written as a public access exploration by Syphogrant Kiana
After many weeks in the Elemental Plane of Fire, I’m delighted to write the final article describing what we believe is but the most basic form of a fundamental biogeochemical cycle within this plane. I’d like to thank the Executive Tribunal for its support in this endeavor, which will prove extremely useful in further research conducted within the realm. In this article, I’ll try to describe exactly how this cycle works as we understand it and its effects on the material composition of the soil; furthermore, I think it will be a great aid in understanding the physical existence (not metaphysical) of what the natives call the Primordial Flame.
The key distinction aiding us in understanding how the Elemental Plane of Fire’s ecosystem works is the composition of the soil. We can identify two major concentrations of elements: metallic ones and non-metallic ones. Within the metallic elements we can find primarily traces of sodium, calcium, magnesium, gold, silver, zinc, nickel, and copper. On the other hand, the non-metallic elements with the most presence according to our samples are phosphorus, silicon, sulfur, and carbon. As a note, we must mention that although we’ve identified these elements to exist in various forms, their abundance or rarity have not been established accurately, and many more are present inconsistently and in smaller quantities. Due to the temperature, these elements really exist in various combinations of minerals and alloys that form and disband in a span of minutes. For this reason, there could be other undiscovered phenomena, like gemstones or natural occurring alloys that we simply have not been lucky enough to witness.
Taking this into account, and considering the nutrition requirements for the plane’s inhabitants, we can assume that the presence of the Ash trees and Blossoming Fires is derived from an attempt of the ecosystem to replenish heavy metals and minerals to the soil which has been devoid of all but its most basic components. Chronomancers from the Ministry of Transliminality have aided the Cryptognostic Society in researching the process by which the soil becomes “fertile” again. I’ll summarize our observations and hypothesis based on our research to date: Once the Fire Snakes or other indigenous life forms take all the minerals from the soil, differences in heat conductivity form a “cold” patch, which in turn causes a channel for energy from within the plane (deep underground) to emerge, forming first the Blossoming Fires, and then an Ash tree. The nucleus of this tree, once its lifetime is over, recedes into the ground and becomes a rich cavern bursting with minerals and heavy metals from which the wildlife can feed, starting the cycle over again.
This cycle is estimated to span multiple centuries from start to finish and start again, depending on the density of population that relies on a certain patch of resources and many other factors. Further research may prove difficult, particularly given the environment we’re dealing with in the Elemental Plane of Fire. However, what we can do is delimit some of the most urging lines of thought aroused by this new discovery.
First and foremost, the obvious question: Now that we know the Salamanders did not originate in this plane, how is it possible that this cycle, empirically observed, seems to exist in consideration to their existence? There are hints in some ancient codices that suggest the presence of Ash trees long before. Perhaps the Fire Snakes accelerated the cycle?
Furthermore, how is it that new matter spawns in the nuclei of Ash trees from deep underground? Some scholars have suggested that the inner Elemental Plane is made almost entirely of denser materials (metals), which rise to the surface through this process. The main issue with this idea is the way in which this “core” exports materials endlessly for millenia without running out. Perhaps matter is somehow created within this primordial furnace?
In relation to the previous idea, some suggest that this Primordial Flame, if it exists, works similarly to a star in the sense that it feeds on simpler materials to synthesize heavy metals. This seems to align with cultural interpretations of the Primordial Flame and indicate that it really has a material existence underneath the plane. However, this is another line of research more suitable for scholars and hermeneuts. The Society, myself included, will continue to develop the knowledge we’ve found and, with the aid of the Executive Tribunal, we hope to keep sharing with all residents of Urbes Tritios and anyone else in the planes kind enough to read our texts.