I might be wrong on this account and am happy to be corrected, but I almost see this as 3+ different submissions that would do well to be linked together but each would probably stand well on their own.
The first, obviously, being the description of the magic and ether. That sub ended for me around where the description of the Sorcerer and The Choosing started up. With a tiny bit of work to separate them, that could be its own post and simply linked to from this one on the ether. Psionics would be the third that can be alluded to as another force available.
The only other critical critique is the mixture of things like diodes and cathodes as descriptors. While it makes perfect sense, if this is a dissertation of a living person during that time talking about diodes and sorcerers burned at the stake take me out of the sub. I may not know the rest of the world though and it might be appropriate.
All said I like the tone and voice and it is a very thorough description that I found quite complete. Nothing crazy cool or anything but it does a great job describing a rather abstract concept. Ether would prob get a 3.5 or so from me just because it is a great, solid sub.
Hope that helps! Great read!
Thanks for the response. I agree now that I should have broken this down into a couple subs.
On the electronics note: this isn't a hard fantasy setting; If I had to coin the genre I'm writing in, I suppose it would be called "Science Fantasy." Electronics and energetic flow is known to the learned people, Wizards in particular are familiar with the concepts. Ether flows alot like electricity, and can be inhibited and channeled by certain elements.
I should probablly have made it clear that the world isn't one of "high fantasy" - it's truly a world where science/technology and "magic" interact with each other quite frequently, and while it might sound wierd to hear words like "Magick" and "Diode" next to each other, it would make perfect sense to a Greatlander of the day (providing he is learned enough to distinguish)