A Theory of Fire

The following is the transcription of what remains of an account about the origin of fire, set for obliviating during the Age of Erasure. It was recovered from an oneiric vault concealed at the edge of the Dreamlands, where the apotheons hid it in an attempt to remove its contents from the collective unconscious. Its authorship is unknown, but it is suspected that the Undying Fire itself produced the manuscript through the ages by possessing a number of individuals, as the charred markings that pose as letters suggest. As of today, these sigils remain our most promising lead to contact the Undying Fire. Whether it still lives, is another matter completely.

Once, everything was on fire. Then, after the Division, there was a war amongst the Primal Souls. Against all odds, the Fire lost, and for a time the Great Souls were at a loss as to what to do with it. The first to speak was the Wind Heart, source of all aerial beings and progenitor of storms. Carried away by its uncontainable impatience, the Wind proposed to extinguish the Fire, so that its power could be claimed by the rest of them. The Tides of Time, having been at the end of all things, restrained its hectic sibling and, with the patience of a thousand collected lifetimes, suggested it should be left to consume itself, as all things eventually do. The Soul of Stone, aware of the impending catastrophe, broke its vow of silence and hastily sent a message to its siblings in the only way it could. When the mountains were finally in place, however, no one remained to read them. So is the fate of stone, and it is there that its wisdom lies.

It was so that, not knowing what to do with it, the Fire was expelled from the perceptible spectrum and forced to retreat to the backroom of existence, only to show itself when called or needed. Aware of its own immovable ontological status, the Fire has the confidence of all the lifetimes that it will survive everything and everyone and for now is content biding its time somewhere beyond the Dreamlands.

Technically, everything is still on fire, and lighting a torch or setting a bunch of sticks on fire with flint and tinder does not produce any kind of physical reaction in the material realm, but rather allows the Fire controlled and supervised passage into the perceptible spectrum. These ‘invitations’ or codified permissions were in fact set in stone long ago, and are actually nothing more than glorified, esoteric rituals that the more scientific minds pride themselves in calling ‘laws of physical causality’.

There are other ways, however, by which the Fire can sneak its way into this world. Bursts of smoldering passion, explosions of all-consuming rage, a surge of unrestrained wrath or any emotion that moves the soul towards a state of uncontrolled action and frantic motion can also open the metaphysical gates to the Fire. Barbarians of the Red Tribes, for example, abandon themselves into a torrent of violent fury, their bodies often igniting as they charge toward their enemies like human-shaped pyres come to life. (this is actually why their skin seems to glow with the hue of slumbering ember and why they lack any bodily hair; ritual shaving and body painting are usually undertaken by the youth in imitation of their elders as an attempt the bring themselves closer to the Fire).

Inspiration, ever so hard to find and always so sudden and unexpected in its appearance, is also speculated to be a byproduct of the Fire’s dreams, as they bleed into the feeble minds of mortal souls, granting visions of unlikely yet probable futures as well as glimpses of the quiet machinations of the Soul of Fire, which often translate into manic bouts of unbound creativity. As a result, enlightenment, brilliance, a restless intellect or an ardorous élan are often attributed to manifestations of the Fire.

The rest of the manuscript has succumbed to the influence of the Dreamlands, and as a result most of the sigils have been stripped of all coherent meaning, leaving behind only burnt paper and a riddle of ash. Four lines alone survive at the end of the manuscript, clinging to the page like a fallen footnote, unwilling to be lost or forgotten.  The lines read as follows:

 

The Fire sees.

The Fire knows.

The Fire waits.

The Flames burn.

The Cycle

After the Division, the world became soulless. Where once had been a thriving core of endless potential, a hollow cavity hurt now. The world was in pain. The world was dying. The cycle, broken.

            See, until then the world was inhabited by all kinds of souls that manifested themselves through all the living and knowing things. There was the Celestial Soul, unknowable and immovable, lording above all things and all things in between. In roamed the Storm Soul and the Wind Heart and all the aerial things of fickle disposition. These, together with the Soul of Fire and the Verdant Soul, were the great souls amongst which the tiny souls of men lived and died in the span of a heartbeat.

            The Great Souls were so long-lived as to be called immortal. The diminutive mind of Man or Woman cannot understand that which is unlike him or herself, and so they gave these great souls names and faces and made them dance to the tune of their own stories. In their fear of the unknown, humanity sought a life after a life, aware of the great cycle only in brief flashes of sudden insight or as a conclusion to decades-long meditative bouts.

            For a soul does not truly die, it is simply recalled by the soul of the world to be recast and remade into something else. All magic, all sorcery, all miracles and mystical esotery stem from the soul of the world. When the Division occurred, the cycle broke down, and the Great Souls took upon themselves the weight of the world. This is how Old Gods were born. Their spirits had always been there, but the sudden burst of minor, hopeless souls having no place to go, found in them a place to return to, a sort of cosmic home, and in turn these Great Souls were shaped by the small spirits of Men.

            But there were others.

            Those who came from the sky. Another, moribund core shattered into uncountable fragments raining down on an orphan world. These were the New Gods and they knew nothing of the cycle, for their fate was to consume and devour, and that they would do.

Registry of Contrarian Occurrences, Final Entry

Type of entity: manuscript. Probably drug induced or acquired through other equally contrarian means. Possibilities might include: undue consorting with chaos entities, unauthorized communion with the absent dead or perhaps self inflicted temporal transposition. Note: how a lowly entity such as this might have acquired the means or the knowledge to access such complex processes remains unknown. This must be further investigated.

Censorship status: Absolute. The goal of this Inquisitor will be the location and utter destruction of any extant copies of this document, including those found in memories, dreams and reflections. In order to achieve this, the complete observation of the 9th Decree is advised: those in contact with the contrarian text must be hunted down and executed on sight without hesitation. Doubt is the seed of change. Change is the bed of chaos. Note: to ensure the preservation of the sacred enunciations, this Inquisitor shall enforces the decree to its absolute expression. Entities suspected of at least Third-degree contact with the heretic, including indirect contiguity and unaware coexistence, shall be terminated and their souls expunged from the cycle. This Inquisitor shall expunge itself from the cycle once the task is completed and the contrarian threat has been completely suffocated.

Contrarian categorization: Irredeemeably Contrarian. The mere existence of this entity in any of its manifestations presents a direct threat to the cycle. The integrity of the Faith might already be compromised.

Reccomended Course of Action: no expense or consideration must stand in the way of anything less than the total extintion of the contrarian entity. If possible, a reality revision should be carried out to prevent the entity, and thereby any products or outcomes derived from its existence, from ever taking place. Although this may cause a false loop paradox, the possibility should at least still be regarded as plaussible. Should the contrarian infection become too widespread to contain, or should its occurrence happen to posses an immovable ontological status, a complete eschaton of the current iteration is reccommended. The Faith shall prevail.

Final considerations: Although the soul of this Inquisitor is of no value or consequence, the Principle of Irreduction dictates that the expunged soul of this Inquisitor should still be considered elligible for resuscitation or at the very least recorporeation to better serve the interests of the Faith.

Textual representation of the contrarian occcurrence:

“I am.”