Everfall: Rise of Nations
Ethalism is the “worship” of the entity E’thal, pronounced Eee-thall’. It is not so much as a worship but a reverence as E’thal is believed to be the incarnation of the combined energy of the universe.
- E’thal is a stream of energy that flows throughout the universe and its substance is of ether
- Each living creature is endowed with a shard of E’thal, some life ether, also known as chi
- When a creature dies, its chi reenters E’thal and is cleansed of self, later that same essence can reenter the world as another creature
- Essence in E’thal can be split and recombined, resulting in loss of self and no memory of previous lives
- Life energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed
- Undead are abhorrent and are a waste of life energy, they should be honorably put to rest
- The sects have varied practices, see below
- Ethereal: The ethereals are a sect of Ethalists that believe that only by ridding oneself of earthly attachments can they ascend. Ascension happens when one dies with no earthly attachment other than that necessary to survive and one’s chi dives to the deepest center point of E’thal, never to emerge again. It is believed that this merging of one’s chi with E’thal is the ultimate form of existence and gurus on this path in life are known as enlightened.
- Centerist: The centerists are a sect of Ethalists that believe balance above all else. If one is too attached to the world, one’s chi will barely scrape the surface of E’thal before being sent back into the world, having lost no self. This results in reincarnation in a form devoid of self to offset the chi having self, like an animal or plant. If one is not enough attached to the world one’s chi will sink deep into E’thal, never to return, and chi is forever lost, converted to Ether for eternity.
- Epicurean: The epicureans are a sect of Ethalists that believe in their material attachment. They believe that if one can attach themselves enough to the world, that their chi won’t even reach E’thal and will instead reincarnate in a new host. If the detachment is enough, the chi won’t even correct for self-presence, allowing the new host of the chi to have an enlightenment of past lives when it comes of age. Epicurean ethalists believe that by separating themselves from E’thal, they can better worship it is a deity instead of a universal energy entity. It is believed that a new host can take up to a century to arise, as time flows differently for disembodied chi, but the new host is usually similar in manner, appearance, and otherwise to the previous, as a reincarnation should be. Some epicureans become masochists, believing that pain is the only way to stay attached to reality, but most follow an indulgence mantra.
- Most ethalists have no holy days other than the day of their birth, when they inherited their chi from E’thal.
- Ethalism was founded long ago at the same time as the first Espers came about. They are able to tap into the powers of chi and ether by focusing their minds and bodies. Whether E’thal as an entity is a deity or even real is unknown, but it is undisputed that Chi and Ether are sources of power as Espers use them in all situations.