Little Fire, Part two: Kindling

[surprise but not surprise update!]

It begun with a fire, as one would expect from this kind of story.

This fire was deep underground, in one of the many caves and passages beneath the Giant Snowman, which was more than giant. The fire was of a small but powerful sort. Most tellers agree that the fire was made from roots, candle plants, coal, a fuel gem(good for feeding a fire for days) and some other manner of magical gem. The fire had been burning for some days, forgotten about by its’ maker.

Unsurprising then that such a fire would birth one of the firefolk. So it did, as the fire was dying down, it suddenly whooshed up and there was a cry of joy as a living flame became aware of existing. Being magical denizens, firefolk are several legs up on many other newborns. A newly birthed firefolk come ready to speak and with a little bit of knowledge of its surroundings.

Still, everything was so new to the little flame. He scuttled about the cave floor on a bunch of burning roots. For a time he amused himself by staring at the glowing eye-plants and setting off a few firework flowers in the cave, but after playing for some time, he grew hungry.

Now the hunger of firefolk is a little different from that of other beings. To live, a firefolk must consume things by burning them to nothing. The fire of these folk has a curious property, if not roused in anger a firefolk will slowly burn anything they touch, very slowly. Also, their fire does not spread, if a firefolk was to pick up a piece of wood, it would get burned, but when it puts the wood down, no fire will remain on it.

So, when a firefolk gets hungry, it means their fuel source is running low indeed. Many firefolk lived in pieces of wood like a hermit crab does a shell. Those firefolk less interested in moving about were well content to rest atop oils of one kind or an other.

Before the Firelord rose, affluent Firefolk living in towns were want to dwell in jars of oil and pay handlers to carry their jar. Oil is tastier to them after all. Less wealthy ones often went underground trying to find one of the natural pools of oil there. Of course, some firefolk preferred to stay on the lava inside the Fire Mountain of Elcon. Most Elconic taverns banned firefolk because of their propensity to explode after having too much or a particularity volatile drink.

Most of the little fire’s fuel had been eaten up as the fire he had birthed from had been going for days, then on top of that, his birth itself consumed a lot of fuel. So, he was as could be said, burning low.

Now, although his magical nature offered knowledge of a vague indeterminate amount (like what things make for good fuel). He didn’t really know where he was, or where would be a good source of fuel. So he did what most denizens would do in a situation like that; he wandered off in a random direction. He twisted and turned, going deeper and deeper, eventually, there was no light but his own, not even a shining bulb or a glowing moss. There was a little bit of upside-down weed that he burnt up, but that was just enough to keep him going really.

Now, a thing about the underground places of elcon is that there is two important facts about going deep. The first is that the deeper one is the warmer it gets, eventually if one went deep enough, Elconic scholars supposed that you would burst into flame and then melt. For obvious reasons, this wasn’t a huge issue for firefolk.

The other fact is that the deeper you go, the more monsters that appear. These are monsters mind you, not monstrous creatures. What makes something a monster rather than monstrous, is whether it can be described. No denizen actually properly sees a monster, they’ll talk about how it had teeth this long, and claws that sharp, whether it had tentacles or not and the scary noises they make. In the case of denizens that claim to slay monsters, no trace of the monsters exists.

Some would say that monsters don’t even exist.

Regardless of this, the little fire began to hear wet dripping and heavy panting noises, not the sort of thing one wants to hear in a deep dank cave. He wondered if perhaps he was not the only one hungry. Now, many would think that a living flame would have no fear of ever being eaten. Clearly, such persons have not lived in elcon.

So, the little flame became more and more unnerved as the sounds came closer and closer. Then there was a horrific scraping, as if some lumbering monster had dragged its claws across the tunnel walls. The Flame felt a rush of wind… or maybe breath wash over himself. Deciding that facing his fears and knowing what was behind him would be better than continuing on, he turned around. He regretted this immediately and turned right back.

Considering the little flame was using a bunch of burnt roots for legs, he ran very well.

As he ran, the ghastly scraping followed after him, and never was there a moment that he didn’t feel the heavy breath on his flame.

Then the snarling cry started up.

If he was running well before, he was like the wind now.

Such was his haste that he was not looking where he was going, and thus before he knew what was happening, he pitched right into a pit, a began to fall. On the bright side, he no longer felt the breath of the monster, or heard its cry.

Author: SnowyMystic