Any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental
This installment of Khayd’haik the Troll Mystic’s series on elementals discusses their creation. Check out the introductory installment on elementals if you missed it.
Elementals do not reproduce. Rather, some volume of pure elemental substance is granted sentience through the incorporation of a spirit into the volume of elemental substance. This spirit is one that has for some reason become attuned to the elemental substance in question. How this attunement comes about varies from case to case, but the spirit is never an undead one, such as a ghost, but rather a reincarnated spirit. An undead spirit has too much of a connection to something other than the element in question for the spirit to be attuned enough to the element to become an elemental.
For instance, the spirit of a bird that died peacefully while soaring through the sky might be reincarnated into a small, gentle wind elemental. Or a bird might have died in a tornado, surrounded by nothing but raging winds, and passed its spirit to the tornado to create a larger, more energetic elemental. Each bird’s last experience before death is being one with the wind.
Any creature that knows fear or hatred at the time of death cannot be reincarnated as an elemental. As you might guess, the conditions that give birth to an elemental are not that common.
Though sentient, elementals are not created with brains as such. Each elemental has some trace of the personality of the spirit that animates it. While any spirit could possibly be reincarnated as an elemental, most elementals are not born from the spirits of humans or other creatures of emotional complexity. Most of the time, elementals behave as emotionless creatures, driven by instinct and impulse.
It is possible for an anguished spirit to be reincarnated as an elemental, as long as the dying spirit is free of fear and hatred. A spirit that animates a flame elemental, for instance, might come from a sleeping creature that died in a sudden, intense burst of flame. Likewise, a water elemental might be animated by the spirit of a creature drowned during a flash flood. But even when the deaths of the reincarnated spirits are traumatic, elementals are unlikely to behave antagonistically unless provoked.
When a reincarnated spirit animates an elemental form, the spirit commands some fixed quantity of the associated element. This quantity does not change over time. An elemental retains its initial volume until it perishes.
In the next installment, Khayd’haik discusses the shapes elementals often take.