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Captain Planet - but for grown ups
July 15, 2014 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Please help me come up with a decent name for a group of four fictional characters who have power over the classic elements in an equally fictional world.

I'm writing a story where a woman from here and now stumbles into a world that relies on four individuals holding power over earth, fire, air and water. These people (if it makes a difference) end up being unwilling celebrities and are at risk of assasination to pass the power along. They are on a pedestal of sorts.

The only name I can think of for these four people is 'elementals' but that sounds so corny.

Can you lovely people come up with something better, please?
posted by Youremyworld to Writing & Language (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think they sound a bit like the gods from Olympus, so maybe "the gods," or "the idols" (as in false idols, if your story is going that way)?
posted by xingcat at 8:32 PM on July 15


The Primes
The Primals
The Four
The Components
The Materials
The Core
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 PM on July 15


The Fantastic Four?
posted by MythMaker at 8:47 PM on July 15


Make up a word in the language that "transliterates" to something pleasant sounding.

Otherwise you are in thesaurus mash up town with powermentals or essencerators.

Older words & nuke current meaning? Humours of the world (humourists).

Are they interdependent & or cancel & balance each other? Is there a mechanism that prevents them from harming each other?

Are there non believers? One could make up something impressive in an old tongue and instead of thst use, they have a popular name like The Heathers or the Magic Mob or something.

Non believers call them the Hello Mentals or other Kooky affectation that implies derision, those who believe but believe they do harm call them the Detrimentals ...
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 8:48 PM on July 15


Not a specific suggestion, but an idea. Perhaps find a word that is verbal, based on how you see them interacting with the elements. For example, in Avatar: The Last Airbender, they are referred to as benders for their respective element. In your description above, it could be something like holders. But I'm guessing you have a better description for what they are actually doing. Come up with a cool verbal description of their ability, and then nounify it.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:51 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


The Forces
posted by icanbreathe at 8:53 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


'The Primordials'
'The Four Corners'
'The Inborn'


In terms of individual names, maybe...

--Tara (pronounced 'Terra', which means 'land' or 'earth'. Would have to make her a girl)
--Constance (self-explanatory re things not subject to change. good for any element.)
--Constantine (make him the brother of Constance. my college biochem prof was named Dr. Constantine. Always seemed a particularly apt name for a guy into the building blocks of matter)
--Adam (sounds like 'Atom')
posted by BadgerDoctor at 9:02 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


The Core Four
posted by 724A at 9:14 PM on July 15


The anime Fairy Tail has exactly such a group, and they're known as "Element Four".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:27 PM on July 15


This could be such fun world building! In the Beldan's Fire series by Midori Snyder (I think?) they're called the Queen's Knot because only women can have that much power over the elements and they're co-regents over Beldan.

In Margaret Balls Weaver series they're called wise women and weavers, and it's specifically fertile women who can master all four elements because being able give birth is the kind of mental and physical trauma that helps you really get the nature of manner. The narrator is Tamai who is a weaver who can't ever become wise because she's infertile.
posted by spunweb at 10:04 PM on July 15


The Primes
The Primals
The Four
The Components
The Materials
The Core
posted by Rock Steady


Definitely The Four
posted by philip-random at 10:34 PM on July 15


The Core Four

Unless you are writing some Derek Jeter fanfic you may want avoid this one.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:58 PM on July 15


The Platonic Tessera
posted by Megafly at 11:36 PM on July 15


The fifth element was quintessence or aether. That sounds a little like "other", so I think you should call them The Others.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 11:44 PM on July 15


Do you want the kind of name that a cultural outsider would give to this group of people (which is what I'm largely reading here), or do you want the kind of name that a culture would give this group of people themselves/would arise as a matter of history/cultural development? Unless they are really the only 4 individuals in the universe with this power, rather than the 4 most powerful/opportunistic individuals among a population who all wields the power to some degree, in which case, it would make sense to mark the ability as something "other."

Why not the Tetrarchs/Tetrarchy? Or the equivalent calque from another ancient language?
posted by Schielisque at 2:52 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


The Gaia Principals?
posted by popcassady at 5:40 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


There is a Tamora Peirce series with a similar setup and those characters are called Ambient Mages, I think.
posted by Cygnet at 8:16 AM on July 16


If each person is the focus of a particular element's energy (and of unwanted attention) they could be called the Foci.
posted by mikepop at 8:22 AM on July 16


Gang Green...
posted by hippychick at 9:08 AM on July 16


These characters have celebrity and a lineage, which means they're figureheads in this society, possibly with political and religious connotations? i.e. the people change but the position remains the same?

I would lean towards giving them a dreamy, high-falutin' kind of title that reflects the weight of that, like Aetheri. It's the fifth element, yes, but it exists outside the four and is supposed to be unchanging, like their positions. Also it sounds like "aesir," so you've got that nifty godly-but-relatable quality to it.

You could also take a page from the Final Fantasy games, which routinely give grandiose names to the same demi-gods (eidolons, espers, guardians, aeons, etc). It's not so much the meaning as it is how the term sets those demi-gods apart and makes them seem important.
posted by greenland at 9:18 AM on July 16


The Tetrad, then each individual could maybe be an Air Tetrada or Earth Tetrado if female or male
The Quaternity - Collins says "a group of four, esp a concept of God as consisting of four persons", individuals could be Quaternites or Quaterno or Quaterna
Quadrifid/Quatrefoil - divided into four lobes or other parts
Some variation of Tetravalence - it means an element with a valence (combining power/attraction) of four, Tetravalencii, Tetravalena, Tetravaleno

This would depend upon how much their reticence plays in the storyline and since they are celebrities whether they like it or not, maybe some play on nolens volens (Oxford: Latin, from nolens 'not willing' and volens 'willing'.) Tetravolens, or I guess more properly Tetranolens (it's too bad, tetravolens would be a good jump from tetravalence).

These are all from the One Look Reverse Dictionary btw. Good luck. Sounds like an interesting story.
posted by Beti at 9:51 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Pulling from neopagan traditions, how about Guardians or Watchtowers? Cardinals?
posted by carrioncomfort at 11:46 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


The Web (for the interconnected aspect -- a change in status in one person is felt throughout nature/the system). Also, another vote for "The Four."
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:57 AM on July 16


The Alchemists?
posted by Rhaomi at 6:53 PM on July 16


Thinking on this some more, "-mancer" is a nicely versatile suffix. Geomancer, aquamancer, pyromancer, aeromancer. You could use "elemancer" to refer to all of them. Or even just "mancer."
posted by Rhaomi at 4:07 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


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