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The Dark Aether


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If you'd prefer to watch and/or listen, you can find the companion video here

 

Introduction
With the announcement of ‘Die Maschine’, we received our formative introduction to the Zombies Storyline of Black Ops Cold War - a sequel to our previous, ten year story - dubbed ‘The Dark Aether Storyline’.

For those who were paying a modicum of attention, the notion of a “Dark Aether” should be at least somewhat familiar, as it is referenced explicitly in the ending of Tag Der Toten. This, however, is far from the first explicit mention - and by delving into the realm of allusion and speculation, we can scope out echoes of this conceptual opposite of the Aether, revealing that perhaps, it’s a far older idea within the storyline - and with this knowledge, perhaps gain some insight into the future of this new chapter.

 

Origins of the Aether
Canonically, the Aether itself was seemingly present at the beginning of everything and out of it either emerged or innately existed a being known as The First One. With the First Creation - the Summoning Key - he began crafting the dimensions and giving them each a unique mix of life. This included the realm of Agartha - a physical manifestation of the Aether in the form of a dimension - wherein more like him seemingly began to appear. The most notable point here is that Agartha, and therefore The Aether, is the meeting point of all dimensions. The Aether binds it all together. Also around this time, The First One mysteriously disappears, leaving two in his place who we would eventually come to know as Doctor Monty and The Shadowman.

 

As players, our first interactions with The Aether came in ‘Der Riese’, whereby we not only used Teleporters - a form of dimensional transportation that works by moving an entity through the Aether to quickly reach its destination - but see Wall Chalk explicitly telling us that this is indeed the Aether. This, though, is meager in comparison to the trove of information that we received in ‘Moon’. Among reams of backstory for various characters, we also have explicit interactions with Samantha Maxis, at the time the current denizen within the Aether Pyramid; one of which being a particularly chilling line, and one fondly remembered by many veteran story enthusiasts:

 

“The Blackness will swallow your pride! Something far more terrible than you lies here.”

 

The quote now, and even to some of the more attuned back then, alludes to the “darker entities” that we now know to be the Apothicons (and possibly the Keepers, depending on your point of view) - but from a metaphysical basis, this quote is exceptionally important, as it is the first instance of any kind of “Dark Force” being mentioned. In fact, we later learn that the Aether Pyramid itself was built by those led by The Shadowman, who would become the Apothicons with inspiration from a “darkness” - the Dark Aether - in order to harness that very same power - a power only rivalled by the Summoning Key.

 

But what does “Dark Aether” actually mean?

 

North and South, Light and Dark
First, let’s take a step back and assess what we know so far. The Aether is that which connects and binds all dimensions together. As that cosmology stands at the moment however, the Dark Aether does not fit in anywhere, as the Aether is already painted as an all encompassing, all pervading, essence, and yes - that would be correct. But it’s not that simple. To understand this, we have to talk about Energy.

 

During the course of Black Ops 2, Maxis and Richtofen vie for control of three Polarization Devices or Spires, and whilst Tranzit, Die Rise, and Buried are three very distinct maps, their main quests have one thing in common - Aetherial Energy.

 

Also called “Soul”, “Lifeforce”, “Life Energy” or “Vital Energy”, Aetherial Energy is - quite literally - the Energy of the Aether, and as Richtofen says in Die Rise, it “Flows through all things”. Every living being (and undead beings) have Aetherial Energy permanently within them - their “soul”, that only leaves upon true death, or if it is extracted through a device of some sort (i.e. Soul Boxes, MPD, Summoning Key, etc).  Furthermore, as we learn in Tag Der Toten, small amounts of this energy seeps into our world via “negative space” between Molecules, however this energy is far less than that of even a single soul, under normal circumstances. A good example of abnormal circumstances, however, is in Buried. As the earth’s core is incredibly dense - that is to say - possesses an inordinate amount of matter in a fairly small space - it serves as a nexus for Aetherial Energy to spill out into the world - the core of a planet essentially serving as an ideal gateway to Agartha.

 

So far, we have only discussed the Aether - not its counterpart. However, in the course of Richtofen explaining these complex metaphysical concepts to Victis, he uses a particularly interesting metaphor:

"All this talk of energy is so vague, ja? It's best not to worry about it. Just think of the big ones: Positive and Negative, North and South, Light and Dark... GOOD AND EVIL!"

