THE ELEMENT OF FIRE
Fire, together with Wind, Earth and Water is one of the four known basic Elements, which represent the substance of the world – at least this is the common belief among many races and tribes throughout Caelereth. Fire in its physical appearance can do for you what the sun itself does for the whole world – it provides you with light and warmth and can serve you as heat source to cook upon. Fire is also an impulsive and a dangerous element, that can smoulder and suddenly burst. Fire can give wings of courage, compassion and devotion. Fire is obstinate and heady and absolutely not subtle. It is seen as the force burning inside us, giving us an iron willpower to go for our goals, bestowing upon us the passion to do it with all of ourself, resulting in the honour and freedom to do it without backstabbing and with an open face.
Appearance. Let’s take a look on an example by describing a painting, where we see the power of Fire demonstrated: On the picture to the right (a famous image by the great Isilhir) you see a Volkek Oshra orc with a fireball he has generated in his hand. You can see from his face that he is concentrated, telling us that you can hold Fire in your hands, but if you stop focussing on it for just one moment, it will burn you. Further, can you see the fire burning in its eyes? I do. It seems the orc looks (doesn’t matter if he can actually see it or not) at his goal, with an almost holy willpower. He just thinks about one thing, showing determination to achieve that goal, no matter what the concequences would be… He will walk with pride and dignity to his enemy trusting his willpower, and destroy his foe, burning everything on his path. He has a beard, he is not just some inexperienced young adventurer with a new little plan, no, he is going to his goal in live. And realize it. You can see passion, he will give anythingto archieve his goal, and does that, you can see willpower and courage. Emotions of desire and strength are burning in his heart and he will change everything by doing the thing he must do.
Physical Fire. Fire is in physical form, just as in spirital form, a dangerous thing. You can use it to cook on, but you’ll have to watch it otherwise it will get out of hand and destroy your home. You can use it as a weapon, but it always will be a sword with blades pointing at both sides. An axe can be used against you if the enemy gets it in hands, Fire can be used against you at the time you have it ‘in your hand’. Fire is a thing without borders, once released it will go on destroying until it is destroyed. If you want to use it, you have to keep it in a cage. If you have Fire for a campfire, you have to put stones around it so it won’t become so big it isn’t warming you, but burning you. Fire mostly overdoes its job if you don’t put a limit at it. You can use it to prepare a meal, which you need for living, but if you don’t get the food away from the Fire it will burn. According to the elves and their myths surrounding this Element, it is inherent in the nature of Fire, to try to overcome the earthen boundaries of singularity of things and to reach back to the Winds, to the multitudes of the Thoughts of the Dreamer of the world – to the elves this is why Fire spreads whenever it can and tries to infect everything with its rebellion against the boundaries of existence, as it wants to destroy, only to return to the love of the One.
Fire is mostly seen as a red, yellow or orange force and it is hot with the tendency to expand and enkindle things nearby. You can use it as your private sun, for light and warmth and to cook on. It destroyes everything, except stone, it can reach. If you can make it hot enough you can use it to make iron soft for a while, so you can give it another form.
Spiritual Fire. Fire stands for unbridled emotions, hatred and anger, but also love and happiness. Fire stands for changings, as it means the changeover between Earth, Water and Wind (Air). Fire stands for fighting in the open field, without mean tricks and ambushes. Fire is the thing burning in your soul, moving you to fight for the things you believe in. Even if there is just a tiny chance to survive. Fire represents a dream, a virtue, a belief, and never means your commitment only, but its realization. If the Fire has caught something, it fights for it until it has consumed it or has burned it down, destroyed it. It extinguishes by itself or is extinguished. Fire doesn’t know fear or doubt. But it doesn’t know mercy or shame either. If it wants something, it will get over everything on its path to get it. Fire also stands for inspiration, compassion, love, longing and lust.
Symbols of Fire. The most common symbols of Fire are, of course, the flame and the sun. Also a man who fights without defense and with great courage is dedicated to Fire. A triangle is the alchemist’s symbol of Fire. The stirring up music of a drum, which can give a man courage by letting his blood flow faster through his veins if a cleric of Armeros is playing it, or bring a Foirosan cleric in trance, which helps him in his search for the truth, is the instrument of the Fire. Red, orange and yellow are the colours of the element. The symbolic animal of Fire is the phoenix, the “Bird of Flames”. The phoenix is a legendary immortal beast, an incarnation of the Burning God Foiros it is said, which rises again and again from its own ashes, whose eternal flame can never be extinguishged.
