The ability to cast spells is a gift that is as rare as it is powerful. While most individuals in the world possess large amounts of magical energy within them, only a fraction of those are able to control those energies, and manifest them into spells and the like. The Elemental Body is a representation of how the mortal body (in particular, the human body) is built and what elements it consists of. As Tariel was once ruled by the Elemental Lords before the arrival of the Creators, the world became dependent on the energies that the Planar Elements provided. Any beings who came after would be affected by this dependency, and as such most mortals to this day consist of mainly six elements.
The mortal body is built from the elements of Air, Water, Earth, Fire, Ethereal and Mana. The first four elements (otherwise known as the Planar Elements) are the result of the elemental powers the Elemental Lords infused into the world before their banishment. All living creatures consist of these four elements, and all living creatures need them to survive. Some theorize that the Planar Elements within the mortal body are what control and empathize emotions.
Ethereal is the element of spirituality and divinity. It provides the
mortals with a link between themselves and the gods; something the
Creators infused upon the mortal body to ensure their connection to most
mortals. Though even so, Ethereal can also mean the connection between
mortals and the spiritual powers of the world; of the spirits who
existed in Tariel long before Creators and Elemental Lords ever came
into power. In short, the Ethereal part of the body's elemental
structure is what provides a mortal with a soul. Ethereal, in theory,
allows a mortal to communicate with the gods; most typically through
prayer. This is why some priests, with enough dedication to their chosen
deity, can control powers temporarily granted to them by the gods.
It is the last element, Mana, which is the deciding factor as to if a
mortal will be able to control magic. Mana represents the magical
energies that surround the world, as well as the Mind. While a majority
of mortals possess Mana, it is only a minimal amount. Most beings are
unable to tap into the very core and power of their Mana supply, but
those who can are known to possess a large amount of said Mana. This is
what determines whether a mortal can control magic or not.
typically not noticeable until a mortal reaches an adolescent age, most
commonly as soon as puberty hits. This is when an individual's magical
energies begin to manifest upon the Mind and Body, and the inner pool of
Mana is unleashed and expands rapidly; hence why it is so important to
learn how to control one's magical energies as soon as possible, or else
any hope of controlling those energies rapidly decreases.
typically knows that they are magically empowered when they start to feel
different; such as feeling slightly queasy or experiencing repeating headaches, or through visual hints such
as flames appearing from their hands or eye-colours suddenly changing. Sometimes the changes are very subtle, and the affected person won't realize it for a longer time.
an individual has gained access to his inner Mana source, he is thus
also able, with the right amount of training, to access his other
elemental powers. This is how a mage can cast, for example, fire spells
even when there is no residual fire anywhere in the vicinity, and how
priests are able to call upon the gods for favours and such. It should
be noted that the latter example depends more on a person's Ethereal
power than his Mana; hence why priests in general do not go around
casting fire spells and the like, and instead depend on their soul's
connecting to the greater spiritual and divine powers of the world and
While the Elemental Body is a very precise model as to
what elemental powers the mortal body consists of, it is worth noting
that there are some exceptions to the model. Some mortal races only
possess five elements instead of six; such as the Mel'zarai. And then
there are the Dwarves who, while some are able to wield magic, are
mostly very poor at spellcasting due to their much more dormant and
miniscule Mana supply. The Torians, despite hailing from a world of much
magic, appear to have lost all their connection to anything to do with
magic and spiritual, and as a result are not affected by the prospects
of the Elemental Body.