An essence is a particular resonance taken on by the spiritual energy of a living form. Most sentient species have either 6 or 7 essences, depending on the number of 'gates' within their physical structure. All playable Races within the game have seven gates when in their natural form. At birth, the essences bound to these gates are configured in a way suited to optimal survival of the infant, usually consisting of abilities that match their elemental energies, augmenting their form. The term essence specifically refers to the effect achieved when spiritual energy flows through the body's gate and begins to affect the physical realm in some way.
The level of an essence is essentially the amount of energy that needs to collect 'behind' the gate before it will open. Once that energy is collected, the gate will open completely and the essence manifest at full power for that level unless the user makes a conscious effort to limit its output. This means that a level 5 essence will always take longer to manifest than a level 2 essence, even if the user only intends to use it at the strength it would be if it were level 2. Obviously, essence levels also give a rough idea of how much spiritual stamina will be used up when the essence is used. It is possible to have essences at level 0, at which point only enough energy to give the physical illusion of the effect, is used. This varies, and does not work on many essences, but can be forcibly set by skilled mages in Essence Locking. This process is always voluntary on the part of the living form involved, as locking cannot occur against a person's will (not to be confused with the channeling 'purging' essence Catharsis).
This is simply the practice of purposely opening more than one gate simultaneously. It requires some practice in certain cases depending on what one is doing, but the effect is generally simply the combination of two essences into one outcome, if they are 'compatible' enough to do so. It is sometimes affected by other issues, such as which gates one is using, but that is explained below in the extra information on gates themselves.
Gates, An Introduction
A living form of any of the eight main races on Mesdos has seven spirit gates. The gates themselves do not vary in position or function from race to race, and even 'lesser' creatures do not tend to vary in gate function, even though they may not have seven spirit gates due to their physiological and 'mental' structure. Each gate has a specific affinity and function, though they are not normally rigid enough to require only certain essences. Rather, certain essences cannot be utilized properly, or in some cases, utilized at all, from certain gates, whereas others are more effective when bound to certain gates. The general affinities, functions, and bonuses
associated with each gate are outlined below in the sections.
Third Eye Gate
Also referred to by some less technically inclined individuals as the 'thought' gate, this gate manifests on the forehead, and a newborn will almost have one of the -cen essences that increases a particular stat, bound to this gate, according to their dominant element. Most essences can be bound to this gate, and it confers a bonus to those stat increasing essences as well as essences devoted to otherwise altering the users perception. Nearly all other essences that can be bound to this gate suffer no decrease in effectiveness, making it a basic gate to which many essences can be usefully bound. However, though it interacts well with other gates, care must be taken when compounding, as it may slightly alter spiritual perceptions if subjected to a gate with a stronger bound essence. This is seldom a problem.
Singers and musicians tend to refer to this as the 'song' gate also, but the technical term used by mages is indeed 'breath gate'. This gate manifests in the throat, and a newborn will invariably have a 'Wailing' essence bound to this gate, increasing their ability to scream for help when in danger(or annoy parents loudly when they are punished). As a living form grows, this 'Wailing' refines into a race-specific essence, unless a different one is consciously bound. Many essences can be bound to this gate quite easily, except essences that function to alter the aura, or morphs that are not localized to the mouth/throat. Neither of these types can be bound to the breath gate. It gives a bonus to breath attack mimicry essences, songs, and the aforementioned race specific essences. Surprisingly, these essences can be bound to certain other gates, but they do lose some effectiveness. Weapon based essences lose some potency if bound to this gate. Losing one's vocal capacity does not usually affect the functionality of the breath gate, but damage to the throat area beyond that may be problematic. It is difficult to focus this gate when being suffocated or strangled, but easy to combine this gate with all others.
Known by no other name (which is sort of a shame since this is overly simplistic), the hand gate manifests in both hands at once, but can manifest completely in only one hand. A newborn generally does not develop the capability to use the essence bound to this gate until a little later in life, as it is always the 'sphere' attack corresponding to their elemental affinity, and very weak at first.
Some living forms develop specific ones as they learn martial arts or weapon uses, or learn them from others. Most standard essences can be bound to this gate, even large morphs, which will simply tend to 'start' here. It gives a bonus to most weapon based essences for obvious reasons, as well as the sphere attack essences and other essences that involve hand movements. Usually, the essences that benefit, or do not benefit, from being bound to this gate, are obvious, but the exception to this rule are the 'atmospheric flood' type essences, which, surprisingly, lose effectiveness when bound to this gate. When the hands are completely bound, or severed (above the elbow or higher), it becomes difficult to impossible, to use this gate.
It is also difficult to combine this gate with the Heart gate at times.
Also known only by this name, this gate manifests in the middle of the upper torso. A newborn's 'atmospheric flood' essence of their dominant element (or if even in element, whichever is not on the Third Eye gate) is bound to this gate. It is seldom helpful to them in any defensive manner, but they are known to use it to increase their comfort, even at extremely young ages. Nearly all essences can be bound to this gate effectively, though the potency of most morphs and weapon essences, is slightly reduced. This morph gives a bonus to summons, and is one of the only two gates where a summoning essence can be bound, the other being the 'upper core' gate.
