Avatar of Passion – Ignis the Tyro Pyro (A Short Story)
First Draft of Avatar of Passion – Ignis the Tyro Pyro, please leave any thoughts here or (the more popular option) by email. This is also in my drop box for anyone signed up for that.
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Day 1 of Expedition to Onyx Forest, 3rd of Gefil:
Day 1 of the Expedition has been quite fruitful. Adura and Myself have found the recently formed Onyx forests. Reports of the newly birthed forest have flooded out to all nearby cities. High activity of Infernal Beasts suggests a strong concentration of high energy crystals. We have been informed that it is almost certain that a burst cave is in the area and that such region will house the crystals. I am skeptical, the information is a bit too direct for my tastes, our contractor knows more than they are telling us.
Slightly unrelated but worthy of note, Adura has told me many times now that she feels we are being followed. Because of this we are taking shifts sleeping, however I pity anyone who underestimates either of us.
~ ~ ~
Day 3 of the Expedition to Onyx Forest, 5th of Gefil:
We have not yet located the burst cave. However we have spotted at least two dozen Infernal beasts, one of which was an exceptionally large Sapphire Dragon. The Canopy of Onyx has kept us relatively hidden from the large predators but I am skeptical of the safety in this expedition. As it stands we have no short supply of food, the trees are high in nutrition and exceptionally tasty. Likewise I brought some rock candy with us, hopefully this guilty ration will last the entire trip, these fruitless days are a bit of a bore.
Catching up on my previous entry: Myself and Adura have both now seen someone-something-at least sneaking around the woods around us. Adura is quite worried but I have reassured her that nobody will be able to harm us as long as I’m here. I have a sneaking suspicion that bandits heard of the cave and are hoping to steal the loot from under our noses. They obviously haven’t heard that a Pyromancer is on the mission.
~ ~ ~
Day 4 of the Expedition to Onyx Forest, 6th of Gefil:
There is good and bad news on this day. The good news is that we have indeed found the Burst Cave, confirming my suspicions it lies almost exactly where they told us we’d find it. I worry something is up, to compound my fears, Adura has become ill. She is getting a little too cold for comfort at this point. I will give the trip another two days, if we do not locate the crystals by then I am going to call off the mission and we’ll get her back. I am not about to lose my friend over what has from the beginning unsettled my stomach.
There appears to be three things following us, none of them are beasts that I can tell, I’m not even sure if they know I am tracking them as they track us. However the amount of beasts around the cave borders on obscene, it is nothing I cannot handle, but I worry that Adura’s sickness may make this a more difficult expedition than anticipated.
She seems visibly upset, not because of her health, but of the burden she has become. I wish she’d realize that she’s never a burden to me.
~ ~ ~
The cracking of Crystal woke Ignis from her sleep. She eyed around quickly, the burning cinders of the blast cave kept the entirety of it glowing like a fire in its death throes.
"Adura? Where are you?" Ignis stood quickly, eying around visibly worried. On the ground 50 feet from her lie Adura; face to the floor. "Adura!" Ignis shouted, dashing towards her partner.
Adura rolled over slowly, her stony skin glowed from the warmth of the blast cave floor. "Ignis?" She yawned, sitting up from the floor weakly. "I’m sorry. I suddenly got tired."
Ignis ran her fingers through Adura’s silver hair. "I’ll take watch for the rest of the night." Ignis moved Adura’s arm over her shoulder and helped her back to the camp.
Adura frowned. "Is it alright? I’m sorry." Shaking her head in shame.
"No no no. Don’t worry at all. I just want you to get better." Ignis responded.
Adura laid down on the woven asbestos bedroll and almost immediately fell back to sleep. Ignis looked on with worry.
"Please get better." She whispered.
Ignis walked over to one of the blast cave walls. Running her hardened stone fingers across the surface, the friction causing sparks to dance off the wall. Ignis began to concentrate and the sparks that showered towards the floor halted in mid air.
She turned and gestured into the air before her with her hands. The tiny fragments of flame followed her command and began to dance in front of her. A ballroom dance of fire, like a few dozen fireflies, they spun around one another. Eternal lovers caught up in the moment.
The infernal waltz glowed in her emerald eyes, each entirely devoid of pupils, merely large green orbs resting comfortably within her hard stone head. Stands of shimmering steel hair ran down her back. Around her wrists a pair of hardened titanium bracelets given to her at her birth. An unassuming figure upon the Isle of Tartaro, but she was so much more.
A land entirely engulfed in endless fire and brimstone, a sea of scorching chaos, she was one of an extremely rare breed. A pyromancer, not merely gazing upon the wonders of the land, but controlling it. She was the manifestation of passion, a force of nature whose full strength was not fully realized, at least not yet.