Religious Meanings of Fire. As all elements, Fire is represented by three gods in common Santharian religion: Armeros, the God of War, Etherus,God of Excess, and finally Foiros, God of the Sun. The meaning of the Element of Fire in relation to these Gods can be described as follows – each God focusses on a certain aspect of the Element:
Myth/Lore. There are many explanations about the nature of the Element of Fire by different tribes and cultures, where the Elements are of religious, mythical or even historical importance. One of the most interesting concepts perhaps is the common elven myth derived from the passage of Chapter II called Aér’aí’chanía (“Elements”), contained in the Cárpa’dosía, the legendary “Books of the Beginnings”. While the first chapter deals with the High Goddess Avá and her Dream of the world, where the Winds come into existence, only to produce their counterpart, the Earth, Chapter II deals with the Elements Fire and Water. These two elements are described in complicated, at times seemingly esoteric lines as antagonistic, inseparable forces of nature, filling the gap between the principle of the eternal (Wind) and its realisation (Earth) with what appears as “life”:The Fire of Armeros: Conflict and Balance
Armeros, God of Conflict and Balance, teaches his followers a militant life without wealth to be prepared for the conflicts the world offers. But conflict doesn’t mean only the Fire of rage, aggression, hatred, revenge and war, but quite to the contrary. The knowledge of conflict also implies the knowledge of restoring the balance of peace. Temples of Armeros take boys of seven years of age and train them until they are adults. One group is trained to clerics and the second to walk the path of warrior, though the training is almost the same. The boys sleep in beds of stone and get just enough food to survive. It’s not a sin to steal extra food from farms in the village, but being caught is. Armeros is the part of the Fire that fights and, together with Etherus, destroys. Armeros gives followers of the Fire a backbone as hard as the beds they sleep on. Armeros is the passion, the courage and the honour of the Fire ny keeping it in its confines. Additional virtues of Armeros are justice, resistance and valour, learnt by understanding and mastering the way of Fire.
- The Fire of Etherus: Love and Compassion
In the eyes of outsiders, followers of Etherus seem to live an easy life. The offers of the people to Etherus can be used by his priests and no one ever had too less wine to get drunk. Clerics enjoy the effects of the Ethelian weed to transcend their current existence and reach a new kind of consciousness to which the lust of the body is a gate – Ethelians can have as many bedmates as they want. But Etherus teaches more than just amusing one’s self. Etherus tells us that the flame of Lust and Love is something to be looked after, something, which needs to be rekindled and tended always anew, only then it can grow as is the nature of Fire. Etherus stands for the emotions, the change, the desire, the transcending as such, but also the mortality of the Fire, which makes lust to passion and compassion. Followers of Etherus say that the fact that nothing will stay forever is the truth Foirosian clerics seek so desperatly.
- The Fire of Foiros: Will and Virtue
Foiros represents the part of the Fire that stands for pureness, willpower, the never-give-up spirit and the way people of the Fire live for a dream and to make that dream reality. Foiros teaches determination and virtue through this determination, he is also the guide and the key to the Compassion and Balance the other Fire Gods stand for.
|Cárpa’dosía, Of the Elements. II, 14. And out of the Earth for the first time só Efér arose, the Earthfire: In its blaze lurks the passion of the substance [of the Earth] itself, its flame salivates longingly towards the Wind, eager, to permeate its essence, to devour and to convert it to the Unmoved – so that the sky would freeze and yield to the Earth’s command. This solely is what the essence of Earth desires. Hence sá Mód [the Earth] not only seeks to allure the Wind, but wants to annihilate it – as it has been a Thought in the Dream of Avá that the relationship between the Earth and the Wind includes both: destruction and sympathy, separation and reconciliation, hatred and love, all in one and one in all. And it is just this primordial relation, which is nothing else than the antagonism of the universe itself, that still should later and perpetually yield fruit, the fruit of Being in the elemental cooperation and conflict of the genders, as an apparition in the mirror of the World’s Game. And as it was then at the Beginning of Times, so it is today that sá María, the Waters, come down from the skies down to the Earth, to fight the Flame: Out of the eternal spheres the multitude of lifegivers sprouts, the Celestial Rain, to create the New, the Great, the Mighty and the Beautiful. The Water, it is a fleeting thing – as it is spirit, and though it is nothing without the Earth, from where it sprang; however, the Earth is at the mercy of the Rain, and the Earthen covetousness against all things celestial is damned. This is why Water and Fire are foes right from the Beginning: While the one nurtures life, the other takes it. Never the Burning will be victorious over that which floats, but the same is true the other way round, as the desire of the Flame will never expire. But the conflict of the Elements should constitute what we know as Being, and it is the conflict of the Elements, which should be the unrest of the Xeuaía [the Connecting Principles].
II, 15. And so it happened, namely that from the First Hour in the Dream of Avá, in the realm of the Wind and the Earth, the Fire, só Efér, and the Water, sá Már, seized dominion as the forces of the In-Between, in the midst of the soughing of the Winds and the perseverance of the Earth. It is incumbent on those Elements to maintain the equilibrum, as in reality the Becoming is lacking the simplicity of the Spherical, as the Thoughts of the One and All are dispersed too much in its earthen existence. Hence the strife of the Aér’ai’chanía [the Elements] commenced in the very First Hour, the fundamental strife versus the own counterpart, the strife, whose fate it is, never to cease. The Axhái hence named the world S’O’kroí [“Everlasting War”], according to the everlasting strife, and S’O’kroí is meant to mean both: the woes and the conflict, and both is part of the world, and both is one.
— “Cárpa’dosía. The Books of the Beginnings”, Chapter II
This of course is just one prominent example of mythology related to the Element of Fire. It is of special interest though, as it not only represents elven belief and thus culture and way of living, but also constitutes to a noteable degree the basis for Ximaxian interpretation of Fire Magic.
It’s also interesting to note that in elven mythology Fire is seen as a male power (só efér), in opposition to the female counterpart, Water (sá már). This also reflects in the fact the Gods related to the Element of Fire are all male, while the Water Gods are all female.