Streaking through the air like a comet, Raziya is adrift in confusion. The night sky hazily races by her absent eyes. A stray thought gives her the vague impression that she’s forgotten something. Overwhelmed by the sensation of thousands of tiny pinpricks all over her body, she loses the last remnant of her focus. Her grip loosens on a small magical receptacle of blown sapphire glass reinforced by an undulating latticework of ornate silver metal. The object, propelled by some magical force, continues to stream away from her. Her body, wracked by frost and flame, impacts the volcanic crater floor and tumbles wildly till she collides with an obsidian outcropping. Violent elemental energy is released, producing an explosion of fire and a shower of icy blades. Indigo waves of energy surge and dissipate as her Mageskin absorbs the brunt of physical harm. She lies on the floor prone—motionless. She is disoriented by the dizzying speed with which she was ejected from the crater’s center. Raziya begins to stir and then looks towards her left arm that is outstretched before her. Her robe sleeve is completely burned away. The whole arm from her elbow to her fingertips is a mess of seared flesh. The skin is mottled by reddish pink burns of varying degrees and patches of blisters. She struggles to her feet in silent pain and clutches her right arm—a frost encased mass—which remains fixed to her side unmoving. Still reeling from the attack, Raziya looks on unfazed by the scene before her.
A battle between two diametrically opposed elemental behemoths, the wolf-like Inferno Amarok and the serpentine Frost Leviathan, rages on. The crater floor, a relatively flat area inside of the Synmagoran Volcano, is half fiery wasteland and half tundra. Red and blue variegated veins of magical crystals streak through the crater, illuminating the area. The elementals struggle in a contest of physical strength and of territorial dominance. They exchange blows, directing them at one another and at their respective domains. Gouts of flame rupture from the Leviathan’s tundra and fissures of ice emerge from within the Amarok’s wasteland. The Leviathan shrieks as black waves of ice rush forth from the ground to crush and smother the Amarok. With preternatural speed, the Amarok bounds to safety and howls as dozens of red hot boulder-sized meteors are summoned from a whirlwind of fire and stone; it promptly launches the volley at the Leviathan.
A colleague calls out to her, “Raziya!” She’s mesmerized by the contest of elemental power taking place not forty paces from her. He shouts once more, his voice closer, “Raziya! Are you all right?” She suddenly becomes aware of another pain, a dull aching one emanating from her right arm. Her instinct finally sets in; she summons the power of flame to her left hand while clasping the frost encumbered arm. The frost rapidly sloughs off of the arm. A hand grabs her right shoulder. In spite of her condition, she immediately casts an all-too-aware glance at the person standing behind her. Relieved, the man expresses heartfelt reverence, “Thank Lethaniel you’re alive!” Raziya frowns at him in consternation. “Wh-what’s wrong?” he stammers.
Raziya instantly projects a demeanor of determination and composure as she replies, “Xardemiris, we must reassemble the Clasp. The elementals must be re-imprisoned.” The crater shakes as colossal spears of ice stake the ground halfway between them and the battling elementals. They both shift their feet as they catch their balance.
Xardemiris, eager to increase their distance from the elementals, notices the injuries to both her arms; worry flashes strongly on his face. His voice takes on a sense of urgency, “Come. We’re in danger here.” Xardemiris begins a short incantation that is drowned out by the din of battle. He wears gloves of metallic filigree that emit emerald energy as he grasps at pinpoints of light in the air. In tandem with his motions, obsidian rocks from the ground around them hurriedly assemble into a rocky shell around an invisible construct, producing a bipedal figure thrice as wide and tall as they. Without delay, Xardemiris guides Raziya away from the battle all the while interposing the obsidian clad construct between them and the fearsome elementals, acting as a shield.
