WITCHES OF THE WORLD
Part 1 – Elementals
There are nine different types of Witch talents in the Perfect Coven Earth (PCE). In this article, we will discuss the four most common. Those four are collectively known as the Elemental Talents. They are: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The Talent of a witch does not merely describe what sort of workings he is most able to do, but also the means by which he will most often actually perform those workings.
Fire is the most common of the elemental witch talents. Witches of this Talent are able to ignite small flames, extinguish fires, warm up various objects, and create light with almost no effort at all. Their workings usually center around burning materials, with the various items used in the working generally being consumed by fire at the peak of the work.
Fire is one of the few witchery Talents that has a potential for direct destruction. Sadly, those witches who have turned their abilities to aggressive ends have become some of the most notorious warriors in human history. Their workings allow them to wreak destruction on almost any target, as fire is an almost universally feared force.
While not as well-known an aspect of the Talent, fire witches also have an affinity for workings that affect the “fiery” emotions in humans and animals. Many “love spells” of literature and history were actually fire workings designed to stir up already existing emotions, and allow them to run out of control. This usually leads to the target – or victim – of the working being emotionally spent or injured, if not worse.
But fire is not a negative Talent among witches. Most who possess this Talent use it for simple matters. Cooking food is known as a common working among fire witches, and there is even a small chain of restaurants that advertises the fact that all its meals are “100% Fire Witch Prepared”. Warming a room is easy for a fire witch, and lucky is the person paying the electric bill in winter if the family contains a fire witch.
Like any other witch, a fire witch can do workings that do not directly involve his element. But anything he does is likely to include flames and combustion as part of the working, no matter what the desired result of the working. Traditional workings for fire witches include burning items symbolic of what is to be accomplished, or simply writing down the witch’s goal and burning the paper.
Following closely behind fire in sheer number, earth witchery is the second most common Talent. Witches with this Talent tend to be among the most stable and reliable of all. Like their element, they are slow to react, but when they are moved by emotion or necessity, the truly skilled among them are almost implacable forces of nature.
Earth witches have an inclination toward workings that make, build, and repair. This includes healing. In fact, a large number earth witches devote their witchery studies and practice to health and healing, including many who make a profession of using witchery in the healing arts. Many hospitals actively recruit earth witches to work in recovery wards and therapy/rehabilitation functions. A patient overseen by a medically trained earth witch can expect a more rapid recovery from injury or surgery than one who does not have the benefit of earth workings applied to him. Additionally, a new field has recently emerged in the medical arena, one for which earth witches are almost uniquely qualified. While it has been long known that witches can cause illness and injury to others, only recently has serious study been given to the fact that there are diseases and sicknesses that afflict only those with witchery Talent. To address this issue, the science of thaumaceuticals has recently been created. This very small profession is working to blend witchery with mundane materials to create drugs and medicines specific to the health problems of witches.
Workings for witches of the earth Talent generally involve the manipulation of tangible objects. Indeed, it is common for earth witches to carry small bags of colored stones on their persons. These stones can be used for almost any working the witch might have to do at a moment’s notice. Many earth workings are literally done on the earth itself, with the witch clearing a patch of ground where he can either inscribe his desire into the soil itself, or where he can build a symbolic focus for the goal. Also common is for an earth witch to use a wand or staff of wood as a focusing implement for a working.
Growing things also fall into the purview of the earth witch. The workings of this Talent are naturally inclined toward benefitting anything that grows from the earth. A garden that receives the attentions of an earth witch is almost certain to yield a heavier and richer harvest than other gardens, and to do so in record time. Indeed, many farming communities will pay an earth witch handsomely to spend his days visiting and working each of the fields in the area. In some rural areas, there are families of witches who are able to make their livings purely by working the fields of their neighbors. This allows the farmers to bring in a greater profit than they would do without the assistance of the witches.
Also benefiting greatly from the use of earth witchery is the field of construction. The wise foreman of any construction crew will make sure that he has an earth witch on his team. The witch’s job in the construction of any building will be to strengthen the materials used in the building, ensuring that what is built is built to last.
