“It is our life-force, the reason why we are alive, the reason for our existence, our actions and our thoughts. It is a way of thinking, an uncontrollable current that runs though us all. Light and dark, everything is borne out of pure Essence.”
- - Unknown
Essence is a phenomenon that relates to both consciousness, in that qualia are attached to patterns of Essence, and "supernatural" forces that can be utilised by conscious beings.
Essence can be defined by its ability to avoid the conventional laws of physics that restrict other natural "material" phenomena, a feat which it achieves by virtue of some unique properties. It is not quantum-mechanical in nature, so it is not made of discrete particles and thus is not subject to quantum or thermodynamic limits. Its interactions with its surroundings are not limited to being symmetric - an Essence action need not have an equal and opposite material reaction - and so it can circumvent conservation laws.
Equally if not more important, however, is that Essence behaves like a non-material substance that can be utilised by conscious material beings to influence their environment. This process starts with the interactions within matter that make up consciousness, particularly in living brains or synthetic minds, which become naturally correlated with corresponding Essence patterns, known as "souls".
With the right skills or training, the Essence in souls can be used to interact with, and thus exert control over, further Essence. The mechanisms behind this usually involve the emission of particles (often biophotons) which quantum-tunnel into hyperspace, forming complementary patterns in that Essence-rich realm that can extend further than they could in realspace. Anti-Essence technologies, such as yrsalimus, take advantage of this by disrupting these pathways. Some consciousnesses even move partly or entirely to hypermatter or Essence in the process of Ascension.
This control is what is responsible for Essence "abilities" or "powers", such as extra-sensory perception and telekinesis from direct transfer of information (ESP is from the outside world to the consciousness, while telekinesis is in the other direction), precognition from non-quantum fields' nonadherence to the arrow of time, and teleportation by moving the body through hyperspace without having to traverse the realspace between the origin and end point.
Materialised Essence Edit
Materialised Essence is matter that has been connected to Essence in such a way that said Essence will be responsive to mental commands directed through the matter, and can take advantage of both Essence's freedom from, and matter's adherence to, conventional physical laws.
The most common forms of materialised Essence are fluidic Essence, often also known as (pure) energy (sometimes capitalised), although this can cause confusion with the physical concept of energy. Fluidic Essence can be easily produced by many Essence users, usually by channeling hypermatter, and often takes the form of glowing gas, liquid, or beams of plasma.
Solidified Essence is significantly less common and is usually produced by Essentials for the benefit or detriment of mortals. There are three main categories of solidified Essence, classified on the basis of how they can be used.
- Aneumetrites specifically violate conservation laws. The excess quantities can be either contained within the crystal (as in antigravity aneumetrite, which produces excess momentum and so can be used for reactionless propulsion or free energy) or emitted as particles.
- Metavlitites are minerals in which Essence is arranged to give them arbitrary values of material properties such as heat capacity, elasticity, susceptibility, conductivities, and phase transition and failure points. Some metavlitites even have combinations of properties that would normally contradict each other in regular matter, such as metal-like crystals that have high reflectivity and malleability but almost zero electrical conductivity. Due to its nigh-invulnerability, Gyronidium is a particularly sought-after metavlitite for use in armour and spaceship hulls, but for the same reason can only be worked using Essence, while Shidium is a multipurpose metavlitite well known for its use by the Zazane.
- Veneficites allow individuals to utilise Essence by assimilating into their bodies; they usually have aneumetrite and metavlitite features to aid this purpose. Holomatter is a benign veneficite that provides access to Chronoscopic, while Chaotic veneficites corrupt the body in the process of Descension.
Division and Variations Edit
Essence is not a single force. Instead, a variety of supernatural powers manifest themselves in reality. However, the study of these powers over many millennia has led to a common acceptance that they are reflections of an underlying essence, associated perhaps with Chaos or the One God.
