The Fire Demon

J.L. Weinmeister

Today is our first full day in Aria. You’re excited to see what life on Linea really looks like. I give you all a small amount of elvirian currency to spend as you please. Many of you are looking forward to being able to speak with some of the inhabitants.

As you wander the streets, you see craftsmen and artists going about their work. All the elvira wear leggings and tunics. Some still wear short sleeves while others have pulled out their long-sleeved ones. The craftsmen who work in open wooden buildings have small fires going to provide heat.

In one of the craftsmen’s buildings, you see men and women making candles and soap. A myriad of fragrances drifts your way on the slight breeze. You see carpenters hammering away at various items, while woodcarvers make them more visually appealing. But there’s one group of craftsmen that fascinates all of you. The bowers are busy making the items elvira are most known for: their bows and arrows.

Some of the bows are simple, sturdy ones. They are mass produced by the vast majority of bowers to supply elvirian soldiers. But a few bowers make the finer bows that are coveted by the average elvira. They’re used for hunting and recreation, not just as military weapons. Similarly, the blacksmiths make a large number of military-grade swords and a smaller number of finely crafted weapons.

Though you haven’t had much exposure to it yet, the elvira are at war with their neighbors to the north. I’ll tell you more about that later. For now, I want you to enjoy your time in Aria.

After seeing all the craftsmen, you wander into the various shops to see the people who work with textiles and other finer materials. You’re happy to converse with some of the merchants and learn more about their wares and their travels to the various planets.

Some of you go to the library, but the only books in English are those designed to teach the language to travelling merchants. There are performances in the theater, but you find they’re not quite as entertaining as the ones on Bursna. While the elvira love the arts, they don’t dedicate as much time to them as the men on Bursna do. They’re too preoccupied with keeping their nation functioning during the war.

While some of you are interested in the settlement, some of you are more interested in the landscape. Despite being autumn, you’re eager to explore the surrounding areas. Some of you recreate on the lake or river. Some of you hike into the forests and mountains to the east. Some of you even travel across the grassland to the western coast.

That night when you return to our inn, I tell you the story of what happened to Hassandri after the asteroid killed all the dragons.

* * * * *

After the asteroid hit Hassandri, the planet’s ecosystems failed. Many plants were unable to survive with so much airborne debris blocking the sun. As a result, herbivores and omnivores suffered too. Carnivores were somewhat luckier, but they eventually ran into food shortages as well.

Kareena’s scientists were devastated by the loss of their beloved dragons and the destruction of their first planet. They spent years trying to repair the damage.

Sireva was unhappy with the fast pace of the scientists’ work. He needed them distracted, but it appeared his asteroid wasn’t enough. He needed something else. Something better.

Sireva smiled to himself. He knew what to do.

* * * * *

Sireva travelled to the chain of volcanoes on the eastern side of Mistaza. Narrow tunnels burrowed deep into the mountains, and he followed them to the source of the volcano’s power. The heat was intense, but Sireva didn’t mind. He was too preoccupied by his plans. He would gain countless hours of entertainment if he succeeded.

When he reached the boiling center of the volcano, he used a magically reinforced vial to extract some of the magma. He would need it for his latest creation.

He carefully stowed the magma in his cloak pocket and teleported back to his lab. He packed all of his scientific equipment, incubating clones, and the magma in a magically enlarged briefcase for safe transport. He would need to do his work on Hassandri, and he wouldn’t be able to come back to Kareena anytime soon. Travel on Hassandri needed to be impossible in order for him to enact his plan.

When he arrived on Hassandri, he set up camp in a cave deep in the mountains to the west of the portal. He pulled out one of the incubating clones and the magma. Time to try his experiment. With a lot of work and a little bit of magic, he was able to combine the clone with the magma, morphing the durmiad into something else entirely.

Rather than blood, his creation had magma in its veins. Its skin was cracked in many places where it oozed lava. It had no hair, and its eyes were dark with red centers. Sireva nurtured the creature, caring for it as he would a child. But his child was a monster.

Sireva named it Hreva, but Hreva was unable to communicate. Anytime it tried to speak, it would only hiss and occasionally spit up lava. Sireva was constantly using his magic to extinguish fires and treat burns. But he was patient. Hreva was critical to his plans. So, he continued feeding Hreva rocks from the mountains, which it melted and reshaped to fit its growing body.

As Hreva matured, it and Sireva discovered it had maintained some of the magic in its original DNA. Hreva could manipulate fire. When Hreva first noticed the ability, he went on a rebellious spree like most teenagers who exercise their newfound powers. Hreva happily set the entire mountain range on fire.

Sireva smiled at his demon spawn’s work. Hreva was exactly what he needed. But, he needed it to be a little more discreet until it was fully independent, so Sireva kept Hreva contained in the mountain caves, much to Hreva’s dismay. Hreva protested by frequently burning Sireva—often in his sleep—and turning many of the mountains into volcanoes that would erupt, spewing ash, lava, and other debris.

One year after Hreva’s birth, Sireva’s patience was growing thin. He was really tired of getting burned all the time, so he turned Hreva loose to see what it would do. Hreva was so happy to be free, it gleefully set fire to the rainforest west of the mountains. Sireva teleported to the Earth portal, though he waited to use it. He wanted to observe Hreva’s work just a little longer.

When most of the planet was in flames, Sireva knew Hreva was the master of chaos he needed. Happy with the expansive destruction and how occupied it would keep the other scientists, Sireva left Hassandri.

Hreva continued to run amok, setting anything and everything on fire. The scientists were horrified by this latest development. They used magic to extinguish some of the fires, but after Hreva attacked and nearly killed Ryker, they stopped travelling to Hassandri. They needed to find a different solution to this threat.

While the scientists were preoccupied, Sireva did his real work on Linea.

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