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Etheric sciences is the Court's label for any phenomena which cannot be explained by scientific analysis: in other words, magic.

Explanation

An etheric phenomenon is not merely something which science has not yet explained, and will get around to explaining someday; rather, it is something that science has consistently and fundamentally failed to explain. A blinker stone, for example, appears to be an ordinary crystal when analyzed with scientific instruments, yet it grants its user special powers.

Appearances and uses

Many of the Court's former and current students have some kind of etheric ability or sensitivity. These include Surma, Anja, Brinnie, Antimony, Parley, Andrew, Zimmy, and Gamma. Their powers, which vary from person to person, include teleportation, magical shields, telepathy and aura reading, the ability to see psychopomps, the ability to use blinker stones, uncontrollable illusions which occasionally suck in innocent bystanders, and the ability to unconsciously create order.

Other characters are "beings of the etherium" whose existence cannot be explained by scientific means. These include ghosts such as Mort, psychopomps, fairies, dryads, the Shadow People of Gillitie Wood, and demons or demigods such as Coyote, Ysengrin, and Reynardine. Their powers vary, but include flight, shapeshifting, illusion, body snatching, control of trees, and {in Coyote's case} the ability to pull the moon out of the sky.

The etheric sciences can also be combined with more conventional technology. For example, Anja created an etherically-driven computer program to restrain Reynardine. The program allows users carrying a certain symbol (a crossed-out eye) to access its power, even if said users do not normally have etheric powers (like Donald).

Role in history of Court

Not long after the discovery of the Seed Bismuth and the formation of the Court in Gillitie Wood, a division grew between those who agreed with etherial tenet (which, according to Tom, "can be summarized as 'It just does, okay?'") and those who sought a more satisfying explanation of the world around them. Most of the forest creatures fell into the first camp; most of the humans, into the second. Soon, infighting spurred Coyote to create the Annan Waters, separating the Court from the Wood. This continued philosophical division explains the Court's heavy emphasis on science and technology, and the Wood's greater dependence on magic.

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