This gate is nearly never hard to use, but some are unable to properly focus this gate when extremely depressed or frightened. Conversely, strong positive or protective emotions may have unpredictably boosting effects on the essence bound to this gate. It is difficult to combine this gate with the Hand gate sometimes, but it combines very easily with the Aura and Upper Core gates. A very important gate to casters, healers and summoners.
Upper Core Gate
Also sometimes known as the sky gate, sun gate, or solar gate, this gate manifests in the center of the torso, just above the navel, in mammals. Unlike most other gates, it is not assured that there will be any particular essence bound to this gate in a newborn, ranging from racial essences, to aura essences of their minor element (more likely if they have an equality), to some outright bizarre temporal manipulation essences or other such. Most never manage to properly harness the 'stranger' essences that they innately have on this gate, and replace them, but this is encouraged since this gate accepts so many essences and provides a bonus, even if only slight, sometimes, to nearly all 'conceptual' essences that involve large scale environmental or time manipulation. It is also the only gate besides the Heart gate where a summon can be bound, but it grants no bonus to them. Unaffected by nearly any factor of the form's physical state, not even severe damage to the torso, this is a very stable gate with varying functions. It is often recommended that one should bind one's most 'basic' essence to this gate if it is not better suited for another. Nearly no essence type suffers any penalty from being bound to this gate, due to its centralized position in the body. It is also extremely important because it is the most effective and 'safest' place to bind any full body morphing essences.
Most such essences cannot be bound to any other gate, as the bonus it provides is actually necessary to complete the function.
Lower Core Gate
Known as the ground gate, moon gate, or lunar gate, and amongst Sirens or water dwellers as the tide gate
or flow gate. Most newborns are born with morphing essences which they never manifest, in this gate, or, oddly enough, their minor element's 'sphere' attack essence. Sometimes the aura essence of the minor element also manifests here in children. This gate, like the Upper Core gate, accepts a very large number of essences, but most weapon essences either suffer a penalty or cannot be bound here, unless they involve the lower body or are more dependent on footwork/full body movement, in which case it grants a bonus instead. Lower body morphs should also be bound here, though they can also be bound to the Upper Core gate if that is necessary for some reason. This gate grants an even larger bonus to temporal manipulation essences than the Upper Core gate, and if essences that require energy to be focused through the ground are bound here, they may be more effective than if bound to other gates when compounding them. Breath essences and stat boosting essences suffer a penalty here, and the rare 'barrier' type essences cannot be bound here at all. It can be difficult to combine this gate with the Breath gate.
Like the Upper Core gate, little or nothing affects a form's functionality to use this gate, short of being cut in half.
Simply the manifestation of the aura around a living form, this gate manifests on the skin and the immediate area just below it and above it. A newborn is born with their 'aura essence' bound to this gate invariably, and it is easily used even at that age. Most 'concentrated energy' essences cannot be bound to this gate easily, and often not at all. It provides a bonus to the aura essences, and somewhat to the 'atmospheric flood' type of essence, as well as the 'aura flood' essences used on others. However, one can bind essences that rely on guiding energy 'naturally' to this gate without much trouble, especially if capable of harnessing the Cosmos Energies. Morphs may also be bound to this gate, as can attack and weapon essences, but they all suffer a slight penalty here.
There are a few extremely obscure essences that can only
be bound to this gate. A gate used often by healers and stealthy beings to achieve related effects. This gate can be suppressed when in the presence of an extreme constant environment that is opposed to the elemental affinity of the form, i.e. extreme cold for a Fire elementa. Under such conditions, the effect of essences bound to this gate, other than the natural aura essences, are quite diminished. Otherwise, there is little that makes it difficult to use this gate.
An Overdrive, also known as an Unleashing or, in some races, a Rage Flood (this is the old name used due to reasons explained shortly), is the phenomenon of all seven gates instantly opening at full power with no prior 'charging', or at least with a reduced time for charging. Normally this is brought on by extremely intense emotions of fear or anger, but many disciplined individuals have learnt to purposely activate slightly weaker versions of this 'Rage Flood' through extreme essence compounding. This is almost always spiritually exhausting and usually physically taxing. Each Overdrive is almost completely unique in a mature living form, since duplication would require similar physical structures, and identical configurations of essences and essence levels. A form's Overdrive changes dynamically every time one of their essences is altered, with the most potent effects seen when their bound essences change, but other effects seen when the levels of essences change also. If one gate is locked or somehow completely disabled, most forms cannot 'manually' Overdrive, but many can still 'Rage Flood'. This will either cause the gate to be forced open for the sake of the event, or the Overdrive will manifest differently than normal. After a consciously activated Overdrive, most forms will need a few seconds to reset themselves to normal before they can open gates again, but can still fight normally. After a full 'Rage Flood', only the most mentally disciplined of forms can usually still even stand under their own power, and usually need to collapse for a few minutes and at least recover the use of their gates. For this reason, 'Rage Flooding' against a highly dangerous opponent and not winning/incapacitating that opponent is an almost sure death.