Nature of Esprice
Esprice springs from the Astral, a misty realm of dreams where thoughts have form and the laws of other realms do not apply. Although all thinking beings are said to be connected to it on an unconscious level, few are able to tap into it. Individuals born with this rare gift are said to possess the Sight.
The Sight is an innate ability that becomes evident early on in life. Young seers will often have prophetic dreams, strange visions, or an uncanny sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others. Often times, these signs are dismissed as simple eccentricity or cause the seer to be ostracized. If the seer is properly trained, however, he or she can master the Sight.
Disciplines of Esprice
Dream magic is subtle yet powerful, able to be applied to many useful and distinct disciplines.
- Foresight - Seers are famed for their ability to perceive the future, although this ability is severely limited. Only brief glimpses of the immediate future are within their voluntary control. Prophetic visions tend to occur at random and offer only the vaguest details of things to come. Still, seers are able to exercise even this limited precognition to great effect in combat, predicting an opponent's movements to land or avoid attacks with uncanny accuracy.
- Telepathy - All thought springs from the Astral, and so all thinking creatures are connected by it. Seers are able to use this connection to project thoughts into the minds of others, manipulating their emotions and perceptions at will. The most powerful seers can use telepathy to delve into the minds of dreamers or implant hypnotic suggestions that subjects must obey.
- Telekinesis - Of all the disciplines of esprice, telekinesis is the most curious. It allows seers to manipulate the world physically, moving objects with invisible waves of force that seem to spring from nowhere. Seers describe the practice of telekinesis as a manifestation of willpower, which is able to bridge the divide between the Astral and the mortal realm. Exactly how this is possible remains a mystery.
- Aura Reading - Early on, users of esprice become aware of subtle psychic impressions that linger around locations or objects touched by thinking creatures. Prolonged contact or intense emotions create stronger auras, which seers are then able to read. This can impart information about an item's owner or reveal important events in a location's history. Seers may even be able to detect very strong auras from a distance, allowing them to sense events of great significance the moment they occur.
Side Effects of Esprice
Mastery of esprice requires a strong will and an equally strong sense of self. Seers are often required to travel into the minds and dreams of others. Few can do this repeatedly without some change in personality. Many develop some form of madness as a result.
The exact form of madness varies from one esper to the next. An seer may become addicted to the tantalizing illusions of the Astral, abandoning the mortal realm entirely. These "dreamwalkers" then become Astral beings, leaving their bodies to wither away in a catatonic state. Others may hallucinate, losing the ability to distinguish dreams from reality, or suffer a fugue in which they lose the ability to distinguish their own identity from someone else's. Some may even become violent, seeking to quiet the minds around them by force.
Despite these risks, esprice is generally safe when persued with guidance and discipline. Seers will often seek seclusion to rest and meditate away from the constant din of thoughts and dreams that surround ordinary mortals. Those with proper training and a firm grounding in reality can journey into the Astral and back indefinitely without any ill effect. Doing so, however, requires constant vigilance and inner awareness.
Famous Practitioners of Esprice
- Dreamwalkers - For some, the lure of the Astral is too great. Seers who travel the Sea of Dreams may become enthralled, spending more of their time there than awake. Eventually, they may forsake the mortal realm entirely, living on as Astral beings known as dreamwalkers. Seers of the waking world regard dreamwalkers with a mix of pity and curiosity, knowing that they failed to master their dreams but wondering what it must be like. Many dreamwalkers take it upon themselves to aid Astral travelers, shepherd wayward dreamers, and pay visits to sleeping friends. As time goes by, however, dreamwalkers eventually become disinterested in a world they're no longer part of, fading into the mists never to be seen again.
- The Hands of Fate - Since the Dawning, a secret brotherhood of seers has maintained a vigil in the name of Banekeril, the Oarsman of the Ages. These seers keep watch over individuals touched by a strong destiny, feeling out their futures, protecting them from harm, and guiding them toward their fate. Whether that fate is for good or ill makes no difference; the Hands of Fate work in secret to ensure that every destiny maintains its course, trusting in the grand design that only the Oarsman himself can see.