The east

It is said, by those that like to think of themselves as wise, that anything is possible should sufficient will be brought to bear upon it. Indeed why should it not be possible in a world such as Tal'Vorn, a world where suits of armour have life, fog drains the life from other creatures and beasts walk like men? Physicality, reality and time are all concepts of how we perceive the world around us. They are mutable, alterable and diverse in many ways that mere humans cannot even begin to fathom. They can be altered by a being with sufficient power of mind and such a being was Timus, the God of Time.

Timus is beyond powerful, beyond understanding and beyond comprehension. He is a God who cannot be understood, His speech making references to events past, present and future, events that may or may not have come to pass in this time stream or reality, events long before the birth of stars and long after they have all died out. Indeed it is rare for the God of Time to even notice the 'present'. Timus walks between time so easily because He understands the true nature of this most confusing and paradoxical of the mortal methods of measuring our existence.

Time is not real, not touchable, not reachable. It is just perception, a way in which mortal beings measure out the length of their existence. Yet it is required to exist, for with no sense of time then mortal creatures would be unable to exist. Everything to a mortal revolves around time, the length they have to live, the way in which they exist and the manner in which they interact with other living creatures. However it is this very perception of time that keeps us trapped within the present.

The concept of time as laid down by the Psychic Sect is difficult to understand and not even remotely simplistic. It states that all time is now, every moment is this moment and that past, present and future are one thing. According to the theory every single moment is happening right now. This is almost impossible to comprehend, to understand that time is so strange that it could possibly exist in a single instant. Timus understands this and uses it as His power, the ability to walk between worlds and realities. He can walk this way because, at one time, not only was everything at the same time but it was also all in the same place. The creation of the universe, called by the human scientists who descended upon their ships of flame, and rather crudely called at that, the Big Bang.

Timus Himself is constantly changing. In His normal state, if the word normal can be used upon a God, He appears as a mortal, though the specific Race constantly changes, who shifts rapidly from a baby to old age, the actual sex flickering constantly from one to the other. His features are almost impossible to make out, the skin shifting like liquid all the time as Timus alters His body and features to fit His minds desires. However one thing remains constant at all times. His eyes, a blue as bright as the sky and as piercing as the sharpest blade. It is said that Timus can see into the minds of others and, though this is not true, His mastery of Time allows Him to simply know what it coming next.

Timus found the other Races upon Tal'Vorn boring, bound by their weak, mortal bodies and limited magical abilities into a world that, though immense was ultimately with strict boundaries. With this in mind, Timus set out to create a species that could control the drifting currents of the Ether, the shifting dimensional tides that ebbed and twisted around 'reality' like water around a stone. Timus created the Ether Walkers, born from His own power and skill, gifted with the ability to walk between dimensions and, when their power increased, through time itself, a race so strange that they where beyond the understanding of most of the other creatures that lived and breathed upon Tal'Vorn's face.

The Ether Walkers are tall, gangly creatures, well over nine foot high making them the tallest of the Elder Races. Their flesh, a dull grey in colour, is tougher then human skin, designed to act in the same way that clothing acts for a human, to give the Ether Walker protection against the elements. The skin of an Ether Walker does not scar, the wound leaving no mark once it is fully healed, a feature designed to protect the flesh from any weaknesses that could hurt the Ether Walker more at a later date.

Ether Walkers are, at first glance, apparently blind and dumb, possessing neither eyes nor mouths to speak with. Yet this seems to disable them little except in areas with many people or a large amount of noise. Instead of sight, Ether Walkers see almost like bats do, emitting a constant stream of low band psychic 'clicks' which bounce off the surrounding environment and allow the Ether Walker to 'see' the world around him as the waves come back to him. Of course this makes seeing in colour or indeed any sort of shades at all, impossible, throwing the world as seen by a Ether Walker into a kind of series of grey photographs. Depth perception is easy, however, as it is simply based upon the amount of time it takes for the said 'click' to bounce back to the Ether Walker.

Of course it is possible to interfere with the Ether Walkers 'sight' and things moving at a high enough speed will have changed position before the psychic 'click' returns to the Ether Walker. Generally however it serves as well as eyesight does for humans, and in some cases better, giving superior depth perception, is unaffected by changes in the light and ranging abilities. It certainly allows the Ether Walker to fight in combat if required, though they are not physically built for such brutality, preferring ranged weapons or magic.

As for hearing, Ether Walkers have this in abundance. An uncanny ability to hear the sound of another's heartbeat, the rush of their blood in their veins and the hiss of their breath in and out of their lungs. This makes them exceptionally skilled at fighting in the dark when combined with their psychic 'clicks', thus allowing them to move through the other 'realms' of existence which are in general unlit by the touch of a sun. Their hearing, though exceptional, can also be a weak point as they can be confused in large crowds due to the large amount of conflicting noises from multiple directions and single very loud sounds can also damage their sensitive ear membranes.

The Ether Walkers have an innate talent for magic, though it is not as powerful as many people are given to believe. The Ether Walkers do not make their way between the dimensions through the usage of magic, but rather through a specific frequency of psychic cry that resonates with the dimension that they wish to travel too, causing a 'pathway' to open up, very similar to the way in which Jump Gates work. Indeed Jump Gates actually open a hole into a dimension that the Ether Walkers call the 'Ether Sea'. It has never been clear why they call this place that, though the absolute lack of solid surface or, indeed, anything else, might account for it. By all records, the 'Sea' is both minute and, at the same time, immense beyond imagining.

