The Iratan

J.L. Weinmeister

It’s our final day in Aria. Tomorrow we continue our tour of Linea. Many of you enjoy the sights around the city for a second day. At night you return exhausted from your adventures, and you fall asleep in the inn.

You are woken in the middle of the night by screaming. You hurriedly put on your coat and shoes and step into the hall to see what the commotion is about. I usher you all outside. As soon as you step through the door, you smell smoke. Flames leap across the rooftops to the north. Once everyone is outside, I shepherd you southeast toward the river.

There are rafts sitting on the shore, and we take one across to the woods. Even though it’s cold out, we don’t start a fire. We don’t want to be found. Many of you stand and watch the city go up in flames.

It’s been a while since the mellowmira have set fire to any of the elvirian settlements, but it’s not unheard of. Fires used to be incredibly common. Don’t worry. The elvira who can quench fire and manipulate water will get it contained before it destroys the whole city. They know the drill.

The flames disappear, and only tendrils of smoke are left in the sky. We return to the inn, which is still standing and unharmed. Some of you return to your beds and your sleep that was so rudely interrupted. Others are too worked up over the commotion to rest. I sit with you by the fire in the common room and tell you a story to keep your minds off the incident.

* * * * *

The scientists on Kareena were desperately trying to eliminate the fire demon Sireva had unleashed upon Hassandri. They tried everything they could think of: drowning it, cutting off its limbs, encasing it in diamond. But Hreva only steamed when placed in water, regenerated its lost appendages, and broke free of the diamond. Hreva was too powerful for the scientists to handle on their own. It was too strong for their magic, even when they combined their powers. They had truly found their match.

However, they did not give up. Instead, they approached the problem from a different angle. They worked to create an equally powerful magical creature of their own. Rather than bring back the dragons, who would fight fire with fire, the scientists created a new creature.

The linetis was a giant sea serpent. They hoped they could fight fire with water, but Hreva was smart and never went near the sea. The linetis was unable to get to Hreva and eventually died from a lack of food as everything in the oceans had perished in the asteroid’s aftermath. The scientists would not be able to fight fire with water without Hreva’s cooperation.

Next they tried a giant wormlike creature that consumed dirt and rocks, hoping it would devour Hreva. While it did swallow the demon, the demon burned its innards, killing it. Hreva was still free.

The scientists needed a powerful creature. Something that could contain such a wild beast. They took inspiration from insects and their teamwork. They created small humanoid creatures with wings, which they called iratan. They had powerful elemental magic, which the scientists hoped would be enough to contain Hreva.

The scientists raised several generations of iratan on Kareena over the next few hundred years until they had an army of them. Then they sent them through the portal to Hassandri with instructions to contain Hreva, restore the planet, and guard the portal to Kareena from intruders.

The iratan travelled to their new home and sought out Hreva. Hreva quite enjoyed swatting them from the sky, watching their bodies spark and then fall. But the iratan teamed up and used their magic against it. Hreva sank into the ground until only its head was visible. The iratan built a tall mound over it. The mound shook and erupted, spewing ash and rocks. But try as it might, Hreva could not escape the mountain.

The volcano continued to erupt for several decades as Hreva threw the longest temper-tantrum in the history of the universe. After nearly a century, Hreva finally gave up, and the volcano grew quiet.

With ash no longer polluting the air and sending the climate out of control, the iratan were finally able to restore the landscape. They planted trees and shrubs and flowers and grasses. They nurtured the plants until there were grasslands and forests again. The scientists sent them baby animals and boxes full of insects for them to reintroduce to the ecosystems. The planet was thriving once more.

With the threat contained and Hassandri hospitable once again, the iratan became the new guardians of the portal, keeping the scientists safe from their own creations.

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