History of Elementals
History of Elementals is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
Elementals - the children of the Planes. They fill tales of myth and legend, and many regard them as beasts - but they are no mere beasts. They are the purest embodiment of the primal energies, and there is a method to their power, a power which can grow to the strength of even the lesser spirits of reknown. Delve into the secrets of the elementals, and know their ways as you have never known them before.
- 1 Chapter 1: Origins
- 2 Chapter 2: Overview of Elementals
- 3 Chapter 3: The First Echelon
- 4 Chapter 4: The Second Echelon
- 5 Chapter 5: The Third Echelon
- 6 Chapter 6: Great Elementals
- 6.1 Elementals
- 6.2 Composite Elementals
- 7 Chapter 7: Elemental Wars
Chapter 1: Origins
It Begins in Darkness…
No one knows for certain how they came about. Elven legends tell of a Power that created the world, and all life connected to it, that such a Will brought sentience to the components that make up the very land…
Before the dawn of the lesser races, and even before the birth of all life itself, the world was just beginning to form. Earth, the very soil and foundation for which all life would grow was the first to be created. A balance had to be retained, however, thus Air was next. The breath of all living things, and counterpart to Earth, Air would ensure that the ground would stay in its given form by slowly wearing away parts where it outgrew.
A great thirst befell the dry, harsh land, and signaled the next creation. A clear liquid which would cover most of the world, and was said that would sustain all life. Water would quell the thirst of the world, yet a fear of it consuming the planet prepared the next component. This was the deadliest of all the elements, and by far the most volatile. Deep within the world, a spark ignited the fourth element, a raging inferno that would become known as Fire. Unstable, and unprejudiced at what it consumed, Fire kept Water within the balance as it slowly spread across the land.
It is stated among studiers of the Elementals, as well as this legend, that the First Elementals created the Prime Elemental Planes with the ritual at the legend's end. Whether this is fact or not, is hard to say. However, this legend has lead to many curious sorts to seek out the Planes in search for answers.
Now the New World was complete, all the elements within harmony, and ready for new life to grow upon its surface. However, this is where this historian deviates from others, as the first creation to be placed upon the world is not what other legends tell. It is said among certain cultures that the Power which created the world placed a sentience within each of the Elements, we truly do not know why - perhaps it felt the world needed Guardians to protect the balance. Thus, the First Elementals were formed.
The First Elementals rose up from their collective facets, gazing at the New World with intrigue. The sentience instilled within these beings was of great wisdom and knowledge of the New World's balance, and their purpose henceforth. However, all the First knew was their element. Fire raged against the land, creating numerous volcanoes. Earth split the ground asunder, forming vast chasms and tall mountains. Water simply expanded itself, causing many new oceans and lakes to form, and Wind… Wind slowly refined the shape of the land as Earth grew. Like most things, however, the First Elementals grew tired of sculpting the world on their own. Each of the First Elementals started creating lesser kin, and establishing a hierarchy of things to come. These lesser kin Elementals would not be as knowledgeable, or powerful, as they were created by the First.
Colonies, often referred to in an insect-like nature as hives, began to form within localized areas across the planet, some say each contained hundreds and others say thousands of Elemental types. It is here that the hierarchy established was put to use, the lesser forms of the ladder were put to laboring the New World and foraging for new habitats to live in while those on the higher end simply took to command and inserted orders underneath the First. The First Elementals, however, didn't care, they knew they could still control the lesser kin when needed, and simply watched as the New World teemed with their creation.
It wasn't long, however, until the lesser kin of each Element discovered each other, and these meetings were never a light occasion especially when between those of opposing forces. While the First Elementals knew and tolerated one another, the same thing cannot be said about their lesser kin. Battles often broke out between those of opposing Elements, and only ended when either side was extinguished or one of the First intervened. The New World, however, suffered greatly from these fights which often created vast craters, valleys and broke off parts of land masses forming new islands. The power the First held over their lesser creations was faltering, and what next occurred confirmed this thought.
Without warning or provocation, another battle befell the New World, between the lesser kin of Fire and Water. Certain cultures tell legends of this battle, the one that could have brought the New World to an end before it even started. Although no legend tells how it supposedly began, it encompassed all of the Elements. The lesser kin of Earth sided with Fire, and the lesser kin of Wind sided with Water. Volcanoes spewed forth minions of the Flame, the lakes and seas swelled with tidal waves that crashed upon the land, the earth violently shook, causing fissures to snake along the surface, and the winds formed fierce tornados that wreaked havoc upon the ground below. Some say the battles raged on for millennia, many of the lesser Elementals became extinguished, and the New World was torn asunder. Great mountains formed where none were before, possibly for barriers, and valleys turned into lakes that housed thousands of the lesser kin of Water for strategic attacks.