With a twist of her fingers the embers fell to the ground. She began to concentrate deeper, slowly at first the embers crawled along the ground. Each rolling unto another, until two small figurines of flame stood in front of one another. Like a puppetmaster she began to pull unseen strings, the first figure gestured to the second for a dance. With a few twists of the wrists they were dancing around with one another, the embers that were their heads fixated upon one another.
The twisting and turning left a trail of smoke, a momentary history of their embrace. The two figures danced around the sleeping Adura, as Ignis smiled warmly.
"We’ll get you back home. I promise."
Another crack caught Ignis’ attention. One of the figures crumbled to the ground while the other, in tandem with Ignis, looked towards the sound. A moment later it too fell.
"Who is there?" Ignis spoke, her voice stern but soft enough not to wake Adura. "Show yourself now if you value your lfe."
A slender sliver of flame crawled towards toe duo, a small flaming centipede, curiously approaching. Ignis lowered herself to the ground and opened her palm towards the insect. "Come here little one."
As if it understood the insect sped towards her and climbed into her palm. Her hand began to glow red as the two warmed one another. It began to give off a tiny humming chatter with its obsidian incisors. With her free hand Ignis began to pet the centipede. "What are you doing in here? You sense the crystal too don’t you?"
Ignis raised the centipede to her shoulder. "It is warm up here too. You can take watch with me tonight." It’s one hundred legs carried it from her hand to her shoulder where it quickly proceeded to curl up, resting its own head on its coiled body. The hum of its teeth was a calming harmony in the nearly silent crackle of the cave.
~ * ~
It was difficult for the average Tartarun to gauge the time of day on Tartaro. It was an Isle eternally hidden beneath a cloud of Sulfur and Steam, blocking out any true stellar light source that would hint towards a standard cycle. Instead it was the response of nature that gave the citizens a hint of what time it was.
In the case of Ignis she could sense the change of the land itself, the subtle increase of the firestorms, the infernal cousins to dust storms on distant lands. Feel the slight increase in the scorching heat, and the increased activity of the wildlife, all these things combined in her mind to help her know more accurately than nearly anyone else just what time it truly was.
She stroked the cheek of Adura. "Wake up. We are almost there." Adura smiled, still in a bit of a daze.
"I’ll be ready in a minute mother."
Ignis chuckled. "Still dreaming?"
Adura’s eyes began to glow as she came to. "Hmm?"
"You called me mother." Ignis responded.
"I did?" Adura was obviously embarrassed, her cheeks began to glow, a sign of warmth that pleased Ignis.
"I’m flattered but you are older than me. I’m talented but not quite that talented."
Ignis began to repack their supplies as Adura gathered her energy. A single asbestos bedroll, a small sealable basket of foodstuffs, and a rod of solid diamond. In all her trips this had been all she had needed, and it was beginning to look like it would be all she needed once more.
Blast caves are essentially regions of Tartaro where intense levels of energy are instantaneously released not unlike a volcano. The results are incredibly deep caves that attract all sorts of Tartarun flora and fauna, and for explorers like Ignis they also reaped a very reasonable living.
This particular cave was a bit different however, whereas all her previous experiences with them resulted in many catacomb like systems this particular one had a singular path. A linear drop deep into the land. The further they went the cooler the cave got, something was draining the heat out of the cave.
As they went deeper Adura was becoming noticeably uncomfortable.
Ignis began to rub her hands together until they grew red hot and sparked. Tensing her mind the sparks began to spin, with such an intensity that they were creating friction in nothing but the air. In a matter of moments a half dozen orbs of fire floated in the air.
Adura smiled weakly. "You are such a show off."
Ignis smiled back, her orbs floated towards and surrounded Adura. Their combined light reflecting off of her. "Thank you."
Ignis waved her hand. "Don’t mention it." Ignis took a step. "No really. I have a reputation to keep." She joked.
The two laughed and then silence, the moment felt like an eternity, until a small chatter broke in.
"Oh. Looks like my little friend is awake." Ignis rubbed the head of the centipede. "Hope you were comfortable."
Hours passed as they marked on. Even Ignis was finding that the cool was unsettling. Something was draining the energy around her without cease. Even the orbs she had formed to warm Adura were spinning with increasing fury to maintain their size and temperature, the only source of light in the entirety of the blast cave at this point.
Then suddenly in the distance.
"Did you see that?"
A faint flicker of light in the otherwise endless darkness broke forth. It was momentary and un repeating, Adura hesitated to mention it again. A minute or so later it glowed once again.
"I saw it that time. That must be it."
Adura sighed with relief. "I’m so glad we found it before you had to break off the expedition."
Ignis frowned. "Stop. Stop blaming yourself. It isn’t your fault you are sick. We’ll get the crystal, get out of here, and get you back to the city before you know it." Ignis tightened her fist and the orbs grew larger. "You’ll be ok and we’ll have a feast celebrating the find. Just you and me."
