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The World of Ayr
SOL, BREATH AND LEY FLOW
The dominate religion of Ayr believes that their creator deity SOL was a perfect being roaming the universe until he found the lifeless planet of AYR. Sol immediately became enamored with the world but despaired that there were no other living beings to inhabit such a beautiful place. As such, Sol sacrificed himself, shattering his being into trillions of fragments, each containing an aspect of his living consciousness. These fragments, known as BREATH, flowed over Ayr, creating life.
Breath resides in all living beings in one of three places: the BODY, the MIND and the SOUL. Plants have only one fragment of Breath, making up the Body, animals with two: The Body and Mind. Humans are unique in that they have three: The Body, Mind and Soul, marking them as greater than any other living being. Since all life springs from the sacrifice of Sol, most religious individuals on Ayr believe they have three aspects of the divine within him or her and often refer to inspiration as the “Will of Sol” guiding their actions along the will of their now absent god.
In a sense, Sol can be thought of in terms of the Watchmaker Analogy: A god who created life by sacrificing his own, fashioning the whirring cogs out of his own bones and setting them into motion with his dying breath. Sol simply wound the clock, not remaining around to see how the machine continues to tick over the millennia.
While much of the trillions of fragments of Sol are contained within the living beings of Ayr, another large percentage is floating freely over the land. Though invisible during the day, these fragments glow at night, each with their own unique iridescent light. The individual fragments can be thought of as raindrops, flowing along the landscape until they coalesce into small streams known as LINES OF LEY, or simply ley. These streams in turn join to form larger rivers and when these eventually form up into small lakes called NODUS before flowing further on. Some believe that some of the fragments are diverted into the interior of Ayr itself at a nodus, releasing these fragments with the birth of each new living thing, but this is only a theory. Though invisible during the day, ley and nodi light up the night in an unworldly splendor, as if the Aurora Borealis were spilling down along the land.
Ephemeral individually, the fragments pass through animate and inanimate objects alike. The only object capable of stopping the flow is GLASS. Though glass is often used to contain fragments in the forms of LUZ JARS and Renders’ own GLASS EYES, it is considered profane to contain a fragment for more than a day and punishable by law. Sharpened glass can also be used to sever the bonds formed between fragments within a living being, the results being instantaneous death. As such, only Renders are allowed to carry their GLASS BLADES, anyone else found with one executed immediately.
At the moment of death, the fragments within a living being escape the body, joining the ceaseless flow of Sol’s Breath to eventually be recycled in a new unique combination with other fragments in a new body. Since they can readily see the recycling of fragments, the people of Ayr do not believe in an afterlife, more of a system of reincarnation as some aspect of them will live on again in another form in the future although their individual consciousness dies. Religion stipulates that this flow will continue forever until each unique combination has finally been exhausted, this moment heralding the return of Sol to judge the planet of Ayr in what is known as the HARVEST. As there are trillions of fragments in play with many different combinations of Body, Mind and Soul available, Sol’s return could be many millions of years off.
THE EMETS AND WAER
While all living beings contain Breath in their corporeal forms, occasionally fragments can become tangled together at nodus, forming entities known as EMETS. Also containing a Body, Mind and Soul, the emets are by no means human, some quite horribly monstrous, others angelic; while still others mischievous and very fairy-like. For the most part, emets seem indifferent to humans, unable to communicate except through Renders and Weavers, and remain close to their nodus of origin, or at least lines of ley lest they fade away. Many legends have accumulated over the years as to the origins and purpose of the emets, Renders and Weavers differing greatly on how to treat these creatures.
Benign emets are known as engels, while malicious ones as ghuls.
It is widely known that the first emet was WAER, a feminine entity analogous to Satan in the Christian tradition. The first of her kind, she quickly realized her existence was an accident, unlike all the humans that were the result of Sol’s purposeful sacrifice. As such, she resented Sol’s chosen children and therefore seeks to make their lives miserable. Physically unstoppable and with the abilities of all the Blessed, Waer created more of her kind, parallel to demons to aid her in her war against humans. Their names including BLEIM, KOR and VRADRA, they were the scourge of early human existence on Ayr.
Though the scriptures still speak of Waer as a real entity, most people now believe her to be simply a metaphor for temptation.
BLESSED BY SOL
While most humans have the three Breaths, the Body, Mind and Soul, a small percentage (approximately 5%) have a FOURTH and are known as the BLESSED. Those with this mutation are able to influence the flow on Ayr in unique ways depending on where their extra Breath resides:
Those with the fourth Breath in the Body are known as SHAPERS and are capable of drawing this extra Breath outside their body, stretching it out and making it solid and called ARMOR. These eerie exterior constructs allow the Shaper to perform great feats of strength, one man or woman equal to 20 normal individuals. While this ability would seem to predestine Shapers for warfare, a Breath can only be stretched so far, allowing substantial gaps in their armor and begging for a single rifle shot or sword thrust to bring them down. In addition to this, the Armor is extremely slow and cumbersome, making the Shaper an even greater target. As such, Shapers usually work as heavy laborers, performing duties large machinery would in our world.
The Blessed with an extra Breath in the Mind are known as either LISTENERS or WHISPERERS based upon how their powers reveal themselves.
Listeners are capable of hearing other’s thoughts in the form of TELEPATHY. Though they can easily hear the surface thoughts of an unfocused individual, Listeners must concentrate hard to drill deeper into another’s mind, making their intention obvious.
Whisperers, on the other hand, are able to influence the thoughts of others in a weak form of MIND CONTROL. While they can easily influence impulses in others, actual implanting of ideas is quite difficult and reveals their presence.
Both Listeners and Whisperers are mostly mistrusted in the general populous, it being law for both of them to wear a pin on their clothing to denote their abilities and allowing those around them to keep close track of their thoughts. I Listener’s pin has two heads on it symbolizing two ears, while the Whisperer’s only has one, symbolizing the mouth.
Those with the extra Breath in the Soul are known as either RENDERS or WEAVERS, both able to directly control the flow of Breath through a process of gestures named DRAWING.
Weavers use this ability by entwining the fragments of Breath together into new constructs similar to emets known as MANIFESTATIONS. Considered a minor reflection of Sol’s ability to create life, these created Manifestations have a corporeal form as well as rudimentary consciousness and obey their creating Weaver implicitly. Unfortunately, the Weaver’s ability pales in comparison to that of Sol, with the Manifestations dissolving away after about a day. Weavers consider their abilities proof that Sol wants them to explore his world through these Manifestations and seek out naturally occurring emets to communicate with and glean their secrets.
While Weavers enjoy the new combinations of Breath, Renders believe it is Sol’s will that fragments of his Breath always stay in a state of flow and consider these Manifestations abominations. It is therefore a Render’s duty to keep the flow of breath flowing on unhindered and they destroy emets whenever they encounter them with their GLASS BLADES. Despite their ideals, most Renders understand the general populous has affection for benevolent emets and consequently try to keep their hunting to malevolent emets.
Using their ability to draw, Renders are capable of controlling the bodies and movements of others by controlling the Breath within them. They can also draw the Breath of another outside their body and sever it with their daggers, causing instantaneous death. In addition to this, some powerful Renders can also separate their own fourth Breath, containing it in a GLASS EYE they replace one of their own with. When they wish, they can send this extra Breath out into the world as an invisible observer traveling at incredible speeds. While their fourth Breath is absent, a Render is without his or her powers other than summing it back to learn everything it witnessed during this duration.
It is important to note that while Renders and Weavers are diametrically opposed ideologically, they are born with the same potential, only their training separating these two opposing forces that dominate the religious sphere of Soltera and the Auld Lands.