The First tried to intervene, to regain their throne over the lesser kin and cease the tearing of the New World, but none would listen. All they knew was their Element, and those of the opposing Element must be annihilated. It was during this battle that the First Elementals, having lost utter control of their lower minions, finally understood reasoning for their creation. The New World was not for them, for while the First remained in harmony, the lesser kin were unable to fully comprehend the harmony of balance, instead becoming embodiments of its constantly-shifting scales.
As the ground continued to shake, the winds howled with the ferocity of dire-wolves, and the clash of Fire against Water raged on, the First began their plan. Perhaps a small bit of knowledge implanted by the Power that gave them sentience, they knew their goal on the New World had come to an end. The First Elementals walked together into the battlefield, amongst the battling lesser kin. They watched for a moment at the harsh damage they were bringing to each other, and the planet. Ultimately, they knew what they had decided was best, for both their kin and the New World.
Within the center of destruction, the First Elementals formed a circle and in unison spoke aloud in a voice only understandable to their kind. As they continued to speak, their forms glowed bright which caused the raging lesser kin to halt in their actions and gaze at their creators. The First Elementals' forms flickered as small motes began to unravel from their image and drift toward the heavens. Clouds slowly started circling above the First, forming four small whirlpool-like vortexes. As the First Elementals raised their unified voices, the motes began streaming with energy of the intoning Elementals.
Slowly, a lesser Fire elemental was drawn to its creator, and as it neared the First it began to unravel and spiraled up towards the whirlpools in the sky. One by one, the lesser kin began to gather around their creator, oblivious to the battle that was occurring just a few moments ago, and one by one they too unraveled and ascended towards the heavens. As the last of the lesser kin ascended into the sky, the First Elementals continued their intoning to keep the pathway open as they gazed at the world their kind had sculpted.
At last, the First Elementals themselves ascended into the skies, their forms pulsating brightly and unraveling into the motes of energy as they neared the vortexes. Their voices still rung outward into the skies until they fully enter within the whirlpools, and were gone. A stillness overcame the New World as the whirlpools simply vanished upon the wind, and it held a proverbial breath for what was to come.
And the One smiled far above the New World, for Those Who Would Build had completed their work. The world teemed with Potential, thus a balance was needed - it needed Life to fill the Potential.
Chapter 2: Overview of Elementals
To understand the nature of elementals, one must understand the method in which they enter our world. Planar studies tend to be very complicated, and to keep a sense of brevity, we will not go into miniscule details. Our world is surrounded by a dimensional veil, separating other worlds that overlap our own, and each "veil" is continually pushed and pulled back and forth as these Planes shift throughout the ages. There are many planes and realms beyond our own, most too hazardous to explore, but the ones we are well aware of, and well-accustomed to, are the Prime Elemental Planes, each a whole world unto their own. Four of them represent each Prime Element - Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They are the purest embodiment of each element, and a mage must be either extremely foolhardy or completely in grasp of an element to walk the planes of the Prime Elements and survive. While they might resemble our world in some ways, they are decidedly alien and far more dangerous than one would first imagine.
As these planes continually shift and grate against our own, at times they can intersect one another, allowing the raw power of one world to leak into another, and vice versa. This is how elementals are formed; they are a manifestation of this power, and must sustain themselves on the decidedly weaker source of our own world. Interestingly enough, unlike most outerplanar beings, namely demons, elementals have no intense hatred of life, nor do they regret the fact that they have been shut off from their true world - they simply are what they are, and accept it. It is theorized that places of intense elemental forces (e.g., a particularly large, active volcano) attract these intersections and sustain them, allowing a steady trickle of the energy of a Prime Elemental Plane to leak through. Portals to the Prime Elemental Planes can also be opened to allow a controlled flow of energy to seep through for experimental purposes, however, extreme measures must be taken to ensure that the portal is stabilized, as disastrous results can occur when such a gateway "floods" the area with elemental energy. It is thought that these places, which we call an elemental nexus, attract, or possibly change creatures of our own world. Wind witches, thunder trolls, frost giants, fire sprites and krag dwellers are just a few examples of creatures that are certainly attracted to such a focus of power, and it is theorized that some of their development could have been aided by such a nexus, though it has never been proven. Creatures like those listed above, therefore, are not considered to be true elementals, rather they are considered to have been born of the natural world and then have been attuned to a certain element through a variety of ways.
