Telelelian scholarship recognises six elements - the familiar earth, air, fire, and water, as well as metal and wood. There are also 'elementals' formed from the two pre-elemental substances, light and darkness. A cabal of talking mouse magicians of Teleleli also claim to have met Cheese Elementals.
Each of Earth, Water, Air and Fire Elementals are made of many tiny 'building blocks' of regular-shaped matter, the pure form of their particular element, as follows:
|Air||Octahedron (eight triangular sides)|
|Fire||Tetrahedron (four triangular sides - a triangular pyramid)|
|Water||Icosahedron (20 triangular sides)|
They tend to arrange themselves in the same shape as their constituent parts; for example, a Fire Elemental will usually be in the shape of a triangular pyramid. Fire Elementals can also take on a shape like a giant, winged human, composed of smokeless fire (smoke is an impure substance containing a mix of elements). Both Air and Water Elementals can take on a flowing, liquid form.
The angular and pointed shape of pure fire explains why fire is painful. The almost circular shape of pure water is what makes it flow as a liquid, in contrast to the solid, block shape of earth.
Earth Elementals, having square sides, are somewhat different to Air, Fire and Water Elementals, who have triangular sides. This partly explains their greater sympathy with humans, as does humans' having been formed out of clay, which is mostly earth. Earth Elementals are also the weakest Elementals, having neither the agility of water and air, nor the painful heat of fire.
Fire is naturally hostile to both Water and Wood. Earth, Wood and Water tend towards alliance, as do Air and Fire.
Wood Elementals are twisted, irregular shapes, like the gnarled branches of trees (my grandson informs me that such shapes are called 'fractals').
Metal Elementals are perfect squares of flat metal. As such, they are almost invisible when side-on to an observer. Since the metals of the world are, by comparison, corrupt base alloys, Metal Elementals are sharper than any sword, and he who relies on shield and armour may as well bear a shield of paper and armour of silk. Metal Elementals may also take a mercury-like liquid form. In this form, like Water and Air Elementals, they may flow under doors, through gaps in the walls, and so on. However they are vulnerable in this form, as mercury will flow into many substances, and become contaminated.
Darkness Elementals appear as a vague shape, which melts into the natural shadows around it (naturally these Elementals are most reluctant to appear in brightly-lit places). At one moment it might appear to be a huge man, then an owl, and then a tree.
Light Elementals appear as spherical areas of light, which get less intense the further away from the centre one looks, but with no definite boundary.
Some sages say that Elementals can exercise a hypnotic influence over creatures associated with their element, as follows:
|Earth||The cthonic, or underground-dwelling, kindred, such as dwarves, halflings, gnomes, talking moles, and the like.|
|Air||All flying creatures.|
|Fire||Dragons, demons, and spirits such as vampires. The last is because they 'reproduce' by turning humans or others into themselves. Thus, like fire, they grow only by destruction.|
|Water||All aquatic creatures.|
|Wood||Elves, warriors, and craftspeople.|
|Darkness||All who work by night, especially thieves and assassins.|
|Light||Wizards and other scholars.|