Thursday, February 5th, 2009
“It’s elementary, my Dear Watson.” – or not – since Sherlock Holmes never actually said that. Just as you may or may Not be curious about the Elements that make up the world and all life within it. There have been many attempts to classify the basis of all matter into just four elements – Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. However, such attempts miss out on the heart and soul of true alchemy – the fifth Element.
And what, you may ask, is the fifth Element? Why, Pizza, of course!
A ‘Sedimental’ Journey
Earth is traditionally the element of solidity and protection. As the only element with any real substance, one could say Earth really matters… or at least that it’s really matter. What’s it matter, really? It’s ‘earthential’ to our standing on the planet, and I think I’m on solid ground when I say that.
In Glorianna, Earth is susceptible to Fire and Air loses to Earth. That’s because wood is “earthy” by virtue of being solid, and wood burns. It could have been the other way around, with Fire burning Air, and Earth putting out Fire, but then Water would have been left behind. Blocking the water would have been a dam nuisance to the story line, so we practiced a little damage control by letting Earth “ground” the air. Earth is really heavy, so Air has trouble carrying it, you see. But mostly it was because Fire already had an enemy (and Water has anemones).
If you need protection, visualize rock walls… or build some. In a crisis, stand your ground and remember that the Earth itself is your guardian. Just don’t try to stonewall anyone in authority while you’re stoned; you might find yourself breaking rocks on a chain gang. And don’t wall yourself in.
Air On A G-String (Or On the Side of Caution)
That’s Mozart, not what exotic dancers wear. Or maybe they do wear violin strings; some of those outfits are pretty skimpy. Hmm, air, g-strings, Marilyn Monroe? Uh, where was I?
Oh yes, air. It’s the lightweight, lighthearted element that lifts your spirits (or Marilyn’s skirt). Forget that, it’s an obvious air-or. As we mentioned, air doesn’t like to be grounded, but it could go the other way – Wind and Water, working together, can level mountains. Air is the element of movement, of speech, of music, and of course, the Winds of Change.
A wise person once said (well, actually, it was The Hollies who sang), “All I need is the air that I breathe, and to love you.” The Police said something about, “Every breath you take, I’ll be watching you,” but you can get arrested for that sort of airheaded behavior these days. And how about that Air-ol Flynn? Loved him as Robin Hood shooting his air-ohs straight to the target. But let’s not get too far off the mark here. I have a burning desire to move on to the next Element.
Fire You Looking at Me That Way?
This is the really hot topic; I’m really fired up about it. Besides, they’d fire me if I held my fire this time. I don’t want to start a flame war, but you know how it is – You play with fire, you get burned. So I’ll take my place in the hot seat and just fire away at this energetic element.
Fire warms our homes, gives us light, cooks our pizza (more on that later), and generally adds a little excitement to life. Light that fire! Romantic candlelight dinners in front of a warm fireplace on a cold Winter’s night would be rather challenging without the element of Fire.
Magically, fire adds energy to anything you need to do. Witches light candles and incense in their ceremonies to attract the attention of the spirits and to commit themselves to the ritual. When you need power, visualize the flame that drives you to succeed. Just don’t burn out in the process.
Water You Wadin’ For?
Well, now that we’ve dipped our toes in the water, it’s time to dive in all the way. You may think you’re washed up, but sometimes you just have to come clean. (Note to Lori: This is sinking fast! Can you bail me out? I know, I know, that isn’t really your bail-iwick.) Sometimes you may feel like a very small fish in a very big pond, but if you stick to your (water) guns, you can really clean up some filthy situations. If at first you scrub out, dry, dry again.
Water is the element of healing, love, and new beginnings. When you want to try something new, start with a long, soothing bath. You’ll smell better too. Drink plenty of water and share it with your water brothers and sisters. Always see the glass as half-full. Make no empty promises. Water your house plants every week. Get into the swim of life!
Conserve energy – If you commute to work or school, join a car pool. And when you’re drown on your luck, or drowning in love’s debris, maybe taking a bath financially and in trouble with the loan sharks, look to the healing power of water to wash your sins clean and make it all better.
Get Yourself a Pizza the Action
“The Element of Pizza is best known to symbolize quick energy and regeneration.” – ChaosBurnFlame on a comic book forum.
Without Pizza, life as we know it would not exist. The world of Glorianna was built on the firm but flexible foundation of crisp pizza crusts. Without frequent Pizza Factory™ excursions to fuel the furnace of creativity, few of the Quest for Glory team members would have survived those late night crunches – or the late night munchies – that make up the Sisyphean Nightmare Warren™ of game development.
Dr. Cranium insists that the world is made up of five elements – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Pizza. However, Dr. Cranium is also a Mad Scientist, and they are sometimes known for their crackpot theories. The Wizards’ Institute of Technocery (also known as “WIT”) has this to say on the subject:
“There are some misguided individuals who insist that the world is made up of five elements. Of course, those of us enlightened in the advanced arts of Technocery know better. Only Earth, Air, Fire, and Water are true elements. Pizza is actually a compound formed by composition from the basic four elements. Earth is present in the form of flour and yeast – and often as oh-so-yummy mushrooms. Water is an essential element of pizza dough, since dry flour is pretty hard to knead and rather messy to toss. Tossing is of course an essential part of the magical development process of a perfect pizza as it incorporates air into the mixture. Finally, Fire is used both in baking and the bold burn of the pepperonis. Nothing is present in Pizza that cannot easily be attributed to one of the other four elements, and therefore Pizza is a compound, not a true Element in its own right.”
Dr. Cranium responds:
“Now what do those so-called-Wizard nincompoops know of SCIENCE? They all run around in dresses and those silly hats and prattle on about their “technocery.” That isn’t even a WORD! They call me mad, but what do they know of madness? We’ll see how crazy I am when I TAKE OVER their silly WIT with my pizza-powered siege engines and my army of Elemental Pizza Warriors in their impenetrable pizza-box armor. THEN who will be the crazy one? Muahahahahaaaaa!”
Confounded Compounded Conclusions
So, there you have it – The eternal, fundamental conflict between the impeccable logic of science and the emotion-driven fantasy world of magic. Will science prove more powerful than Wizardry in the end? Only time will tell. Is pizza really elementary? I’m not sure about that, but it’s definitely alimentary.
Our little fable comes to an end as the elements combine to form amazing new compounds of wonder and magic. Four elements, or maybe five. Every one of them is important. That’s why they’re in the Alphabet Song – You know the line, the one that goes “Elemental Pea.” All I am saying, is give peas a chance and maybe we’ll have whirled peas in our time (or at least flavored with thyme).
Yes, it’s true – Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed detective, never once uttered those words in the Canon of stories that have come down to us. And yet it’s his best-remembered phrase. The movies made that line famous.