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Episode 100 Bonus – World Building: The Elements March 2, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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(Apologies for not posting this last night, I fell asleep on the couch! *doh* There will be another segment of the short story going up later tonight, one tomorrow night, and wrapping up on Sunday night.)

Back to world building! Today, I want to talk about another of the major factors that shapes the world of Nox and Grimm – the Elements.

I realized early on that I needed to work out just what the Elemental kindreds are, and how they are both like, and unlike us. They have to be somewhat like us, or Nox couldn’t have been born, right? But different enough to let you know you are not in our world any more.  I decided to go all the way back to the Big Bang theory to come up with the solution.

In the beginning, there was only one dimension, but some event caused it to shatter into a zillion pieces. Each piece is like a warped reflection of the original, moving slowly outwards through space. The theory is that our world, and that of Nox and Grimm’s, were one piece that fractured sometime after the original event. The pieces are still caught in each other’s gravity though, and bump up against each other from time to time as the circle around.

Since the worlds are so close, elementals and humans are somewhat similar in appearance and biology. The difference is that the kindreds favor the elements they channel.– Ice kin are all tall and pale, Earth kin are broad shouldered and stocky, Fire kin are lean and have red hair, etc.  Their appearance has very little to do with physical fitness, however, they are quite literally shaped by the elements. And, if they change the elements they channel, over time their appearance will change.

Now, let’s get to the elements themselves. When the two worlds split, the raw energies that make them up were sundered as well. In our world, the energy is weak and must be gathered through elaborate spells and rituals (sorcery), and behaves by a different set of rules.  In Nox’s world, the raw matter of the elements is incredibly powerful, and it permeates everything that lives there. The kindreds are all born with the natural ability to channel and shape the elements, without any outside aids such as wands or summoning circles.

Over time, however, the kindreds have found ways to magnify the natural energy they channel. This is where casting marks come in. Unlike human spell casting, which can draw from any energy source, casting marks draw solely from the elements. Think of them as very specialized runes or glyphs. They work like a water turbine – they open the sluice gate, and let the water in. It picks up speed as it flows, turning the blades of the turbine, which is attached to gears, that turn gear shafts and can be used to power all sorts of tools, with an endless variety of results.

Casting marks are extremely dangerous, however. If the lines do not connect up precisely, or have a proper exit to vent the fast moving energy after it leaves the ‘turbine’ section of the mark, it can have deadly consequences. Nox has come close to blowing herself into the hereafter on more than one occasion, especially when she starts tinkering with mixing different types of energy together. Normally casting marks deal with only one type of energy. Different types of energy move in different ways, and at different speeds. Trying to take all the variables into account is why she, and her ancestor Galen, are so anal retentive about keeping detailed notes of the properties of every substance they use to make a casting mark. It has to be strong and/or flexible enough to withstand the forces moving through it.

You may be asking, how do some of the kindreds channel more than one element, if mixing them is so dangerous? The answer is simple – any combination that happens in nature will be reflected inside of them. Ice is a mix of cold air and water, volcanoes mix fire and earth, and so on. If you figure out what natural feature a kindred favors, you can figure out what elements they’ll use. Lucien has an affinity for glaciers, Loki volcanoes, Nox is the north wind, etc.

So there you have it, a quick peek into the inner workings of the elements. I hope you are enjoying these little looks into the background as much as I have coming up with them. J Watch this space for more episode 100 goodness!




1. Mari Juniper - March 13, 2012

Cool, so very cool!

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