Elemental Axes

The alchemical symbols of the four elements: earth, water, air, fire.
The underlying assumptions of many magic systems stem from the ancient philosophy of the four elements: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. Sometimes, you find those stark elemental hues blended into half-tones (Mist, Mud, Magma, and Smoke), or even smeared into chromatic gradients of varying magnitude like colors on a wheel. That array of elements can be imagined as occupying a single plane defined by the X and Y axes, if you are into the geometry of things. A relatively recent addition to this arrangement is a Z axis, where authors and creators have place the dark and the light hues of Life and Death, or positive and negative energy, or whatever other labels have been slapped onto the concepts, like so many port-of-call stickers on an old-fashioned steamer trunk.

Applying that to my setting:

The Enfae dreams are parallel realms arrayed along that Z axis. The Enfae's native realm is closer to the white-anima realm of life-force than the principle realm of the setting. Because of that proximity, the Enfae (and most fae beings) have strong affinity to the forces of life, while at the same time, their ability to transit through realms along the Z axis also reveal a potent affinity. Their ability to transcend realms in that axis strongly polarized the fae, making the ability to manipulate or control the more conventional elemental energies difficult if not impossible. While the Titan and their minions had strong elemental mastery in that aforementioned XY plane, but lacked any affinity on that Z axis.

So what does all that mean? 

Not a goddamn thing... just another way of looking at things, or more to the point, how I tend to look at them.


A Not So Chance Encounter

A chill was settling in as the heat of the day wafted off the streets.  The yellow haired boy was off again in search of a cloak or blanket to wrap about him to fend off the sea air’s nightly chill.  He cautioned himself not to wear such a pilfered wrap in public again, lest a replay of the days events unfold again.  Even with the natural smoothness he inherited from his now jailed charlatan father and dead gypsy mother, he would not be able to escape from many more such entanglements.

His movements took him towards the docks, where it occurred to him a less distinct class of wrap might be found hanging from a balcony or inside a loose door.  It was, he reminded himself, his expensive tastes that made his last acquisition so easy to pick out on his back. As he rounded a corner of a narrow alley, he was knocked to the ground as the weighty mass of a drunk and overdressed merchant was hurled onto him.

The well to do merchant was pounced on be three thugs, crushing the wind from the boy under him. The ample man pleaded with the tuffs to take his purse and jewelry, and leave him be, but that only invoked a menacing cackle from the men as they dragged him up off the boy and pinned him to the wall. Hysterical pleadings went on deaf ears as the men stripped purse and finery off the swilled man, chiding him for his foolishness all the while.

As he lay stunned, the boy planned to stay still and act dazed, hoping for nothing more than a once over for coin, but the pain of air back in his lungs belied him, and he coughed and gasped as he regained his breath. The startled thugs spun, having almost not noticed the child in their eagerness to deal with the merchant.

“Wat are we gonna do wit’im?” one of the grimy men questioned in alarm.

“Grab ’im up, we’ll take ‘im back with us,” replied one.

“Wat! Are you mad? We're gettin’ paid to kill this guy, I don’ wanna be takin’ off with no squeal!” the third barked.

The merchant started to struggle in earnest at the careless announcement, causing the last speaker to draw out a small knife and slit the overdressed man’s throat as he stuffed a dirty rag violently into his mouth.

The boy was grabbed up fiercely by another of the tuffs and spun around just as the sound of a cracking skull resonated in the narrow alley. A thug’s shout of surprise was cut short by the shattering of his teeth and bone as the boy was dropped back to the ground, only to be followed down by the man who had snatched him up in the first place, as the headless haft of an ax crushed the vertebrae of the man’s neck.

The boy, unharmed but shaken, looked up in mixed terror and hope at a young man holding a bloody and unfinished tool, who was extending his hand in friendship, offering to help him to his feet.