Treatise on the Elements, Volume 2 (book)

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This book is the second volume in a two volume series. For the first volume, see Treatise on the Elements, Volume I.

Treatise on the Elements, Volume II

A Report by the GCMH, in the Year 370 BL

Table of Contents:

Chapter One: The Source of Elemental Magic, Elemental Mana
Chapter Two: The Elements, In Particular the Four Elements of Primacy
Chapter Three: Aether and Electricity
Chapter Four: The Planes
Chapter Five: Elementals, Their Existence Within Elanthia, Their Structure and Origins
Chapter Six: Blackfire, Void, and the Zaulfung Stones

Chapter Four: The Planes

We have discussed elemental mana's Internal Source, IE one of the two sources of the elements and elemental mana, which is equated with the elements. We have yet to cover in detail what is defined as elemental mana's External Source, the second of the two sources of the elements and elemental mana. This External Source is defined as the six Elemental Planes.

The basic tenets of Planar Theory hold that the planet of Elanthia, its moons, its sun, and the other planets and moons that make up our celestial system, are all contained within what is known as the Plane of Abiding. Beyond the Plane of Abiding is a multitude of other Planes, each operating off of different physical laws of existence and reality than what laws govern our world. These various Planes, while separated each by a boundary of Void (defined as the absence of all existence) are all interconnected. There are flows between each of the Planes. These Planes, though infinite in number, all touch each other in the most inordinately complex of patterns, though they do not touch directly -- again, there is a layer of Void which separates each, serving as a wall and boundary.

There is, however, seepage between each of the Planes. They resonate with each other, and objects and energy are capable of passing between them through certain points.

While we cannot ever number or identify all of the Planes of existence, nor can we adequately study them since travel to these Planes is beyond merely different, in addition to the simple fact that the governing laws of reality are different for each of the Planes; we can however ascertain that there are six Elemental Planes: the Plane of Fire, the Plane of Water, the Plane of Earth, the Plane of Air, the Plane of Electricity, and the Plane of Aether.

In addition to the presence of elements within Elanthia and the natural cycles by which these elements are continually replenished, these Elemental Planes -- areas of existence which are made up entirely of one specific element (IE a realm of existence where nothing save fire DOES exist) also serve as an additional source of elemental energy, seeping through the barriers between the Planes to add additional power to the Plane of Abiding.

While it is a necessary aspect of this reality that there is some transfusion of physical objects and energy (IE mana) between the Planes, it is necessary that the boundaries between each remain stable and firm. Our world would cease to exist as we know it -- if, in fact, it continued to exist at all -- should it come into full and complete contact with another Plane, in the sense of the wall between the two being torn apart and the two colliding and coexisting without the separation of the absence of all existence, which is the Void.

Attempts at harming these boundaries, therefore, should be dealt with harshly to prevent this sort of damage to reality itself.

Chapter Five: Elementals, Their Existence Within Elanthia, Their Structure and Origins

An elemental is defined as a living being existing with no components outside of one or more types of pure element IE fire or aether. Alternatively, it can be defined as a living being which is native to one of the Elemental Planes.

Most living beings, even those with a heavy concentration of pure magic or elemental energy within them, are comprised of a variety of components. Bone, flesh, blood, and internal organs, for instance. Fae, while possessing strong concentrations of magic inherent within their bodies, are still made up with the basic structure of a human or an Elf, anatomically speaking.

Elementals, though, are beings of pure magic*, lacking any of these ancillary components outside of magic itself, through which it functions and possesses intelligence and sentience.

* Note that not all magic beings would be defined as elementals, merely those comprised solely of elemental mana; Nagas, for instance, are beings composed of pure magic and sound, classifying them as a magic creature, but they are not elementals.

There are two primary classifications of elementals, beyond the subclassification of which particular element the being is composed of and functions off of: natural elementals and reconfigured elementals.

The distinction is key.

A natural elemental is one that appears in what we would view as its natural and primary state. A humanoid-shaped figure appearing to be nothing except living, moving flame would be a fire elemental classified as a natural elemental and existing in the natural and primary state. The notable thing about natural elementals is that their form and appearance on Elanthia is almost identical to what we believe it to be on their home Plane of existence, the Elemental Plane from which they are derived. In other words, it is their natural state because it has not been altered for the Plane of Abiding.

