The flame was steady inside the lantern and began to grow. It ceased to only burn and started to blaze as if being fed. The heat was of such an intensity that the glass containing it bubbled. Suddenly the lantern shattered and the flame leapt off the wick to hang in the night air, metamorphosing the semblance of a face within its fiery, licking tendrils.
"What in this world is that?" Max gasped, falling backward from where he sat.
"That, master bard, is a will-o'-wisp, a being which only ever appears to help or to harm."
Max lost attention at will-o'-wisp. He had risen and approached the floating, conflagrant orb. "I'll be damned," he exclaimed. "There's no heat at all." His arm was outstretched, his hand engulfed in the ball of fire.
The Aged Knight shrugged. "It would seem it is here to help."
"What's it waiting for?" Max asked, dropping his arm. "Is it gonna tell me what I need to do?"
The Aged Knight laughed. "Will-o-wisps do not speak, fool. They are but gaseous balls of elemental energy; they haven't the faculty."
Max flashed excitement. "Well done knight, you used a proper contraction." Max's spirits were up, and he was beginning to warm to the idea of an absurd adventure. "Now then, what should I call you? I don't want to refer to you as 'knight' again."