Astral

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The Lupa are a people tied closely to the astral world, and even the most average Lupa has some kind of basic spiritual awareness of their soul and how it connects to others that allows them to know where gates are and the basic instinctive callings (the change, going Home, any planet- or people-wide calling, the mate's soul/ability to bond). Those with astral ability in a specific area are Gifted, and those with general astral ability are Touched. However, the majority of Lupa are normal, not being either Gifted or Touched. Usually only 2-4 people in a pack at a given time will be Gifted or Touched.

Telling those with astral ability from those who aren’t is easy to discern through eye color. A Touched person has blue eyes, and a Gifted person will have hazel, green, or some other hint of blue in their eyes. The immortals are exceptions to this. Therefore, a person’s eye color is not hereditary in the usual sense. A Touched person has a greater chance of having a Touched child, but it’s not a rule.

General astral abilities include seeing into others (public mind), feeling the people and general attitudes around them, astral mapping, minor power usage, and ability to initiate shared mind. Most Touched have a one or two things that they specialize in or are particularly good at. High level Touched usually do not become Speakers.

For information on the Speaker's order, see this page.

Astral Levels

There three main categories of astral: Gifted (fian), Touched (ralgi), and high level astral (astralgia). The immortals have their own category (astralgi) and are the most powerful astral people among the Lupa.

Fian

A specific astral ability, such as in a craft (carving or sewing) or art (painting for floral arrangement). While it can accompany a greater astral gifting like Ralgi or Astralgia, those who are only Fian will never take on greater astral qualities.

People

Eiry Densuo is gifted specifically for floral arranging, while her twin Saliena Lindsay is gifted for cooking.

Ralgi

General astral abilities include seeing into others (public mind), feeling the people and general attitudes around them, astral mapping, minor power usage, and ability to initiate shared mind. Most Touched have a one or two things that they specialize in or are particularly good at. Average power orb is ping pong/golf ball size. Can see basic things when looking at others, and more when acting as counselors. Can talk to people in a localized area, depending on their power level.

People

Axel and Kai Moran are both examples of regular speakers.

Astralgia

Ralgi plus workable shields, combination astral fighting (can infuse physical attacks with astral power and uses astral mapping), use of astral mapping as a matter of course during daily life. Movement of objects. Average power orb the size of a baseball or orange. Can speak around the world. Can push people to do things, and easily pick information from others public minds, usually without detection so long as they practice. General astral sight is more comprehensive, and they have a much larger skill set with astral power.

Astralgia have a special place in Lupa society, even among other astral people. Due to their higher power capacity and greater ability to read others, many astral disciplines are kept by them alone, and are considered the province of astralgia. They are responsible for learning and carrying on these abilities, as well as training the others in their own specialties. Some of these skills do have a base in the world of Speakers and other astral people, but astralgia are expected to delve into them on a greater level and perfect them on a much larger scale. As they get older and their astrals continue to develop, one would expect their skills to seem more effortless with time and practice.

In Lupa culture, astralgia are often thought to have a high degree of luck and a good sense of timing, which can certainly be true due to the combination of their physical and astral senses. They also may have a very good or unusual sense of aesthetics and beauty. Āankai are rumored like astralgia, often growing around and near their homes.

Physical Power

The main observable difference of astralgia from other types of astral people is the amount of power they can wield, which is significantly higher than ralgi (Speakers). As the only astrals capable of extended power use, the main focus of their training and activity is keeping this skill set alive.

  • Shaping power
  • Full powered fighting
  • Fighting with astral alone
  • Functional astral shields

An astral shield is usually somewhat permeable, and relies on the strength of the wielder, who must constantly put power into it to hold it against an attack. A normal Speaker can hold a shield for about 10–20 seconds or so, as in an emergency, and can usually only shield enough area to protect one person. Astralgia and astralgi are much more powerful and skilled with using shields.

An astral shield works extremely well against bullets, clubs (without spikes), and other such blunt objects. Something with a sharp edge or point directly against the shield is harder to hold, as the honed edge may slice through it. One might astrally crack a shield by using a pin-point stream of power in the same place over a period of time, as Miara has done. It takes a highly trained power user to use power shielding in a battle the way the immortals can.

Shields do not work well against things which are constantly pressing around them, such as surrounding fire or if one is drowning. A shield can, however, be used in cases of falling buildings, explosions, or falling debris, depending on the strength and power level of the user.

  • Moving objects

The movement of objects with astral power is difficult to learn. While simply “blowing” or “kicking” an object to another area is fairly achievable as long as one has enough power, guiding an object in an easy, controlled manner in a way that looks effortless is extremely difficult to master. Not even all astralgia are good at it, but sometimes a normal Touched will be able to do it with small objects. Most of those skilled in this technique are either old or incredibly talented.