As the two approached the light source the cave began to glow once more, but it wasn’t a glow of warmth, a violent radiance flooded the cave around the crystals. In an instant Ignis knew what she was gazing upon.
"Dark Crystal." She had read about it in expedition manuals and encyclopedias, however she questioned its existence. The crystallized essence of Dark Energy. Without any doubt this was the greatest find of her entire four century long life.
It may have been the immensity of the find or the entrancing glow of the crystal but Ignis had befallen something that hadn’t happened to her in almost one hundred years: an ambush.
Quickly dashing back Ignis barely missed being beheaded from something falling from the ceiling of the cave. Crouched in front of her was a lengthy being, a Tartarun who looked as if they’d been put stretched to breaking. Long spindly arms of stone ended with two stumpy hands wrapped tightly around a diamond blade.
As Ignis backed up she bumped into a wall, a wall with hands. Two massive hands wrapped around her and lifted her into the air. "We’ll be taking that." Called out a voice. To her right from behind the massive Tartarun was an old man, even by Tartarun standards. A long obsidian bared stretched down to his waist, his bald head glowing with the flames twirling around Adura…Adura!
Ignis began to look around herself frantically.
The spindly man stood up from the ground. "Looking for your friend?" He cackled, in any other situation Ignis wouldn’t dignify such a fool with a response, but she was without options.
"Where is she." Ignis screamed, her body subtly glowing ever brighter.
"I’m amazed she made it this far little traveler." The older man responded.
Ignis’ eyes cooled with fear.
"We gave your friend quite a strong concoction of Crystalytes. They’ve been crawling inside of her for days now, telling us exactly where you two were. Turns out that once you had found the cave we didn’t even need you anymore…or her." Her unfurled his hand pointing back towards the entrance of the cave. "On long linear path…who’d have thought that something so precious would be so easily found."
In Ignis’ mind there was only one thought: Rage. With a deafening scream she tensed her fists to the nearly point of cracking. Her body in an instant glowed a bright red, a flash of cinder firing out in every direction, startling her captor. The massive hands released her, she fell to the ground and dashed towards the spindly man.
He raised his sword preparing to fell her, once she came within range he swung down splitting her in two. Like butter the form he cut melted away into nothingness, his cocky grin turned to an expression of confusion. An instant warmth build up in the center of his chest and suddenly it went molten. A diamond staff exploded out his chest from behind him. Ignis lifted him off the ground with the staff and with one quick twirl launched him towards his massive partner.
As he fell Ignis could finally see Adura, lying lifeless on the ground, her eyes as empty and cold as space rock. The ground around Ignis danced from the energy she began to emit. As she turned to the old man he held the shard of Dark Crystal out in front of himself.
"Too slow. Even you are not strong enough to stop me no-" The molten hot fist of Ignis plunged through the old man’s throat, the dark crystal fell onto her back and melted into her infernal flesh. Grasping the back of his neck she swung him to the ground behind her, a rush of energy flooding her form from the crystal.
All Ignis could feel was pain, an endless swirl of pain deep at the core of her soul. Energy rivaling that of a sun began to flow from the base of her feet raising her into the air before the collection of crystal. Her entire body gave birth to wave after wave of fire. Inside her mind she could hear the chatter…of her small friend.
"I consumed him?"
The thought was instantly vanquished with the realization that Adura was gone. Her friend was gone…her Adura…
Slowly she turned, opening her hands she began to concentrate. The Dark Crystal fragments all severed their connection to the cave and rocketed towards her. Impacting with her skin and melting into her. With each piece she became ever more powerful. The old man held his hand over his punctured throat.
"Impossible! The master said I was the chosen!"
In his eyes she could sense everything, her powers had grown exponentially and he was just like any beast of Tartaro. She could smell it…his fear.
The purest form of Passion floated before the old man and his partners. The entirety of Tartaro shook under the weight of Ignis’ scream. A surge of fire rocketed out of the blast gave, liquifying the entire Onyx forest surrounding the blast cave and separating the sulfur clouds above.
As the three melted Ignis could see everything they knew, everywhere they had been, every order they had ever been given. Also she could hear the faint whisper of something else in her mind. The sweet voice of her Adura.
"I’m sorry Ignis." The voice called out.
"Don’t be my Adura. "
In an instant Ignis was floating above the entrance of the blast cave. She knew who had given the orders to the men, she knew who was responsible for the death of her Adura. She knew everything.
The Novice Pyromancer had in an instant become the ultimate incarnate of Passion, she and Adura had become one, she would avenge her Adura. She would show Adura’s true killer the face of fear, the ultimate end of all who stand against passion’s decree.
"I will avenge you."
Ignis screamed, her voice carrying across the entire Isle. "I have awoken. The Avatar of Passion. I am Ignis and you will forever fear my name."
Turning to a form only she could see, Ignis whispered sweetly.
"As long as we are one my love…I am invincible."