Welcome to my kingdom, tiny fleshbags! If you dig too deeply for your metals and fossilized dead, I will arise from the planet's depths and burn everything you love to dust. The next worm creatures who creep across the dirt will slurp upon your liquified bodies for energy, just as you slurp upon those I scourged with flaming death balls when your ancestors were mere rodents!

Don't mess with fire elementals, people. And while you're at it, don't mess with earth, air or water either. They are all far more badass — and older — than you.

Last month at at Concept Art Forums, there was a Creature of the Week challenge to design "Artistotilian Elementals," which is to say creatures representing the elements of fire, earth, air, and water. Not surprisingly, most people went for fire and water, though I particularly liked Firith's earth elemental because it reminded me of the bear goddess in Jacqueline Carey's Moirin books. You can see more over at Concept Art Forums. Click any image below to enlarge.

An elemental who controls water at the molecular level, by Adam Burnier

A translucent water elemental, by Lashess

An air elemental challenges an airplane, by Chromatic Codex

The full image of the fire elemental above, by Dave Melvin

Another badass fire elemental by Madame Mister

This is the illustration that won the challenge, with a fight between elementals by Adam Vehige

A sombre and gorgeous earth elemental by Firith