Playing With Fire
Past and Future
THE GRASS CRACKLED and snapped beneath her feet as Sumae walked down the path that leads to the Temple. She was going to pray to the water goddess Takina to end the drought that had been plauging her small town. She quickly looked around making sure no one was near. Her brown hair that hung well past her waist swished the flame red streaks catching the suns rays bather Sumae in a halo of golden red light as she quickened her pace reaching the temple out of breath and looking very flustered. Sumae walked past the pool of holy water that cleansed who ever was about to enter the temple.
Sumae walked into the inner most part of the temple. She looked up at the ceiling from which light shone through creating a golden mist giving the impression you were in a very safe area. Sumae circled the room twice looking upon the circle of stones each representing the different Guardians of the elements. She looked at the rings deep in thought then she stepped onto a red stone path depicting the fire guardian.
The fire guardian was standing atop a mountain. Unlike the other guardians she was dressed in armor. And also unlike the other guardians she had a weapon, it was a large sword that with a wolf running down the blade. Flames licked the sword glowing bright with an intense light not at all harming the fire guardian.
Sumae stopped at the end of the sword the path swirling to mix with the six others. Sumae walked into the center of the seven entwined paths and sat down her silver tinted spider silk gown flowing around her and settling down around her. She looked around one last time her hazel eyes taking in every aspect of the room the flame red ring around her pupils flaring up and calming down as she closed her eyes.
First came water a blue mist rose from the blue path encircling Sumae. Then was Earth, Wind, Light, darkness, metal. The last one was Fire it glowed the brightest and encircled Sumae with a rightness the others did not have, as though it knew it belonged there.
Sumae looked around she was in a meadow the tall fluffy wheat blowing around her and tickling her nose. She looked around in awe and thought -so this is the domain of the guardians. Wow- For stretched out in front of her were seven kingdoms all of the elements it ruled over. Sumae quickly turned around her hair flowing around her as she heard someone approaching from behind...Sishostoru runs up and yells "Sorry guys. Am I late!?" "Yes you imbecile." said the fire guardian. "Why the guardian of light ever chose you, I will not know." "Sorry... So what's all the hub-bub...bub?"
The Water guardian crudely replied,
"This girl. Thatís what." "Oh... O.K." Sumae looked up at the man that was walking towards her through the field. He wasn't looking directly at her but rather staring past her to something behind her she heard that conversation that went on between them. At the mention of her presence she looked behind her at and gasped in shock. There before her stood seven elemental guardians. Light stood at the end of the row her white silk dress was glowing with an iridescent light and slightly flowing the breeze. Darkness stood next to her. His expression glum. His hands were crossed over his chest and his large baggy pants rippled in the ever flowing breeze. Next to darkness stood earth. In one hand she held a rake. The other rested on the back of a deer. She was dressed in a green shirt and brown overalls. Her bright red hair was hanging in a long braid down her back. Next to earth stood Metal. He was dressed in a silver robe around his arms are large silver bracelets. Sprouting from his back was huge metal wing they looked as though they must weigh a lot be Metal bore them with great ease. Next to metal stood Ice. She wore a gown that was not water not ice her fair skin stood out against her black hair. She was surrounded in a white hazy glow curling up at the ends. Next to Ice stood Wind he was smiling and fiddling with the wheat bending it back and forth just by flicking his fingers. He stood there standing only in pants his bare chest exposed to the sun. Last was water who wore a blue gown of rippling water it spread out at her feet then ebbed back in. -the man behind me must be light- she thought looking to the man. -But were is Fire? Where is she? - The guardian of light the one called Sishostoru stepped forward and said "Hey guys, what happened to hothead?" "Over here jackass. And donít call me hothead." The guardian of fire lingered over Sumae and told her of the guardians taking human forms. "The guardians must always have a different form in this realm. As you can see, for some very odd reason, light chose this young man." Sishostoru looked at fire and winked. Light bickered "Sishostoru! Donít do that!" "Sorry." "Hem. Now, my human form was recently killed, so I have chosen you. We elements make a circle. The reason for your recent drought is the fact that there is no fire to melt the ice. Therefore, the guardian of water is slowly dying. So I have selected you to be my new form. But with that there is a catch." All of the guardians except for fire, water, and light looked down. "Some people," said fire, "have taken advantage of their newfound powers... and they must be stopped." Sumae looked at fire and asked "New found powers? What do you mean I have no powers I am but an apprentice to high priestess Kawta gwara! And I have no right to be a fire guardian. My mother was... well I don't know. I have never meet her... But my dad was a priest. I cannot be the next guardian. It cannot be" Sumae shook her head in confusion. The red streaks in her hair catching the light and shining onto the fire guardian. He smiled slightly and said "My dear, your mother was a fire guardian. She asked me to make you follow in her footsteps. She also asked me to give this to you." He holds out his hand and a black orb appears. He puts it in her hand and an image of a beautiful woman who shows a remarkable resemblance to Sumae appeared. The image spoke to her and said "Hello Sumae my child. I am glad you got this message. I am so sorry we did not get to know each other... I love you honey. Please listen carefully to me." Sishostoru looked at the image and gasped. "Thatís... never mind." The image continued. "My dear child... Do not refuse the offer to become the guardian of fire. And donít worry about your father. He already knows of this day. Please do not be angry with him for not telling you. If he did, I think you wouldíve feared this day. Sumae, Please grant your mother this last request. I love you dear, and do not fear. I will always be with you." The image blows a kiss and disappears along with the orb. Sumae just stood there tears flowing down her cheeks. She whispered "Mom, I- I accused her of leaving me... I hated to speak of her... And she loved me all along... She loved me..." Sumae fell to her knees and started to cry into her hands oblivious of the guardians watching her. Someone came and wrapped their arms around her she looked up and saw Sishostoru with a big smile on his face. He said "Don't worry. I knew your mother and she is a very forgiving lady. Believe me. I would know. And if I know anything about her, I know that no matter what you thought, she still loved you. I also know that she forgives you. But Sumae, if you do want to make it up to her, grant her wish." The guardians tried to comfort Sumae and fill her in about her mother. Sishostoru asked for a moment alone with sumae. "Donít worry. I wonít try anything! Geez... Sumae, I want you to think over this. I know that your mother was a very good woman and she almost always got her way. But Iíve never saw her so emotional in asking something. It's your decision. If you need us, we'll be right over there." He walks over to the guardians leaving Sumae to think for a while. Sumae just stood there. She looked down at her feet a puzzled expression on her face. Things were going way to fast -I am the new fire guardian? My mom didn't leave me for no reason. I am in the realm of the guardians. What am I supposed to do when I get back? How do will I find the ice god to melt the ice? Who is going to help me? - She just sighed and looked up at the guardians. Sumae stood up straight and said,Ē I will do it. I must help my mom. And our world is drying out, I must help." Sumae straightened her spider silk gown and walked over to the guardians and smiles weakly, "I supposes I should go now. My body is probably cold and people might wonder where I am." She look puzzled then asked, "How exactly DO I get back?" the water guardian stepped forward and smiled like this...
