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Elementals in Felarya can be roughly defined as spirits inhabiting non-living matter. They are much more complex than that though, and a water elemental isn't just moving water with a mind of its own. Once the matter is possessed by the elemental, it starts forming complex organs just like in a regular organic body. This process usually takes days or weeks when the elemental take possession of its body for the first time, but becomes much faster afterwards, should the spirit inhabit another body. On most worlds, Elementals are only able to inhabit primordial matter such as fire or water, but on worlds charged with magic like Felarya, their range can be extended to other type of matter as well. On some worlds, there have even been recorded instances of elementals inhabiting an idea! For example, in the Malorjaa battlefield, so infamous for the terrible massacres that took place here, the anguish of fallen soldiers created a gigantic elemental of hate that rampaged across the whole world. Those instances are extremely rare, though, and remain one of a kind.
On Felarya, while no such instances have ever been recorded, the magical saturation of the world allows some elementals to animate very large quantities of matter, making their size comparable to that of giant predators. Most elementals use both the rich ambient magic of Felarya, and the food they eat, to maintain their form. They hunt pretty much anything that is living and that they can consume, and many elementals see humans as little more than a suitable way to fuel their bodies. Their form is often malleable, which means that their throat, mouth, and stomach can stretch quite a bit, allowing them to swallow large prey. Elementals are extremely hard to kill. If you fight one in its own element, the task can become all but impossible because the elemental will use the surroundings to sustain itself. Even if you manage to severely damage its body, the elemental will just leave it and search for another chunk of matter to animate in a quieter place. However, once an elemental spirit has chosen a type of matter to inhabit, it will never be able to use another type. A fire elemental will never become an ice elemental, for example. Moreover, for an elemental, leaving its body for another is an unpleasant and sometimes traumatic experience, especially if they got used to it over a long period of time. The only sure ways to get rid of an elemental are to either devour its spirit (but creatures able to perform such a feat are very rare), or to use a banishment spell once the spirit is separated from the body, to take the spirit away. Using opposing elemental magic is also a good way to damage them (water vs fire for example). There is no existing spellcaster strong enough to harm an elemental using its own element (aside from the coldfire used by some very rare beings, among them the succubus Arale).
Elementals have a curious way of aging. Past a certain point, the elemental becomes so accustomed to its body that destroying the body will either banish or destroy the spirit as well, effectively rendering the elemental as mortal as any other creature.
Many elementals shape their body like a human's, but others have a very animalistic appearance. How intelligent and conscious an elemental is varies enormously from one specimen to another. There are some spirits that are barely aware of themselves, and some with a mind closer to a god's than a human. When asked what it's like to be a body-less spirit and how she came to inhabit her body, a sentient elemental described the process as being "awakened". She was a wandering spirit, barely conscious of the world, and one day she became deeply aware of it, triggering the urge to possess a body. According to her, the humanoid form she assumed just came to her as the most natural thing in the world. While an elemental's form could be virtually limitless, there is definitely some recurring shapes that can almost be considered as species. The reason for it is unknown but some mages speculate that elementals are somehow memorizing certain forms and passing them on to other spirits through some mysterious means. Those species can vary widely in size though, as does the danger they represent. A Crimson snapdragon the size of a wolf would be classified as a Low level threat, while one the size of an ouraghin would obviously be much more dangerous.
Elementals are deeply individualistic creatures, and have never formed anything like a culture or a civilization. The case of King Trazix and his small community of Lava elementals in Mount Vylkren is an exception. They don't see themselves as a race at all, just individual and unique entities. It's interesting to note that many sentient elementals find themselves attracted to fairies and often mate with them.
- credits to TheLightLost for the idea of some elementals being created out of emotions.