Introduction - Elements & Psionics
Have you awoken from your endless dream, sister?
My name is Tegerec. I am an observer, one of many in service of the Prince. I have been authorized to fully disclose our archives to you. That they may prepare you for your service in His family. That you may help to safeguard the lives of your kin.
Life. What is life? What is this thing regarded with such value? What is this sacred element of our world? What defines us? What defines those around us? The answer is both simple and not so simple.
Life as we know it, the binding, lightless body that contains us, our thoughts, our memories, who and what we are, this is an element, yes. But an element beyond elements. Our world is not so black and white to describe to us our lives as being anything profound or even unique.
Life is an expression. Motion given to what the Kyru call Essence. Essence is an element unique from those we will discuss. Quantifying its properties need not be mystical nor demand of us supernatural connotations, despite the hopes of our forebearers and descendants. Life is really quite simple.
To define a living element in our text, we see a body of energy, which we consider stable by extent of being a single, psionically coherent entity. It must at least partially resistant to indirect influence from other elements surrounding it, and that element must be able to function as an independent body. It may do so through communion. Communion, the act of an element interacting with another element, is most often observed as a psionic interaction. Psionics are thought energy, a projection of that which we call the Essence. Psionics are an element, a colorless, formless extension of what we consider life. A living entity cannot exist without having psionic presence, even if it is so miniscule it cannot interact with aught but that which physically binds it.
If we see the definition of life as something which contains independently willed psionic presence, the concept of life itself becomes mathematically and logically quantifiable. With this in mind, however, we should acknowledge that despite our vast library and the resources of our Prince's wisdom, we know not the origins or the means through which life was first granted to the elements, nor the process in which psionic potential grows, only that evolution is a concept native to elements as a whole – all living things can grow, either indirectly, or directly. Communion is the lifeblood of growth.
Elements as we know them are the core building blocks of our world on the psionic level. The primary differences between what we see as elements in psionics and the physical components that comprise most objects in our world, is that elements are all in some manner psionically communal, even if the level of communion is so insignificant that trained psionicists cannot easily interact with them. As all elements can be expressed psionically, all elements are inherently communal. However, the characteristics of each element's communal nature is a murky picture at best, and that's before one considers stability and purity. The further down the elemental tree the "dirtier" the elements become, eventually dropping out of the psionic spectrum and into a distant component-level distinction, which limits their usefulness to psionic technology. One may consider the psionic content of any entity its essence, even those that are not considered living. For it is not the matter one's thoughts interact with when they seek to move a boulder, but the psionic fabric anchoring that matter to existence.
Psionics function exclusively through communion, expressed as the capacity for one's thoughts to commune with the latent psionic potential of the elements, and therefore interact with them in a meaningful manner. All activity given motion by the impulses of communion can be expressed as psionic potential, though potential is a loose concept and is not easily quantified in numbers. Potential can translate to or from elements of any kind through communion, and can become self-sustaining with or without communion. The lowest, dirtiest of elements, seen in the foundational components of Creation, possess extremely insignificant psionic potential, and therefore are natively more difficult to interact with than prime tree elements. As one might expect, fostering life with such things is most difficult, although not impossible.
If we see elemental communion as the capacity to interact with elements, and potential as the ability for elements to receive or express interaction, we can then see stability as the consistency of elemental potential. That is to say that psionic energy possesses what may be described as kinetic energy, and the more stable it is, the greater clarity is attributes may be exposed as potential, and the less effort is required of communion to make meaningful interactions. Unstable elements may readily be communal, but can express their potential in wildly unpredictable ways. Predictably, communal chaos disrupts interaction even if the potential of the element in question is extremely high. In some cases this may be desirable, but speaking from a technical standpoint, consistency is important when one seeks to interact with elements and expects a certain result. Therefore, the stable tree elements in the Spectral branch tend to be the preferred elements of psionicists, primarily Proteus for its exceptional power generation capabilities and utilitarian applications. Many races have been able to emulate such stable elements at the artificial level, either using implied communion through dirtier elements or artificial psionics. With such technology they may grant their machines artificial power generation of a magnitude far exceeding the wildest dreams of more mundane species.