Psychic talent though, unlike their magic, is a skill that the Ether Walkers are unrivalled in. They can speak with their minds as clearly as any other Race might make words, directing their thoughts straight into the brain of the one they wish to speak with. This is a highly useful ability, making an Ether Walker conversation incredibly difficult to eavesdrop on. However many races, specifically the DragonLords, Anvar, Beasts and Demons, take great exception to this psychic intrusion, some DragonLords having been recorded as slipping into a strange 'Berserker' state and then frenziedly attacking the Ether Walker until either the DragonLord is knocked unconscious, the Ether Walker has been killed or the Ether Walker has fled.

The Ether Walkers typically live in loosely knit family groups, though the entire family may never be gathered together in one place. Yet, as each Ether Walker emits a unique low key psychic 'signature', should it be required any of the Ether Walkers could find another provided they knew the frequency of their 'signature'. Though this means that Ether Walkers do not have the most normal family lives, it does mean that they know full well that they are never alone, which is more then most of the other creatures upon Tal'Vorn can profess to, even those with larger families then is strictly the norm.

Ether Walkers seem to reproduce in a manner similar to a Sea Horse, in that they female produces a large number of eggs and the male then carries them to term. However due to the dangers of the many environments that the Ether Walkers live in it is unlikely that more then a handful of these eggs will ever hatch, let alone grow into fully fledged Ether Walkers. For this reason Ether Walkers are fiercely protective of their young until the young Ether Walker reaches full maturity after the first year of their life.

Ether Walkers are renowned as great explorers and inventors, though it may be that their 'inventions' are simply copies of devices that the Ether Walkers discovered in alternate dimensions or different timelines. Regardless of how they come across their technology however, it is certain that the Ether Walkers are the most technologically advanced of all the Races, even the metal loving Dwarves. They frequently make use of hand-held gunpowder based weapons and a few have even managed to alter the old human Personal Tactical Dreadnought Class Body Armoured Unit (PTAU) to fit their gangly bodies. Fortunately these cases are rare and generally the PTAU units tend to run out of power or break down before the Order can capture the unit. Should the Order or the Research Sect ever come across a working PTAU unit however then the balance of power would be destroyed in a drastic shift towards the respective Sect.

One thing that the Ether Walkers have managed to create however that has been accepted without question across the entire face of Tal'Vorn is the Jump Gate. Based upon experimental theories derived from their own resonance ability, the Ether Walkers extrapolated that a device built using the correct materials and with sufficient precision could mimic, to a lesser degree, the ability of the Ether Walkers to step between dimensions and could thus be used for long distance high speed travel across Tal'Vorn's face. Unable to construct such a device on their own, the Ether Walkers came to the Dwarf city of Drazzahezz. As luck would have it, they arrived just as the Dwarves were under siege. Showing typical logical thought, the Ether Walkers joined in on the side of the Dwarves, reasoning that to do so would place them in good stead with the Dwarf Race.

After the Anvar, the Race that was attacking the Dwarves had been driven off, the Ether Walkers explained their idea to the Dwarves who eagerly agreed and immediately set to work, their best Engineers working closely with the Ether Walkers on the design and the construction of the first two Jump Gates. However due to the stresses placed upon the structure of the device, the Dwarves would be unable to make it with stone or any of the limited metals available to them. Thus the Ether Walkers simply 'Walked' to the Dragons Eye, the planetoid in orbit around Tal'Vorn. Dragons Eye is a planetoid almost completely made out of iron ore, allowing the Ether Walkers to gather by hand enough of the ore to permit the creation of just enough steel for the construction of the first two Gates.

Once the Gates were finished, a group of the Ether Walkers took one of the Gates up to Dragons Eye from where the Dwarves could travel through the Gates and thus mine more of the precious iron ore. From there the number of smaller Jump Gates have increased exponentially, the Ether Walkers 'Walking' them to each of the major cities and along the routes there as the smaller Gates have a limited range.

What is not understood however is exactly WHY the Ether Walkers chose to do this. And this is, perhaps, the fundamentally confusing point of an Ether Walkers existence, that which places them beyond the understanding of the other Races. Their motives are impossible to read and their expressions don't even exist, their thoughts unpredictable and their actions sometimes contradictory. Yet the Ether Walkers are still feared and respected as a Race that has seen wonders that others will never see, walked in places where no other living foot has fallen and heard sounds that are truly out of the world.

The approximate bipolar resonances inherent to the creation of such a device are highly dangerous to attempt to control with such rudimentary construction materials and thus this Endeavour would be highly illogical were there any other reason behind such a complicated creation of our co-joined Races, yet we, the Ether Walkers, have determined that this is the best course of action for our Race.
Quote from one of the Ether Walker group that approached the Dwarves to propose the creation of the Jump Gates

hhfuullekkaiikkeeoowllllkkiiioowllwwuuwkksiiooeell dkksooll
The sound of a specific Ether Walkers 'signature' if such a sound where audible to humans.

© Joshua Binks (Paladin), Christopher Riley (Carnage), Brad Rumsey (Lithium), Alicia Rumsey (Escapist) and Vanessa Vaughan (Andanin) 2002 -