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aether, ceruleum, and thaumaturgy


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Hey guys! Hopefully this is the right section to post this in, since it is for RP purposes. I just registered because I've been lurking a while and finally have a few questions of my own to ask you helpful folk...!!


These are really specific, and I'm not even sure any canonical explanation is given in a lot of cases. I'm still playing my way through ARR, so forgive me if they are explained and I haven't gotten to it yet.


Basically-- how are aether crystals actually formed? Where do they come from? I'm wondering about matter states, too. I've been thinking of aether in terms of it being a kind of gas that can solidify into crystals under specific circumstances-- maybe the liquid form of it is Ceruleum.


Which I have a few questions about too.


How are aether crystals drained to create ceruleum? What's the process? I've seen mention of it being done in reactors, so is it safe to say that's what's always required-- or is it actually done another way and what I read was wrong? What sort of equipment would be necessary to refine crystals into ceruleum?


I kind of feel like it's not always necessary to refine it that way, just more practical for things like airship fuel where purity equals power. IIRC there were drops of unaspected crystals from Garlean soldiers, which makes me think it's something that can be done with more compact equipment and on an individual basis. It'd also make sense to do it that way since refined, true ceruleum is extremely explosive and you wouldn't want an officer running around with some while Garlean thaumaturges use fire magic.


Speaking of thaumaturgy-- so I know that it can be dangerous and thaumaturgy is essentially channeling one's inner aether at the higher tiers, but I'm sadly not too far along with that class yet. I don't want to halt progress while I level it up for potentially little lore that's helpful. If anyone has any links or places to look for more lore on thaumaturgy-- or black mages-- as well as alchemy, I'd really appreciate it!


The reason I'm interested in this and to provide more information that might help answer my specific questions, I'm developing a character who left the Garlean army for certain reasons but is still very loyal, though pretty discrete about it to escape persecution in Eorzea. Her goal would be to develop technology on her own that might help the Empire-- I'm trying to figure out if manufacturing aether crystals instead of mining or finding them naturally formed would be an option for her to pursue, and how something like that would be practically used. I'm not entirely sure if that's something that's already been done canonically, either.


Thank you for reading! Sorry for the wall of text, haha.

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Aether crystals can be formed from when things die, all living creatures are made up of aether, but not all of the aether can leave the physical plane, the remainder becomes ghosts, aparitions, and aether crystals, not nescesarily all three. This is also why at the sites of ancient battles, where lots of people died, there is an oversaturation of aether.


Doing the Monk and the 2.3 story line gives a good insight into this part of it.


As to Ceruleum, I am unsure in and of itself. Though i am sure someone more knowledgeable will come along.

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We know that ceruleum is extracted from crystals in processing plants for that purpose, and that doing so leaves worthless, drained crystals. One such processing plant can be found north of Camp Bluefog; if you go there, you can see it's a pretty substantial complex.


That said, there are other ways to use the power of crystals. Crafters use them to fuel synthesis (though this is probably just a game mechanic, honestly, though you could say that making magical items requires their energies), arcanists use them in their magic (perhaps drawing their aether), corrupted crystals can be used by Voidsent and other magical creatures (as seen in Dzemael Darkhold and Pharos Sirius) in addition to blocking influence over elemental energies (as seen in the MSQ for Garuda and Leviathan). This latter effect seems to require consumption of the crystals' energies.


To the best of my knowledge, I don't think anyone has developed any way to manufacture crystals, though I'd assume the Allagans probably could have, with their cloning, genetic experimentation, trapping Primals, absorbing the sun's power, and such. That doesn't mean that you couldn't have your character developing or having developed such a thing, just that the current "state of the art" seems to require pretty heavy machinery to drain crystals to produce ceruleum.


Do note that some Garlean thaumaturges aren't actually thaumaturges. :) Pure-blooded Garleans are largely inept with magic, and the Empire as a whole tends to view magic as a negative thing. Instead, signifiers and imaginifiers are either magic users from people subjugated by the Empire, or using ceruleum-powered devices to mimic the effects of magic.

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Basically-- how are aether crystals actually formed? Where do they come from? I'm wondering about matter states, too. I've been thinking of aether in terms of it being a kind of gas that can solidify into crystals under specific circumstances-- maybe the liquid form of it is Ceruleum.


