Aether

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Aether
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Mistborn Era 2, The Stormlight Archive, Tress of the Emerald Sea
This page or section contains spoilers for The Lost Metal and Tress of the Emerald Sea!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read these books.
This page or section needs to be updated with new information for The Lost Metal and Tress of the Emerald Sea!
Be aware that in its current state, it may not include all additional content yet.

It's called an aether. An ancient entity predating the creation of your world. TwinSoul can grow it, manipulate it. Would you like to know more?

Aethers are an ancient variety of Invested entities present in the cosmere.[1] They originate on an unrevealed planet where the twelve primal aethers reside, although the aethers have since spread to other worlds of the cosmere.[2][3] Those who are bonded to one of the twelve primal aethers and are able to manifest that aether are known as aetherbound.[4][5] Aethers have existed since prior to the Shattering of Adonalsium, and some believe that they predate Adonalsium itself or are totally independent from its creations.[5][6]

All forms of Aether seem to be killed by silver and salt, turning grey and losing their reactivity when they touch it.[7][8] The substance they produce upon expanding also grows grey and dies when coming into contact with silver.[9]

On Lumar the associated substance can continue growing if more moisture is added,[10] until it maxes out.[11] It is unknown if that property applies to Aetherbound manifested substances. While growing in such a manner, a sprouter is able to shape it by using Iron to pull the material closer, and Steel to push it away.[10]

Culture and Mythology[edit]

Silajana demands that I warn you, you have been given this rebirth to bless, encourage, and uplift those around you. By your actions here, you prove this gift wasted. If you are destroyed today by resisting my defense of these innocents, you reject your great blessing—and may not be given rebirth again for many, many centuries. Lay down your weapons and let us pass, or suffer my wrath.

Prasanva to the members of the Set[2]

The people of the planet with primal aethers hold it as a sacred tenet that the aethers predate Adonalsium and are independent of its creations.[5] The aethers themselves believe collectively they are the equals of Adonalsium.[12]

Aethers are revered by these people. They believe that aethers made all people, creating them to each think differently from one another.[13] They also believe humans were gifted with rebirth by the aethers to encourage, bless, and uplift their fellow people.[2] Those that follow the aethers also hold that people return to the aethers upon their deaths to reflect upon their choices in life.[14] It is believed that people who have made poor choices are cursed to wait a long time until their next rebirth.[2] They often swear with phrases such as "by the first aether".[1]

On Lumar, it is a practice to use cannonballs filled with water, in order to cause further damage to enemy ships through the violent expansion of the associated substance.[8]

Primal Aethers[edit]

Both less and more than a god. Silajana is one of the primal aethers. They predate Adonalsium, you know, and exist outside of his power.

—Prasanva to Marasi[5]

The primal aethers are a group of twelve sapient aethers that exist on an unknown world in the cosmere.[2] They are revered on that planet and grant mortal servants a bud of their core, making them into aetherbound. Little is known of these primal aethers aside from Silajana, the roseite primal aether.[5]

Suna and Vishwadhar may be two other primal aethers, they are referenced along with Silajana by TwinSoul.[2]

They are known to be very ancient and very powerful, not comparable to Shards, but still beyond the strength of most non-shard entities in the cosmere.[15] Though they personally believe themselves to be equals in strength to Adonalsium itself.[12]

Silajana[edit]

Silajana is the roseite primal aether, bonded to Prasanva among others.[5] Little is known of Silajana, although he was supportive of the Ghostbloods and their work done on Scadrial countering Trell.[4] He has sent Prasanva into exile, away from his homeworld, and would not allow him to return and risk another extermination.[5] Prasanva's mission on to Scadrial was to gather allies and resources.[14]

Aetherbound[edit]

This bud connects me to Silajana and through him to all of his other aetherbound. He is the core, and we his web. He is eternal, and we his mortal agents in the cosmere.

—Prasanva on the aetherbound[5]

Aetherbound are the Invested servants of the primal aethers. They are Connected to one of the twelve aethers and granted a bud of that aether’s core. The bud at least sometimes appears as a physical change to the body of the person that corresponds with the aether they have bonded.[5] Unlike other bonds like between spren and Radiant, each aetherbound is not Connected to their own individual aether.[16] Instead they are all bound to the same primal aether; for instance all roseite aetherbound have a bud from Silajana.[5]

An aetherbound can grow and manipulate that same type of aether from their bodies.[1] They are capable of controlling the size, shape, and behavior of the aethers they produce, within certain constraints.[1] This process requires water drawn from the aetherbound's body to facilitate the growth of the aether.[5] The larger the mass, the more water will be required.[2] This seems to be connected to the manner in which Aether spores violently expand upon interaction with water.[7][8]

