I need somewhere to store my ideas so people understand how Jack of All Trades and all it's complexities work. So, I'll do that. If you have questions, I'll respond to them and then put them here, assuming I remember.
The Ethereal Plane
The ethereal plane is a vast, unending land of the Dead made of an incorporeal form of matter, ungoverned by several physical laws, including relativity. Magic Users of a certain level can phase into Ethereal Matter, turning their body into purely Mana in order to go at or surpass the speed of light.
Everyone to some degree knows of the ethereal. The most mundane of people can only see it in small portions, they can feel when a massive attack of mana is unleashed, but other then that cannot really see much. Some have a bit more awareness, being able to use mana to some extent, being born with a certain amount of insight. This can be trained rather easily, or... it can be burned into them in the form of an Ether Scarred.
After you die, your soul, now isolated on the Ethereal Plane, will partake in either of two actions, depending on circumstance.
If you expected and accepted death, you will be assimilated into the land, mayhaps occasionally returning at the call of grieving family.
If you still hold desire to live and refusal of death, your soul will persist as it's own being, finding that, mostly, there truly is nothing waiting when you die... Lest, unless you catch the interest of The Harbinger of Death.
Souls are the basis of your being. They carry all of your memories, thoughts, and transmit it to your body. People with a fair amount of magical awareness use their soul to think rather then their brain, with it merely carrying the thought to the physical body.
The Soul is made entirely of mana, the matter of the ethereal plane. It is intangible, as it's form is not present on the physical plane, but in equal measure, it is also vulnerable to the mana of other magic users, as it is present on the ethereal plane, and with enough force, can shatter a soul and scatter it to the ethereal abyss, never to return as it disperses across infinity.
As I said, if you catch the interest of the Harbinger of death, for whatever personal gain he'd have from it, you'll find yourself an offer to return to the mortal world.
Of course... in said world, resurrection has a great cost. Considering that those who are dead are meant to stay that way, they require life to keep their bodies alive, draining it from wherever they can find it. If, somehow, a Rouge Spirit is cut off from all forms of life, they will decay like a corpse, and, they'll die again when their bodies can simply no longer maintain function. Conversely, if they manually drain something of all it's life, turning it to dust, they can maintain their bodies without needing to drain from the area around them. Similarly to an electrical device, if you give it a battery and fill it, it will maintain itself until it runs out, or, if you simply plug it into a jack, it will constantly drain power for it's constant needs. Progressively, to match increasing Decay from increased time, more life is needed. This cycle would continue until the ecosystem and eventually the entire world is drained of any capacity to have life, and, in irony, the spirit dies with it.
Of course, they also gain positive effects. Now built with awareness of their soul, and given much greater ethereal clarity and general power, they will be able to use magical abilities in a much more substantial way then a normal person, and, have a body of extreme physical capabilities, granted by their benefactor. Though, there is no guarantee they will be able to match those who stand in guard of life.
Alsandairs are those crafted by The Grand Librarian, the entity that created the universe, in order to combat Rouge Spirits and preserve life. The first of this family was Abban Alsandair, and, ever since his upbringing, the Alsandairs have become an invisible force across the world.
Unlike most fictional magic, Alsandairs are hardly a secret. After all, the first of them was in pre history and they've only became more prevalent, so of course keeping a secret would be not only impractical, but nearly impossible. So, they simply do not avoid it, but rather, they treat themselves in the same sort of vein as the mafia. Not to say they're criminals or particularly amoral, but, they're someone you definitely know about, and want to avoid at all costs. After all, why would you wish to interfere with those of the capacity to immediately end your life, and maybe even destroy the world if they so wished?
Of course, I'm sure you're more curious about how they earn such a reputation of people of extreme danger.
You see, Alsandairs are.... I suppose you could call them super soldiers. On a level down to the very minor specifics of DNA, they are built to be superhuman in every sense of the world. They can lift massive weights, run so fast Relativity oft steps in to slow them down for all but those of slow demeanor, and they can run without feeling weary.
Of course, not only are they physically capable, but, they too have awareness of their soul and thereby magical abilities. They train with these as soon as they can get them at whatever young age they do, pushing themselves in order to defend against Rouge Spirits... and maybe, someday, pull them out by the roots.
The Ether Scarred are a group of people introduced in the aftermath of the 3 hour war in the 1870s. They have existed before that war, but, that war made them much more common due to the wanton destruction.
Most can somewhat see into the ethereal plane to some extent, with some even gaining minor magic power... Ether Scarred are different. When experiencing a traumatic magic based event, magical awareness is burned into their psyche. An unshakable knowledge of something they experienced and how it was caused.
Ether Scarred gain a bit more power then a normal person, being able to train to high levels of strength, and with enough training, and even gain abilities like phasing, defense against Soul Reading, or consciousness past death. Though, even with this extra knowledge and training, it would still take some effort to get to the level of even the most inexperienced of Alsandairs.
Magic comes in a few forms, the ability to use mana to attack souls and defend against attacks to the soul, but, the main form is simply manipulation.
Manipulation is based on the principal of giving Mana a sort of physical form. Whether it inhabits the form of a physical object to move it, or creates a new object to use by converting mana to physical matter, it is about making something that's Ethereal turn into something physical, allowing you to use that object whether telekinetically or normally.
Considering that Manipulation is mostly based on controlling and making physical things, it is impossible to use with things that aren't physical, like time or space.
Mana is built up via training and strengthening the soul so more mana can be outputted and used. The rate that this increase in strength is fundamentally tied to the mental state.
Those who are most effective at gaining magical strength have one or more of 3 things: A reason to need the strength, varying in yield depending on the need, an understanding of the strength needed, and an understanding of strength itself, in this case, what magic truly is, and what it means to gain more magic.
Most magic users know what magic is, but the 2 other categories are what defines the user's true potential. Those who simply need strength for the sake of strength fall short, while those who need strength to defend the world will become stronger quicker. Though, those who simply need to be strong will fall short to those who need to be strong to overcome something.
The Grand Librarian and Harbinge-