Inscription is a delicate art, it’s mostly a discipline based around the careful placement of runes that control the flow of magic that get their power from the touch or constant application of crystals. It is a complicated affair that require the understanding of both dust and the balance and control of the various magical fields and how the runes manipulate them.
The runes themselves are small tools that excite or warp the magical field of the element that it is linked to, a fire rune changes the field of the fire elements ambiance, Runes can do a lot of work if written carefully and correctly with different linked combinations being able of very impressive feats.
Pretty much all inscription uses grade 4 dust, the dust itself has several nicknames in the industries it is used with the normal name for the dust in the inscription business being sand or sand ink. The dust itself has to be aligned to a specific element for it to be graded as grade 4 so the use of it in inscription makes the writing of the runes a careful practice where the correct dust is used in the correct runes. If you write a fire rune with water dust then you will have what us called a nuller or a null which is basically a inert rune because it cancels out it’s own power. Students often copy runes over and over using the opposing element’s dust so that their scribble remain safe to study.
Linking runes are what give the elemental runes their power and much of linking is in the intent. If you bridge from a fire rune to a light rune and then bind it and apply a blast rune then you will make an inscription that causes brightly burning flames that stick to enemies and spread, a dangerous inscription indeed. You cannot simply draw an inscription in the dust though and expect it to come to life, it needs a fuel source, it needs a crystal of the corresponding alignment applied to each of the elemental runes in the order you want them activated and you need to activate them quickly before the power starts to leak from the earlier runes.
Activating a simple one element inscription is as easy as touching a crystal to the right mark but activating a complex inscription is a careful race against time as the earlier parts of the inscription start to flare as you reach the later parts. There are dozens of links designed and used in the world but I have listed the most common ones in the graph below as they make up the more common everyday uses.
A bridge link connects two elements together to make a more complex inscription, they are used sometimes to remove another linking rune away from an element but keep it in the inscription.
A blast rune sends the elemental power out away from the rune, sometimes all at once and sometimes gradually. Intent is a strong factor with this rune and it takes intense concentration to use this rune reliably in a complicated array.
A bind rune does the opposite of a blast rune, it pulls the power inwards, sometimes locking it to the inscription and sometimes into the object that is inscribed. Intent is also strong in this rune as many inscriptions have been ruined by poor use of this rune.
A break rune does what it says, it distorts the element it is tied to causing it to fracture and disperse. Sometime it is merely a destructive force and sometimes it is merely a range increasing element.
A build rune increases the density of the elemental field it is tied to, causing reactions to happen around it. Sometimes this leads to mounting flames and sometimes stony build ups. It is also often used as a stabilizing power in an inscription to bolster the weaker parts of the array.
The elemental inscriptions have linking angles, if you cause too many intersections in a rune it will flare to quickly and snuff itself out and the complexity and arrangements of the runes mean that some runes have more connection points than others. The more standard the array is the safer it is but you can experiment with the angles in between the safe approaches and still find workability but these types of innovations are usually left to experts as intent is such an overriding factor in the more unconventional designs.