The first time it happened I didn’t even know what it was. The fire just moved. I looked into the hearth one winter night and asked if it could be warmer.
There was a little giggle and the fire brightened. It danced and flickered. It snaked towards me. I remember laughing at it.
I reached out and when the long flame curled around my finger it burned and I yelled out in pain. I scared the fire and it flared even brighter and lept out of the hearth.
The bedding caught and my dad started screaming.
I remember the terror as I watched him burn. I yelled something at the fire. I wanted it to go away. My dad’s screams changed and there was a gurgling noise.
Something crystallized in me and I commanded the fire.
It pulled away and I heard it whimper as it died. Everything was dark and quiet save for the sizzling as the body cooled. I didn’t know that people were like pigs when it comes to fire.
I was three.
Our hamlet was only a couple families working the land but it didn’t take long.
They dragged me away into the forest. They’d already piled the wood and set up the stake. They weren’t gentle when they trussed me up.
They had torches but I could hear their fires whispering. They were sorry. They didn’t know what they were. They were afraid. They wanted to help me. I told them to go away but they didn’t dim.
There was a man reading loudly from a book but I couldn’t understand what he said.
I closed my eyes when they put the fire at my feet. I missed my dad. I was blubbering then, all tears and snot dripping down my chin.
I heard the fire as it spread. It didn’t want to hurt me and I was still sobbing as I asked it to leave me alone. The flames licked me. The fear rose again and I felt the heat all around me.
It didn’t hurt. It was warm and comforting. It was my mom’s hugs before she went away. It was my dad wiping his brow under the summer sun. It was love and it wanted to be with me forever.
I opened my eyes and the fire laughed with me. It loved me and I wasn’t sad or afraid.
I remember the men yelling and the one with the book making weird symbols in the air with his hands.
The fire and I smiled and I waved at him.
He dropped the book and ran.
I didn’t chase after them.
They were just afraid and fear is something everything understands.
I wandered into the forest and the fire told me things. I learned its many forms and moods. I learned how to stay warm and how to survive in the dark places of the forest.
The Masters found me in time. They didn’t come with torches, rope, or knives. They didn’t come to me out of fear.
They were magic and they promised to teach me how to be a Master like them. They were as good as their word and so now I come for you not in fear but in love.
Will you come with me and be a Master too?