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.