Amber: Something Wicked
Elementals and proto-elementals
Animism, the idea that everything is alive, is true up to a point.
Sometimes spirits ‘wake up’ on their own by chance alignment of forces. Many fade back into non-sentience but some stay aware and may grow more intelligent and more powerful. Spirits animating and bound to matter are Elementals, ghosts, daemons, animals or people. Unawakened or virtual spirits can be termed ‘proto-elementals’.
A ‘water elemental’ is spirit that has bound itself to a mass of water, animating it. When Little Red animated a safe with conjuration he awakened a proto-elemental and created a safe-elemental.
Ghosts are the spirits of dead people who have not slid back down the Tree for rebirth. They usually animate a volume of air or inhabit an object. They differ from elementals by having human (or equivalent) memories and motivations.
Daemons are elementals or ghosts who have gained quite a bit of power and personality. If they can set up or hijack a cult that uses the true rituals they may acquire mantles of power and be really dangerous.
The vast majority of the conjurors in Shadow are able only to call, parley with, and possibly bind pre-existing elementals. Some with the knack may be capable of ‘awakening’ new elementals, who tend to be very biddable. The few with Elemental Affinities can ‘awaken’ elementals within their Affinity easily. Pattern initiates who are conjurors do so routinely.