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The Exaltations of Celestial Exalted are too potent to pass to their descendants, instead there are a finite number of Solar, Lunar and Sidereal Exaltations available. These Essences perpetually cycle; when a Celestial Exalted dies, their Exaltation is pared by the Gods and then bestowed on a worthy successor.
The Sidereals are the only Exalted who have deep knowledge of this phenomenon, and in fact have used this information to predict and track their Exalted since the First Age. The Sidereals do not just monitor their own Exaltations however, they have interfered in the progress of Solar Essences since the Usurpation.
After the Usurpation, when the Terrestrial Exalted killed their Solar masters, the Sidereals captured the Essences of the dead Solars and stored them in the Jade Prison. Stored in the Jade Prison, these Essences were removed from the cycle of reincarnation. The Jade Prison was sealed shortly after the Usurpation, then sunk into the deepest sea. The vast majority (approximately 300) of Solar Essences were shut in the prison, the remainder (about 50) consisting of those Solars who had not yet been killed. The remaining Essences were then tracked by the Sidereals and killed by the Wyld Hunt.
Approximately five years before the main Exalted plotline begins, the Deathlords learn the secret of creating Exalted from the Yozis, but require Essences to create them. To acquire these Essences, the Deathlords steal the Jade Prison, using a massive zombie servant created for this purpose. Chance intervenes, however, and the Prison breaks open in transit. As a result, the majority of Solar Essences escape from the Jade Prison, leaving the Deathlords with half the essences stored in the prison, and the other half incarnating in mortals throughout Creation. The Deathlords then pay a third of the Essences they have acquired to the Yozis, leaving them with approximately a hundred for their Abyssals.
Gameplay and Plot NotesEdit
- The Essences held by the Jade Prison are not the psyches or identities of the Solars, as the Deathlords are all the ghosts of Solars. However, Essences do contain memories.
- The Essences apparently did not enter or leave the Jade Prison until the Deathlords stole it; otherwise the Wyld Hunt would have terminated pretty quickly.
- Assuming that Essences never entered the prison, then the Mask of Winters' (who was killed some time after the Usurpation ended) Essence is a viable Solar (or Abyssal) Essence right now.
- According to canon sources, there are between 100-200 Solars, 100 Abyssals and 300-400 Lunars. A reasonable estimate for the First Age Exalted population might be ca. 300 solars and 300 lunars, leaving a deficit of 50 essences taken by the Yozis.