Hi all. This is one of two last documents I wanted to squeak through before putting up the last-50-years-update (or "state of the world" address as skkyechan has been calling it =) ).
Bonding and Telepathy
The basic nature of telepathy on Di'Quinasev is tied in with the planes, and, to a certain extent, Ice magic. Like Ice magic, telepathy is possible due to a slight misalignment of a creature's fundamental focus -- instead of existing wholly on the physical plain, part of their essential fabric -- their spirit or mind -- exists on what (for practical purposes) is referred to as the 'Telepathic Plane'. This plane is entirely non-physical at least as far as can be determined with current Di'Quinasev magical technology, but each sentient creature on Di'Quinasev -- and to a certain degree, some select non-sentients, such as the chameleon plants used by Starfeather gryphons -- has some mental intersection with it. A sentient totally without telepathy is not quite as rare as a Null -- a creature with no intersection with the elemental magics -- but such individuals are quite rare.
Strength of telepathy has to do with "where" one's mind intersects the telepathic plane. Similar to the Gryphonic Plane, the telepathic plane does have two dimensions, and therefore has a wide "area" on which essence interactions can be located. Generally speaking, placement of intersection on this plane looks something like a galaxy -- a central cluster or spiral, with the majority of those intersections being outside the inner circle. At the inner circle, intersections are very close together -- in some cases almost touching. Very few are actually at the absolute center of the "galaxy", but those individuals closest to the center are Mindlinks. The close proximity of the Mindlinks to each other is what enables them to communicate irregardless of their physical location on the Gryphonic plane -- no matter where they move on Gryphonic, their presences on the telepathic plane remain close together and can therefore continually communicate. Members of the same species have similar nexuses on the telepathic plane, such that members of the same species are best able to telepathically communicate within their species. Because of the 'arrangement' reliance of telepathy, it is theoretically possible for a creature that is deemed telepathically 'null' on Di'Quinasev to have the ability to communicate with sentients not from -- and in very rare cases, not on -- the Gryphonic Plane. In the beginning, these individuals were deemed insane -- hearing voices in their heads -- but semi-modern methods of Mindhealing have enabled healers to detect when telepathy is actually being used. It should be noted that cases of cross-species cross-plane telepathy are extraordinarily rare -- the "space" on the telepathic plane is beyond vast, and sentients tend to be in proximity sufficient to communicate only when their physical bodies are at least located on the same plane.
Though essentially two-dimensional in that essences do not interact with the telepathic plane "vertically" or on top of one another, the telepathic plane is not "flat". It has a curvature, and one of the intricacies of Di'Quinasev magic is that gryphons tend to fall within a certain 'height' on that curvature, whereas other sentient species are spaced further out. This is why there are no non-gryphon Mindlinks. The PrimeAdept Ryannar was the first to create Mindlinked gryphons, and did so, as far as can be seen through the historical records, by somehow reaching onto the telepathic plane and 'moving' the essences of a group of gryphons into the central nexus that remains the focal point for Di'Quinasev Mindlinks today. It is believed that he altered the telepathic plane itself, creating a vortex of ephemeral 'gravity' there that caused not only the first Mindlinks to be created, but the future generation of one Mindlink roughly every fifty fivemoons per major physical territory.
The Telecreatures are unique in that they have physical indicators of the strength of their telepathy in the form of antennae. These antennae are representative of the individual's telepathic strength -- stronger telepaths will have longer antennae -- but the telepathic ability is not in fact directly stored inside them. This means if an antennae is lost -- not completely uncommon, although the antennae are in fact quite wiry and tough -- the owner will suffer some loss of telepathic ability, but not all. At a basic level even a telecreature that had lost the entireity of both antennae would still be able to communicate with their own kind within ten meters, and with non-telecreatures with physical contact.
Bonding occurs when a connection is formed between two presences on the telepathic plane. This connection is very similar to a quantum connection between Earth particles in that it is not fully understood, though it can be reliably reproduced, and in that there is no discernable passage of information from outside the pair of bonded individuals, but obviously that communication is occurring -- some suspect that there is in fact a flexible third plane, or dimension, of telepathic ability that has to do specifically with bonding. Bonding does not, in most cases, involve the movement of presences on the telepathic plane, though this is possible -- it is how the original Mindlinks were created, and has been documented in Di'Quinasev history a handful of times, all involving the intervention of one of the Goddesses, who appear to have the ability to move individuals on the telepathic plane at will. Rather, bonding involves a pairing of two presences that itself is independent of distance on the telepathic plane. It is not, however, independent of distance on the physical plane, and bonded individuals will "lose reception" if they stray too far physically apart from one another. This being said, bonding essentially moves up one's telepathic abilities one "grade" level between the bonded pair; average level telepathics will become above average with their partner; above average will become exceptional, etc. It is possible for a telepathically null individual to gain some telepathy if they are able to achieve a bond with another sentient; however, such a bond would be very difficult to forge. Further on bonding, instances of extreme stress -- generally life-threatening -- can boost telepathic connection between bonded partners another increment, such that in the direst of circumstances -- and, notably, when half of a bonded partnership dies -- the remaining half is generally aware of the loss regardless of their physical location.