Most elemental particles do not possess mass, their psionic weight is determined by their potential.
In such an instance where a psionicist desires to interact with a dirty component-level object, they may emulate a psionically active element and infuse that object with it for greater control and communion. It is important to note, however, it is easy possible for one to pollute their interactee with such activity, effectively destroying what they intended to control. Therefore, very few records exist of such emulation-driven interaction being performed without this being the intended result. Electric transfusion was a popular method of interrogation during the civil war, though only certain Royal Family members were skilled enough to perform such hands-on diplomacy. The potential of all objects, including a psionicst herself, is determined by their communal capabilities. Potential is an indirect manner of determining their ability to produce psionic energy, or rather, their ability to interact with or emulate elements. Once the potential of a psionic profile is at least partially understood, one can then quantify the capabilities of that profile, hence potential. As potential itself tends to be a fairly misunderstood concept, the grading of profiles may not be entirely accurate. As such, psionic warfare tends to be visceral and unpredictable. Rather, should one find themselves with the task of grading real world potentials of a psionicist, particularly one capable of manipulating elements, one should first seek to understand elemental manipulation itself. The most basic concept of elemental manipulation is emulation.
Emulation is a manner of using one's psionic potential to fabricate elements out of nothing but thought energy. By communing with themselves, and possessing a deep understanding of the elements they seek to fabricate, they can mutate the world around them into assuming the properties of their desired element by changing its psionic composition. They impart a portion of their essence and create a living extension of their thoughts. They then translate that extension into their understanding of an element's properties. In doing so, one can literally create Proteus, Deimos, or even metals or gasses if they have the mental strength to do so. However, it is extremely difficult to create "pure" elements in such a manner, as those characteristics are determined by the psionicist's understanding of the elements, and so the resulting product may be significantly less effective than intended. Most artificial emulation as very dirty, but cheap enough to maintain competitive effectiveness regardless.
As an example, pure Proteus element emulation is of many magnitudes more effective in stability, power output, and particle halflife than dirty emulation. A proteus-based weapon will be significantly more potent, or a power generator may be able to handle exponentially greater tasks. No known races can create pure Proteus emulation on the artificial level, however, despite being regarded as one of the easiest and most stable elements to emulate. The more pure an element becomes, the more demanding it is to emulate it effectively.
Spectral Matter and Dark Matter are seen as polar opposites on the tree, but they are rather similar in design. The differences relate to how their energy is released. Dark Matter manifests primarily through radiation - pure Dark Matter can produce virtually infinite amounts of radiation. The more unstable Dark Matter is, the more energy it produces. Therefore, Dark Matter and its tree elements are typically the most difficult elements to control on a communal basis, much less emulate. Dark Matter's most stable form is a crystalline formation that is extremely communal resistant, which it can maintain for extended periods of time if dormant. Naturally-occurring Dark Matter is almost always radiation, however. Most primal elements under the Dark Matter tree have unique radiation associated with them, such as Deimos, and most of them cannot assume stable solid forms. Most of these elements project their radiation at many times the speed of light, and each particle contains immense amounts of energy. The more unique properties of Dark Matter are the more difficult to control, as they tend to mutate other elements that come into contact with their psionic image. The very term Dark Matter is derived from Kyru texts and is synonymous with terms for the Abyss realm in general, regarding it as being an "untouchable" entity – one they didn't know how to interact with.
Spectral Matter also takes the form of a crystal when inert, but in this form it is significantly more potent. Spectral Matter and most primal elements under its tree function through particle conduction. Spectral Matter itself is extremely difficult to control, because its state shifts back into state similar to radiation when it reaches high stability. While Spectral tree elements generally don't possess the unusual physics-bending properties of upper Dark Matter elements, the fact they do not produce any more than trace amounts of radiation and instead express their energy through electric-like currents makes them much easier to manage. These currents possess multiple states, including both positive and negative, as well as a so-called neutral "ley" state that maintains surrounding energy but generally refuses to react to other nearby currents. These properties alter as the elements become less pure, but generally speaking, Spectral and its descendent Proteus are the most stable sources of power known to the elemental science of the Anahn.