A reconfigured elemental, on the other hand, does not exist in such a natural and primary state; alternatively, it has had its appearance and configuration modified by the transfer between planar existences. Natural elementals are generally those which exist on the Plane of Abiding temporarily; reconfigured elementals, on the other hand, are typically elementals that, while native to one of the Elemental Planes, are nevertheless restricted solely to the Plane of Abiding and not afforded planar transfer such as natural elementals. These are elementals that have been shaped by the operating reality of the Plane of Abiding, such as natural elementals have not.

Natural elementals will always be created from the Elemental Planes and then come to the Plane of Abiding, either of their own volition or through summonings, for a certain amount of time; reconfigured elementals are sometimes not derived from an Elemental Plane, but may instead be borne from a planar conduit of an Elemental Plane -- an object within the Plane of Abiding which channels the essence and power of an Elemental Plane.

A primary example of a reconfigured elemental would be the beings identified as "seordmaor," which is Gamgweth for "dark cat." These beings, though they appear to be cats, and do not appear to be made of pure Electricity, are in fact electricity elementals -- electricity elementals created from the planar conduit classified as the "Suur Pillar."

For more information on the results of our investigation into the Suur Pillar and the seordmaor, please see GCMH report "A Study of the Suur Pillar." A portion of the Suur Pillar is, of course, available for study in the Gealeranendae College's main building.

In closing, we should note that Warrior Mage familiars are not elementals, despite many mages who conjecture to the contrary. Warrior Mage familiars are not composed purely and entirely of elemental energy, nor are they borne from one of the Elemental Planes or a planar conduit within the Plane of Abiding. We do not know the location from which familiars are summoned, but it is a different region of existence than any of the Elemental Planes, as far as our research has been able to discern.

Chapter Six: Blackfire, Void, and the Zaulfung Stones

Blackfire is a type of fire from which all color has been removed: this much any apprentice Warrior Mage can inform you. Ancient mages discovered that different colored flames had different properties, mainly because altering the coloring of the flame by necessity altered the spell patterns.

Fire from which all color had been removed, though, was the most sought after magical achievement of that era, and it took years of research before a method was found which would do that, in essence creating Blackfire.

What the mages of those times did not understand, though, was that the method they were utilizing in draining the color from the flame, thereby altering its patterns, was actually accomplished by infusing the spell with a sliver of Holy Mana. This transformed a simple Elemental spell into something greater; it transcended from an elemental fire spell to a sorcerous fire spell.

As mentioned, the mages of that time did not understand fully the magic principles behind the process they were utilizing, and so did not understand that they were utilizing Sorcerous magic -- in fact, an entirely new type of Sorcery magic that had not been used to that point.

It has been difficult for us to gather our conclusions on Blackfire Sorcery, as all traces of the magic itself were wiped out many centuries ago, and it has rarely been used since then -- although some have discovered slivers of fragments of the secrets behind it, only to become hunted down for that knowledge, that it may not do harm again as it once did. Nevertheless, the GCMH's Magical History Department excels at its tasks, so we were able to gain conclusive facts about a number of the properties of Blackfire.

The Blackfire Cabal, those who had pioneered the research into Blackfire and mastered its usage, were wiped out by individuals known as the Four: Thistle Walksweaving, Illuranel eth'Riel, Jesram Windwhisper, and Anther Lorn.

These individuals found the only way then known to extinguish the all-consuming Blackfire: the Voidspell. By removing the presence of all elemental energy, down to the smallest degree, they were able to "create" the presence of Void, which would then consume the consuming Blackfire, in addition to the mage and any nearby objects.*

* Note that part of the difficulties of the Voidspell were that it involved siphoning away not just the raw elemental mana, but also sucking out the elemental presence, entirely, from all people and objects and spell patterns in the area. The land itself beneath the Blackfire, and the rocks and stones, all needed to be drained completely of the Earth element within them, for instance.

It is unfortunate, and a true sign of how dangerous Blackfire really is, that the only way to defeat it was by employing a spell even more destructive and dangerous than the Blackfire itself was. The Four's Voidspell was, to coin a phrase, a cure more deadly than the disease.