Most elementals have the spark of sentience within them to a varying degree partially dependant on their plane of origin. It is here we note that not all elemental beings are formed on the Prime Elemental Planes - Golems, in their many possible bases for construction, are able to be crafted from the existing elemental power in our own realm, but they do not occur naturally through the power of an elemental nexus. Pure elementals must be summoned from the Prime Elemental Planes themselves, and this is a very dangerous undertaking unless one has a vast amount of skill in the processes involved. Thus, all elementals described herein are those formed by the Prime Elemental Planes in the wilderness of the world, they are considered the standard by which to measure. Golems are touched upon briefly in our writings only for the fact that they are commonly associated with elementals - and one should remember not to confuse the two, for they are vastly different in many aspects.
A side-effect of an elemental nexus, and admittedly a rare one, is that when two are within close proximity to each other, their powers can merge and create what is classified as a Composite Elemental, that is, a mix of two elements. While powerful, they are lesser in number than their purer counterparts - the Prime Elementals, mainly due to the sheer rarity of two elemental nexuses located so closely together.
The breakdown of elemental beings are through raw power, as this is a standard in measuring a creature's threat.
~ Lord Ulithian Feras ~ Lord Isymir Ril-Galad
Chapter 3: The First Echelon
Elementally-attuned golems are, by their very nature, creations of another outside force. Though usually crafted by mages to do a certain task over and over, it is not unheard of to encounter a golem formed by an elemental itself in order to aid in the protection of its domain. In the latter case, the area wherein the golem has formed is doubtlessly an area of intense elemental and often magical forces, so tread lightly. Golems are, for the most part, brainless and set on the task they were intended to do. They will do this without thought for anything but the task itself, and will mindlessly carry it out until they are destroyed, instructed by their masters to cease, or are overpowered by another force versed in the arts of golems. It is here that we must note that elemental golems are never the pure embodiment of the Planes as elementals are - rather, they are created, whether by an elemental or a mage, they are always created. They are a mixture of both the residual power of the Prime Elemental Planes and the elemental power of our own world. This is always the case when it comes to dealing with golems based upon a particular element, no matter the origins or power of their creator.
Elementals of the 1st Echelon are more likely to be seen as magical animals, as they possess a rudimentary intelligence and do act with what can be classified as a will of their own. They are usually seen only in areas of elemental power where they manifest, and may be quite hostile when something not of their element enters the place of their "birth". The only constant among elementals of the 1st Echelon is that they harbor a deep love for whatever place spawned them. They can be influenced partially by those practiced in elemental lore and greatly influenced by elementals of their own nature that are of higher power.
1st Echelon elementals are somewhat common, though usually unnoticed by most due to their very nature. Due to the inexact trickling of powers through an elemental nexus, it is thought that the smallest bits of this energy manifest as an elemental of the 1st Echelon, even though most nexuses have more than enough energy to bring the spark of animation to a being of higher power. It is also not unprecedented for an elemental of the 1st Echelon to absorb power over time and thus be counted among those of the 2nd Echelon. Note that Composite Elementals are nonexistent in this classification, due to the fact that the power to merge the energy of differently-attuned elemental nexuses is so great that the resulting elemental formed would be counted among the 2nd Echelon.
Some specific qualities of each elemental are listed below.
While fire elementals in general are among the most chaotic and destructive elementals, those of the 1st Echelon tend to be far more docile than their more powerful kin. Often described as flames no smaller than that of a candle and no bigger than a common campfire, they tend to be quite shy as they cannot manifest in a powerful form. Additionally, study of the fire elementals of the 1st Echelon points that they are among the most quick-witted of their type, this may be due to fire's natural urge to consume being suppressed out of need to survive until they become greater in power. Most all fire elementals need a source to sustain themselves, so you will seldom find one outside of a volcano or other source of heat.
Earth elementals of the 1st Echelon are one of the rarest sights anyone might see. Often retreating to the depths of the earth itself, little is known about them. Like all elementals of earth, they are undoubtedly wise in the ways of the world, but tend to leave themselves out of affairs of the surface, content to reside forever within the rock that breathed some semblance of life into them. They are usually found at the base of mountains or within them, however, there have been reports of others being found within hills.
Water elementals of the 1st Echelon tend to be more commonly seen than their counterparts, many have attributed them a playful nature, like that of dolphins, and it is not uncommon to see one or even groups of them swimming alongside a ship for extended periods of time. They have been known to venture on land every once in a great while, and this may be due to their inquisitive nature. They tend to dwell near the coast or in rivers and lakes.
Air elementals of the 1st Echelon differ from those of greater power in that they only take the form of gentle currents of wind. They are generally reclusive and are practically invisible unless they manifest themselves cloaked in mist. They are quite content to travel the skies unhindered, and will rarely take notice of what is beneath them.
