Life was fire. Fire brought life. Fire brings us fertility when we burn sweet herbs, and incense fragrances a birth, death, wedding, or divorce. The Charred Lands provided the hot embers for the forest dwellers' fires, but the few who venture there to get them often do not return.
This night was starry, and a new fire was needed. The marriage of a young couple meant a new hut and new family fire to build. Tradition dictated that teh first new fire of each home come from an ember from the Charred Lands.
The Dark Man was reported to lurk in the Charred Lands, dancing among the plumes of smoke, keeping the fires burning. He could lure you inland to his cave of lava if you make eye contact with him. Or if you anger him, he might follow you home from your village and take someone in the night.
Fire allows us some sight into the darkness, allows us to burn the Mamre sacrifices to appease the Dark Man. The fires burn all night and all day, appeasing our fears. Fire is comfort.
The forest-dwellers entered the Charred Lands carrying incense as a sacrifice. The Dark Man eyed them from behind a pitch black trunk. They ventured further in than they have before searching for the embers that were steadily cooling every year. The Dark Man waited. He sniffed the air. Under the heady scent of the incense was the musk of forrest-dweller. The Dark Man began to feel hungry.
His hunger drove him from wisp to wisp. He followed the forest-dwellers from their gathering to their forest home, alight with orange flames as high as three dwellers stacked atop one another.
The Dark Man felt the hunger driving him. He crouched in the branches of the trees, just out of sight and spotted one forest-dweller who went to bed way too late. One Dweller who was very tired, slow moving, and alone.