Most of these supernatural forces share a few defining features: a deity or godform, through which it is believed that "pure Essence" is filtered to produce a set of unique properties and specialised abilities; a particular colour scheme, associated with them and their materialised forms, after which they are commonly known as Energies; and Essentials and Planes of Existence, whereby the Energies take a physical yet immaterial form.
With few exceptions, the Energies are also divided into pairs, with the two Energies in each pair being polar opposites and nullifying each other upon physical contact. The Celestial Energy is widely regarded as "good" and the Chaotic Energy as "evil", primarily due to most complex life being incapable of thriving within the influence of Chaotic Energies. Celestial Energies tend to be associated with light colours, often blues, whites, or golds, while Chaotic Energies tend to be darker, associated with reds and blacks.
These Energies are summarised in the table below, where the first Energy of each pair is Celestial and the second is Chaotic. Where two Energies are listed in the same place, the latter Energy is a powerful subtype of the former used by particular Essentials.
|Unpaired||Mystic||Ultimate One||Various||Blue-purple||Atlantica Realms|
|Celestial||Kkia'Sihm||Obvia'Atra||White, gold||Illum Alta|
|Life/Death||Life||Krathazhrukhal||Vi'Navitum||White, gold, blue||Erratsactum|
|Death||Angazhar||Xi'Arazulha||Red, aquamarine, black||Shard|
|Dream/Nightmare||Dream||Sonhadromerith||Thoi'olerthae||Blue-white, gold||Realm of Dreams|
|Nightmare||Shu'rimrodir||Shu'olerthae||Red-purple, black||Nightmare Region|
|Psionic/Demonic||Psionic, Pharia||Singul'Aren||Xol'Etra||None||Iluvii Realm|
|Demonic||Angazhar||Samut'angar||Red, orange, black||Inferno|
|Chronoscopic||Light Chronoscopic||Vyro'Nazdea||Vyro'Narza||Gold, green||Vyronia|
|Dark Chronoscopic||Vyro'Ralzora||Vyro'Ralza||Red, purple, black||Ralzacia|
There also exist methods of Essence cultivation that seem to bypass the individual Energies, at the cost of granting lesser abilities or greater specialisation. Historically, these have been regarded as distinct Energies outside of the Celestial/Chaotic dichotomy, usually lacking features such as Essentials and Planes.
- Elemental techniques work by focusing on balance and mental worlds. They are the most widely used techniques, being available to nearly all life in the universe, and are most often easier to access than any individual Energy. However, progress is time-consuming and fraught with roadblocks, so most users of elemental only attain relatively weak Essence ability over the course of their lives. Those who do master elemental claim they can use it to perceive essence in insightful ways that can complement their practice of specialist Essences.
- Mana essences are derived from a particular planet and its biosphere, and are accessed by beings associated with that biosphere by accumulating the Essence in their bodies over time. Although Mana Energies vary greatly, they tend to be more powerful and reliable than Elemental but vastly more specialised, and the usual requirement of contact with its associated biosphere presents its own limitations.
Examples of Mana Energy include Earth's mana, the Kavideon mana used by several Zarni subspecies, and the Aerzan Essences. Sometimes specific Essences can be accessed with Mana techniques, such as the use of Chronoscopic powers by Ottzelloans. Some powerful forms of Mana Energy are associated with entire universes. For example, Descension Energy is the corrupted Mana of the Zazane's home universe, and has its own deity and Essentials, Vaxal Myraad and the Aichatharna respectively.
Practitioners of Essence Edit
Almost every living being in the universe is thought to possess some form of Essence. When a creature uses any Energy, it is incorporated into their soul, flowing through their bodies via specific points known as "meridians" and "subtle bodies" in a complex structure. Almost every culture in the universe has its own perceptions on Essence, nearly all wielding Elemental as it permeates all of reality, and has different uses and groups. The varied forms of Essence have sometimes gone to the extent of defining entire cultures throughout history, as is the case, for example, of Psionic Energy. This page concerns universal societies.
- Users are not allowed to create new types of Essence. If you would like your fiction to have access to it, use an existing one (preferably Elemental) rather than making one from scratch.