The Element Wheel
Alchemists, philosophers, and theologians have long sought to understand and classify the world around them. Their combined efforts have evolved into a system of elements widely recognized by the races at large. Countless elements have been proposed and eliminated from this system, and physical representations have varied from the needlessly complex to the absurdly simple. Today the elegant and straightforward form of the wheel is generally accepted by all.
The effect of this system of beliefs in today’s cosmopolitan society can be compared to Earth’s various zodiacs. Some place great pride, for example, in being born in the year of Fire, and others could care less. Most go about their daily lives knowing only the base associations, not necessarily where they came from. If one man related a story about his friend picking a bar fight with a much larger man, the listener would likely retort, “Danny is a fire after all.”
Ki is represented as the center of the wheel, while Void is generally assumed to be the space around it. Elements are listed in High Elven first, then Common.
Nanwa/Ki: compassionate, capricious
Associated With: chaos, creation, mercy, healing, light, within, unicorns, white, gold
Cultural Note: Scholars believe there exists a primary magical focus which powers or branches off into the various laylines of the world, and collects in the four foci of the Cardinal Elements. The location of this focus is the subject of much debate, as is the existence of its patron animal, the unicorn.
Aeon: Ageis, the Unicorn
Vista/Air: selfless, raging
Associated With: beauty, knowledge, diligence, introversion, North, spiders, light green, light blue
Cultural Note: Air Country is not a country at all, but a vast privately-owned airship port floating high above the ocean. Constructed out of necessity for refueling during cross-ocean voyages, it makes its revenue from trade, casinos, and entertainment. It is owned by the International Trader’s Guild.
Aeon: Garuda, the Spider
Nén/Water: reflective, vain
Associated With: life, temperance, reason, East, seahorses, blue,
Cultural Note: An old fairytale often corroborated by fishermen holds that long ago, like their cousins, some water sprites had wings. But they grew jealous of their cousins the air sprites and neglected their duties protecting the magical places of the deep to join in their mid-air frolic. As punishment the goddess of creation turned them into fish. To this day they still long to fly through the air. These “flying fish,” as they are called, will boldly leap out of the water only to come splashing down again.
Aeon: Shiva, the Hippocampus
Kémi/Earth: patient, stubborn
Associated With: strength, protection, wisdom, South, turtles, brown, green
Cultural Note: The earliest known evidence of sentient life comes from the Black Crags, a mountain range in Minyaranie full of now-extinct volcanoes. One of the lava formations is known as Turtle Cave for its uncanny resemblance to the creature. Inside are paintings depicting the daily life of a tribal culture.
Aeon: Unknown, though it is suspected to be a turtle-like creature
Sai/Fire: passionate, impulsive
Associated With: destruction, ferocity, rebirth, love, West, lizards, red, orange
Cultural Note: So far the only Elemental Focus that has actually been observed is that of fire. (The rest are interpreted from the pattern of laylines and other magical phenomena.) It lies on a chain of volcanic islands extending from the western coast of Firyarndor. The chain, called simply Sun Islands, has become famous due to its tropical beauty and concentration of Fire Sprites. It is slowly gaining popularity as a tourist and retirement destination.
Aeon: Ifrit, the Wyvern
Undumë/Void: impartial, callous
Associated With: order, destruction, justice, death, darkness, without, ravens, black, purple
Cultural Note: The Order of Ravens is a group of paladins versed in Undumë Nolë (Void Lore) and fanatically dedicated to furthering the cause of justice in Laima. They are not associated with any one government or race, open to and offering their services to all.
Aeon: As Void is the essence of nothingness, it is impossible to coalesce into physical form.
Nulla/Illusion: ambitious, selfish
Associated With: transience, trickery, mist, rainbows, moths, chimera, Northeast, lavender, grey
Cultural Note: Dawei the Illusionist, the first to wield the child element, is said to have come from the Eastern Lands (now called Dongou) before the advent of airships. Among the many legends surrounding the man, Dawei bested a whirlwind sent by the air itself to test his boasting.
Aeon: TBA, will be a chimera
Olva/Plant: generous, manipulative
Associated With: restoration, beauty, diversity, shelter, poison, ants, Southeast, green
Cultural Note: The Labyrinth Forest, the vast tangle of trees on the western side of Firyarndor, has frustrated outsiders for eons due to the fanatic protection of the Sylvan Elves. However the advent of airships has made observation of the area from above possible. Although the thick canopy makes direct examination of the ground unfeasible, scholars are increasingly confident that at its center lies the Elemental Focus for Earth, due to the growth pattern of the trees.
Aeon: TBA, some kind of ant
Rauta/Metal: adaptable, dependent
Associated With: progress, industry, strength, Southwest, monkeys, silver, grey
Cultural Note: Dwarves, though greedy, are extremely paranoid when it comes to digging new tunnels. Each must be meticulously blessed before and after construction. This behavior stems from an old tale detailing the biggest ore deposit ever found—and the Earth’s subsequent wrath over the exploitation of its brother. The Motherlode site collapsed in a massive earthquake, burying an entire clan of Dwarves along with it.
Aeon: TBA, a monkey
Élë/Lightning: courageous, arrogant
Associated With: talent, inspiration, motivation, Northwest, falcons, yellow
Cultural Note: Early in the construction of Rilma the High Elves noticed the tendency of tall buildings to attract lightning strikes. To combat the problem they built a vast lightning rod system around the city. Each strike triggers a cascade of light and a low pleasing hum in the crystal from which the towers are made.
Aeon: Rahmuh, the Thunderbird