Of all the elemental Talents, witches of earth are the least likely to produce workings with impressive-looking results or dramatic appearances. But in the course of day-to-day life, theirs is the Talent that is needed more often than any other.
Like their element, water witches are almost always moving. They have an aversion to stillness, finding motion to be their natural state. Their bodies are not the only parts of them constantly in motion, though. Water witches tend to be as mentally and emotionally active as physically. A water witch will move from emotion to emotion with almost no segue, and most will experience emotional healing much more rapidly than other people. This does not downplay the nature of a water witch’s emotions, however. In fact, those who are aligned with the element of water seem to have emotional natures as deep as the oceans of their element. They simply share water’s ability to conform to a new shape when in a new situation.
Water witchery lends itself not only to working the physical element of water, but also to workings that transform something without changing its essential nature. This could be something as simple as changing water to steam, or as complex as changing a piece of wood and a nugget of iron into a shelf nailed to a wall. When it comes to workings of change, no witches are more adept than those with the water Talent. Water workings also have great strength in the arena of removing obstacles from the life of the witch. Water tends to flow around obstructions, carving new paths for its movement, and its witches tend to do likewise. But when water cannot move around an obstacle, its raw power will eventually remove the blockage, either forcing it out of the water’s way or actually destroying it to let the water flow. Witches with the water Talent are well-suited to doing workings that have similar results in their lives.
The workings of a water witch will almost always involve physical water in some way. Those few that don’t use water symbolically. Ribbons and scarves are frequent symbols for water when the liquid itself cannot be used. Water workings will always involve movement of some sort as well. No water witch does a working in which he stands still. Even a simple working will involve a great deal of body movement or hand/arm gestures. As water moves or goes stagnant, those who wield its power most move to do so. Frequently, workings by water witches include dousing materials with water, dissolving substances in water, and creating potions that bestow the effect of the working on those who drink them.
One specific ability of water witches is the ability to break or remove curses. While not unique to those with the water Talent, water witches are those with the greatest facility with that skill. The cleansing ability of water carries over well to the skill of breaking curses, removing what can easily be seen as “dirt” or a “stain” on the curse’s victim.
The least common of the elemental Talents, air witches are almost as hard to pin down as their element. They are often seen as “flighty” but this is only a superficial observation. Air witches may explore more life paths than most people ever consider, and this does at times give them the appearance of being unable to focus on any one idea. This is not true. Once an air witch has chosen the matters and people that will be involved in his life, almost nothing can change his mind.
Air witches have an affinity for workings that involve movement or communication. Their element is the primary vehicle of human communication, and these witches have the ability to share that capability. More than a few air witches have used workings of their Talent to allow themselves careers as singers or public speakers. Given the nature of this particular Talent, those songs and speeches often were the workings themselves.
The workings of air witches are less able to use the physical substance of the element, though that is a primary part of other elemental Talent workings. Air witches often perform their workings by moving objects through the air, either waving or throwing them. Other forms of air working are strong fragrances – scents moving through the air, spoken word incantations, or even breath from the witch’s body.
Though very few of them are able to do so, of those select witches who have mastered the ability to work the weather are almost always those of the air Talent. The Talent of air is able to manifest some of the most spectacular and dramatic working of any elemental Talent, but it is also one of the hardest Talents to master.
These four elemental Talents are the most commonly found among witches in PCE. While the most common, they are far from the only Talents. The other talents of Bard, Druid, Shaman, Psi, and Auger will be explored in future posts.
Sid says: There is still so much to explore about the witches and the witchery in our books. As we write, and move deeper into their world and their stories, we find that we have yet more to learn. We are growing with our characters and their world. It’s scary but exciting, makes us adjust and innovate, and will lead to stronger, richer books.
Mickie says: Thanks to James for writing this up! My main characters fall under the “other talents’ category, but it’s always nice to have something to refer to for other characters. It’s a good insight to witches with Elemental Talents.