 

As Richtofen states, the kind of energy that he is dealing with is not merely one form - but two, and they are polar opposites. Unfortunately, this was our last mention of this “opposite” for some time. But keep it in mind as we press on.

 

Primordial Corruption
In the beginning, the Keepers used the Summoning Key - a device “holding power over reality itself” - harnessing the Aether to create endlessly and without limitation. However, this peace would not last. A small sect of these Keepers were “touched by the Dark Aether”, and at that moment, set about building a machine of absolute power. One capable of harnessing the opposite power to that of the Key - and it is here that we see a clear duality. If the Aether is Order, Existence, and Creation; The Dark Aether is Chaos, Extinction, and Destruction. To the Keepers - a race who were born of and consistently used this Energy of Creation, this would have been seen as the most unholy of unholy paths. To make a comparison, the construction of the Pyramid would have been like a shrine erected to Satan within The Vatican - the polar opposite of all of the values held by the establishment.

 

At this, the two sides of the society split, and a war ensued. Those believing the Aether was pure and should not be corrupted, led by who we would come to know as Doctor Monty - and those who followed the opposite path, led by The Shadowman.

 

Those who were corrupted were ultimately beaten, and the survivors were banished to The Dark Aether - “the place of darkness”, “the place below creation”.
Now a pertinent question to ask is, “Why would the Keepers banish their enemies to the very place that gave them power?”, and at first, this seems like a reasonable question to pose. But when you consider exactly what it means to “exist” within reality (that is to say all that the Aether encompasses), and what the Dark Aether has to be in comparison, the whole picture begins to clear.

 

The Place Below Creation
We know the Aether connects all dimensions. We know that all beings (and even all inanimate objects, to a lesser extent), possess Aetherial Energy, and we know that the Apothicons were irreparably altered by their time within the Dark Aether.

 

With the summoning key in towe, the Keepers could have easily obliterated those who turned to the darkness for power, but they made a conscious choice to banish them there. Why? 

If all living beings possess Aetherial Energy - the Energy of Creation -  and we know thanks to Maxis that Aetherial energy can’t be destroyed conventionally, it’s only ever transferred (i.e. the MPD using souls as a fuel) - how could the Keepers truly annihilate such an existential threat to existence? Well it’s simple - they expose it to the opposite of Existence. The Dark Aether.

 

Unfortunately for the Keepers, the Apothicons foresaw this and sent Element 115 - essentially physical batteries for Aetherial Energy - to Earth, as they recognised the people there would find it, allowing them to exert their influence on the humans and eventually, opening a gateway to allow the Apothicons to escape. But by the time they do escape, they are no longer Keepers, and have even lost their intelligence in the process, becoming little more than a primitive hivemind. Most importantly, when they emerge, they act as agents for the Dark Aether, literally "consuming the spark of life", as put by Monty.

 

 I believe that the Dark Aether was slowly eating away at the Aetherial Energy of those who were banished, and slowly devolving them into nothingness. Had they not had the foresight to send the Element to Earth, perhaps the Keepers would have been successful. As Richtofen says, the energies are opposite. Just as a minute amount of the Darkness was attracted to the Aetherial Energy of the Keepers before their corruption - as if like a magnet - the overwhelming power of the Dark Aether would slowly consume them until they were nothing but the Dark Aether itself.

 

Nikolai’s Intent
If everything discussed previously holds true, then suddenly Nikolai’s intent with the Agarthan Device makes sense. Just like the Keepers, Nikolai knew he couldn’t allow any of the Aetherial Energy of any and all of the corrupted things to remain, and so he banished it to the Dark Aether, to slowly erode as the New World is born. With no Aether remaining - as evidenced by the destruction of the Elemental Shard - Nikolai likely believed there would be no possible way for the denizens of the Dark Aether to escape, for no longer was there any 115 to form a bridge between the two, equally so, if the two opposite energies are always bound to attract to one another, how can it possibly escape with it’s opposite destroyed? However, as Craig Houston said, he was only “half right”, and Nikolai has made a critical oversight.

 

The Oversight
Samantha takes pains to point out during Tag Der Toten that every version of Dempsey, Nikolai, Takeo, and Richtofen are not only bound together, but they serve as the fabric of the Aether - thanks to the Elemental Shard being forged from their souls. Furthermore, all versions of a being share the same soul across dimensions. It should become apparent here of the unfortunate issue in Nikolai’s plan. The existence of “Eddy”. We are told that this was the soul of an “innocent Richtofen”, but we are also told explicitly that the murder of this child rendered Richtofen soulless, meaning “Eddy” is categorically Richtofen’s soul. There may be no 115 or no Aether, but now, there is a singular being in this new universe possessing strong Aetherial Energy - a single positive charge for the negativity of the Dark Aether to latch onto.

