The Mountain of Four Aethers Picture

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I always hate it when creative people talk about things happening in “a flash of inspiration,” mostly because I'm jealous that I never seem to get any inspirational flashes. This is apparently an exception. There I was, doing some college work about a 15th century guide to anatomy talking about the four humours, not actually thinking about writing at all and BANG this whole universe just pops up into my head. After working out some details, this is it:


There are great glass mountains, reaching up into a turquoise sky, carrying on for innumerable miles. On one of these mountains a civilisation has developed by creating platforms in the rock. The very peak of the mountain contains an Academy, where the elite of society can debate the finer points of their existence while those further down the mountains engage in business and basic farming. Then there are those who live inside the mountain itself... but they are only talked about in whispers.

The mountains are surrounded in four layers of “aether,” a material made of particles that are themselves invisible, although their effects can be seen and are studied widely by the academics of the mountain. The four aethers have also developed anthropomorphic depictions in Mountain literature and art.


Luminant is the outer layer of material, which glows a bright white light on a cycle of 20 hours before fading into darkness. The study of Luminant is considered to be the most prestigious on the Mountain, however because it is the most dangerous (those who look at Luminant unprotected are instantly permanently blinded) most of the academics simply theorise about it's properties based on old papers.

Luminant is usually depicted in art as a young, fair woman dressed in sparse white robes to symbolise purity and light. Her eyes are always closed and she is sometimes depicted blindfolded, but she always has a pendant around her neck with an eye on it. She carries a flaming staff (as the ancestors believed that Luminant glowed because it was made of fire) and scrolls of knowledge.


Azure glows slightly with a blue tinge, and naturally settles below Luminant. Together they make the distinctive colour of the sky in daytime, and when the Luminant is on it's 20 hours of inactivity Azure still provides enough blue light to see by – this is how night is created. Azure is studied widely on the Mountain and carries a certain amount of prestige.

Azure is depicted as an extremely elderly woman with pale blue skin dressed in heavy, ornate, dark blue robes. She has leathery wings folded behind her. In mythology, Luminant is her ward who she protects from those who wish to gaze upon her, echoing the scientific properties of Azure in shielding the powerful light emitted by Luminant. Azure has a black bird on her left shoulder that feeds her, in order that she can glow constantly without stopping to feed.


Zephyr is the material that all living things require to breathe and envelopes the mountain. It is colourless and odourless, and the only way academics know it is real is because they haven't dropped down dead. It is studied occasionally by younger academics who are trying to make their way higher up the ranks, but very few seasoned learners see any point of dealing with it.

Zephyr is depicted as a young, muscular man with a long beard, dressed in the simple clothes of a farm worker, with his shirt open to reveal his bare chest. He glows with health and happiness. He carries a scythe and a bountiful basket of berries.


Melancholy is a dangerous material that sinks to the ground, and can be found at the base of the mountain. It has been known to cause madness, mutations and death to those who venture into it's clutches for long – those who live inside the mountain are thought to have been affected by it. It is not exactly visible, but does give a certain misty quality to those objects enveloped by it. Melancholy is never studied on the mountain on pain of death, to suggest tampering with it carries a heavy penalty and would result in an academic being banished from the Academy.

Melancholy is depicted as shifting, phasing monster with long teeth and claws and glowing eyes. It's form is not exact, but it is certainly like a great animal ready to savage it's victims. If you lie in your bed at night and close your eyes, you might think you see Melancholy ready to take your mind.

Well, I know where I'm going to spend my summer now...
*starts clean word document*
Continue Reading: Aether