Chapter 4: The Second Echelon
Golems of the 2nd Echelon are somewhat more versatile then their lower cousins, and depending on the skill of their creator, they can be set to a task and make somewhat intelligent decisions. Thus, they do not need to be given explicit instructions as their lower kin must. They are, of course, also able to handle the element they are crafted of far better than those of the lower Echelon.
Elementals of the 2nd Echelon are the most commonly seen of elementals, usually being termed by most as lesser/greater or minor/major elementals. They often fiercely protect their area of origin. They have little concern for our kind, and some are considered mindless automatons, and indeed, some certainly can be. Others possess a rudimentary intelligence that can range from that of simple beasts to a cunning that rivals the lesser humanoids. This intellect tends to vary based on the particular element, and, to some degree, upon the skill of the summoner, if said elemental is summoned. As an example, 2nd Echelon elementals of fire may possess intelligence, but the very nature of fire itself would gear this toward consuming anything within sight, while a 2nd Echelon elemental of water with the very same level of intelligence may be considered more intelligent due to its innately passive nature.
Fire elementals of the 2nd Echelon are quite a dangerous sight to behold, usually their kind are found around volcanoes, and thus guard them more fiercely than any other of their kin - without it, they would cease to burn. They fight with decidedly more ferocity than most, and almost all fire elementals of the 2nd Echelon will consider anything not attuned to fire to be fuel.
Earth elementals of the 2nd Echelon are more often seen then their lower kin, but are reclusive by nature. You will rarely catch a glimpse of one beyond the confines of a cave, or some other tunnel into the earth, and this gives them a very distinct advantage since you are within their very element. An extremely rare subclass of this type are primarily comprised of soil, and their strength is a far cry to those created of rock. The subclass of soil-based earth elementals are the least threatening of any elemental being, and elementals of this type are usually used by mages of varying cultures to aid in the cultivating of land. Mostly, earth elementals of the 2nd Echelon are content to leave us alone, preferring simply to stay within the embrace of the underground, but ware those who have encroached upon their domain and their peace, for they are fierce in combat.
Commonly-seen threats: Krynch.
Water elementals of the 2nd Echelon are more rarely seen, as they, like most of their kin, stay within a localized area, and those elementals of this degree tend to make deeper water their home. The sheer variety of forms that pure water elementals of this power is amazing, they are able to mesh with their element completely - becoming a tentacle of water or a spinning whirlpool with equal ease. They are what we would consider peaceful for their kind, but should any violate or impede upon their homes in any fashion, they are known to retaliate - the term "the sea shows no mercy" may have been a result of a run-in with water elementals of the 2nd Echelon. An interesting facet of water elementals of this echelon is that they can venture upon land if they want. In such case, they usually take to high ground and become ice. There is little difference between the two except in terms of natural abilities, after all, you cannot create a whirlpool on land. Another notable difference is that water elementals that have turned to ice appear to be far more aggressive and protective than their water-bound kin.
Air elementals of the 2nd Echelon are most interesting, as they are closely tied to those of lightning. Thankfully, most people of Elanith have little dealings with these peculiar beings, as they rarely wish to concern themselves with any airships that may pass through their realm. Additionally, it is very hard to anger elementals of air, as the winds constantly move and never stay in one place for long, thus they count the whole sky as their home and seem oblivious to the occasional visitor. They are among the wisest of their kind, but rarely choose to deal with the affairs of the world below them. They can, when the need arises, join to form powerful storms that can literally destroy entire towns. Usually, it takes quite a great need for these usually very calm and peaceful beings to go to such drastic measures.
There is an exception to this innately peaceful nature, however. As these elementals flow with the tides of wind in their careless fashion, they can whirl through storms, where they become extremely hostile. It is rumored that so many air elementals become 'trapped', for a lack of a better word, in this state, that these storms linger around one unfortunate (for any living beings underneath) spot for long periods of time. Cyclones and hurricanes have the same, if not more so, deadly effect on these beings. Interestingly enough, if these storms continue to churn with the presence of air elementals for extremely long periods of time, the site can become an elemental nexus where the power of the Prime Elemental Planes leaks through. It is thought that this is how air elementals normally manifest into this world, as intense power is needed to draw forth the power of the Planes. How they escape such a permanently violent place and flow with the winds of the world is unknown.
Commonly-seen threats: None.