 

The Dark Aether
Just by following this theory, we would expect the entities we see emerge from The Dark Aether to be somewhat destroyed, damaged, and fundamentally changed, when compared to their original counterparts - and from what little we have seen of Die Maschine, this holds true. Take, for example, the Pack A Punch Machine. It is at least half destroyed, with components from another device entirely lodged into its frame to try and make it work (see below). This makes perfect sense, as it has not just been slowly eroded by the Dark Aether, but as the actual mechanisms of the PaP rely on 115 - which no longer exist - different mechanics are being used in order to upgrade weapons. Similarly, Teleporters would likely not work by conventional means, as there is no “Aether” to move through anymore.

the forge.png

 

Conclusion

The Dark Aether is shadowy and eldritch and mysterious; a force that has no desire but to snuff out anything that isn’t it, and seemingly bring about perfect chaos in the wake of any order. But at the very least, it was balanced when it existed alongside its counterpart. Now, however, the place above creation is no more, and all that remains is the infinite darkness below.
 

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38 minutes ago, caljitsu said:

Furthermore, as we learn in Tag Der Toten, small amounts of this energy seeps into our world via “negative space” between Molecules .... As the earth’s core is incredibly dense - that is to say - possesses an inordinate amount of matter in a fairly small space - it serves as a nexus for Aetherial Energy to spill out into the world - the core of a planet essentially serving as an ideal gateway to Agartha.

By this logic a black hole would allow potentially infinite Aetherial Energy into the material universe!
Seeing as black holes are a sigularity and have infinite density. (debated now but accepted at the time the story was written I think)
So that explains how Gersch device teleporting works!
I just wonder how Gersch got trapped in the Aether, where in all other cases we pop out of another singularity somewhere else. 

Great thread/video, taught me heaps!

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Moderator

Extra rotten brains to you, friend! 

The sysadmin in me asks the question - how does something like Aether exist prior to Tag and not be crucial to the normal functionality of the universe such that, once it is removed, the universe is able to carry on unshaken?

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You've got my brains, great thread! Makes a lot of sense, too.

 

However, I'm no fan of saying Life Force and Ethereal Energy are the same. I know this subject kinda strives off the main subject of this thread, but let me give an in-depth explanation nontheless. In Buried (what a map!), Maxis says that "The Lantern is a vessel for energy, the energy contained within all matter". This hints that Ethereal Energy is within everything, all matter, from humans to rocks: The fabric of creation. My own pseudosciencific theory for this is that all matter is made up out of atoms. Atoms, as you probably know, have a positively charged positron in the middle (along with neutral neutrons), and negatively charged electrons spinning around. So, essentially an atom is empty space with a charge and electric field. And keep in mind that wherever there is an electric field, there is a magnetic one. This is ethereal energy, present in all matter, living and dead. It is the web of energy that connects the entire universe, the thread holding it all together. Curiously, this very same is said about Element 115. 

 

We consider Element 115 as a physical substance, in reality it is a highly concentrated crystalline variant of this ethereal energy, these electromagnetic fields in all matter. The link between electricity and magnetism was discovered by Michael Faraday (his portrait also appears in Buried). He also happened to believe that “the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest, have one common origin,” and in the most influential book regarding Vril, The Coming Race, that quote is used to describe Vril. The Aether, Vril, 115, the Welteis and ethereal energy, it might all be the same thing, or similar; merely in different concentrations and/or substances. This energy is omnipresent and forged the Multiverse, and it wasn't until the Elder Gods started to seed this 'space-time' in our perceivable, physical universe, that rocks and crystals of E115 were a thing.

 

"The elders will continue to seed space and time" - Shadows of Evil cipher

 

Concerning Life Force we use the pseudosciencific explanation of Aura's and Chakra's [5], you know, that spiritual energy that is believed to surround every living (and undead) person. This energy is set to be generated by the electricity in the brain, heart, and the entire nervous system. After all, neurons work via electric signals and every electric field generates a magnetic field. Think about the Avogadro, which might look like a skeleton but in reality an entire nervous system of a human - from the brains to the little toes. Zombies also feature this electromagnetic Life Force as their muscles, their heart (think about the spraying blood we see upon making a headshot) and their brain (see: the One) are still functional.