Both elements often produce their own kinds of photons when active, allowing faster-than-light visual cues. Since these travel faster than traditional photons, they make excellent basis for advanced mechanical sensors and long-ranged weaponry, as well as space travel drives. Low-tech power cores may use a few Proteus particles to supercharge conventional drives with accelerated thrust, achieving extremely high speeds even with traditional propulsion mechanisms. Even the slowest of first-generation Anahn ships found distant travel in the vast sanctum cavern rather trivial, save for the navigational complexity.
Fusion Elements are the result of the properties of two alternating tree elements intermixing, almost always through emulation. Such a process requires an incredibly advanced psionicist, and the results can be unpredictable and devastating.
Because of the elemental laws surrounding the universe, time travel and time distortion are not possible. Black Holes do not distort time, and nor can a psionicist turn back the clock. However, it is possible for powerful psionicists to link communion with each other and accelerate each other's communion to the point that time around them appears extremely slowed. The risk of this is that such connections can be intercepted. Psionicists of exceptional skill can also force their communion into other psionic entities, commonly known as a mind lock. In the case of a weaker recipient, that individual is usually unable to break the lock.
Mind locks can even be accidental, occurring as a result of two minds clashing in an unintended manner. Alternatively, information can be distributed at an unparalleled clarity, such as memories, or mission briefings, allowing the one individual to see the other's thoughts in profound detail. Thoughts processed in the mind lock are pronounced to both parties, and real damage can be inflicted to one another through this process. The ability to hide thoughts is determined by the strength of the lock and the discipline of the minds involved. An extremely strong mind lock can be fatal, especially to undisciplined minds. For this reason, the psionic activity surrounding the Undead and Phantoms is extremely dangerous to all forms of life. The psionic activity of the DyiithJhinn tends to be more focused on disruption and, while oriented around jamming or damaging unprotected mechanical devices, is still lethal to exposed minds unprepared to resist them.
I shall brief you on the civilizations we are currently aware of to still exist at the end of the Retribution campaign according to the declassified specifications provided by Adashim.
Adashim's people, the Kyru, are an immortal race. When questioned on their origins, Adashim would not provide an answer, only that they did not descend from the Forgotten City, which had been their home for much of their lives. The Forgotten City, as he calls it, was their capitol world within the Abyss, for most of their lives, though many smaller worlds did co-exist. Although vast, the Forgotten City was host to only a small number of Kyru. The Abyss, which they called Ateladu, does not provide the means to foster life as we know it. The Kyru are responsible for much of what we have found here.
The average Kyru stands six feet and is built with moderate humanoid features, what would become the template for all civilizations to spawn in Creation's wake. Two recorded strains of Kyru exist, which Adashim called Odan and Maleden. The terms translate to Bound and Unbound. Adashim explained that Kyru perpetually evolve over time until they reach the end of their ability to grow. Their growth is largely mental. Odan represented clear Kyru genetic traits only altered by their lineage. Kyru parents imparted their evolutionary advances to their children, as well as their evolutionary bounds. However, children sometimes managed to push past the evolutionary limits of their parents, if only by a small degree. Odan are described as universally angelic, beautiful beyond words, and each remarkably unique. Their many elegant structures are their attempts to embody beauty in an otherwise bleak and empty world, and to give face to their lives. Kyru could bear horns, tails, and other features that may be considered abnormal for their kin, but did not diverge from the potential of the Kyru definition. Some of them went to great lengths to change their forms, hoping change could bring about understanding, but changing their bodies could not change what they were.
