14 Chapter 14 - Love of FIRE
Joseph could barely manage to inhale his breakfast before heading out to meet with the fire mage he would learn his next rune from. He would have run out the door as soon as he woke, but Stella had his breakfast waiting. He was impressed with her, so took the time to eat it. As he all but skipped down the path in his excitement, he thought over the words his father had told him the night before.
Selena, pronounced Sa-leen-a, had been blinded by another fire mage during an illegal dual. The slave who was in charge of showing him around the town, Hans, explained that she was loved by FIRE and FIRE loved her. So, she had no scars of the fight, except her eyes. They had no pupil, yet shined with a dull red glow. He couldn't wait to see her.
Stella followed behind him, in case he might need anything. She knew not to comment, but Joseph was glad that she had been forewarned.
When the girl came into view, Joseph's breath caught in his throat. Her eyes were the single most magical thing he had ever seen in his entire life.
"Young master?" Her voice sounded like fire as it climbed slowly along a piece of wood, searching and touching to see if it was good to burn. Or maybe his imagination was running away with him.
"Miss Selena, it's an honor to meet with you." He figured this was an excellent opportunity to use some of the etiquette he had been learning.
"Young master, you need not be so formal. While it is nice to have someone new to speak with, I do not think you are here merely to talk." Her chuckle was as fire to kindling, rapid and bright.
"I would love to talk, but no, that is not the only reason I am here. I wish to learn the FIRE rune." Joseph didn't want to mislead or lie to her. He could feel the magic inside of her, contained as a raging fire within a furnace.
"If it is clear, I shall show you the rune, then we can talk." She turned to a slave that stood off to one side.
"It is safe before you, Selena." The slave informed her.
Joseph realized that she couldn't cast her magic without fear of harming someone or something. No wonder her magic felt caged and contained.
She took a stance, that seemed natural to her, comfortable in a way that standing or sitting would never feel to anyone, and let out the magic. Her hands moved on their own, directed by the magic, not by her. Joseph was entranced. The rune glowed before him, made completely of fire, dancing in the air, before it slowly faded, almost sadly, away.
"That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen," he whispered.
Laughing softly, as if flames were dancing among coals, she returned to her seat, feeling for it in her blindness.
"What would you like to know, young master?" she asked, reaching out for her teacup. He watched as she warmed it between her hands, before sipping from it.
Clearing his throat, he asked, "You were attacked by another mage, and yet you have no scars?"
"Ah, I thought you might ask about that." She organized her thoughts, before continuing. "I was sitting in a field. I do not remember how I came to be there, whether my mother left me, I wandered off, or what, but I do remember the flames. The field had caught on fire, and it was racing across the dry grass, straight for me. Never was I scared. It was beautiful to me, dancing in the wind." She closed her eyes, as if she could see it in her mind.
"The FIRE loved me. I fell in love with it. We danced there, in that field, consuming the grass, until there was nothing else for it to consume. I didn't want it to leave, so it didn't. It came to remain within me, ready whenever I called for it." She touched her chest, as if cradling a baby to her.
"A local noble had heard of me, as the event scared all of the townspeople. They fear what they do not understand. It took your father for me to understand that. He came along and saved me from the villagers, who thought I was a demon, or some other monster. The noble had a fire mage of his own, and was furious that your father snatched me from him. He did an unspeakable act, and sent his own fire mage to kill me. He was jealous of my power, even as a young child, and did not want me to grow to be better than his own.
"FIRE did not want me to be harmed, so when the mage threw a fireball at me, it retaliated, without my truly understanding what was going on. As the blast left my fingers, his blast hit my face. FIRE took the heat inside of me, to protect me, but it could not protect me from the light. You can see the FIRE burning still, within my eyes, or so I have been told."
"And the other mage?" asked Joseph, unable to look away from her eyes.
"He died. He chose to control and command FIRE, not love it, as I do. It did not even try to protect him. As for his master, the noble, he was tried by the king for the death of a mage. We are so rare, that it is illegal to harm us, though not to enslave us, apparently."
Joseph could understand what she was saying, even though he wasn't sure she understood herself.
"Have you ever considered learning infravision?"
"What is that?"
"It is a method of seeing where you see heat, instead of normal vision." Joseph spent the next hour talking to her, trying to describe the type of vision he knew about from his previous lives. She was very excited about the possibility and asked countless questions.