 

In short, I believe Ethereal Energy is omnipresent and the very 'bricks' that built up the Multiverse, while Life Force is generated by the physical electric neuron system.

 

Coming back on the main topic, I think the duality between the Aether and Dark Aether is striking! What is interesting, in my opinion, is that Richtofen compares 'Good and Evil, Light and Dark' with 'North and South'. This obviously refers to magnetic north and south poles: Pulling or pushing electrons. Considering the energy that moves between Aether and Dark Aether is Ethereal Energy, is the universe the middle where it floats through?

image.png

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Donor
1 hour ago, anonymous said:

You've got my brains, great thread! Makes a lot of sense, too.

 

However, I'm no fan of saying Life Force and Ethereal Energy are the same. I know this subject kinda strives off the main subject of this thread, but let me give an in-depth explanation nontheless. In Buried (what a map!), Maxis says that "The Lantern is a vessel for energy, the energy contained within all matter". This hints that Ethereal Energy is within everything, all matter, from humans to rocks: The fabric of creation. My own pseudosciencific theory for this is that all matter is made up out of atoms. Atoms, as you probably know, have a positively charged positron in the middle (along with neutral neutrons), and negatively charged electrons spinning around. So, essentially an atom is empty space with a charge and electric field. And keep in mind that wherever there is an electric field, there is a magnetic one. This is ethereal energy, present in all matter, living and dead. It is the web of energy that connects the entire universe, the thread holding it all together. Curiously, this very same is said about Element 115. 

 

We consider Element 115 as a physical substance, in reality it is a highly concentrated crystalline variant of this ethereal energy, these electromagnetic fields in all matter. The link between electricity and magnetism was discovered by Michael Faraday (his portrait also appears in Buried). He also happened to believe that “the various forms under which the forces of matter are made manifest, have one common origin,” and in the most influential book regarding Vril, The Coming Race, that quote is used to describe Vril. The Aether, Vril, 115, the Welteis and ethereal energy, it might all be the same thing, or similar; merely in different concentrations and/or substances. This energy is omnipresent and forged the Multiverse, and it wasn't until the Elder Gods started to seed this 'space-time' in our perceivable, physical universe, that rocks and crystals of E115 were a thing.

 

"The elders will continue to seed space and time" - Shadows of Evil cipher

 

Concerning Life Force we use the pseudosciencific explanation of Aura's and Chakra's [5], you know, that spiritual energy that is believed to surround every living (and undead) person. This energy is set to be generated by the electricity in the brain, heart, and the entire nervous system. After all, neurons work via electric signals and every electric field generates a magnetic field. Think about the Avogadro, which might look like a skeleton but in reality an entire nervous system of a human - from the brains to the little toes. Zombies also feature this electromagnetic Life Force as their muscles, their heart (think about the spraying blood we see upon making a headshot) and their brain (see: the One) are still functional.

 

In short, I believe Ethereal Energy is omnipresent and the very 'bricks' that built up the Multiverse, while Life Force is generated by the physical electric neuron system.

I admit I was also a fan of the Life Force, Aethereal Energy and Souls are different theory, but Rushmore has some compelling quotes stating otherwise in Alpha Omega, specifically (thank you @RadZakpakfor transcribing the AO quotes @PINNAZrecorded):

Quote

The Elemental Orb was designed to contain and safely transport a human life force. It should provide Deputy Director McCain with a better vessel for his life force than that android he’s been trapped inside.

 

Clearly the life force is more than just that, as it's revealed to be Peter's soul afterwards (just being Aethereal Energy or Life Force would simply power the A.D.A.M. or the canisters of the A.P.D. which is not the case). I think that they're in the same vein as 115 and Vril; the same thing but under different circumstances which differentiates them enough to be considered it from a technical perspective. You claim that Aethereal Energy is omnipresent and that I can agree on. Life Force would be Aethereal Energy being specifically manipulated in living beings by organ functions (see Pablo's spleen), and would move into any nearby Aethereal Energy siphons once bodily function ceased (Apothicon Eggs taking life force from nearby zombies as sustenance in Revelations) or dissipate naturally if nowhere nearby was functioning as a magnet, eventually returning to the formless Aether after bodily function finally ceases minutes after death. But a soul would require more than even that, it would require consciousness of some level to be tethered to Aethereal Energy (Alcatraz Hell Prison, Elemental Shard, Summoning Key) which can be manipulated in a variety of ways by either the consciousness itself (Al Arlington becoming an Aethereal Bird), someone more powerful than them (the damned souls of Alcatraz being turned into flesh), or not manipulated at all in which case becomes what looks like a ball of energy or a wisp (Buried). There's some creative misdirection, mainly when the souls of Dempsey, Nikolai, and Takeo are sent to the House at the end of Gorod Krovi but I feel that's to avoid confusion and doubt in the moment when we still knew the Shadowman was in the Key as well.

