A scar, or an aetheric scar for the more precise, is a significant and dangerous disturbance in the aether.
Scars are created anywhere the aether has been stretched beyond its normal flexibility to the point of breaking, or more accurately tearing. The most common cause is powerful magic, which creates a distortion so significant (compared to the nominal activity level of the area) that it forms a rift in the aether; the rift itself is what the term 'scar' is used to describe.
The aether is a collection of possibilities; thus, as a fault in the aether, a scar is a complete and comprehensive lack of possibilities. Aethersight cannot penetrate its borders; it appears as a space color-negative to the viewer's normal background color.
The physical space within the boundaries of a scar is held in a kind of stasis; not a perfect kind, as the two planes are not perfectly locked to each other, but enough so that time passes noticeably slower. Aetheric effects, naturally including magic, cannot exist in or affect this space.
A scar is generally fatal to all known forms of life; since it is a fault in the aether, no aetheric entities - including aetheric patterns - can exist beyond its boundaries. If that threshold is passed by someone - or impacts them, in the case of a Behemoth - it forcibly severs the link between body and soul, which has two potential results.
- Annihilation, if the pattern ends up entirely within the scar's boundaries.
- Disembodiment, if only part of the pattern is inside the boundaries.
In the second case, the soul may later be reunited with a physical container (not necessarily its original); however, the pattern may end up being annihilated anyway if the soul does not bond with a body within an unspecified limit of time or turbulence (more at Aetheric pattern#Lifespan).
If fully within the area of a scar when it forms, any aetheric entity will be annihilated just as if targeted by Void magic.
The most common way of dealing with scars is simply waiting them out. The aether has a way of joining the loose ends of itself, essentially healing over time. This is a slow process, however, and is best for those with a considerable amount of time on their hands (or other appendages, as appropriate). Small scars also close much more quickly than large scars, which may take years - or longer - for the healing process to even begin.
A slightly faster way (at times) involves raising the background magic level of the area in question through the exercise of magic that isn't quite powerful enough to scar the aether. This is the preferred method of the Deities, particularly Rosewood and Eris, and has the added benefit of preventing the formation of new scars - or at least making it more difficult for them to form.
Rune magic may be used to directly heal scars, being the equivalent of the Divine Language, but it must be used with great care and subtlety because of its incredible power; improper use may not only fail in healing, but also open up new scars.