The manipulation of aethers by the aetherbound is mostly constrained by the size of the aether and their ability to visualize clearly what they want to produce. It takes skill and talent to produce complex mechanisms, such as producing a functional gun out of roseite.[5]

When an aether is manifested in the Physical Realm, it can only persist if it is present in certain fields of Investiture. If these fields are not present, the aether will be dependent on physical contact with the aetherbound’s body to sustain itself. Without that contact, the aether will degrade and eventually vanish. More localized external sources of Investiture can also be set up for the aether to feed upon instead, which will allow the aether to persist without physical contact with an aetherbound.[5] Rather than relying on water for fuel, pure Investiture can be substituted for water, allowing an aetherbound to perform more dramatic feats than would be normally possible.[2] They are also always in contact with the primal aether that granted them their bud.[14] The primal aethers are able to speak into the minds of their aetherbound, offering wisdom, encouragement, and knowledge.[13] Additionally, the primal aether may be able to perceive areas where their aether is present. For instance a roseite aetherbound might grow their aether over a wall and the primal aether could describe to them what is present on the other side.[17][14]

Little is known about the abilities of non-roseite aetherbound. There are twelve types of primal aether, and presumably twelve corresponding varieties of aetherbound.[2] One must be an aetherbound to produce new aether, so physical pieces of aether are not particularly useful to anyone else.[18] Even cosmere scholars such as those in Silverlight do not yet understand how to control them.[19]

Varieties of Aether[edit]

Roseite[edit]

The roseite aether manifests as pink-red crystals, similar to rose quartz. Generally the crystals have smooth surfaces that are occasionally marred by small pits.[1] Aetherbound that are bonded to Silijana, the source of the roseite aether possess a bud that replaces a portion of the skin and muscle on the palm of their hand with roseite, leaving the bones of their hand visible underneath the roseite.[5] When roseite aether is no longer being maintained by an aetherbound, it collapses into a fine rose-colored dust or powder,[1][14] which eventually sublimates to a rose-colored mist.[17] Aetherbound that are able to control roseite have fine control over a number of its attributes, including its general coloration and clarity.[1][14] They have not been shown to be able to make roseite of any color, but they can control the shade of the roseite, choosing whether it appears more red or pink[1] and whether it is transparent or opaque.

Roseite is a useful material for a number of purposes. Roseite is a strong material, resistant to gunfire, although bullets will chip the roseite when they impact it.[2] It is useful to create items or tools that rely on the strength or structure provided by the crystal. Simple tools like creating a fountain pen nib on the aetherbound's index finger, a small knife, a pointer, or a water glass can easier be created,[1] as well as weapons like a mace[2] and other small structures such as chairs[1] and ladders.[20] As with all aethers, its maximum potential utility is directly related to the creativity, skill, and understanding of the person manifesting the roseite.[5] A knowledgeable person can turn a map into a model of a city made of roseite,[1] or create a functional roseite gun if they can visualize the mechanisms.[5] Elderly aetherbound or those who have difficulty standing can use the aether to help with their stability, growing lines of aether along the edges of their joints and limbs for support. Roseite can also be grown to form a useful pair of spectacles, including with larger external magnifying lenses.[1] Advanced uses of roseite include a juggernaut, a large exoskeleton of roseite that protects the aetherbound within the body and is incredibly difficult to bring down, even with gunfire. The body of the juggernaut is still comprised of firm crystal, but it is created with joints that allow it to move. Roseite can also form larger machines, such as an elevator if need be. These latter two examples may require so much aether that they need purified Investiture or some other source of power in order to be created or controlled for long.[2]

Spores[edit]

Aether spores are found on the planet Lumar, where they rain down in lunagrees from the twelve moons, forming seas on the planet.[7]

Spore name Sea of Origin On contact with water forms Uses
Crimson Crimson Sea Bright red spines that are needle sharp and deadly.[21]
Zephyr Sapphire Sea Air[22] Propel and detonate cannonballs and launch flares.[11]
Verdant Emerald Sea Vines[7] As fuses in cannonballs,[11] immobilize opponents,[23] and as an emergency food source.[24]
Sunlight Light and heat[25] Flares,[25] and cooking.[26]
Roseite Rose Sea[27] Crystals[8] Patch holes on a ship hull,[8] and in the detonation component of cannonballs.
Midnight Midnight Sea Midnight Essence[28] The creatures made of Midnight Essence can be used for spying[28] and by the sorceress to control the Midnight Sea,[29] using the Luhel bond.[28]

Crimson[edit]

One moment you’re enjoying a nice book. The next, you take in an unfortunate breath, get a few crimson spores in your system, and suddenly you’ve turned your skull into a colander.