Though rare, composite elementals -- that is, elementals comprised of two differing powers of the Prime Elemental Planes -- are not unheard of. It is also possible, though even rarer, for elementals of two differing elements to form one of these composite elementals. They only exist in the 2nd Echelon and above, mainly because the power it takes to fuse two elementals together (especially those of opposing elements) far exceeds that of the 1st Echelon. The following produce these types of elementals:
- Air and Water = Lightning
- Water and Earth = Mud
- Earth and Fire = Lava
- Fire and Water = Steam
Lava elementals are a mesh of both fire and earth, and they are one of the more common composite elementals as fire and earth have some ties to one another. They usually manifest within volcanoes, often staying within the core and forever becoming one with the magma that spewed them forth. Occasionally, they will be seen outside their fiery womb, and woe to those who encounter them. While slow moving, they have acquired the deadliness of fire combined with the massive resistance of the earth.
Commonly-seen threats: Lava Golems.
Mud elementals are a mixing of both earth and water, and are usually found in bogs or some other type of wetland area. Though extremely unusual to find them out of these environments, they've also been seen in deltas and muddy beaches. This mixture tends to produce a somewhat weak elemental - Earth's strength is worn away by Water, though it imparts some of the fluidity of water upon a land being, which can be seen as some advantage, though not extremely so. However, this does not mean one should not tread carefully in the presence of such a being. When one is in a swamp or a bog of some sort, mud elementals become a large concern, patiently waiting and blending into the surroundings to drag any trespassers down into the suffocating embrace of the earth for eternity.
Commonly-seen threats: None.
Steam elementals, manifested from the opposing powers of Fire and Water, are usually found in lava tubes that have reached a shoreline, or bubbling geysers found near mountains. They are extremely rare due to the fact that their sole creation relies on the clashing of the Prime Elemental Planes, and to find two opposing intersections so close to each other is nearly unheard of. They cannot move from whatever place they first manifest, as the fragile balance of two vastly different elements can be upset very easily, thus destroying them in the process. They are usually only summoned by mages for numerous purposes.
Commonly-seen threats: None.
Lightning elementals can almost be considered very common compared to other composite elementals, though in fact they are quite rare overall. Their only known forms are classified among the 2nd and higher Echelons. Due to their nature, it is not exactly known how they are so common compared to their Prime counterparts, but tales of air elementals causing intense raging storms out at sea in order to create these powerful beings are widely told, though the reason why is not known. They are the most unpredictable of elementals, and doubtlessly possess an uncanny strength, but their weakness is in their expenditure of energy. Also, lightning elementals of the 2nd Echelon have been known to destroy themselves in the process of attacking. Powerful, quick, and quite deadly, this is their downfall - they have no stable element to sustain their massive power for extended periods of time.
Commonly-seen threats: None.
Chapter 5: The Third Echelon
Elementals of the 3rd Echelon are among the most rare anyone might ever encounter, and are indeed among the most powerful of their kin. It is here that we note that elementals do not age by our standards, they merely exist until their source of power is extinguished, and as long as they might live, they continue to absorb the energy of their own element. Golems of the 3rd Echelon are nonexistent, as the extensive intelligence of 3rd Echelon elementals has far surpassed anything that can be mimicked through magical creation, though elementals of the 3rd Echelon can be summoned from the Prime Elemental Plane with a huge risk even to the most knowledgeable of mages. Due to this fact, elementals of the 3rd Echelon are not considered mindless automatons by those who know their kind.
Fire elementals of the 3rd Echelon often live within the very crater of a volcano, making them, thankfully, a rare sight to most adventurers. It is rumored that 3rd Echelon fire elementals use these volcanoes to travel to the very core of the world itself where they join their kin. They are truly fearsome to behold, being completely and utterly in control of their element. Like their lower kin, these elementals tend to be highly scrutinizing of anything that is not of their own attunement, and will simply consume or destroy anything that is not of flame.
Earth elementals of the 3rd Echelon reside deep within the earth itself, and are almost never seen near mountains or anything about the surface. Only a few people have ever encountered one of these great creatures, and reports say they are rather patient when dealing with things not of their element. They are said to not take any form at all, simply meshing with a large expanse of rock underground and manipulating it as they wish. Legends say that particularly large earthquakes are caused by earth elementals of the 3rd Echelon. However, while they are quite capable of such feats, most earthquakes are not caused by these creatures.
The subclass of earth elementals, the soil elementals, also are known to be powerful enough to be ranked among the 3rd Echelon. Even in this state, they are generally considered weak by the standards set by their other kin, but are capable of holding their own in a battle should the need arise. They are gentle-mannered and reclusive by nature, and show a very strong affinity to plant life of all kinds. These elementals are very aware of life around them, more so than any of their other kin, and most seek to nourish it through some means.
