Flame to the Earth

Sage Lawrence

The waitress put down a large glass of water on the small round table that was placed in the darkest corner of the bar. At it a cloaked man sat with "The Underground" newspaper in front of him. It was edited and produced by the people who were against the government, not just the Wielders. 

The waitress, with curiosity,  tried to peer over it to see the man’s face but couldn’t. 

“What’s that you’re reading Ranger?” She finally asked. 

The man put down the paper and laid it neatly on the table. Even with the paper down the girl still couldn’t see his face, for he had a low hood that instead formed a shadow. 

“Another attack on a village. This one was called Tieran,” He said. For some reason his voice was higher than a man’s should’ve been. “How unjustly of the government. It’s as if they want a fight.”

“Well they do. They try to provoke the Element Wielders and taunt them out of hiding.” She responded. 

“Yes. You understand very well.” The man raised his head a little. By just by doing that the waitress could that this was no man. 

The woman’s eyes glowed a strange and terrifying orange that lit up the dark. 

“Do your eyes always glow?” The waitress asked a bit scared.

“Only when I’m angry.” The woman replied. 

The waitress then retreated back to the lighter part of the room and talked to other customers. 

Sage crossed her legs and gave a small sigh. 

Everything seemed so reckless. Mostly because it was. The government was a tyrant and the Wielders were too scared to stand up. She understood why the Wielders wouldn’t though: it was to protect their families. However, there were still so many others who could. 

She then found the mark on the edge of her right palm. 

Sage was never caught, never seen, and most importantly had never been wanted. 

But the mark was the one thing that had shown the government had barely touched her.

At least 18 years ago her family gave into the pressure. How weak she thought they were at the time. They had been brought to the Quarters in their city. Every Wielder and their families were separated and branded on the edge of their right palm. 

The woman branded children back then. Usually they were the wives of the government soldiers, however they were extremely kind. It was the women who threw them onto the street that seemed mean, mostly because they were. Sage was not blind though, even for her young age of five. She knew that the branders were the cruel ones.

After the rest of her family had been released they all headed back together.

The “peace” lasted only three years before the Government sent out troops to destroy everything. Then the branding of the forehead came. 

Sage left before they could get to her. Her family were the unlucky ones who were branded again but then killed.

She never regretted her decision to leave. Sage was never one to stay trapped in one place; she was also neither the one to tolerate the Government. 

For years she trained in solitude until one day she traveled back to the historical Earth City. The only people who could find the four great capitals were the full-bloods who held the power. It was planted into their brains from the beginning of their memories. 

When she went into the ruins, surprisingly she found Elders. There she trained once more with the great masters. After the sweat of blood had been ceased from her brow many times she finally left.  

Whether they are still there she does not know. 

Sage stood from her table and left a small tip. The waitress kept her eye on her as she walked out the door.

Outside waiting for her was a grand white stallion. He had no reins or saddle, he made it very clear from the start of their friendship that he was not for holding items like a shelf. Instead she had to carry everything. 

“Come Spirit.” She said as the horse galloped to her. She easily pulled herself up onto him and they quickly rode away.

-

Sage and Spirit had rode for nine days and eight nights. They stopped only for Spirit to take a rest with meals and water. 

Through small forests, plains, and mountains they swiftly rode. Day and night seemed to pass quickly as Sage could not tell the difference from sunrise and sunset. 

Finally she decided to stop when they came to the dense forest of Callo. She knew little of how deep it and dark it was but did know that it expanded over a great mass of land. She had heard that some people lived in these parts and moved slowly to find a cottage where a person could house them for the night. 

After hours of searching Sage lead Spirit on foot to a cottage that she spotted behind a thick brush. It was made of logs and had a wrap around porch. Thickets had surprisingly not attached themselves to the cottage but surrounded it. It blended very well with the forest and seemed like a natural part of it from the start. 

She left the stallion and climbed the stairs to the door and gave a small knock. 

The door cracked open a bit. “How may I help you?” 

“My horse and I have just came from a long journey. I was wondering if you could spare a room and food, for at least one night.”

The man at the crack thought long and hard. “I guess I can help.” He finally said. 

-

Sage had eaten a full meal, bathed, and slept a full eleven hours. Likewise for Spirit.

In the late morning, after eating breakfast the man named Elijah began to talk.

“So where do you come from?” He asked sitting at the little wooden table in his kitchen.

“Well I really travel all over. I always have ever since a young age.” 

“I see. It must be hard on your family. I mean I have not heard of a traveling Ranger in many years.”

“Not really. I mean my family died a while back. They were a bit naive.” She answered and recollected some memories.

“I’m sorry to hear.” He said with a great sadness. “My wife and kids are back at the Capital. I’m only out here on Government business.”

Sage did not give herself away with a look but she did question him. “Govern...ment?”

“Yes. I am supposed to keep an eye on some of the soldiers. To make sure they get back safe from their missions.”

Even though her expression did not reveal anything her right hand did. Around it was a gray cloth to cover the branding. She had been rubbing it unconsciously. 

“What’s... that?” Elijah eyed her and pointed to her hand.

“Oh this old thing?” She gestured to it. “I just hurt myself some time ago. It’s slowly healing. Strange scar.” Sage smiled.

“Yes. Very strange.” 

He suddenly grabbed her hand. Without even knowing it though he was already trapped. 

A bit of a delayed reaction but he screamed as two ground pieces squeezed his hand that was in between. 

“You seem to be very blinded,” Sage said as she stood. “This house was built on the very Earth with no basement. That made it very easy for the ground to come through.”

He took a look and the hard, dirt rectangles that came through the floor and split the table in half. It suddenly squeezed his hand tighter.

Sage raised an eyebrow as he screamed even more.

“You will pay for this!” He spat.

Her eyes narrowed. “Oh will I?” She bent over to one half of the wooden table, smacked two rocks against each other and a flame ignited. It spread throughout the table and quickly onto the floor. 

Elijah’s eyes went crazy with hatred. It soon disappeared as the dirt encircled his entire hand and closed in tighter. Extreme pain replaced his craze. 

Sage walked out of the burning house. She pet Spirit as he calmly looked at the flames. He then payed no attention and turned back, signaling to leave. 

Before she left though a loud scream pierced her ears. She then knew that she was successful in crushing his hand. Judging by the pitch it was apparent that the fire also reached him. 

Sage’s eyes glowed as she rode off into the light of day. 

The End

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