Good morning! Your name is Daniil LaChance, right?
Yes, but I’m hoping to initiate as an affiliate of the goddess Pelin, soon, and when that happens I’ll have another name. It’ll be wonderful! When I’m Flame, I’ll have all these past-life memories open up, I’ll know everything about who I’m supposed to be, and I’ll be able to shapeshift, and bathe in fire, and… except, um. Well, it’s not going to happen. The initiation, I mean.
My teacher Knife just took me to one of the public executions that have been happening these past few weeks. There was a huge mob, and they… Well, they executed a Flame. She hadn’t done nothing wrong, either. The man who’s been leading the charge is named GoilUvian Veldt, and he’s all steamed because Flame were freed from slavery seven years ago. He says he was never reimbursed for his property by the Pantheon of gods, so he’s destroying the Flame. All of us, every single last one.
Sounds scary. What are you and Knife going to do?
Knife has this plan to sleep away the years in a coffin filled with Lucid Mud, but I don’t know what I’m going to do. I could fight! I’d go up against all of them, cut them, make them pay. Or I suppose I could run away, but Veldt’s movement has spread so far. Knife’s trying to talk me into sleeping beside her, and even went so far as to invite this infamous royal jewel thief to look after her house.
Wait, Knife is entrusting a criminal with her house while she sleeps for an unknown length of time?
Crazy, right? I don’t know why Knife picked Omnia Ikanov in the first place. We had to get her out of prison first with a decree from the emperor. I have no idea how Knife can squeeze anything out of Emperor Donovan, but she’s awfully confident. She has lots of secret ways of doing things, and she is a shapeshifter. Anyway, when I visited Omnia in prison, I thoughtshe was so vibrant. I want to seduce her so much, only I want to do it in the form of a woman, not a man. Oh, I wish I could initiate. I would do anything…
Even sleep in a coffin filled with magical mud?
It’s a coward’s way out.
Seems more like it would take steely nerves to commit yourself to the unknown like that.
I know, that’s the other thing. I’m terrified of dying without even understanding who I really am—my true self—but it would be even worse to sleep down in Knife’s cave forever. Who knows what the world would be like when we wake up? Would there be any Flame left? I’m so frightened.
Sounds like it’s a busy time for you.
Yes, indeed. Oh, excuse me, someone’s at the door. Let me just take a quick look through the window, and… um.
Pantheon, it’s Goil Uvian Veldt. He’s got a bunch of guards from the palace with him, too. What’s he doing here?
I don’t know, but I’d best let you get on with things. Good luck!