—Hoid on crimson aether[30]

Crimson aether takes the form of bright red spines or spears that are sharp as a needle and can be deadly on contact.[21] It is uncertain what primal element crimson aether represents, although the spines are composed of a firm material that makes a clacking sound when crimson aether bumps together.[30] Nothing is known of crimson aetherbound or their associated bud. On the planet Lumar, the local crimson spores rain down from the moon into the Crimson Sea, one of the deadliest of the spore oceans on the planet.[31] When crimson spores are wet and express their aether, the spines of crimson aether are often the bane of ships, forming impenetrable walls of spines or simply tearing ships apart directly.[30] This danger, in addition to the random patterns of the rainlines in the Crimson Sea,[21] makes the area uninhabitable[31] and made it nearly impossible to travel[32] or trade across the sea without additional precautions.[33] Inadvertently inhaling crimson spores can pierce a person's head with spines, killing them instantly.[30]

Zephyr[edit]

Zephyr aether comes from the Sapphire Sea and releases a burst of air when watered.[22] They are a sapphire blue and appear crystalline.[34] It seems to be a more harmless type of aether unless harnessed properly.[22]

These spores are used for a variety of purposes on Lumar. It seems to replace gunpowder for their explosives. It is used in the cannons to launch the cannonballs.[22] When these cannons are fired it releases a blue puff of spores.[35] They are also used inside the cannonballs, to shatter the ball when a Rosite and wax canister of water is pierced, activating the spores under enemy ships.[11] Tress also uses them in her modified flare gun charges, allowing for firing the flare as well as depositing Verdant spores to entrap the target.[36]

Verdant[edit]

Verdant aether spores grow into vines after contact with water.[7] The growth rate of expanding Verdant aether is extraordinary, being comparable to lightning.[8] Breathing in these spores is known to often lead to death, as they react with saliva and expand, clogging the throat and sinuses. However, they don't often reach the brain.[8]

Sunlight[edit]

Sunlight aether produces light and heat when watered. The spores are used to create signal flares,[25] as well as power ovens.[26]

Midnight[edit]

Midnight aether spores create Midnight Essence, draining hydration from the sprouter through a Luhel bond after initial contact with water.[37][28] Feeding the bond more water increases the control the human has over the creature.[38] Therefore, under the right circumstances, a person can break another's Luhel bond by offering the Midnight Essence more water than the current host.[38][39]

Roseite[edit]

Roseite aether spores produce crystals when they interact with water, which makes them useful to sprouters, who use them to seal holes in hulls.[8] They are not particular dangerous in of themselves, with the Rose Sea on Lumar being inhabited.[8]

Among the aethers, roseite is particularly good at resisting silver.[10][citation needed] It has also been shown to be repelled by steel, and attracted by iron, this likely applies to all aethers.[10]

[My] homeland is inhospitable to my kind for now. I joined Lord Kelsier for the opportunity to gain allies and resources for my eventual fight against the dark aether.

—Prasanva on the dark aether[14]

Bone spores[edit]

Bone spores are a rumored thirteenth variety of aether spores on Lumar. The stories are unclear whether they are black, or white in coloration, or potentially both. Some consider bone spores to be a fanciful legend.[32]

Dark Aether[edit]

The dark aether is some sort of threat present on the homeworld of the primal aethers. It may have made the planet inhospitable for roseite aetherbound or any aetherbound.[14] It may be related to the forces present in the aetherbound Prasanva's homeland and some sort of extermination.[5] Prasanva has gone offworld in search of other allies to bring back to help fight this dark aether.[14]

Lumar Aethers[edit]

Aethers on Lumar are an especially parasitic strain focused on self-propagation through compressed Aether spores.[40][28]

They are especially unstable, with the smallest hint of water (or blood)[41] leading to uncontrolled expansion as it pulls Investiture from the Spiritual Realm, [40] this expansion is very rapid, comparable to lightning.[8] Despite expanding even more when put into contact with more water, they do have a maximum extent to which they are able to grow. When they reach this maximum growth potential, they stop reacting with water and (in the case of Verdant Aether) can be safely eaten.[11] The direction of this expansion can be changed by various factors, such as the cognitive phenomena surrounding it, shaped by thoughts and commands.[36] It is also pushed away by steel and attracted by iron.[10]

There are large Prime Aethers that live on the moons, and propagate themselves through creating their spores and sending them down to Lumar. Due to requiring water to survive, which doesn't exist on any of the moons, they choose people as Spore Eaters, who they progressively drain water from, eventually leading to death.[40] They are protected by the Aether that they are made to gestate, which actively tries to prevent the death of its host.[40][42] The method in which the water is transferred to the respective Prime Aether is not known.[40]

The Midnight aether on Lumar is named Thanasmia,[31] it is unclear if this name is one given to is solely by locals or if the aether itself identifies under this title.

