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Elementalism -- The Elements -- Elementism -- Zoology -- Technolology

Elementalism

Aether is a force of nature. All who can draw from it and control its elements are called elementalists. The word "magic" is merely shorthand for "a summoned element of aether."

In a religious perspective, elementalism is a gift bestowed by deities, a practice which allows the faithful to commune directly with the omnipresent forces of creation.

In a non-religious perspective, elementalism is the practice by which sapient beings can summon specific elements of the aether into physical reality, and manipulate the respective manifestations thereof.

Perspective aside, all elementalists require three things: vessels, conduits, and knowledge.

1. Vessels

A vessel is a substance naturally attuned to the aether. Vessels resonate with only one element of aether like colors reflect only one wavelength of light. For people who are not monsters, elementalism only works by physical contact forming an aetheric circuit between the body and the vessel.

A defining characteristic of vessels is that they are rare. Either they appear in very small quantities in nature or their refinement method is difficult. Industrialization has boosted overall vessel availability to historic highs, but most are still scarce, prohibitively expensive, and/or tightly regulated.

Orichalcum (seen pictured), for instance, is the Fire vessel. A brass-like alloy, orichalcum's vital ingredient is naturally-occurring crystals of zinc oxide. Zinc oxide may be chemically synthesized, but only natural crystals of it produce orichalcum. No one knows why that is.

2. Conduits

A conduit is a tool, frequently a weapon, which either contains or is made of a vessel. Vessels attune to an element; conduits draw an element into the physical world.

A conduit's shape is as crucial to elementalism as its vessel. An incorrectly-shaped conduit will manifest nothing, even if it is made of pure vessel. Various cultures have analogies for why that is. A common human analogy goes like this: "One would not cut wood with a hammer. One would not drive a nail with a saw."

Hand tools direct energy in desired manners by their shape. Conduits are no different. One cannot summon Water magic with an Earth conduit, and so on.

Most conduits have the vessel in the handle for optimum physical contact, but that is not a requirement. Some materials, such as wood or leather, are particularly good aetheric conductors, but nearly all materials are conductive to some degree. The only true aetheric insulators, through which no aether can pass, are certain plastics.

3. Knowledge

Knowledge is power anywhere, but in elementalism, it is everything. Practicing elementalists know themselves to an extent unbelievable by non-elementalists.

Aether permeates all things in the world, including living bodies. Sapient beings in contact with a vessel can feel the aether for as long as the contact lasts. Elementalism is the act of controlling an element of one's bodily aether in such a way that it resonates with a vessel and releases that aether element in a desired fashion. Without a vessel either in-hand or embedded in an in-hand conduit, using magic is about as easy as controlling one's own blood cells.

An exception is made for monsters, those rare creatures whose bodies are permanently imbued with an element of magic at birth. They need no vessels, for their bodies act as one. The catch is that they are wholly unable to use more than their birth element, and contact with vessels can cause serious health effects in practically all monsters.

Classification of Elemental Skill

Over hundreds of years, elementalists have developed many methods for comparing people's relative levels of elemental skill. The easiest and most popular method is measuring along the "Four Ds."

Distance is how far away one can summon an element.

Depth is the amount of magic one can use before becoming exhausted.

Detail is one's precision and control over a given element -- what an elementalist can make an element do.

Desire is willpower, the most variable factor. Typically considered the "draw speed" of magic, Desire affects one's ability to use magic at all. A weak Desire means a weak elementalist, whereas a strong Desire can surpass shortcomings or boost existing skill to incredible extents.

The very strongest elementalists are strong in all of the Four Ds at once. The vast majority, however, have varying strengths, which are usually indicative of the user's personality.

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