Raziya resumes her train of thought, “The Clasp of Synmagora. I now know what it is. It is a prison of two interlinked Elemental Vessels: A Pyrophagos which contained the ichor of the Amarok and a Cryophagos which contained the ichor of the Leviathan…” She trails off as the ground in front of them ruptures and lava rushes forth, interrupting their flight to safety. They pause. A cerulean insignia on the back of Raziya’s right hand begins to glow and exude a magical mist of shimmering white motes. As she points her right hand straight at the torrent of lava, she braces the arm with her free hand. A twinge of pain from both her arms causes her to grit her teeth. Raziya then calls out, “Sazahir!” Hundreds of fist-sized crystals of ice coalesce from the mist and shower the lava, slowing the liquid earth and enshrouding it in steam. Xardemiris looks left and right, indecisive on which way to go. Raziya spots a twinkle of the magical receptacle she tried to hold onto—the Leviathan’s Cryophagos. It is wedged underneath a rock that is just shy of the crater’s rim. It had flown much farther than she anticipated. She points to the object at their right, “There on the slope! The Cryophagos!”
Xardemiris sees the object and guides both of them parallel to the rupture towards it. He interposes his construct between them and the two elementals, shielding their right flank. Just as they clear a small ridge, a gargantuan crystalline boulder of ice arcs overhead, shattering as it slams upslope from them a short distance away. Untold numbers of urchin-like ice crystals, many spanning two hands in diameter, begin to tumble downwards towards them. Raziya, forestalls Xardemiris who was a moment from redirecting his construct, “Xardemiris, stop!” She plants her feet as she turns towards the spine-ridden avalanche. A bright white intricate insignia begins to glow on the nape of her neck. From the insignia, white hot veins of power branch outwards and criss-cross their way to her eyes. Spontaneously, the light of the sun begins to burn from her eyes, casting a blinding light in an arc in front of her. She intones, “Bevelyar!” Her eyes close and when she opens them, countless white eyes flicker into existence around her. An onslaught of small projectiles shoot from the eyes towards the oncoming landslide. They explode into crisp white spheres of concentrated white heat. Where they impact, the urchin-like crystals simply cease to exist. Raziya maintains the barrage until the landslide is no longer a threat with not a single crystal falling into their midst. As all the energy dissipates, she turns to Xardemiris who seems ready to move once more, “Shall we?”
They resume their dash towards the Cryophagos. Within moments, they reach the artifact. Xardemiris pivots and places his hands on the obsidian simulacrum. The filigree from his gloves begins to extend to the simulacrum, etching an ever growing pattern of silvery blue. He begins to chant, a chorus of his voice coming from everywhere at once and each one reciting a different incantation. The rocks of obsidian begin to disassemble into myriad black, azure and violet arcane laminae. They bloom before Xardemiris into a shell, providing a semi-circular bastion of safety.
As he is erecting a defense, Raziya picks up the Cryophagos, examining it. For Xardemiris’ sake, she begins to expound upon her working theory, “The seal on the Clasp was held in place by a complex and rather ingenious arcane lattice. It was devised to bind the two elementals together, but apparently it wasn’t built to last. When I probed it, there was just a sliver of power holding the seal together. You could say that my interaction with the seal destabilized it, but rest assured, it was at most days away from failing on its own.” She turns it over and notices a secondary reservoir that still contains frosty blue ichor in it. She once again feels the strange sensation of tiny pinpricks all over her body. Unfamiliar with what she sees, she asks herself, “What… is this?”
Xardemiris turns around with a strange glint in his eyes. His voice takes on a soothing mellifluousness, “It is ichor. Perhaps, you should inoculate yourself with it.”
Xardemiris’ voice echoes in her mind. She furrows her brow momentarily in response to his recommendation. As though the thought were hers, she holds up the Cryophagos pointing at the reservoir. She asserts, “I can inoculate myself with this ichor and gain authority over some of the Leviathan’s power. It’s more than enough.”
A sly smirk touches Xardemiris’ lips. With a tinge of smugness, he suggests, “You can perform the rite of inoculation here. I will protect you.”
Raziya turns to him, having the fleeting impression that Xardemiris knows what she is thinking. She begins to feel a pang of anxiety, but it is quickly carried far away out of reach. Instead, she feels resolutely confident, “I’m certain I can bind the Leviathan to me. I just need a moment for the rite of inoculation. You will protect me?” She pauses for a moment thinking, “Once I have command of the Leviathan’s powers, we will aid the Leviathan in subduing the Amarok.”
Xardemiris replies cooly, “Now, now. We mustn’t get ahead of ourselves. One thing at a time.”