1 hour ago, anonymous said:

 

Coming back on the main topic, I think the duality between the Aether and Dark Aether is striking! What is interesting, in my opinion, is that Richtofen compares 'Good and Evil, Light and Dark' with 'North and South'. This obviously refers to magnetic north and south poles: Pulling or pushing electrons. Considering the energy that moves between Aether and Dark Aether is Ethereal Energy, is the universe the middle where it floats through?

image.png

I'm sure you've seen this by now but this is pretty much confirmed by this (stealing Cal's thumbnail of the same video but the drawing is from Tag der Toten):

image.png

Influence of one leads to influence of the other, back and forth, push and pull through the middle, simply an obstacle turned into tools in their penultimate war.

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Great analysis & video @caljitsu

 

When you say (As per the Richtofen quote) "North & South, Dark & Light", do you think this is a reference to "As above, so below

Quote

"As above, so below" is a motto associated with sacred geometry, Hermeticism, and the Tarot.

The phrase derives from a passage in the Emerald Tablet (variously attributed to Hermes Trismegistus or Pseudo-Apollonius of Tyana).

Quote

In Hermeticism, the phrase can be taken to indicate that earthly matters reflect the operation of the astral plane, particularly "by other means than mundane chains of cause and effect, such as Jungian synchronicities or correspondences."

Quote

In a secular context, the phrase can refer to the idea that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm – for example, that individual or domestic ills can result from larger societal ills

Quote

The Message, intended as a "version of the New Testament in a contemporary idiom", uses the maxim in its translation of the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:10. (The prayer's phrase is traditionally rendered "on earth, as it is in heaven".)

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best – as above, so below.

Quote

Additionally, a quote from the apocryphal book Ascension of Isaiah has similar phrasing:

“there I saw Sammael [sic] and his hosts, and there was great fighting therein. ...as above so on the earth [below] also“

 

 

Or more toward the Madame Blavatsky (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky) - Theosophy of The Secret Doctrine (which has been theorised in Zombies since World at War / Black Ops era days here on CoDz.com)

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, PINNAZ said:

Great analysis & video @caljitsu

 

When you say (As per the Richtofen quote) "North & South, Dark & Light", do you think this is a reference to "As above, so below

 

 

Or more toward the Madame Blavatsky (Helena Petrovna Blavatsky) - Theosophy of The Secret Doctrine (which has been theorised in Zombies since World at War / Black Ops era days here on CoDz.com)

 

 

 

 

We've not really had too much Gnostic and/or Hermetic esotericism in Zombies, but that's not to say there isn't any esotericism serving as an inspiration. Take the Kronorium, for example, that is almost certainly inspired by the Akashic Records.

 

The notions of that of the Emerald Tablet, as you've referenced, were certainly present in Chaos, and so I wouldn't be surprised if some of that inspired Aether as well. The Agarthan Device functions similarly to the Philosopher's Stone, in that regard, that it can manifest the will of the bearer, and represents some sort of duality.

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9 hours ago, clueless said:

I admit I was also a fan of the Life Force, Aethereal Energy and Souls are different theory, but Rushmore has some compelling quotes stating otherwise in Alpha Omega

As well as that, we get confirmation from Pernell

"You will not use the souls of our men to power that machine"

"Actually, we prefer the term Life Force"

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10 hours ago, anonymous said:

However, I'm no fan of saying Life Force and Ethereal Energy are the same.

Prior to Alpha Omega, I would have likely agreed with you, however we get fairly concrete confirmation from Pernell that they are, as it turns out, the same thing.