One must understand firstly that the Void exists in a state of balance. One must next understand that Void cannot be created, for in essence Void is the polar opposite of creation; it exists in opposition to creation, and is its antithesis. Void can be neither created nor destroyed. Nor can it precisely be manipulated. Thus the Four could not "create Void" with their Voidspell. They were capable merely of establishing the conditions which mandated the presence of Void. But due to the necessity of balance and the constancy of Void, the inability to create it -- the Void needed to come from somewhere.

Picture an hourglass. Tilt the hourglass over, and you have created conditions which mandate the presence of sand in the lower half of the hourglass. Thus, sand will flow from the top half to the lower half. So it was with the Voidspell. Eliminate the presence of all things within the Plane of Abiding, creating a complete absence of the elements of which reality consists, and by necessity Void must then exist there. So the Void will flow from where it is to where it must then be. This location is, of course, the barrier surrounding the Plane of Abiding.

However, this lessens the Void elsewhere, therefore weakening the barrier. A more apt analogy is this. Say we have a lake, and say we then build a series of circular shaped dams within the lake, draining the water from within each dam so that it returns to the unrestricted areas of the lake. The empty circle represents the various Planes, while the water flowing all around signifies the Void. Normal transfer of energy and physicalities between the Planes would be conducted by something similar to a tunnel which connects one dammed in circle to another circle. At no point in time would the interiors of the circles be exposed to the water, due to the safety of the tunnels; likewise, with normal transfer or travel between Planes, there is no point at which the interiors of the Planes come in contact with the Void, due to the presence of a control system similar to that of a tunnel. There is no rupture.

Creating the conditions which necessitate the presence of Void within the Planar interior will cause Void to move from the barrier surrounding the Plane into the Plane. This, using our analogous description, is akin to one punching a hole in the wall surrounding one of our circles. This hole will cause water to begin seeping into the circle. Depending upon the strength of the hole, or how much water moves in, this can significantly lower the level of the surrounding water. It is the same with the Void.

In essence, the Voidspell used by the Four caused a rupture in the fabric of the Plane of Abiding which allowed the presence of Void to seep in to the Plane of Abiding, weakening the barrier surrounding the Plane and making it more susceptible to further tears.

This is precisely what happened later, when the fabric of the Plane of Abiding came under assault from a being from another Plane. In this instance, the being took advantage of the weakness in the planar barrier which was established by the Voidspell used by the Four. This being proceeded to further rupture the wall of our Plane, an act that was possible precisely because the protective wall was weakened. So with this assault, slowly, over time, more and more of the fabric of the Plane of Abiding was torn apart as this being sought to gain entry to our own Plane.

At first this attack was not noticeable*. It was only when the being had gained a sizable foothold within the Plane of Abiding that its attack was made clear -- at this point, it had gained a presence in the area located around the swamps of southern Therengia. At this point it was necessary to repel the creature by repairing and reinforcing the planar barrier at the point at which the being had gained entry.

This leads us to the Zaulfung Stones; for full details of our previous investigation into the stones, see GCMH report "Study of the Zaulfung Stones."

* We should clarify that while the assault and the increasing planar rupture was not visibly evident, nor were there any traces of an actual attack, the event was noticeable to some, as while the being attempted to gain entry into the Plane of Abiding, attacking the planar barrier at various locational points, a psychic trace of itself was left in some areas of the Plane of Abiding; some individuals were infected by this psychic trace and as a result began having visions of this being, visions which seemed to instill a level of insanity.

We have little to add to our previous conclusions set forth on the Zaulfung Stones and their nature. Much about them remains a true mystery, for instance the seeming elemental transmutational cycle that we had observed, which continues to defy explanation and our rules of magic theory and conjecture. We, to this day, remain baffled as to how Farn and his companions constructed the stones and the magic behind them. We can put forth some additional findings, though.

The Zaulfung Stones are infused with intense amounts of elemental mana, and they seem to be tapped directly into the six Elemental Planes in order to constantly replenish their source of raw, pure, undiluted elemental mana. In essence what this does is strengthen the barrier of the Plane of Abiding, helping to seal away the being that assaulted the Plane. The constant surging transfusion of elemental mana reinforces the fabric of the plane by creating a replenishing source of powerful elemental mana which dispels Void within the planar interior, which can only exist in the absence of existence, IE elemental power.

These Stones must be further studied, because it is essential that we understand in depth their workings and origins; they are a key part of the continued survival of the Plane of Abiding.