Not on fire. Actually fire. Her veil must have been magic, because it didn't burn, but Maggie and Elizabeth could feel the heat rolling off of her. Smoky locks twisted round her neck, but the fire itself stayed curled around her face, which held an expression of faked surprise.
"Is there something wrong?" she asked innocently.
"Your hair is on fire," said Maggie plaintively. Fiamma gave a musical laugh.
"Oh, well, dear, it does tend to do that! For I am one of the elementia, I am the elementia of fire!" Here Bariso nudged Elizabeth, who was standing next to him. Elizabeth tried to look suitably impressed.
"Even my name means flame, you know! Fiamma! It's from our old language, lately we've adopted English. Bit more useful. Anyway, follow me and you will meet your compatriots!" Here Fiamma gave another musical laugh. Barrios turned and left.
"Will we see you again?" said Elizabeth anxiously. She did not much like Bariso, but at least she knew him.
"I'll be back before long," said Bariso darkly.
Maggie, meanwhile, was annoyed with Fiamma. She had expected a controller of fire to be proud, but this Fiamma was downright vain. Hopefully, she had some other qualities to balance herself out a bit.
Fiamma stayed true to her namesake. She was sprightly and walked with a spring in her step, her hair crackling faintly behind her. She answered any of Elizabeth's questions (Maggie was to busy watching things to ask) with rambling soliloquies on how fire was really the best element. Fiamma sprang from place to place like lightning. Maggie wondered what she would be like when she was angry, or fighting. After all, Fire is a dangerous element.
Fiamma led them to their left, through a long corridor that surely took them through several houses. At long last ( Maggie felt about ready to explode; she hated vain, silly people. And considering the fact that fire is extremely flammable, an explosion would have been most unfortunate.), they came out into a beautiful room. Sunlight shone in through some high windows: Maggie had the feeling they were mostly underground. In the middle of the room was a long black dining-table. Three people were sitting at it, faced away from them and all dressed in black.
"Ahem," said Fiamma loudly.
The elementia turned around.
They were all women.
All were wearing the same clothes as Fiamma.
One of them had dark brown skin and black, friendly eyes. Her hair was earth- the soil poofed up into an afro. Unfortunately, it made her look a little like a lollipop, as she was quite slim.
"My name's Terra," she said, smiling. As close as Fiamma was to fire, Terra was to Earth. Terra had the air of a friendly, honest hardworking person; someone you could trust. If she had a fault it was that she was rather too honest and not very forgiving.
The elementia of air even looked like her element. Her skin was as pale as Fiamma's, but it did not seem to glow. It was so clear it was almost invisible. She was tiny and shrouded among her dark clothes. Her hair was like the wind, long, wavy, silvery locks hung over her shoulders and almost down to her waist. Her name was Aria. She seemed a flighty sort of person, though that was to be expected.
The fourth element was named Acqua. Water. She was smiling, though it wasn't a very comforting smile. Her hair was a deep blue. It did not look quite like water, but when she moved, it flowed around her. Her eyes were violet. Maggie's first impression was that Acqua was dangerous. Powerful. Strong.
The four elementia- Fiamma, Terra, Aria,and Acqua- welcomed the travelers and sat down to dine.