Each of the four moons follow a predictable orbit. Most of the year, the moons are roughly equal in distance from Aether, and so exert no noticeable influence. During the solstices and the equinoxes, however, one moon is significantly closer than the others, pouring its light onto the world and enriching or corrupting the skies with its influence. For the three days in which this lasts, that moon is said to be in ascension.
While a moon is in ascension, Aether gains the mild alignment traits associated with the moon. This causes creatures whose alignment is opposed to the moon's on one axis to suffer a -2 penalty on Charisma-based checks. Being opposed on both axises increases this penalty to -4. For instance, while Rehu is in ascension, all non-good lawful characters or non-lawful good characters suffer a -2 penalty, while lawful good characters suffer a -4 penalty.
On rare occasions, slight changes in the orbits can cause a moon to block the sun momentarily. This is a phenomenon called dominion. While the eclipse lasts, Aether gains the strongly aligned traits associated with the moon. All those who do not share the moon's alignment on one axis suffer a -2 penalty on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma-based checks. Those who do not share the moon's alignment on both axises suffer a -4 penalty instead.
Spells with an alignment descriptor opposed to the moon's cannot be cast during the eclipse, as if negated by an antimagic field. Spells with an alignment descriptor that matches the moon's are automatically maximized, widened, and enlarged, without any increase in level or casting time.
Rehu, The Dead
Cold and uncaring, Rehu is the Chaotic Evil moon that governs the autumn equinox. The Festival of the Dead is held during its ascension, where the dearly departed are honored and the restless dead wander the countryside, invigorated by the unholy light of this sinister moon. It is ascendant on the 30th and 31st of Reaping, and the 1st of Harvest.
Agni, The Chariot
Agni, the Chariot, is Lawful Evil. She holds power over the Winter Solstice, during which time the Festival of Arraignment is held. Under her blood-red light, sins are cleansed, debts are paid, and revenge is had, finalizing the year and allowing the new one to begin fresh. She is ascendant on the 30th of Darkness, as well as the 1st and 2nd of Frost.
Budha, The Giver
This pleasant and cheerful blue-green moon is Chaotic Good and governs the Spring Equinox. The Festival of Rebirth is held during Budha's ascension, a time to celebrate life both old and new. Families, friends, and complete strangers exchange gifts to honor the lives we share. Budha is ascendant on the 30th of Sowing, as well as the 1st and 2nd of Planting.
Shani, The Shepherd
Shani the Shepherd is the Lawful Good moon that holds sway over the Summer Solstice. She is ascendant on the 30th of Sun, as well as the 1st and 2nd of Fire. The Festival of Lights is held under her glow, during which candles are placed in paper balloons and sent off into the air, carrying wishes scrawled on scraps of paper.
Ketu, The Unspeakable
Historical records contain references to a few eclipses for which the astrometry of the other moons cannot account. Some scholars theorize that a jet-black moon, dubbed Ketu, could be responsible for the eclipses but would otherwise be nearly impossible to notice. Ketu is never ascendant and has no alignment. Mass hysteria sometimes called "The Madness" is linked with its dominion, though whether this is caused by the moon itself or simply apocalyptic beliefs that spring up around an unexpected and unexplained darkening of the sun is unknown.
The Aetherian Calendar
The standard Aetherian calendar is based on the phases of the moons and the seasonal changes. It has twelve months, each with either thirty or thirty-one days.