Maleden, the Unbound, are those who were touched by Mal`Ash in some fashion and took on more reptilian features. These changes were unwilling, perhaps a result of Mal`Ash's own essence touching theirs or their ancestor's. Although Adashim labelled these creatures as Unbound, none of them were capable of actually breaking free from their evolutionary dead-ends despite their physical and mental changes. Perhaps he has another meaning for labelling them in this manner. Perhaps it is Mal`Ash who labelled them this way. Maleden, according to Adashim, are not true dragons like Mal`Ash. He speculates they are merely mutants, byproducts of whatever created Mal`Ash in the first place, or perhaps influenced by his mere existence. Adashim is Odan, but he has been touched by Mal`Ash through the events leading to the Anahn's creation. Mal`Ash indirectly influenced his evolution. A haunting, but meaningful display of the Kyru's abilities to evolve, even unwillingly. Adashim documented that Kyru could not create Kyru life artificially, only naturally, no matter their power. Perhaps the term Unbound is related to Mal`Ash's abilities over the Kyru. The term Dragon in Kyru tongue depicts a God, or at least a God-like entity.
Noteworthy differences also exist between genders. Females and males both possess wildly different psionic traits in all cases Adashim has offered to us thus far. In general, Females are regarded to be far more capable of direct communal interaction, while males have potential better suited for emulation. Females have the most potential of any comparisons in terms of psychic talent, and therefore the most dangerous in confrontations. Mal`Ash is described as being an elemental entity, and therefore functions on an entirely different level of physics than traditional psionicists. Nonetheless, the pursuit of Female Anahn purebloods derives from the commonly accepted understanding that Female Kyru were more capable mentalists than their male counterparts, especially in what could be attributed to offensive capabilities. This distinction existed regardless of being Odan or Maleden, which seemed to affect physical attributes more than mental ones, at least according to Adashim.
Kyru technology is comparatively limited, due to the pursuit of research only being undertaken by individuals. Adashim was one such individual, though his understanding of Kyru technology is, in his own words, juvenile. The remaining secrets of the race's capabilities likely reside with Mal`Ash and Ascherzon, and have been reverse engineered by the DyiithJhinn and Xy`Kranasha over time. Zelconian technology is heavily derived from Kyru influences but, as Adashim described, lacks key, fundamental understanding of certain practices, particularly in fabrication. The main flaw for the Kyru was that, as war was never something they had experienced, their conduction of wartime parlay was far from impressive, while all descendants of theirs are without exception extremely battle-hardened, and have made use of what aspects they know of their ancestor's technology in ways the Kyru could never have dreamed of. Adashim believes Mal`Ash is likely to have either destroyed or hidden Kyru worlds and relics in hopes that the Anahn and others will search for them. Those he doesn't control are held by the Undead or DyiithJhinn.
Mal`Ash destroyed the Kyru for reasons yet to be discovered. He did so by exploiting their emotions using psychic amplifiers. Some were weapons Kyru conveniently discovered during their fall, some were simple communications devices that projected the thoughts of those nearby. With the ability to fabricate such arcane devices, surely Mal`Ash did not require them to destroy the Kyru. The Kyru destroyed themselves, unable to control their own emotions and impulses. Adashim describes their war as the most bloody and barbaric of any he has seen. Men who could conjure life at a whim, granted the power to do so through Mal`Ash's tools, and use it merely as a cudgel against their brothers and sisters. Such eventually gave soul to what is now known as the Great Undying, who swells with the swirling hearts of the fallen Kyru to this day.
Adashim also documented the fall of Zunn`Loadunn, one of the eldest Kyru. His death was towards the end of the Kyru civilization and may have triggered a chain of events that sparked the turning of Mal`Ash. Zunn`Loadunn's death was so violent, an assassination from an unrelated elder, that it spawned Creation – the pocket world containing the various galaxies of what we label the lowest plane. The elder's death and Mal`Ash's arrival doomed the civilization, but some Kyru survived and escaped, including Adashim.
Indeed, it was Zunn`Loadunn's psychic image that warped the psionic genetics of Creation to grant it life, and why that life often times shared characteristics such as appearances, elemental compounds, and psychic potential. Every species to spawn from Creation is touched by his, and therefore the Kyru's, lineage. Those that were not created naturally evidently did not share his traits, such as the Anahn. The naturally occurring life in Creation was all without exception completely destroyed by the involvement of the other Kyru and the Scitor. Clearly they did not benefit nearly enough from Zunn`Loadunn's heritage, or his energy had vanished long before it made a difference in their evolution.