Continuing the re-thinking cosmology discussion about multiple mystical states of matter that create the illusion of multiple planes of existence in a single-plane universe…
While physical, ghostly, and eternal matter remains tangible and detectible, the essential property of matter in the ethereal state is intangibility. And here, I don’t just mean “intangible” in the literal, narrow sense of “can’t be touched”, but in the broader sense of “unable to interact with things physically”.
- Ethereal matter, from the viewpoint of physical beings, doesn’t exist. It can’t be felt, has no hardness, no temperature, no feeling of substantiality whatsoever.
- Ethereal matter is not only invisible, but undetectable with other physical senses as well. It makes no sound, has no odor.
- Ethereal matter has no mass for physical matter. It is unaffected by gravity, doesn’t block movement, and can’t be blocked by physical obstacles.
Being ethereal has an effect on the ethereal being as well. Although they can still see, hear, and smell physical things, there’s a noticeable difference. The physical realm seems slightly out of focus, sounds are less distinct and have a slight echo. None of this applies to other ethereal beings or objects; an ethereal person can’t walk through an ethereal wall, and another ethereal person could attack them and even do damage.
The ethereal realm is also a realm of spirits. In fact, spirit is an ethereal substance, something like a thick fluid, with the peculiar property of storing emotion.
- Living beings possess ethereal spirits. When they die, the spirit slowly disengages from the dead body, taking with it a record of any strong emotions it felt during the being’s life, especially any emotions felt at the moment of death.
- If an ethereal spirit somehow remains connected to the physical realm, either through the being’s physical remains or through some object or place, and gains the power to animate matter, it becomes either a ghost or undead.
- If an ethereal spirit isn’t connected to the physical, but it somehow contacted, it reacts as if it were a wild animal, with pure instinct, driven by its emotional memories.
Although standard ethereal matter is undetectable in the physical realm, two subforms of ethereal matter remain quite detectable: umbreal and empyrean matter. Each of these has a visible physical component, either impenetrable darkness for umbreal matter or brilliant light for empyrean matter. They also give off a detectable chill or warmth, but are otherwise undetectable through normal means. Umbreal or empyrean spirits act like other spirits, but appear as silhouettes of darkness or light that move under their own power.
In the next cosmology installment, things will get even more rarified.
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