I have been doing character development for my Kuvera fiction recently. At the same time, I’ve refined the presence of “elemental benders” in Yogaz.
Elemental bending will not be a “learned art/technique”. Instead, the ability to do so is obtained by certain individuals under very specific conditions that I don’t want to yet spoil. The number of people who can bend the elements is minuscule, perhaps less than or equal to 3 individuals per element type. This number does not typically fluctuate as time goes on.
What makes Elemental Benders unique from magic wielders who could practice evocation spells, is that Elemental Benders have a direct connection to whatever Elemental Plane they would correspond to. Magic wielders cast their evocation spells by drawing magical energy from the proper Elemental Plane, though it may not be known to them that they are doing this; they may simply know that a certain set of somatic gestures and other components yields a certain magical spell effect. Elemental Benders will be naturally attuned to their corresponding Elemental Plane. They may not even be aware that such an Elemental Plane exists. They would be familiar with it, but they may not know what to call it. “A vast expanse of intense fire within me that I can unleash”.
The minimally trained Elemental Bender would be able to control or conjure elements similar to how one would see in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The “next stage” of training for Elemental Benders is to then actively link their bodies to the corresponding Elemental Plane for short periods of time (called Elemental Embodiment), vastly empowering their elemental control and conjuration. This process is very taxing on their bodies, as it partially merges their body with the Elemental Plane.
If a fire bender were to undergo Embodiment, their skin would turn a dull red, with “veins” of a bright glow, as one would picture with magma. In this “mode”, the fire bender’s fire conjuration would be of such intensity that the flames would deprive the local air of oxygen, they could conjure lava/magma on the ground, increase the local temperature (as Control Temperatures, but only increasing the local temperature and undoing the increase), and would be made aware of tectonic activity deep under the ground surface. They could potentially aggravate or calm volcanic activity. A fire bender who has been in Embodiment for too long (say maybe 6 consecutive minutes), burnt ash would begin to form on the surface of their skin, indicating that the body is suffering from the Embodiment state.
If an ice bender were to undergo Embodiment, their skin would turn a pale white and emanate a cold frost. While under the effects of Embodiment, the ice they conjure would be resistant to melting from high temperatures, have increased hardness, and deprive the local air of heat. An ice bender under the effects of Embodiment could potentially move glaciers and large masses of ice.
If an air bender were to undergo Embodiment, their body’s opacity would greatly decrease, almost becoming as clear as air. They could separate the various gases that compose common air and influence local weather systems.
The reason I bring up all of this information on Elemental benders is because this new antagonist idea I have is an ice bender named Elora. The following is canon in my Kuvera fiction:
Elora’s backstory consists of growing up in the same town/village as Phonamar and their other childhood friends, Graham and Corban. She enjoys glass-blowing as a hobby, making glass sculptures, because she was tired of making ice sculptures that would inevitably melt away with time. She is also hydrophobic, irrationally afraid that touching large bodies of water would “melt” her, trapping her in a liquid state that she could not recover from. Though she is okay with drinking water and bathing in “icy slush showers”.
Elora joined the Kuveran military at the same time as Phonamar, Graham, and Corban, and were mostly kept in the same training groups. She would help to teach Phonamar the basics on how to cast Cold Evocation spells. Her and Phonamar had been romantic even before they joined the military, but this relationship ended (not on bad terms) when she decided to move away to Valua after they finished their advanced level training. Elora had discovered how to undergo Ice Elemental Embodiment on her own during advanced level military training, and gave tips to Leon Wolcott on how to connect himself to the Elemental Plane of Fire so that he can undergo Fire Elemental Embodiment.
Elora’s antagonism comes into play after she moves away. She will be involved in aiding the undead in some places, for reasons that I have not yet determined. I’m not sure if I want her to have made the voluntary choice to aid the undead, or if she is being controlled by a more powerful being who coveted her powers.
Someplace I think Elora could be relevant in the Nirath Adventuring campaign is in the Frostfell of the Terras. Though I’m not sure what you have planned for the Terras just yet, I thought it would be appropriate that Elora could fit in here, considering her ties to the undead. Maybe she enters the Embodiment state to move the Terras (or parts of them) every so often. In the fiction, I have planned for Phonamar to fight Elora after discovering her ties to the undead, so if she is at the Terras, this could be the time and place where this happens.