Spiritual Elementalism, also known as the long death, is a process in which a Spirit loses it’s domain, is not directly slain, and slowly but surely fades from the world due to being unable to gain a new domain. Not all Spirits go through this process, a Spirit that is slain but has it’s domain will eventually be able to reform into the world anew, and a Spirit that is slain and is without domain dies quickly in that moment. However, should the Spirit not be slain and be without domain, their mana will slowly leak over time, causing them to eventually fade away.
Oftentimes, this leads to self preservation taking over, the deterioration of the Spirit’s mental state, and an unending hunger for mana, leading for them to be called Elementals.
A Spirit is a caretaker of it’s environment and biome, however, lesser Spirits are not considered omnipotent within their domains. While most Greater Spirits are set into their domains, with the exceptions being Wind Spirits who sometimes fluctuate in importance, lesser spirits, and spirits with smaller domains are more vulnerable to having their domains taken over or corrupted. A Spirit whose domain is flooded with extraplanar energies, such as in the Blasted Steppe of Kal Azul, may be unable to feed upon the mana to sustain itself within their domain. At the same time, the actions of other Spirits, such as Helios flashing a lake into steam, or one of Ter-Anaht’s harsher blizzards, may cause a Spirit to likewise lose their domain.
When a Spirit does lose that domain for any number of reasons, it will be without a method of obtaining mana, be without a way to feed itself. In some cases, this will lead to the Spirit to seclude itself, to remove itself from others in hopes of not harming them.
In other cases, the Spirit will seek to preserve itself. Oftentimes, these Spirits will slowly be becoming mindless and feral, responding to the first thoughts that come to mind, such as ‘hunger’ or ‘invader’. These Spirits are known as Elementals. Oftentimes, the Elementals will attempt to feed upon the mana of mages, locations, or wherever a great amount of mana seems to be present. Other times, the Elementals will attempt to usurp the domains of other Spirits to feed upon their mana.
The amount of time that it takes for a Spirit to descend into a feral state is not well known, and similarly, the amount of time it would take for a recovery is not well documented. Cases of people fully assisting with a Spirit’s recovery from Elementalism are not widely reported due to the inherent danger found in residing near such often hostile entities.
Often times, Spirits that have lost their domains will follow after Ter-Anaht as they go by on a pilgrimage of sorts.
This process tends to happen to lesser spirits. It is rare for higher level spirits, such as the spirit of a whole forest, to go elemental due to how difficult their domains can be to completely remove.
On Sarea, the most common Elementals seem to be water and wind.
Spiritual Elementalism is different from Spiritual Corruption.