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In alchemy, there are believed to be four elements: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. These four elements have corresponding elementals that are associated with each element: Sylph (sometimes known as Silpheed), Undine, Gnome, and Salamander (sometimes replaced with Efreet), respectively.

Except for the Salamander[1], they first appeared in the alchemical works of Paracelsus. From there, these elementals took root in popular imagination, and frequently appear as a set representing their respective elements. They are the most common form of Elemental Embodiment for the classical elements.

Subtrope of Elemental Embodiment. May be a kind of Nature Spirit. See also Elemental Powers.

Examples:



Anime & Manga Edit

  • Natsu 'Salamander' Dragneel of Fairy Tail. Although he's the only example thus far.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, the original transmutation array for Roy Mustang's Flame Alchemy, which he later destroyed by scarring Riza Hawkeye's back, which it had been tattooed to, features a salamander, as do the simplified transmutation circles on his gloves.

Comic Books Edit

  • A group of superheroes known as "The Elementals" appear in Superfriends, the members are four women named Gnome, Undine, Sylph, and Salamander, whose powers are controllong earth, water, wind, and fire respectively.

Literature Edit

  • Mercedes Lackey's Elemental Masters series has all four. They will serve those who have a talent for their respective elements, and cooperate with mages with a complementary element, but dislike and avoid those with opposing elemental affinity.
  • Tanya Huff's Quarters series has them all, as well, as a kind of Nature Spirit. They can be "sung" (controlled) by those with the proper elemental affinity. Most have only one or two affinities, but some rare individuals can control three or even all four kinds.
  • Robert Heinlein's short story "Magic, Incorporated" mentioned all of the standard 4 types (undine, salamander, gnome, and sylph).
  • All four are mentioned as possible afterlives for women in The Rape of the Lock, depending on personality.
  • Books of ETA Hoffmann present all types. Some of whom were in very close relationships with humans and other creatures. Generally, upsetting even benign ones is a catastrophically bad idea.


Myths and Folklore Edit

  • The Salamander is a special case, as one may have noticed, of the listed creatures, it's the only one that is an existing animal. The Salamander and its associations with fire is one of the longest lasting myths in western civilization. The Romans believed Salamanders could extinguish fires by touching them. The Talmud lists the Salamander as a creature of fire, whose blood makes one immune to fire. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that Salamanders have no digestive organs, only needing fire to feed themselves and regenerate. The exact reason for all these stories and the length of times through which they survived is often theorized to be due to a behavior of Real Life Salamanders. Being amphibians, they seek lair in humid locals, like stacks of wood kept outdoors. People would then use that wood to make fires, which would wake the Salamanders and cause them to flee for their lives, leaving people convinced the creatures had been "birthed" by the flames through abiogenesis. As wood remained a primary source of heating for humans till the industrial revolutions, such events, though rare, would keep reoccurring, ensuring that the myths of the fiery Salamander would live on.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Several of Chaosium's games had them.
    • Stormbringer/Elric: The standard 4 types.
    • Rune Quest: The standard 4 plus Shade (darkness)
  • Dungeons and Dragons had the Elemental-Kin, which included the salamander and sylph.
  • Various Yu-Gi-Oh card feature one of the alchemic elementals as monsters. The most notable one is Genex Undine, a Steampunk version of Undine.



Video Games Edit

  • Arc Rise Fantasia has the four elementals as enemies, but in this game all of them take the form of floating magic wands that casts spells of their respective elements.
  • Lost Magic has each of the Alchemic Elementals as capturable/summonable monsters for their respective elements.
  • Monster Rancher: The Undine and Salamanders show up as villains.
  • Sword of Mana features Undine, Gnome, Salamander, and Sylph as spirits that you can take along to help you by casting spells of their respective elements. There are also 4 other unrelated spirits, Shade (darkness), Dryad (wood), Wisp (light), and Luna (moon).
  • In the Final Fantasy series, Salamander and Sylph appear as summons periodically, especially in the Ivalice games. Undine and Gnome have never appeared in the series; the honor of water elemental summon almost always goes to Leviathon and earth to Golem.
    • The exception being Final Fantasy XII, which features the Entite class of enemy, in which all four alchemic elementals are represented.
    • In the PS 1 version of Final Fantasy I, the Earth Elemental was translated as "Gnoma".
  • Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Phantasia had summon spirits of certain elements and had Gnome, Undine, and The Sylphs, and Salamander was replaced with a Djinn-like creature called Efreet. Additionally there was Maxwell who had providence over the four nature spirits, Shadow the summon spirit of Darkness, Celsius of Ice, Luna and Aska of light (The Moon and the Light specifically in Phantasia), Volt of lightning, and Origin of everything.
  • Pokémon: Charmander and its line of evolution appears to be based on the salamander's association with fire. It's first form is obviously named after salamanders, and it's later forms eventually become a fire breathing dragon.
  • Marin from Brave Soul can summon all four of them. Undine is spelled "Windy" due to a tranlation error.
  • In Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis, the four elemental Summon Magic spells are named for them.
    • In Ogre Battle 64 Salamanders are summoned by the Elem Predra of Fire.
    • In Videogame/((Ogre Battle}}, Salamanders are the top tier fire dragons. Sylph, mispelt Syliphs, are the improved versions of Fairy.
  • Typically, these are a special form of demon in Shin Megami Tensei, which have unusual effects when used in fusions.
  • In Monster Girl Quest, Luka has to find and defeat Sylph, Gnome, Undine and Salamander, the four elemental spirits, in order to absorb their power.

Notes

  1. See the Myths section for a detailled explanation on that one

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