Water elementals of the 3rd Echelon prefer the mysterious depths of the ocean to any other body of water, and it is rare to find them in any other place. Though reclusive by nature, they are not averse to speaking with others not of their kind. Ware these water elementals when they have been angered, however, for they can destroy the most skilled fleet of ships on a whim. Angry water elementals of the 3rd Echelon are attributed with tidal waves, and they are certainly capable of such feats. However, the way of the elementals is not subtle in the least, one must remember, and it would be glaringly obvious as to why such destructive measures were taken.
Air elementals of the 3rd Echelon are much like their lower counterparts, differing only in power. They are generally apathetic towards any other form of life, and at times are quite friendly. There is an otherworldly quality to these beings, and they are very wise. They can gather great storms with ease, and when angry it is not uncommon for them to be seen as a whirling vortex blotting most of the sky. Generally, though, they are content and free-spirited as their lower counterparts.
Lava elementals of the 3rd Echelon are rarely seen, but their existence is proven. Only glimpsed briefly in the craters of a fierce volcano, these beings are thought to be content to dwell within the magma itself, thus they are thankfully rarely ever seen beyond their preferential home. Even then, it takes a great need to rouse them, as the patience of earth is instilled within them, but ware to those who have angered a lava elemental of the 3rd Echelon. The only recorded account of one of these magnificent beings manifesting describes them as huge pillars of living lava that can ascend into the sky should they wish. Unfortunately, this was only a written account - there were no survivors other than the charred scrap of a journal left behind.
Mud elementals of the 3rd Echelon are the rarest of all Composite Elementals, as their natural source of power is usually in a state of constant change. They are, however, known to exist, and are a fabulous sight to behold. Often described as an entire bog or swamp, they spread themselves out everywhere within their domain, normally as deadly tentacles of mud which drag any would-be trespassers to their death. Up until recently, these were thought to be separate elementals themselves, but it is confirmed that usually they are part of one whole elemental that simply will not collect into one large mass as its other cousins normally do.
Steam elementals of the 3rd Echelon are considerably more mobile than their lower kin, able to leave their place of origin for long periods of time without fear of fading away due to the loss of their fragile source of power. Often being mistaken for wind elementals, these types of steam elementals can easily be mistaken for a cloud - woe to those who walk into this cloud, though, for a painful, if not fatal, experience awaits them.
From the accounts I have read, these beings are usually docile and content to stay in their home, but when angered, can spread up to a mile to become a deadly boiling cloud. ~ Ulithian
Lightning elementals of the 3rd Echelon are rarely spoken of, but they do exist. They are a breathtaking sight, having lived in thunderstorms so long that they are simply an enormous mass of living light. They are immensely powerful, and rumors persist that they no longer face the dilemma of their lower kin, that they can sustain themselves indefinitely. They are mostly unconcerned with the world below, but when they are, be very wary.
In my travels over the thousands of years of life, I have only encountered two. They are secretive about their origins and, when pushed, are quick to anger. ~ Ulithian
Chapter 6: Great Elementals
Great Elementals are a degree of their own. They are, without a doubt, the most powerful of their kin outside of the Prime Elemental Planes. When they call, all those beneath them will follow. When they anger, all others beneath them anger. They are the most pure embodiment of their element to be found outside of the Prime Planes themselves. They are among the most varied of their classification, and are often attributed a name by those who are witness to their influence. This usually leads the named Great Elemental to regard those with bemusement, as they often take on their own name in a language of their own that is nearly unpronounceable to anyone. While they are powerful, they will normally only stay in a localized area and never venture further. This has lead to some primitive bands of civilization attributing them as local gods or spirits, but the educated know better. While they hold an awe-inspiring amount of power among their, for lack of a better word, home, it is found that it diminishes significantly if they venture away. There is a theory behind why this might happen: As with the elementals of the 3rd Echelon, Great Elementals are quite ancient due to their existence, and they are like any other in regards to the basic principles of elemental beings.
However, it is thought that because they have lived so long in a general area, they become intrinsically attuned to their surroundings and the flows of elemental power within. This would give them incredible control and power over their element, and also account for their extreme rarity - most places change over time, thus their source of power may be extinguished.
Great Elementals of fire are a sight no one should ever wish to see. They possess an intelligence and a drive for destruction that is unmatched by any but the cursed undead. They are more scrutinous than any of their kind, and have a haughtiness about them and a blind cruelty to those not of the flame.
Great Fire Elementals of Note
While wandering around the volcano on Teras Island, Avregol's forms shift between those of a towering pillar of flames and a dark fiery-robed figure. The mannerisms of this particular Great Elemental have lead scholars to label it as male.