So, Erik from the MNK quests explains this pretty well in the lore I sited below. But in english, Aether Crystals are formed by large concentrations of aether condensing together. This usually occurs in areas which have suffered heavy loss of life. Silvertear Lake being an excellent example.


Aether is not only the source of all magicks, but also the fount of all life. Yet despite its ubiquity, it remains imperceptible to the senses of man. When a living thing dies, the aether comprising its life is released. It has been learned that when this discharge takes place, a portion of that aether remains, lingering in the physical world. No doubt you have come across aetherial crystallizations in the course of your travels. All scholars now agree that these are the physical manifestations of great concentrations of aether.


I have a theory, hower, that they are not the only such manifestations. Allow me to give an example even you can understand - that of ghosts, spirits, disembodied souls. Apparitions of the deceased come back to haunt and generally unnerve us? False!


These are nothing more than the luminescent glow of aether in the atmosphere. It is possible, though highly unlikely, that you are asking yourself why a portion of the aether remains. Right, well, the amount of aether that can shift between the physical and aetherial realms in any given instant is limited. I call this the aetherial threshold. Any aether present in excess of that threshold is left behind. The more violent or dramatic the loss of life, the greater the amount of inner aether released to take the form of crystals or remain imperceptibly in the atmosphere. And you surely recollect the scene I identified as the most apt to produce such violent deaths? On the field of battle!




How are aether crystals drained to create ceruleum? What's the process? I've seen mention of it being done in reactors, so is it safe to say that's what's always required-- or is it actually done another way and what I read was wrong? What sort of equipment would be necessary to refine crystals into ceruleum?


We aren't really ever given a how, unfortunately. We just know that it happens. My best theory would be to suggest thinking of Ceruleum like real world crude oil. Crude oil is formed from the carbon remains of dead plants/animals. Over many millennia the remains are buried and compressed beneath mud and sediment and rock until the carbon remains turn into crude oil. (I know that's probably a super rudimentary explanation of the process, but..)


Likewise, aether is left behind by dead plants and animals in our world. It lingers until it becomes a solid, crystal state. Perhaps over many millennia these crystals are absorbed back into the earth and become ceruleum. This process may even be sped up by reoccurring Umbral Calamities. Anyways, this theory really only "explains" the naturally occurring Ceruleum deposits that are found beneath Northern Thanalan and Silvertear areas.


This naturally occurring Ceruleum (crude oil) is then refined into something useful. (ie. Crude oil into Gasoline) Again, we're not given how this process works in the game, but assuming the real world comparison is accurate, I imagine you'd need a Processing Plant to do it? IDK.


Anyways, additional info we do have!

-From 1.0 we know that there is a process to extract ceruleum from aether crystals. How it works is a mystery, only that it leaves behind a Deaspected(dead) Crystal.

-We know that the ceruleum refining process gives off a blue, gaseous byproduct. It does not appear to be harmful. (Hence Bluefog's name.) This is speculation, but I imagine a person not native to Eorzea or a person prone to aethersickness might feel some effects from this blue, gaseous byproduct.

-Refined Ceruleum is a HIGHLY volatile substance. Handle with caution. It is prone to blow up.

-Ul'dah's Amaljina & Sons Mineral Concern owns the production of all Ceruleum. Interesting tidbit, up until the Battle of Silvertear, the Syndicate's biggest Ceruleum trade partner was Garlemald. So you can thank Ul'dah for supplying the ammo for Garlemald's world domination.



If anyone has any links or places to look for more lore on thaumaturgy-- or black mages-- as well as alchemy, I'd really appreciate it!


I think I've posted this info in a few places across the RPC. I'll see if I can try to find some links for you. But to give a synopsis:


Thaumaturgy is believed to be a derivative form of magick discovered during the 5th Umbral Era. The 5th Umbral Calamity was a great Ice Age that covered all lands and seas in ice and snow. This is believed to have occurred roughly 3000 years ago. This ice age lasted until Man discovered the ability to manipulate fire without flint or tinder.


Thaumaturgy draws on the caster's own aetherial energies. Meaning that it can be dangerous if improperly used. Also, in order to successfully cast magic, Thaumaturges require a medium. This usually comes in the form of an aetherially enhanced gemstone placed upon a wand or stave. This gemstone acts as a channel to focus the energies of the body into a spell.


