In the cold snowy land of Elcon, on a mountain of no great importance. Two Denizens were about to have a meal, for even in a place as strange as Elcon, most denizens still had to eat.
One was what seemed to be a large bundle of unruly purply brown fur on a pair of yellowy bird like legs. This creature’s yellow head was round and flat, apart from a large pointed nose jutting out like a spearhead. Its eyes were large and glowing white. It was grinning with sharp triangular teeth showing. Its’ ears turned into horns and swept back over its fur. It was an apuce.
Apuces in Elcon were mainly known for playing tricks, being kinda daft, and when threatened, being vindictively scary. If someone was looking very stressed and not sleeping at nights it was common to say that person was like they were ‘haunted by an apuce”.
The other denizen was a fang snake. A highly intelligent talking snake with a single large fang jutting out from its mouth. The fang snakes of Elcon were one of many reverse reptiles. They were more alive in the cold, but heat would make them dopey and eventually fall alseep.
Messing with fang snakes was considered a bad idea due to how they could use their fang like a dagger. Then there was poisonous ones. Among fang snakes they even had legends of frost fangs, members of their race who could turn things or people to ice with a bite or a glare.
They tended to be rather irritable, and annoying a fang snake shedding his or her skin was thought to be a fatally foolish thing to do.
One might think these two were an odd pair, and while many pairings of Elconic denizens could be thought of as odd (indeed many individuals could be considered odd), it was an odd pair. Tricksters and easily irritable creatures tended not to last long together.
As it was, these two had been together for some time, and now, as was said, were going to settle down for a nice meal.
“Well then Dolgu, what have you got for usss today?” The fang snake asked of the apuce.
Dolgu the apuce reached out for a large sack he had next to him, his hands appearing from his fur, gnarled clawed things.
He pulled out a thick raw leg of some beast or another.
“Ehkekeke” Dolgu laughed, his body shaking. “I hunted down some Clokklegurs for us!”
Clokklegurs, being a beast that mildly warps time in order to laze around more, tended to be notoriously hard to catch. Also the only edible part of their bodies were their gray beefy legs with four toes, as the rest of their body was some manner of clock that chewed time and spat out metal goo.
Of course, just because the Clokklegur’s legs were edible didn’t mean they tasted nice, they in fact tasted of rusty metal, which was fine enough for a denizen that ate metal, but most of those would prefer metal rather than metal flavoured flesh.
“I thought we could have a nice roast, Halapis” Dolgu said to the fang snake.
“Ah yessss that’d be nice.” Halapis answered bobbing his head.
Dolgu Grinned harder, pleased he had done well.
“Just one teensssy problem my fine friend” Halapis hissed, grabbing a vase with his tail from the top of one of the bookshelves in the small cave home that he and Dolgu were in.
Dolgu looked at the Clokklegur leg, then back Halapis.
“WE CAN’T MAKE A FIRE FOR THE MEAT!” Halapis screamed tossing the vase at Dolgu.
Dolgu caught it, for although he was a bit of a scatterbrain, he knew the vase was Halapis’ favourite to sleep in, he’d be sad if it he broke it while unhappy.
“Calm down Halapis, why can’t we make a fire?”
“I AM CALM, I AM AN ICY POOL OF SERENITY” Halapis was on the tip of his tail.
He took a deep breath.
“Ok, since you have forgotten, we can’t light a fire because if we do a whole load of bad guys will come here and that is totally not what we want because the entire reason we are here is to guard that thing and I have no idea how you forgot this why do I even bother, and furthermore…”
Halapis continued scolding Dolgu, who had kinda stopped listening at ‘that thing’ and was looking at that thing in question.
That thing was simply called The Kindling.
Dolgu and Halapis didn’t know what it looked like, because it was sealed in a coal dark box.
They did however know what it was supposed to do. The Kindling could start up any fire. It doesn’t seem like much of a prize, but that would be due to the smallness of people’s minds. The Kindling could start up ANY fire.
It didn’t matter how long ago the fire died, it didn’t matter if the fire had never existed. It could start any fire. It could bring back for example a being made of fire, some thought that it could even start metaphorical fire, a person’s drive or will.
It was exactly the kind of thing someone of ill thoughts could put to disastrous ends.
Halapis sssssighed. “…Well you got anything elssse in the sssack?”
Dolgu searched around in the bag and dug out what looked suspiciously like glass mushrooms.
They were in fact prisoms. A particular delicacy in elcon, more than being very tasty, a single prisom could sustain a denizen for a whole month. There was however one problem with them.
“Hey, that isss pretty good, prisomsss would keep uss going for agesss, Nice finding them Dolgu. Except you FORGOT THAT PRISOMSSSSS ARE POISSSSONIOUSSS WHEN NOT COOKED, AND GUESSss WHAT? WE CAN’T COOK WITHOUT FIRE, AND IF WE USSSE FIRE THEN THEY FIND THE KINDLING!!”
Halapis collapsed in a pile of exasperated coils.
Yes, prisoms were poisonous when not cooked, the poison was of the sort that changed your whole body into crystal. It was fairly fatal, though like being turned to stone there was a number of ways to come back from it, though not if you broke after turning crystal.
“Well, we could always eat raw meat Halapis” Dolgu tried to console Halapis, while lifting a shank of Clokklegur to his mouth.
Halapis quickly knocked it away with the tip of his tail.
“Are you trying to kill yourssself?”
Dolgu looked with confusion at Halapis.
” Thought I was trying to eat? Eating doesn’t kill people does it?”
“YESSSS IT DOESSSS, I mean when the food iss covered in dusting from prisssom musshroomss, then it kills you, kills you right to a crysssstally death!” Halapis hissed frantically.
Although Dolgu greatly annoyed the fang snake, he was really quite fond of the apuce.
In the end, Halapis left Dolgu to guard the Kindling, while he got food, while telling Dolgu not to eat the things from the sack.
You normally can’t do cooking without fire, so there was nothing for it but to find something else to eat.
The next week, Dolgu forgot once again, and brought a sack of food inedible unless cooked. After that, Halapis never let Dolgu find food for them again.