She lifted her arms and sumae blacked out. She awoke back in the temple she looked around it was dark. She stood up and made to walk towards the door, but tripped over something. She looked down and saw a gem shaped like a flame with a note beside it. The note read "Thank you honey. Show the gem to your father and say your goodbyes. You've got a long journey ahead. And remember. I am with you always."
Sumae picked up the letter and held it to her heart then ran home. She ran up to her dad and excitedly said, "I had a vision! Dad I am-" she was cut off by her dad who held up his hand. He looked solemnly at her and said, "I know I was told all of this before you were even born... But hunny we can talk later you look horrible you need to wash... go on." he gave her a gentle shove towards her room upstairs.
A few minutes later at Sumae's house, there was a knock at the door. Sumae's father answered the door looking as if he had lost a part of himself. "Hello sir. I am Sishostoru. Is Sumae available?" "Yes. Please, come in young man. May I offer you some tea?" "No thank you sir. I am here on business." He takes off his hat and asks "May I speak with Sumae please?" "Oh, yes. Just a minute. SUMMMAAEE come down here now!" Sumae grabbed a towel wrapped it around herself and ran down stairs. Her eyes opened in shock when she saw Sishostoru standing in the door way. She turned bright red and ran back upstairs. Several minutes later she came down stairs wearing a red tinted spider silk gown, that flowed around her feet swishing as she walked. She smiles still embarrassed and addressed her dad, "You called." he cleared his throat and said, "As you can see this young man is here to see you" Sishostoru turned and looked at her while thinking "I wonder how hard I would laugh if she tripped..." He cleared his throat and said "I assume your father already knows." "Knows what?Ē said her father. "You havenít told him?" She nods yes as Sish observes her dress thinking "Come on... trip!". "Oh... that... Yes. Now who are you really?" "Sir, I am Sishostoru. The human realm guardian of light." Her father whispers to Sumae "Henpecked boy?" *twitch twitch* "I can also hear QUITE well sir..." Sumae's dad laughed nervously. "heheheh..." Sumae laughed and her dad and sish exchanged glances. She walked up to her dad. "Dad I am supposed to give you this..." She handed him the flame shaped gem, "I don't know what it is..."
Her dadís eyes filled with tears as he looked down at the gem. He sighed and said' "It is that time then... I suppose I need to give you your new clothes." Sumae looked at her dad eyes wide "new clothes? Whatís wrong with mine?" He just shook his head and said, "Do you really expect to go off to look for the water god in a gown?"
Sumae just looked down at her feet, "No, but were can I get clothes fitting for this journey?" Her dad smiled and said, "Follow me." He led the way down the hall and into his study. Sumae had never been allowed in here before. Her dad opened the closet revealing a set of clothes. He turned to Sumae and said, "Your mom said one day you would need these." he took the clothes and armor out and handed them to Sumae, "now go change."
Sumae pulled the last of the armor on and looked at herself in the mirror. There stood not an assistant to the high priestess, but the fire guardian. The first layer of clothes was a simple black shirt and black pants. Over that went a chain-mail like vest that fell to her waist. It was not chain-mail but fish scale like metal flaps that over lapped. It was not just metal it had a tint of red to it marking it as property of the fire guardian. Over that came the armor it covered her chest, stomach, and shoulders. Red patterns moved across the armor flowing around in spells for protection, swift movement, and silent movement. At her waist hung a sword, the same sword that was depicted in the drawing of the fire guardian. Sumae gently touched the hilt of the sword flames touching her fingers not burning her at all but leaving pleasant warmth like a friendly welcome. She slowly unsheathed the sword and ran her hand along the wolf that ran down the middle. Something under the wolf caught her eye. Under the wolf was engraved: I was built to protect. I was spelled to kill. I am Shiana. The fire keeper. Sumae ran her hand over those words tears forming in her eyes.
Sumae walked out of the bathroom and into the study where her dad and Sishostoru were waiting. She walked in and smiled at her dad and said, "Ta da..." Sumae's dad got up and hugged her whispering, "You look great." He let go and sat down next to Sishostoru who said, "Took you long enough. The guardians are waiting. and... I like that armor. Makes you look good for a change." He drew his katanas and sliced a hole in the wall. A portal opened and he went through it saying "Finish up here. You wonít be back for a long time." 2000 gil was left on the table.