Raziya sits down, crosses her legs, and becomes intent on the task at hand while Xardemiris watches on. She grasps the Cryophagos in both hands and begins to adjust the device so that a gold tipped protrusion is pointing into the center of her abdomen. She begins to chant slowly in an extremely guttural language. The ichor in the Cryophagos begins to emit a cyan fluorescence that wavers as the ichor itself is animated by an unknown force. The chanting hastens and suddenly the ichor beams out of the Cryophagos through the nozzle into her abdomen. She jerks, closing her eyes in response to the discomfort. An exceedingly intricate insignia becomes visible at the beam’s point of contact with her body, shining clearly through her robe. Just as quickly as the rite began, it unceremoniously ends. Raziya mouths a name that is new to her, “Iskvarneth”.
Xardemiris’ eyes widen expectantly. Raziya blinks and gets up on her feet. She looks towards the elementals off in the distance. Something is amiss. The tumult of battle has died down. The Amarok has maneuvered itself between the Leviathan and the bastion where Xardemiris and Raziya reside. A deep throated growl rumbles from its chest as it faces them. Meanwhile, the Leviathan has coiled its body as its head is slumping listlessly. Without warning, the Amarok begins to dart for them, leaving a trail of fire in its path. Xardemiris is startled and begins to move away toward the crater rim. Raziya, unfazed, outstretches both her arms. The insignia on her abdomen begins to shine fluorescently. She mutters, “Iskvarneth.” With fulgurous speed, the Leviathan moves into action, taking advantage of the opening. It wraps itself around the Amarok, halting its sprint and incapacitating it. In response, the Amarok’s body ignites; the Leviathan endures. Raziya is astounded and expresses incredulity, “This shouldn’t be possible. Rather then gaining knowledge of its power, I can sense the Leviathan.” She sees Xardemiris approach her from the corner of her eye. For a brief moment, the world turns upside down but then rights itself. The experience gives her a brief bout of vertigo which causes her to stumble and catch herself on Xardemiris. She turns her head towards him and is surprised as she lays her eyes upon a different face she recognizes. Raziya is confused; she blurts, “Nirmatherick?”
Nirmatherick coyly addresses her in a deep resonating voice, “You’ve exceeded my expectations magnificently Raziya. You are every bit the gifted Elementalist they say that you are.” A bone chilling sensation cascades through Raziya’s body. She can’t move; her body is not under her control. The Amarok stridently whines as it tries to break free. Nirmatherack arcs his eyebrows as he nonchalantly proposes, “Shall we quiet it down a bit?” Nirmatherick extends his right arm as Raziya’s head turns forward and her body moves of its own accord, letting go of Nirmatherick and mirroring his movements precisely. The insignia on her abdomen flares as both Nirmatherick and Raziya say in unison, “Iskvarneth.” The Leviathan in turn arcs its head towards the gaping mouth of the Amarok and exhales a frost breath into its face repeatedly. The Amarok’s whining is slowly suppressed as its head is encased in ice.
Facing forward, Raziya sees something she did not or rather, could not see before. Dozens of bodies litter the crater floor. Like waking up from a dream, her true memories come rushing back to her: There had been a sinister trap interwoven with the seal on the Clasp. A catastrophic rebound of power broke the seal and overwhelmed her and nine other elementalists attempting to reseal it. She then recalls Xardemiris joined with her in arcane confluence and an abrupt interruption to their connection. Overcome by worry of what became of him, she futilely struggles to move. It’s no use, her mind is but a spectator in her body. On their own, her eyes shift and settle on one figure still standing catatonically off in the distance. It is Xardemiris.
Nirmatherick whispers in her ear, “Forget about that inferior Enchanter. You and I, we have much to do.”
The Mage’s Arch of today is dominated by three prevailing Arcane Paradigmata: Conjurism, Enchantism and Elemantalism. Many competing paradigmata have either died or been rendered obscure in a centuries’ old struggle for relevancy. During that struggle, Elementalism gained the reputation for putatively producing some of the most potent and destructive magic. Epistemologically, Wizards measure the worthiness of a paradigm by its Authority over the schools of magic that fall under their purview. For example, Elementalists have the strongest Authority over the School of Evocation—the school that deals with the manifestation of volatile energies. In order to reinforce its reputation as the Paradigm of Power in the Mage’s Arch, the Archmages who guide Elementalism have established a dogma which encourages and focuses on the acquisition of elemental power.