Moving an object requires two kinds of higher skill, as well as the basic skill of being able to levitate the object. Putting or calling up enough power in something to give it a good glow will make it levitate. The two skills required are advanced forms of shielding and power blasts. They must both be finely controlled, often in minute levels. The shield must be constant and strong enough to force the object in the direction desired, and blasts at exactly the right strength and intervals to keep even, stable movement. One must then use all these abilities smoothly in tandem with the object.

  • Ability to convert other power types (electricity, mana, ambient)
  • Guiding a bullet or other projectile to some degree
  • Astral cushions
  • Astral dancing

Non-Physical Abilities

Nearly all of these abilities are universal across Speakers and astralgia to some extent, but a Speaker would only be extremely skilled in a few of them, while astralgia use a much more developed version of most of them.

  • In depth astral reading and picking of information from others’ minds
  • Pursuit of an astral calling. While many non-astralgia feel such callings, they have more options over what to do about it, whereas astralgia are expected to follow it through.
  • Shared mind/talking around the world.
  • Use of astral mapping on a large scale, using mapping as a matter of course
  • Astral dreams
  • Ability to “go astral”—the Lupa version of an out of body experience. The astral plane is a mysterious place with no real place or objects, just ambient power. Can use it to move IR in certain circumstances.

Interaction

There are certain things an astralgia may be expected to do in Lupa society, and so most of them are given Leadership training, which is usually done while they study at the Place of the Touched as an adolescent and young adult.

  • Can be turned to for truth and Leadership in circumstances where a pack Leader and Speaker may need help in a complicated situation.
  • Finding people who are lost or missing
  • When in use of shared mind, they often come across as telepathic and have the ability to structure the mind/thoughts to this effect, and usually take on the role of central focus, even when they have not initiated the shared mind.
  • Making mental blocks or restructuring another’s mind in other ways
  • Ability to put/project things into others’ minds, with or without their knowledge
  • Mixing astral and dominance. Astral can be used to project dominance, so that it packs an extra punch when necessary. In some people, it may just naturally happen, such as in Miara’s case as she has a high dominance level to begin with.

People

Miara: Also has quite a powerful heritage. She has been well trained in nearly all of the astralgia abilities, and unlike the immortals is able to act without astral, although it is strange and often due to overextending her power. For a better idea of her capabilities, see her page and the astralgia section. She does not have the metal gift.

Astralgi

Astralgia plus astral chameleon, knows things like names or slight precognition. Full combination of astral fighting. Average power orb size of a grapefruit. Can speak between worlds. Super comprehensive astral sight, often give off a feeling of seeing right through you.

People

Zaira: She is an astral chameleon, and if it can be done astrally, she can do it, with the exception of healing.

TheHunterKiller was strong, but not quite astralgia, before she became the HunterKiller, and her specialties were languages and metal making. She has been made stronger first by immortality, and then the 5,000 years she's had to further develop and evolve her abilities. She is now astralgi, and on nearly even footing with Zaira astrally. This does not include her other powers or abilities given only to the HunterKillers.

Astral Communication

While a Touched person can perceive things from the mind of another, they can also learn to communicate directly with another in what is called shared mind. It is not actually telepathy, as there is no sending of structured thought dialog, but an idea or image brought to the foreground which another can see, interpret, and respond to. Touching a person increases what can be seen or shared, whether or not either party is Touched. However, those with skill and experience in shared mind learn how to best tailor their astral communication, and will often come across as telepathic. Anyone can participate in shared mind, but at least one party must be Touched in order to collect or connect the others.

The members of the Tokyo Lupa often speak to each other this way; both Kai and Miara are able to initiate shared mind. One can learn to attract the attention of an astral person in order to speak to them, but unless they are powerful or very familiar with that person they would need to be nearby to hear it.

Bonding

One thing that all Lupa have ability for is bonding. Being bonded is a condition in which one's soul is literally and irrevocably joined to and enmeshed with another's. It is unbreakable and gets stronger over time. There are several types of bonds, the most important being between mates. Mothers and their children have a bond that slowly decreases and becomes mostly dormant over time (, and in most cases twins have a bonded relationship, as well. Then there are more spontaneous bonds, which most usually occur between close friends who share a passion, such as a hobby or ability.

The Bonding Process

The bonding process can take place in several ways, depending upon such factors as the type of bond and the astral level of the people making it. For normal, nonTouched Lupa, the bond will start when they become mates ("get married"), making a very weak initial bond by penetrating deep into each other's minds and leaving a part of themselves behind. The bond will then get stronger with intimacy and over time. However, if one partner is Touched, the initial bond will be stronger, and even more strong if both are. Someone who is skilled with bonds, such as a closely bonded twin, will also create a stronger initial bond than a normal person.