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16 hours ago, caljitsu said:

As well as that, we get confirmation from Pernell

"You will not use the souls of our men to power that machine"

"Actually, we prefer the term Life Force"

I'm not fully sure if this is about Ethereal Energy at all. It's rather see this as a confirmation that Life Force are indeed souls. However, a counterargument for my idea is the form of Gersch in Ascension and Gorod Krovi: We see him as an orb of 'soul' or Life Force, similar to the ones used to charge Vril objects, and this shape is called 'ethereal form' in the Timeline. Additional to this, the Vril Rod was said to influence Vril / Ethereal Energy, whilst all we see is it influencing Life Force. So could it indeed be the same?

On 10/8/2020 at 12:59 PM, clueless said:

Clearly the life force is more than just that, as it's revealed to be Peter's soul afterwards (just being Aethereal Energy or Life Force would simply power the A.D.A.M. or the canisters of the A.P.D. which is not the case). I think that they're in the same vein as 115 and Vril; the same thing but under different circumstances which differentiates them enough to be considered it from a technical perspective. You claim that Aethereal Energy is omnipresent and that I can agree on. Life Force would be Aethereal Energy being specifically manipulated in living beings by organ functions (see Pablo's spleen), and would move into any nearby Aethereal Energy siphons once bodily function ceased (Apothicon Eggs taking life force from nearby zombies as sustenance in Revelations) or dissipate naturally if nowhere nearby was functioning as a magnet, eventually returning to the formless Aether after bodily function finally ceases minutes after death. But a soul would require more than even that, it would require consciousness of some level to be tethered to Aethereal Energy (Alcatraz Hell Prison, Elemental Shard, Summoning Key) which can be manipulated in a variety of ways by either the consciousness itself (Al Arlington becoming an Aethereal Bird), someone more powerful than them (the damned souls of Alcatraz being turned into flesh), or not manipulated at all in which case becomes what looks like a ball of energy or a wisp (Buried). There's some creative misdirection, mainly when the souls of Dempsey, Nikolai, and Takeo are sent to the House at the end of Gorod Krovi but I feel that's to avoid confusion and doubt in the moment when we still knew the Shadowman was in the Key as well.

I like this idea. Would you argue that the Aether isn't merely a realm of ethereal energy, but being a flow of 'souls'? Or is, like you said here, the energy manipulated in some way into 'souls'? Would kinda fit in the whole idea of Reincarnation and Leylines.

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On 10/9/2020 at 1:41 PM, anonymous said:

I'm not fully sure if this is about Ethereal Energy at all. It's rather see this as a confirmation that Life Force are indeed souls. However, a counterargument for my idea is the form of Gersch in Ascension and Gorod Krovi: We see him as an orb of 'soul' or Life Force, similar to the ones used to charge Vril objects, and this shape is called 'ethereal form' in the Timeline. Additional to this, the Vril Rod was said to influence Vril / Ethereal Energy, whilst all we see is it influencing Life Force. So could it indeed be the same?

I like this idea. Would you argue that the Aether isn't merely a realm of ethereal energy, but being a flow of 'souls'? Or is, like you said here, the energy manipulated in some way into 'souls'? Would kinda fit in the whole idea of Reincarnation and Leylines.

In Buried, we learn that "Departed souls leave residual energy in their wake. This energy must be used to fuel the lantern."

We are also told that "The Lantern is a vessel for energy - the energy contained within all matter"

 

We know the "energy within all matter", the "vital energy" is indeed Aetherial Energy - now if the lantern is also fueled by the energy of souls, it makes sense both from a narrative and from an in-universe perspective for these to be the same thing. Furthermore, when you bring in the idea of the Apothicons feeding upon this "spark of life", it makes far more sense thematically for this - again - to be the very same as Aetherial Energy, given they now seemingly act out of and in service to the Dark Aether.

 

I think Souls are simply pulled from the Aether and given to a being in order to animate it. Take the Der Eisendrache Keeper for example. Keepers are beings innately of the Aether, and this one has seemingly "died", with his soul returning there. What you do by harvesting souls is force him to re-manifest: it's less of a resurrection but more of a transfer of energy - fully pulling the Keeper back into our world.

 

For another example, take Monty and the Shadowman. Monty can only manipulate existing matter but has no power over "souls", whereas the Shadowman is the opposite. If the Shadowman doesn't merely have dominion over Souls, but Aetherial Energy, this duality makes a helluva lot more sense, especially when you consider how the Shadowman uses these souls to create small "pocket dimension". 

 

To use a physics analogy, just as a photon is a "quanta" or a "packet" of Energy, I think souls are "quanta" or "packets" of Aetherial Energy.

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