Once thought to be no more than a story told to children as a warning against straying far from the village at night, Avregol's existence was recently confirmed to be more than a mere rumor. The volcano on Teras Island overshadowing the dwarven mining colony of Kharam-Dzu surged with new activity, and creatures born of flame flowed down its slopes to attack the town. Like most Fire Elementals, Avregol takes a harsh view of those who are not 'of the flame' as his kind is, and sought to scour the Isle clean of all other living things. Using the intense focal power of the volcano to increase his own energy, he was able to cause vast destruction during his time of greatest strength.
Whispered tales and legends around Kharam-Dzu's taverns suggest that it was Avregol himself that originally created the island. The veracity of these tales may never be confirmed, as when the Great Fire Elemental does appear, he rarely speaks, choosing to either incinerate those who find him or observe from a distance in dignified silence.
Little is known about this Great Fire Elemental, however, there currently is research and study going into this elemental that will perhaps surface at another date.
Great Elementals of earth have been said to manifest as entire mountains of rock, and it is clear that they could do so if they wish. They are unmoving, for the most part, barely taking any concerns than the thoughts that slowly drift through their minds. It is very, very hard to disturb such a powerful being, and they are usually very benevolent, but if a Great Earth Elemental is angered, beware, for there is no escape from them.
Great Earth Elementals of Note
In the far southern reaches of the DragonSpine Mountains, it is said there lives a Great Earth Elemental. Known to some as Ghatha, and to others as simply "The Earthen Father", his only known form is that of a towering mountain in the DragonSpine range, whose spire ascends far into the sky.
Historians and scholars became aware of Ghatha's existence due to a manifestation in Elemental form many years ago. A small village in the shadow of Ghatha's mountain was destroyed due to a tremendous avalanche with very few survivors. A recollection from one of those survivors is as follows:
"A face appeared one night in the mountain. Our Elders say it was the Earthen Father, a guardian who watched over our people. They say he would protect us from our enemies, and bring many prosperous years to our village. So wrong, oh so wrong they were. The Earthen Father came to us one night, a massive face formed within the cliffs of the mountain. Stony pupils gazed down upon our village as he just seemed to watch. Many of our people were afraid, some remained in their homes. We do not know what angered him, or what brought the destruction to us. We heard a great rumble, some thought the Earthen Father was laughing, but the rumble grew louder and the very ground began to shake. Many boulders came crashing down upon the village. A mighty avalanche besieged the village. Not many survived, my entire family lost. After the great avalanche stopped, some who survived say the Father looked sad, and disappeared back into the mountain cliffs. Why did he bring death to our village?"
This account can only show the magnitude of power a Great Elemental of Earth possesses. Since this incident, Ghatha remains dormant and has not shown his Elemental form, but the mountain still sits beneath the lofty clouds... perhaps one day Ghatha will return again.
It is speculated that Ghatha did not intend to harm this village, and indeed what some thought was laughing truly was. Perhaps enjoyment or entertainment out of watching beings of flesh scurry around their daily lives amused this Great Elemental on some level. ~ Isymir
Great Elementals of water are very elusive, but are generally very neutral in their stance of non-elemental beings. They have an intrinsic understanding of the ways of the world, and are usually very patient and do not act drastically by elemental standards. They are known to drift with the currents of the ocean, and rarely venture into streams or rivers.
Great Water Elementals of Note
Nelemar often takes the form of a humanoid-shaped watery figure when manifesting to others on land. The mannerisms of this particular Great Elemental lead most to label it a male, and he certainly does not care one way or another.
Nelemar is known to travel over the seas of Western Elanith, though the waters around Teras Island is thought to be his prime domain. He is very accommodating to other beings that are not of his element, and considers the area his charge and protects it in a very benevolent manner. It is said that he does know of Charl and respects his power within the seas, but it is clear his goals and that Arkati's are not the same, as the philosophies of the Elements rarely are the same as any Arkati's, though he will defer to Charl should he become interested in matters of his domain. He is content to stay out of the affairs of people unless his hand is forced or a great need arises. He and a plethora of lesser degrees of elementals are known to frequent the area, and it was not known until recently why such a large number of them dwelled there. An Elemental War broke out upon the small island of Teras Island, a clash between Nelemar and Avregol, a Great Fire Elemental. It appears that Nelemar had kept a close watch on the island, as he had known about the volcano's presence and Avregol for countless years and had been prepared to counter any move the Great Fire Elemental made.
The ensuing struggle resulted in Nelemar's victory, and the activity of Avregol has since been drastically reduced upon the island. Little else is known of this Great Elemental, as he was usually pushed back during the war and rarely seeks out the company of those not of his kind.