Many of Elementalism’s fundamental theorems revolve around the First Law of Convolution. The law states that the fundamentals of reality arise from the paradoxical energy produced from the twin voids. As the energy convolves or folds into itself, it fractally grows into distinct patterns of complex structures known as Coils. Upon reaching certain thresholds of complexity, the energy gains properties. When it gains the property of substance, it is called a Tangible. When a Tangible gains the property of potential, it is called an Element. And finally, when an Element gains the property of essence, it is called Ichor. Collectively, the Laws of Convolution guide many of the scholarly pursuits of Elementalists today. Much of the magic of which Elementalists have conceived is in service of the Laws of Convolution. Elementalists in the world are ever vigilant in their search for empirical evidence that might give rise to a deeper intrinsic understanding of Elementalism.
One of the practices that sets the Elementalists apart from their Wizardly brethren is the process of Ichor Inoculation. It involves the collection of Ichor into a receptacle specialized for a particular Element, referred to as an Elemental Vessel. The Ichor is then injected into a part of the body; where, with magic, it is encapsulated into a Cyst. This Cyst imparts an affinity for the Element associated with the Ichor from which it is made, giving direct authority over its properties. The end result is that it grants them a rawer form of power most commonly associated with Sorcerers. However, it distinctly lacks the danger of that power cascading out of control. As part of an Elementalist’s training and studies, they visit Places of Power where Ichor flows into Myr’Nora freely. It is in these places where they acquire affinity for the Fundamental Elements through performing the Rite of Inoculation. More practiced Elementalists can further attune to the elements by inoculating with other sources of Ichor such as Elementals and rare materials that dwell within Myr’Nora.
Each of the three Paradigmata has given rise to a sub-organization with political power. They are often referred to as Hemiarks. Though the Mage’s Arch is viewed as one indivisible entity by outsiders, internally the three Hemiarks vie for control to direct the organization’s internal policies and their role in the world. The Mage’s Arch is an oligarchy governed by the Mage’s Council on which sit three Paragon Archmages from each Hemiark. The Mage’s Council was originally formed centuries ago to adjudicate matters on paradigmata, when Necromancy threatened to sunder the Mage’s Arch. It has since grown in power and influence, and though it makes decisions for the betterment of all Wizards, it often sways in favor of the principles of one Hemiark. Wizards are beholden to the laws of the Mage’s Arch first and foremost before those of sovereign nations.
Elementalists are often viewed by other Wizards as less cultured and brutish. This perspective is more of an impression of their magic than the individual. Still, it is a stereotype most are unable to shake. In times of war when the Mage’s Arch was forced to act, Elementalists were frontline combatants and as such, have garnered the reputation of battlemage. It is why to this day, combat training is compulsory in any Elementalist’s coursework as another war is never too far away.
Elementalists are the consummate cloth-clad spell caster capable of widespread devastation on the battlefield. With the elements of air, earth, fire and water at their disposal, they can exploit the weaknesses of many foes. Though armed with swords or bladed staves, they do not employ their weapons in mundane ways. Instead, they channel spells through them. Elementalists are armed with a complement of spells that deal heavy single target or area damage at range, and they are also armed with extremely punishing close range spells. Many Elementalists balance risk with reward, choicely positioning themselves in combat for the most ruinous barrage of elemental energy.
The manipulation of the power of the elements creates a backdraft of elemental energy called a Coalescent Flux. This residual energy can be exploited for enhancing the potency of spells. In short, when an Elementalist casts a fire-based spell, it creates a Coalescent Flux of the antithetical element, water. The next time the Elementalist casts a water-based spell, it is empowered while simultaneously producing a Coalescent Flux of fire. In taking advantage of this, the Elementalist can create catastrophic combos as Coalescent Flux can queue multiple elements in varying quantities. Additionally, spells can attain varying effects based on what fluxes are consumed.