There is a world in which some of the human inhabitants can "bend" the four elements to their will. For the sake of analogy (and also because it's easier for some of you to relate to) let's say that "element bending" works the same way as it does in "Avatar: The Last Airbender".

The question concerns earth bending, which in this world refers to the ability to control solid substances and even small particles (on a cellular level, for instance). Now, one of the characters can bend earth, but in their youth they tried bending it without supervision and as a result they ended up bending the "earth" in their own body, which resulted in vein-like patterns forming on the palm of their hands. The way I envisioned it, the patterns are formed by concentrating carbon (with slight traces of other elements like calcium and magnesium, but mostly carbon). They are also very small (roughly as thin as a hair strand) but stretch across the whole surface of the palms.

Now, what I would like to ask is:

  • How much of this mixture of mostly carbon would it be required to form such patterns?
  • Would creating these patterns have any severe negative effects on the character's health and development (given the fact that this happened while they were a child)? Would it be possible to fight off any negative health effects through a basic diet or would they have irreversible effects on their growth (similar to a chronic avitaminosis)?

I understand that chemical elements in nature are rarely in pure form, but in mixtures, so I would be willing to go with a mixture of carbon and calcium oxide in the form of graphite, if this would make more sense. The questions about health effects still apply.

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    $\begingroup$ I have blue vein-like patterns on the palms of my hands and I'm in perfect health. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 13 '15 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ Did you get them by earth bending the solid substances in your body? D: $\endgroup$ – Feidhelm Oct 13 '15 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ Depends. Does cell division count as bending? :) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 13 '15 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ That's a good point, actually, given the fact that transporting one chemical element or compound from one part of the body to the other would require some form of cell division. However, I'm not very versed in these matters so I can't be sure. $\endgroup$ – Feidhelm Oct 13 '15 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ I wouldn't think cell division would be necessary. Blood carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, after all. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Oct 13 '15 at 20:01

Graphite's density is ~2.3 g/cm3. Meaning that 1 cubic centimeter of graphite would weight 2.3 grams. This is more than enough for forming thread-like lines on one palm. This answers your first question. I would suggest 1 gram of graphite for this purpose for each hand.

Graphite is toxic in pure form and causes graphite poisoning. 2 grams of graphite are enough to produce symptoms. If your character gets medical aid and survives, the graphite on his palms would be gradually dissolved away by his body's immune system, so that after a few years the thread-lines are visible no more.

  • $\begingroup$ I must admit that I am a bit disappointed to find out that the thread-lines would disappear in time, but I guess that's how the human body works. Cheers for answering that. Is there any way those lines could remain in place though, medically speaking? $\endgroup$ – Feidhelm Oct 13 '15 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ I think you should go for something other than carbon to make those lines. Frostfyre's comment should give you a line of thought I have blue vein-like patterns on the palms of my hands. You may want to give your character these blue veins (naturally) and then concentrate some heavy substance (some distorted form of cholesterol maybe?) in the walls of those veins. Remember, your character did not create that cholesterol (or the body will remove it), he only concentrated it the walls of his veins. That will give a sickly dark series of lines on his palms that persists. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Oct 13 '15 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ Plus, just as a literary advice, do not explain the process scientifically to the public. First, just state the mind-power experiment resulted in some sickly dark series of lines (their thickness would vary, depending on the diameter of the vein) on his palms. Later add that he went to see some medical man and he tells the character that this is a quizzical thing to see cholesterol concentration only on his hand veins and nowhere else. This would keep your plot natural to read. If you go on explain that his experiment pulled xyz quantities of cholesterol from his arm, it would be weird. $\endgroup$ – Youstay Igo Oct 13 '15 at 22:00

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