiah punished Vurilia Jutopati for bringing Sedrua away from her ideals. She believed that his inaction with isolationism is what caused its downfall. As a result, Vurilia became trapped in The Aeterna, held by the forces of unreality. For thousands of years, it is thought that Vurilia suffered, constantly buffeted by the Aeterna like eroding away at a coastline.

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