Great Elementals of air are often indistinguishable from their lower kin, but when they make themselves known, it is very apparent. They are serene and most often feminine in appearance, which is an oddity among the elemental world as they usually have nothing in common with any gender, and any that do are usually attributed to them by other cultures. Great Elementals of wind are usually always seen as delicate-faced women with long white hair that flows behind them seemingly endlessly. They are very kind, but, as all their lower counterparts, generally unconcerned with things not affecting their own world. Due to their innately powerful nature, they are not affected by naturally-occurring storms in such a drastic way as those of lower Echelons, but they can certainly be angered. Woe to those who incur the wrath of Great Air Elementals, the storms they can gather can spread for miles and wreak havoc on the countryside.
Great Air Elementals of Note
Celiel, sometimes referred to as The Watcher by those who honor her power as they would an Arkati, is a very mysterious Great Elemental. Her exact domain is not known, but it appears to be somewhere near the DragonSpine Mountains. She has not manifested for several centuries, but when she has, it has been a very impressive sight for any fortunate enough to witness it. Her face is a mask of expressionless and ethereal beauty, and the way in which she moves is the epitome of grace.
When she has been seen, she has never been directly acting against or for anything. She has simply drifted carelessly by, often with an entourage of other air elementals. At other times her face has been seen gazing down at the ground, which has earned her the aforementioned title. Scattered villages situated at the feet of the DragonSpine have taken to honoring her regularly as they would an Arkati.
Great Composite Elementals, due to their very nature, are considered to be nonexistent except for the confirmed presence of Veiki, a Great Lightning Elemental. Either way, Great Composite Elementals no longer exist in our world today, and if they do, they're very adept at hiding. Thus, the only listed below is the only confirmed Great Composite Elemental.
Great Elementals of lightning are almost completely unprecedented. All we have of them is one ancient legend in elven lore dated back to nearly the beginning of the Empire, roughly 50 thousand years ago, and it does not delve into the full extent of this truly extraordinary being. We can only assume that any of these are completely gone from the face of Elanthia, or are utterly secretive. Either way, as legend can provide the only information about this mysterious being, the legend is what shall be presented.
Great Lightning Elementals of Note
Whispers of Veiki's origins point to many things, from the cataclysmic energies released from the Ur-Daemon War, to great storms called forth by the elementals of wind shortly after. Either way, Veiki has been among us for some time. Rarely is he seen, but when he travels, all know: the night sky becomes alight as the brightest of noons, and raging storms follow in his wake. I present to you the story that has been collected from various witnesses of his supposed disappearance.
"We saw a column of light strike the [DragonSpine] mountains, blue like the eyes of our fair kind. We knew it was Veiki. It could only be he. We watched as the light continually spun, and it was then we noticed that thousands of them [wind elementals] were swirling around the column, singing in their whispery, melodical voices that surrounded us like a fog. [Veiki] did not seem to be in pain at all, though he had not a face to look at, we could see that if he was trapped, he could have easily repelled them. But he stood, as that glowing pillar of blue light, and it began to ascend into the heavens. They [wind elementals] seemed to meld into the Great Elemental, and his form began to flatten out thinly, covering the entire area where we were camped out in an eerie blue light that flickered rapidly. Without any warning of what might happen next, [Veiki] suddenly was torn asunder, his form degenerating into countless lightning bolts that flung outwards across the sky and disappeared. We know not what has became of the [wind elementals] that were there, but no sign of them was left."
This account was taken from a scouting patrol of Vaalorian elves, and they are the only ones to have documented this event. It is known that on the night of when this supposedly occurred, great storms began to rise across all of our ancestral land. A strange happening, indeed, and this is why it must be recorded and preserved.
- Jisanlyrc Vin'ziel, Scholar of Illistim
It may be a simple coincidence, but other elementals of lightning were significantly fewer in number before this supposed destruction of Veiki than they are now. ~ Ulithian
Chapter 7: Elemental Wars
Opposing elements have been known to war with one another. This is most prominently carried out by Water and Fire, with Air and Earth generally following suit.
In all conflicts I have witnessed or heard accounts of, Water is usually allied Air, and Fire is usually allied with Earth. Rarely do Wind or Earth spearhead any conflicts between each other, and most often, they only work with Water or Fire respectively, not truly taking any real hand in actual battle should one arise. ~ Ulithian
Elemental wars are different than any most sentient beings wage. Elementals have an innate understanding of the change of the world around them, they know and accept that this change can be violent. They know they are a unique embodiment of this world, and that they too must be part of the clash and changes. There is no animosity once a war is over, only a simple acceptance of the natural cycle of things. It is rare to witness such an event, as they most often take place on grounds that are primal and nearly inhospitable, but some have been seen and recorded. Woe to those who get caught in such a clash.