History[edit]

Aethers have been present in the cosmere since at least prior to the Shattering of Adonalsium, and may predate Adonalsium altogether.[5] While they were initially native to a single world, different variants of the aethers have since spread to other planets,[16] and now claim to have no specific planet of origin.[3] At some point a conflict with the dark aether began on the planet of the primal aethers,[14] which was too difficult to be defeated by Prasanva and may have led to his exile.[5]

At some point Mraize may have visited a world containing aethers, as he has a piece of roseite in his collection.[43][44] As Mraize is a worldhopper,[45] the provenance of the roseite aether in his collection is unknown, but he is not able to make use of that piece of aether.[18] Later his laundress Mem was tasked with removing an aether stain on Mraize's Azish cavalrylord's suit. She thought it might be a combination of oil and blood and had a great deal of difficulty removing the stain, but eventually cleaned it off without damaging the suit's delicate Mycalin dye. Mraize was surprised by her success and gave her a bonus.[46]

Foil is trying to achieve control over the aethers. Khriss thinks that the discovery of anti-Investiture may disprove some of his theories about them.[19]

The aethers are also relevant to the cosmere space age.[47]

Known Aetherbound[edit]

  • Prasanva (Bound to Silajana) - Agent of the Ghostbloods that fled to Scadrial after some sort of extermination on his home world.[5]

Trivia[edit]

  • Aethers originated in the unpublished novel Aether of Night. Elements of the novel have already been repurposed into other works,[48] and it would be completely rewritten before the world is introduced to the cosmere.[49]
  • The planet where aethers originate is not central to the overall cosmere arc.[50] Brandon has not decided how many aether novels he will write or where to fit them into the cosmere release timeline. He has considered doing a trilogy towards the end of the cosmere sequence.[51]
  • They are going to be relevant to Space-Age Cosmere.[47][52]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Lost Metal chapter 39#
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l The Lost Metal chapter 51#
  3. a b Mini-Con 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-11-22#
  4. a b The Lost Metal chapter 40#
  5. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t The Lost Metal chapter 42#
  6. YouTube Spoiler Stream 5
    Arcanum - 2022-12-02#
  7. a b c d e Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 1#
  8. a b c d e f g h i j Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 10#
  9. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 11#
  10. a b c d e Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 26#
  11. a b c d e Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 37#
  12. a b YouTube Spoiler Stream 5
    Arcanum - 2022-12-02#
  13. a b The Lost Metal epilogue 1#
  14. a b c d e f g h i j The Lost Metal chapter 47#
  15. Mini-Con 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-11-22#
  16. a b Secret Project #1 Reveal and Livestream
    Arcanum - 2022-03-08#
  17. a b The Lost Metal chapter 44#
  18. a b Emerald City Comic Con 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
  19. a b Rhythm of War Ars Arcanum#
  20. The Lost Metal chapter 45#
  21. a b c Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 35#
  22. a b c d Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 16#
  23. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 64#
  24. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 22#
  25. a b c Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 41#
  26. a b Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 40#
  27. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 15#
  28. a b c d e Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 31#
  29. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 46#
  30. a b c d Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 38#
  31. a b c Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 5#
  32. a b Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 23#
  33. Tress of the Emerald Sea epilogue#
  34. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 17#
  35. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 25#
  36. a b Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 44#
  37. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 30#
  38. a b Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 55#
  39. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 58#
  40. a b c d e Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 28#
  41. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 12#
  42. Tress of the Emerald Sea chapter 27#
  43. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  44. Words of Radiance chapter 43#
  45. Orem signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
  46. Oathbringer interlude I-8#
  47. a b Waterstones RoW Release Event
    Arcanum - 2020-11-18#
  48. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  49. State of the Sanderson 2017
    Brandon's website - 2017-12-18#
  50. YouTube Livestream 23
    Arcanum - 2020-12-17#
  51. State of the Sanderson 2019
    Brandon's website - 2014-12-19#
  52. Tor Instagram Livestream
    Arcanum - 2020-11-25#
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