In the case of spontaneous bonds, which are more likely to happen with gifted or Touched people, the bond is formed unwittingly. This is often the result of the tandem use of an astral gift. However, a soulmate bond can also occur when people who simply "get" each other develop a strong relationship without the use of any particular gift or astral ability. Again, this is more likely to occur with people who are already more astral.

With twins, the bond will develop because they share the same womb before being born. Most will eventually put distance between themselves in order to live their own lives. However, when very young, bonded siblings may act and speak as a unit, and generally enjoy a closeness that others cannot emulate. Life is a different experience for them because they see things through their bonded state and share nearly everything. It can take a long time for them to realize that there is some disadvantage in this.

Impact

Since bonds are life-long and permanent, most are only undertaken slowly with very serious attention and attitudes. One does not want to be bonded with an incompatible person for the rest of their lives. Even once a couple decides they want to be mated (which is usually the quickest phase), they will often wait several moons while they become mentally intimate to ensure that they will be okay in a life-long bond with each other. Mental compatibility of course means different things to different people, and so there is as great variety in personalities within a mated relationship as one might expect of any culture. While in some cases a couple will rush bonding and later find they are incompatible, they will still have to live with that bond for the rest of their lives.

The greatest impact that bonds have on Lupa society is most likely that there is virtually no cheating on a mate or divorce. When one is in permanent mental communication and communion, it is nearly impossible to hide something like cheating, and there is also much clearer understanding of one's mate. They are a unit, and the experience one has through the bond with a mate during intimate relations is irreplaceable. In effect, intimate relations become associated specifically with one's mate and not with other people (outside of mating season, anyway).

The impact for a bonded person is that you now have the person you care about most living in your head. You can contact and speak with them anytime. Their thoughts and emotions are right there for you, and yours for them. You can influence one another if necessary, and there is a clear explanation when you do or says something. Often, your strengths and weaknesses will compliment and steady each other, or you will be able to enjoy doing something you both love in a new way.

Of course, one may chose to specifically use or not use a bond at will, but one will still have a general awareness of what the other is feeling and doing. When physically separated, this can be extremely useful, especially if one is in a dangerous or threatening situation. One can learn to shield the bond to create distance or privacy, but this would not keep the other half of the bond from knowing if something wonderful or horrible has happened.

In some cases, where a person has multiple bonds, all parties can conceivably sense or contact each other. While this would by no means be a normal occurrence, vital information could be accessed during an emergency, or some other need may be able to be addressed in a better manner.

Death and Bonds

The worst part about bonding for most people is the death of one half. For the one left alive, part of their soul is ripped out, which is extremely painful and can lead to psychotic episodes, suppressed memory, and extreme violence. Others may lie comatose or apathetic for long periods of time, or sink into a deep depression. As with Humans, some Lupa die not long after their mate, and some recover and live out the rest of their days enjoying life. However, for those whose mate dies young, it is usually extremely hard to take a new mate.

One enters a bond with the understanding that even if they both live to old age, one of them will still have to deal with losing the other. Once one reaches that age, it is expected, although still as painful. Thus, it is generally accepted as easier to handle the older a couple gets due to one's expectations of life.

Most Lupa are uncomfortable speaking about broken bonds of any sort, and people avoid staying near someone who is dying unless they're bonded to them or immediate family, as seeing someone else's bond break is also terrible and considered extremely private.

The Astral Healer

In each generation of Lupa, there is one astral healer, called the Healer. They are the only person in their entire generation to have this gift, and it comes with as much responsibility as being an immortal or high level astralgia. This person is always the head of the healer's order, and must be ready to drop everything at a moment's notice to help someone.

The astral healer is Touched rather than Gifted, and their specific abilities include using astral to see inside a person's body, seek out ailments, and to heal. This is not a healing spell, and the act of astrally healing will proportionally weaken the Healer unless someone is providing them with power. There are some injuries, such as brain damage or a strong, swift poison, that cannot be healed unless the Healer is there at the moment of injury. However, the Healer can successfully wipe most slower yet deadly poisons from the body if they are there in time. Once tissue is dead, it is much harder for the Healer to fix, and the attempt would usually only drain the Healer and restore little.

Known Healers
In the current timeline, the astral Healer is nearing the end of his/her life, and the new one will be born sometime after 2015 on Terra. However, he will die as a teenager, and there won't be another one until Oria, the Healer local to Zaira and Miara's time. She was trained in both Lupa and Terran medicine (Zaira put her through med school), and lives at the Place of the Touched with her mate, who often acts as her assistant or nurse.