by A. K. Holubek
The Four Gifts
All women, and a few select men, are born with one of four gifts: Empathicism, Floranism, Faunism, and Elementalism. The four gifts are divided into two categories. The bonding gifts are those that provide the gifted with an ability to connect, either with humans (Empathicism) or with animals (Faunism). While people with bonding gifts are able to influence feelings and behavior, the focus of these gifts is connection and understanding, not control. In contrast, guiding gifts provide the gifted with the ability to manipulate either plant life (Floranism) or the elements (Elementalism). Those with guiding gifts can connect, in a sense with plants or the elements, but their main ability is manipulation.
An Empath’s most basic ability is to form a connection with another person through physical contact, such that the Empath can “read” the other person’s emotions. A more advanced Empathic skill is an Empathic bond, where an Empath can form a connection with one or more other people in which everyone within the bond can sense each other’s emotions. In addition, Empaths can project influences, meaning they can create emotional states in others. Talented Empaths can do this even without physical contact. Empaths can also block such influences for themselves and others around them.
Faunans are able to make a connection with animals. This connection allows them to understand animals’ emotions and basic thoughts. With some training Faunans can also make animals understand their own thoughts and in this way communicate with animals at a rudimentary level. A Faunan’s connection with animals does not require physical contact and a Faunan may connect with more than one animal at a time. More advanced Faunans can also influence animal emotions similar to how Empaths can influence other peoples’ emotions.
Florans can manipulate plant life, both by speeding up or slowing down their growth and development and by enhancing what they develop (more fruit, more foliage, etc.). However, any manipulation they perform requires the same amount of resources and nutrients as would be necessary if the plant developed on its own. If no resources are available to a plant, there’s not much a Floran can do with it. Manipulation of plant life always requires a physical connection to the plant itself or a chain connection through plants who are intertwined in some way (roots, foliage touching, etc.). Florans can sense a plant’s health and are usually able to figure out what’s ailing sickly plants. They also tend to have an innate sense of a plant properties and its usefulness as food, medicine, poison, etc.
Elementals can manipulate the elements by transferring certain properties from one element to another. The most important skill practiced by Elementals is the transfer of heat from one element to another. A more advanced Elemental skill is the transfer of kinetic energy, enabling them to heat or cool solids, liquids, and gasses. Elementals can also distinguish the elemental makeup of minerals and liquids and they can sense changes in pressure, temperature, moisture, etc. in the atmosphere and with training can understand what these changes portend for weather.