Common arcane lore divides physical existence in four basic elements: Air¸ Earth¸ Fire and Water. By manipulating these elements¸ arcane spellcasters create some of the most spectacular effects of magic¸ raising walls of stone around them or raining fiery death upon their enemies. Unlike druids¸ who control nature's resources out of a pact of mutual respect¸ wizards and sorcerers master the raw elemental forces without permission and¸ most of the times¸ even without acknowledgement.
By blowing creatures away or breathing underwater¸ all arcane spellcasters are elementalists in a way. Their knowledge¸ however¸ is limited to the strictly defined effects of spells they learn from the eight schools of magic. Beyond that basic knowledge¸ there are those who dare to further their understanding of elemental forces¸ eschewing their progress in the general arcane arts to walk the Four Elemental Ways and gaining power over the building blocks of the universe.
The School of Elementalism¸ or the School of the Four Ways¸ is a collection of disciplines that enable its students to understand¸ tap into and bend the elements. They start small¸ capable of learning and preparing more powerful spells from a favoured element¸ but their skill improves as they progress through the Five Circles of the Way. They slowly learn how to make the most of their control over elemental creatures¸ and their expertise soon earns them the attention of the natives and rulers of the Elemental Planes. With time¸ they know the secrets of their chosen element so well that they can avoid its perils¸ and even travel and survive in the Elemental Planes. Such spellcasters earn the recognition and respect of the poorly known Elemental Courts and finds themselves in the middle of their inter-planar wars.
Any evoker can detonate his enemies and any conjurer can summon elementals to serve him for a few moments¸ but the spellcaster who gains a greater control over the elements not only does it better¸ he truly understands the forces behind the spells and is capable of feats of arcane might undreamt of by the uninitiated. For one who knowingly controls the primordial forces¸ there is little that can stop him.