This world is governed by the power of the Rainbow, a primordial force which contains the very powers of nature in its glorious colors. Believers of Rainbowism, IGNOLand's most widespread religion, see this as a divine gift that blesses new life as it enters into the world. The more secular explanation is simply that natural forces influence one to be born under a particular element, such as climate or general environment. Many races even carry a predisposition to being born with a certain element than others. Regardless of your beliefs, the fact that everyone is born tied to a particular element is set in stone - there is no such thing as someone with 'no element' in this world.
Each element is strong against one other, and thus weak to one other as well. These are referred to as opposing elements. In addition to these more physical weaknesses, elements also typically have one or two others that they work well with in terms of social compatibility, as well as others they may connect with more poorly. These compatibilities will be explained in more detail on each element's page.
As a person's element is determined at birth, it is something that cannot be changed - it's an inherent part of the person for their entire life. There are but two exceptions to this rule, which will be explained further below.
Occasionally, there will be people who are born on a borderline, falling between two elements. These people always have one element that is considered their primary element - the one that represents their personality more closely, and generally comes more naturally when learning to manipulate it - and one secondary element. While being born with two elements can be seen as a gift for its versatility, it is important to note that those two elements will always be weaker than if one were to have only a single, focused element. It also contributes additional elemental weaknesses. However, having two elements means having two passive abilities as well, which can balance out the drawbacks somewhat.
It is not possible is to be born with two opposing elements. One cannot be both Fire and Water, nor Fire and Ice, and certainly not Light and Shadow. As these forces are naturally incompatible with one another, it would create too great an imbalance within a person to be physically bearable.
Being born with two elements is uncommon, about as likely as the birth of twins. Thus the majority of the population is born with only a single element, however it's not so rare that dual elements are seen as a particularly special occurrence.
Every element is associated with a particular special ability. Those with two elements in turn have two such abilities. These abilities are explained in more detail on each element's page. Furthermore, each element has a particular attribute associated with it which it empowers.
These two elements are somewhat unique from the others in a few ways. Most notable, however, is the fact that they are the only elements that may be chosen voluntarily and not given at birth (it is possible to be born as either, albeit more rarely than dual-elements). Both are associated with strong convictions and have a history of opposition with the other, so it is perhaps of no surprise that they exist within their own relationship separate from the common elements. However, they are also deeply intertwined and have a connection much like that of yin and yang.
If a dual-element user should choose the path of Light or Shadow later in life, their chosen element will overwrite their secondary element, for having three elements is seen as too great an imbalance for the spirit to handle. The person will retain their primary, dominant element in addition to their chosen Light or Shadow element.
If one is born of Light or Shadow and chooses the opposite later in life, it will always overwrite its counterpart since, as mentioned, one cannot have two opposing elements within oneself. It is also worth noting that one cannot 'swap' back and forth from Light to Shadow to Light and so on. Once one of the two elements has been granted by conscious choice (as opposed to being born with it involuntarily), there is no going back. If one swears to walk the path of Light, Shadow will forever forsake them, and vice-versa.
The elements are regarded much like the real-world constellations of the Zodiac. Thus, they are quite popular in horoscopes and fortune-telling. There's even an ancient form of reading that uses a deck of cards based on the elements that is quite popular in the fortune-telling world, called the Deck of Colors. These types of studies of the elements and colors of the Rainbow associated with them is known as pigmentology.
While the elements are all very strongly associated with certain personality traits and characteristics, as with all things there are exceptions to these archetypes as well. Many see the elemental horoscopes as an unreliable waste of time and don't feel that their sign really matches their personality at all. Nevertheless, such fortune-telling is quite popular in IGNOLand, and many will use their horoscopes as a means of determining their luck or even dating compatibility.
A common misconception is that elemental manipulation is a type of 'magic'. Elemental ability is a natural-born power to tap into the purest forces of the natural world. As such, it is considered a physical, or Mundane, ability. Magic - or Arcane - on the other hand, is the combination of mental and spiritual ability to harness these forces. Thus, while both are abilities that tap into the same 'network' of forces that make up our world, the means through which they operate are different.
More information about the subtle differences between elemental and arcane forces can be found here.
Belief in The Rainbow as the primary guiding force of our lives - known as Rainbowism - is the most widespread religion in IGNOLand, if not the world. It is believed that all seven original elements (excluding Ice and Metal) are symbolic of the world around us, and so should be revered as sacred. When talking about the elements in relation to the Rainbow, proper capitalization is expected - Fire, instead of fire. In colloquial discussion of the elements themselves, this is unnecessary. Of course, as you may have also noticed from this article, the Rainbow itself is expected to have each letter written in its respective color when possible. If this is not feasible, simple capitalization will suffice.
Each element is strongly tied to its respective color and aspects in nature. In ancient times, it was believed that there were only seven elements, all represented by colors in the Rainbow. Thus the sacred Rainbow prayer is as follows:
Passionate Red, for the fires of life,
Humble Orange, for the soil that nurtures us all.
Brilliant Yellow, for the light of the sun above,
Verdant Green, for the great and windswept plains.
Gentle Blue, for the expansive seas teaming with life,
Mysterious Indigo, for sparks dancing across the stormy skies.
Peaceful Violet, for the twilight that reminds us all life must one day end,
Form the world ever spinning beneath our feet,
As The Rainbow shines down upon us with Its Glory.
While modern studies have classified Ice and Metal as distinct elements of their own, in the past these were thought to simply be facets of Water and Earth, respectively. Thus you may notice that some older references to the Rainbow indicate only seven elements (the Deck of Colors is one such example). Some particularly old-fashioned believers even continue to dismiss Ice and Metal as 'proper' elements, though this is gradually fading with time.
Ancient legends hold that each element once had a temple built in its honor, located in the place in IGNOLand with the strongest connection to that element. These "temples" purportedly also served other purposes beyond simple worship, which varied from temple to temple - for instance, the Fire temple was supposedly once a place to train in the martial arts and hone physical strength, the attribute most connected with that element. However, very little information about these temples has survived, with only minor mentions in recovered religious texts and stories passed by oral tradition. No efforts to uncover the locations of these temples has been successful, and there are doubts as to whether they have even survived the passage of time - supposing they ever truly existed in the first place (indeed many believe them to have only been the subject of myth and folklore).
Some believe that there were nine temples - one for each modernly-accepted element - but religious scholars argue with this notion as Ice and Metal would not have been recognized as individual elements at the time these temples would have supposedly been built. Others note that there is evidence that these two were, in fact, recognized as separate elements by some scholars far earlier than commonly believed, though since this was controversial to particularly strong believers of the Rainbow for its seven colors these notions were suppressed for a long time. Thus it is entirely possible that some sects which recognized these elements in their own rights may have still built temples in honor of them. In general, there is a lot of conjecture and misinformation surrounding the temples (as is common when studying the ancient world, particularly when religion is involved), making them prime subjects in fiction and internet conspiracy theories.
Choose an element below to go to its individual page for more detailed information.