The Architecture of the Fourth Dimension
by Caelic O'dim [1TE:71]
It has been requested enough of me that I should finally relent; this shall be my treatise on the Aetheric Realms, or as they are referred to by a great many, Dream. The implicit metaphor is apt--more than apt--and I shall not denegrate it as have some of my contemporaries. Rather, I will offer a more clinical view of that which the science of simple folks has long thought self-evident.
In my first task I shall outline precisely what the Aetheric Realms are; it shall become apparent, however, that it is easier to categorize what the Aetheric Realms are not.
In my second task, I shall outline the apparent geography of certain Aetheric Realms, as I have experienced them in my divinatory travels.
On The Nature of Dream
There is a simple dichtomoy fundamental to the nature of existence, to wit, the Mundane--the actual, tangible world which by our senses we experience everyday--and the imaginative realms of Dream. In the first, little needs to be said that is not covered elsewhere by scholars far better informed than I on the topic. On the second, a great deal can be said. The realms of 'Dream' are as a shell encompassing the Mundane. It is co-terminous with our own world, but not co-existential; that is to say it touches but not cross. This shell can be further subdivided; closest to Mundane are those things which reflect the Mundane, and at its furthest observable reaches are those things which cannot exist anywhere but the Aether.
By illustration, the Archfey of Sha'anii culture exist within the Aetheric Realms at very specific and near junctures to the Mundane. They resemble by all outward organ and demeanor the Sha'anii Elves who worship them. It can be thought that they resemble the Sha'anii Elves because they are a reflection thereof--the memisis demonstrated by the Aether--and without Sha'anii Elves these Archfey might not exist in the Dream at all. Or at the very least that their function and form would differ a good deal from that which it currently is.
On the other hand, I have observed in my own explorations of the Aetheric Realms that there is a place in which exists a triangle, the sum of whose internal angles exceeds 180 degrees. I lack even the words to adequately describe the sight of such an object, but assure nonetheless that such a thing verifiably exists in the harder-to-reach areas of the Aetheric Realms. Being so wholly disjointed from the reality of the Mundane, that section of Dream is exceedingly difficult to access.
On Dream as Fundament of the Arcane
My teacher, Adhan the Mystic, was an arcanist without peer. In my tutelage under him, he stressed the importance of divorcing the form of an arcanist's working from its function. That kind of sectism, he believed, ran counter to one of the underlying principles of magic. Moreover, he argued that such a division within the various traditions of arcane work only fostered pride, arrogance, and the miserly hoarding of knowledge regarding the Aetheric Realms.
It is less controversial to say now than it was twenty years ago, but the Aetheric Realms--the infinite iterations of possible and impossible--are the sole and inevitable source of all arcane work. Regardless of the differeing somatic or fetishistic focii by which two arcanists produce an effect they derive such effect from the same Aetheric Realm. As my teacher said to me; "A fireball is a fireball is a fireball, regardless how you waggle your fingers."
Geography of the Aetheric Realms