Now Thaumaturges of today and the Magi of the 5th Astral Era were ultimately limited in power by their own aetherial stores. Until Shatotto. Her ambition knew no limitations, but her body could not support the magic she wished to achieve. So she devised a technique that stole the aether from land around her to supplement her own power. This technique was coined "Black Magic" likely because when the spell was cast, the land around the caster died.


This, of course, caused a lot of issues as more and more Magi began using Black Magic. It's pure devastating nature started to kill the planet. This led to the War of the Magi and eventually a 6th Umbral Calamity that washed away the taint of magic from Hydaelyn.


Here's some additional lore on the topic you may find interesting:

Thaumaturgy Lore Post #1

Thaumaturgy Lore Post #2

5th Astral Era Timeline


"The art now known as white magic dates back to the Fifth Astral Era. It was then that a brilliant young sorceress - for the first time in history - succeeded in channeling not merely her own life energy, but the aether that inhabits the very land itself. Her magic was that of destruction: black magic. The people of Amdapor felt this power was too great to be allowed to go unchecked, and so it was that white magic - the magic of healing and solace - was born. So it was that the forces of magic were brought into equilibrium, and civilization flourished.


But this era of peace and prosperity would prove short lived. War broke out, and the realm was thrown into chaos. The War of the Magi. To rain death and destruction on their foes, mages summoned forth greater and greater powers. The war raged on, until the aether dried, and the land itself could bear the burden no longer. So did the hubris of the magi bring forth the Sixth Umbral Era... and with it a mighty flood that swept away entire civilizations, leaving naught but ruin and suffering in its wake.


The survivors - what few there were - banded together. Vowing never again to repeat their mistake, white and black magic were declared forbidden arts, never to be practiced again. The Elementals of the forest, knowing that men could not be trusted to keep such vows, took action as well. The Twelveswood grew, swallowing the ruins of Amdapor, and the power of white magic was sealed away deep in the forest, far from the reach of mortals.


Ages passed, until five centuries ago, the Elementals at long last welcomed people back into the forest. So the nation of Gridania was founded, and my people - the Padjal - came into being, to serve as mediators between Elementals and those who would reside in their forest home. It is from the Elementals themselves that we inherited white magic."



"White magic and conjury are close relations, the two are governed by the same laws. The former, however, places the utmost upon healing and protection and demands of its practitioners the greatest intimacy with the Elementals. On account of this, its use is granted only to those few who are deemed worthy. It is the sacred charge of the Padjal to ensure that the art survives, and in righteous hands."



"Amdapor was not always thus afflicted. Indeed, the city once owed an age of prosperity to the benevolent art of white magic. But that was before the War of the Magi. It is told that the enemies of the Amdapori abandoned all caution in their pursuit of victory, and used their dark magicks to summon a king among demons. Though the mages of Amdapor eventually succeeded in imprisoning this fell creature, its recent resurgence speaks eloquently to the impermanence and unpredictability of arcane energies."



"Thaumaturgy is a form of arcane manipulation that allows the practitioner to unleash his/her will as deadly manifestations of primal power. The origin of our art can be found in the cumbersome magicks of our ancestors - subsequently focused and refined through their use in the funereal rites of the Order of Nald'thal. Though once used exclusively for the preparation of the dead, these incantations of destruction soon found new purpose on the battlefield. "Death," of course, is still very much the central focus of the discipline."



"The origins of black magic can be traced back many, many years - to the beginning of the Fifth Astral Era, to be precise. There lived at that time in Eorzea a powerful sorceress named Shatotto, who strived to push the destructive power of magic to its very limits. The typical practice of magi is to weave magic using their own aether. The ability to do so is the greatest magical gift, yet at the same time that gift's greatest limit.


Shatotto was able to overcome such inherent limitations by developing a new technique which allowed her to draw upon the aether all around her as the fount of her magic. It was this technique that came to be known as black magic. Following the War of the Magi and the Sixth Umbral Calamity, however, black magic was branded far too great a danger to life, and so its use and even its mere mention were made forbidden. Over time, it came to be forgotten entirely. Or so it was thought..."




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