For April, Stone Soldiers.info is celebrating the A to Z Blog Challenge with daily letter-themed entries. A separate page with a list of all these entries, plus Character Profiles and Book Synopses will appear on the right hand side of the page in coming weeks, detailing the people, places and things of the Stone Soldiers universe.
Book of Stone: Etheric Energy
(A Stone Soldiers Encyclopedia Entry)
Beyond the range of the scientifically-observable energies of the universe, there are energies identified by various peoples from around the world, which are related to the lifeforce of the living and of the universe. Called chi by the Chinese, prana by the Indians, these energies remain elusive and often only theoretical in existence.
In the Stone Soldiers universe, there are two primary supernatural energies: etheric energy and chi (also referred to as ki, or qui). Chi is the lifeforce of living things, which flows through the body and which can affect the body or be affected. Etheric energy is that energy, tied to the lifeforce, which powers the supernatural and paranormal effects seen in the series. It is, in effect, the energy of magic.
In the 19th Century, Baron Carl von Reichenbach coined the term Odic Energy, God Odin of Norse mythology, to describe the vital energy or lifeforce found in all living things. Reichenbach believed that Odic energy possessed observable, electromagnetic properties. In his Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat and Light in their relations to Vital Forces,Von Reichenbach further claimed that Odic energy had both a positive and negative flux--a light and dark side. He proclaimed that individuals could issue the energy from their bodies.
In Stone Soldiers, U.S. researchers have branded the energy etheric energy, owing to its ethereal, supernatural properties. They discovered that the energy could be created from chi, or used to create chi. They discovered that the element silver absorbs etheric energy, slowly releasing it over time in the same manner as radiation is released from natural materials such as uranium or plutonium. They further discovered that etheric energy is unable to pass through gold, and that other materials affected it differently, in the same manner that electrical conductivity and resistance vary by element. Amethyst crystals, combined with gold and silver have been shown in the series as capable of storing huge amounts of etheric energy for witches to use later.
Colonel Mark Kenslir, the commander of the stone soldiers, possesses the rare ability to cancel out etheric energy—weakening any spell or psychic power directed at him. A side effect of this natural ability is the emanation of a green light when etheric energy touches him, the intensity of the light matching that of the etheric force.
Jason Trumball, a ward of Dr. William King, possesses an even rarer ability—being able to draw etheric energy from people or things, then channeling that energy into his own abilities. In this fashion, Trumball is able to break curses or even reverse the effects of a curse in some instances.
Vampires in the Stone Soldiers universe do not affect etheric energy. Instead, they drain chi from living victims, then convert it into etheric energy to power their supernatural abilities, such as enhanced strength and regeneration.
And while etheric energy is often very limited, the Stone Soldiers have encountered subjects who appear to be able to tap into nearly limitless amounts—such as the First Born offspring of Fallen Angels, the Titans of Black Knight Down, or the First Born Elemental Decklaa, of Armageddon Z. But even these powerful entities reached their limits, expending more energy than they could absorb. Those limitations proved to be that of their physical bodies, which had finite storage capacities for the energy which they often expended at rates exceeding that at which they absorbed it, from whatever unknown source they were tied to.
In any event, for the Stone Soldiers series, quantifying and identifying the energy of magic puts a limitation on the supernatural. While its uses often are fantastical, they are seldom limitless and often come with repercussions.