It is written that, in the Beginning, the All-Father did sing with a great voice, and His Song became substance and the substance took Form. And from this Form did wondrous patterns arise, and the threads of substance did fashion into the Tapestry of Creation, bringing Order out of Chaos and Light out of Shadow. In time, the All-Father's children were born to give meaning to this pattern, only find themselves both its Slaves and its Masters.
For Ages there have been those who have studied the Tapestry of Life. Granted the gift of Magesight, they can see beyond the veil of illusion and study the Threads of Creation, called Leylines by the Wise. In time, they discovered the true nature of the Threads, and found that all matter and energy is in constant motion. The five elemental forces, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit, continually bind and twist to form every object and creature in our World, and the Leylines serve as the conduits for their motions. The ancient masters discovered that they could speed, slow, or redirect the elemental flows, intoning chants that are but the echoes of the All-Father's great Song. Thus was a new kind of Magic born, and with it were born the Channelers, some of the most powerful magicians the World has ever known. The Art of Channeling is still practiced to this day, and its masters are able to call fire, walk upon water, cause earthquakes, or ride the winds like eagles.
While all elemental priests or magi call themselves Channelers, each element offers its own path to power, and demands its own discipline. While a Channeler may gain powers from any and all of the four elements, few have the time or talent to achieve mastery of more than one. Thus, most Channelers link themselves to one or two elements above the others, becoming to one element above all others, becoming Masters of Earth and Fire, Water and Wind. Each path offers its own reward: Earth brings strength and fortitude, Water brings agility and mastery of emotion, Air is the path of knowledge and motion, and Fire has the power to create, inspire, or destroy. No Channeler to date has learned to Master the Spirit.
"Know ye that there are Four material elements, and all that is, was, or ever shall be in this World is born of them and the patterns of their mixing. We see fire flare to life, then burn out and rain fall from the sky. Matter and energy seem to us, therefore, to be continually born of nothing, or to revert back into nothing. This perception is an illusion - the volume of every Element was fixed at the moment of Creation, and the amounts and volumes of the elements shall never change. The ancient Elvish wizards of the Age of Twilight first discovered the nature of the Ley Lines, the paths by which elemental energies circulate, and discerned their flows. As each element is manifested in one place the world, so does an equal amount vanish in another place, pulled through the Ley Line to its place of manifestation. Thus can water be borne into the sky to become rain, and thus do the seas keep their level. Continuous and unchanging, the process of elemental motion was long ago described by Gallorian Yndrialle the First Channeler as "the endless turning of a vast wheel, or the motion of a serpent who is ever devouring its own tail."
Know ye that the natures and associations of the four elements are thus enumerated:
Earth: The element of stability and permanence. Look to earth for fortitude, hardness, durability, and long life. Earth Channelers may cultivate any of these qualities in things both animate and inanimate. By directing the flow of Earth energies either toward or away from an object, they can mend it, heal it, harden it, make it brittle, wither it, or even transform its basic composition, turning wood into iron, or iron into sand. Protection, health, and wealth are also associated with Earth. Using earth magics, fields might be made more fertile, gold drawn near the surface of the World, and walls turned into invincible barriers. It is said that the greatest workers of earth can transform themselves or their enemies into stone, and even move through solid objects or sink into the very ground.
Air: Earth's opposite, air embodies the essence of the intangible: thought, inspiration, and ideas. Artistic works derive their power from the flow of air. By manipulating the flow of air into himself and others, a Channeler might magically divine the meaning of unknown letters or speech, or become much more learned. Air is also the vehicle of sight, and air magic holds the key to divination, whether the visions be of the past, some distant present locale, or the future. Travel and communication are also Air's province, and its masters can send messages across the world in the wink of an eye, teleport themselves to distant locales with but a thought, or mount up on the winds, flying like eagles.
Water: The prime element of life, water is linked to health, healing, and emotion. Thus, water Channelers can call water into existence, or leech the water out of living things, doing them dire harm. They can also calm living things, lull them into sleep, or push them into dire fury. The reflections that show in water are distorted, and thus water magic can be used to mask the true nature or appearance of a thing, and also to make illusions, mirages without form. Master Channelers can breathe any liquid as easily as air, and even transform themselves into shapes of liquid that can ignore a slashing blade or flow through the tiniest gap.
Fire: Where water brings life, its opposite, fire, brings death. Destruction and transformation lie at the heart of this element. Fire spells bring success in battle, either by fueling a warrior's strength and rage or smiting his enemies with bolts of fire. Fire Channelers can fortify themselves against heat and flame, and quench flames as easily as they can call them. Conversely, master Channelers can infuse themselves with fire, enduring cold without worry or even bursting into flame to smite their enemies. Master Channelers of fire can command and shape flame, directing its horrible powers to their will. Alas, too many Channelers in this dire age are drawn to the Path of Fire, for they seek worldly might through destruction rather than creationâ€¦" From "Ye Secretes of ye Elementall Forces and ye Channeler's Arte Revealede," by Magus Colleram Jocastin.