Servant of the Flame

by BlueClaw

Borne of fire, forged by heat, spat from the lava of the hell that was the volcano's core, emerged a creature more savage and fiercely dedicated to destruction than any other on Morgaelin. A monster in all ways, one that could not be reasoned with, a foe to all living wit ha temperament as fiery as its patron element, the perfect killing machine.

Broad of shoulder and lengthy of limb, the creature's hide was red mottled and scaly, sturdy enough to deflect the finest Tenebraen blade of steel. Coarse brown fur covered the legs from the waist down, legs that were powerfully muscled and aided it as it scrambled up the rocky walls of the pit that had birthed it. Sharp claws as black as obsidian adorned each finger, bestowing it with a tenacious grip and enabling it to scale the wall with swift ease.

As it made it over the brim of the pit, a desolate subterranean landscape confronted it, destitute of all respite and hospitality. An underworld cavern of searing rock, illuminated only by the yellow-glowing ocean of lava that resided there, where only terrors and hardship lurked.

The creature raised its elongated head and jaws, long horns atop its skull and an intimidating set of sharp fangs in a snapping maw, and peered at its world through yellow eyes that gleamed with an inherent malevolence. From its jaws came a hoarse howl, almost like a beasthoundís, to be answered by many others that reverberated off the walls. Fellow brethren that also prowled this barren landscape.

'It' could not be described in terms of gender, at least not yet, not before it had gained a name of its own. That would only come with time and accomplishment. And the third factor -- survival. The ambient heat, as intense as it was, did not detriment the creature in the least. It had to be more concerned with the demeanour of its 'kinsmen', if they could be called that, for bickering and violence between denizens of the same species were not uncommon and such fights were always carried out to the death. Those most recently birthed tended to be the most vulnerable.

But not this creature, no, for it was cunning. Whether this trait was a vestige of its former self none could really say, for the origin of such creatures was wreathed in mystery and arcane myth. Those of the aboveworld said that the unfortunate victims of flame, consumed either in life or death, or were slain by other such monsters of fire, became servants of the flame themselves, warriors of the Lord of Flame, mighty Pyros, Titan of Fire. Such a creature's life was servitude, both to Pyros and his followers, the sorcerers of Daemon's Crag.

The creature furtively crawled on all fours, vigilant as it made its way from the pit, heading for a cluster of boulders to seek refuge in. A sudden howl, and another of its kindred attacked, leaping from above a mound of stone. Slashing claws of obsidian death. Roars of fury and pain. The assailant was routed, cut grievously across one eye.

The victor itself panted in pain; slash marks trailed down both arms and across the chest, leaking blood that sizzled on contact with the ground, whether from the heat of the ground or the temperature of the blood it could not be sure. It had won and proven that it could stand its own ground.

It surmounted the very same mound its attacker had ambushed it from, standing upon the peak and howling defiance. Howls were its reply, some commending, some contemptuous, and others outright insolent. To anyone else but the creature those howls would have seemed to possess the same furious tone, for only its ears could distinguish between the subtler differences that defined various howls and their particular meanings.

Descending the mound, the creature stalked its way to the cluster of boulders. In the distance, another of its kin was watching it with vaguely malignant curiosity, as if appraising a potential opponent. A howl of certain near imperceptible difference in pitch conveyed its acknowledgment of the other's newfound strength and prowess, then it stalked off into the vastness of this desert of stone and obsidian so dubiously gifted with the presence of an ocean of lava.

Sniffing contentedly, the creature settled itself in a cleft between two boulders in the cluster, closing its eyes to recuperate from its first battle. There it would await the summons to carry out its servitude to Pyros and if need be, the sorcerers, as contemptible as they were. It did not understand why it was bound to beings as pitiful as human mortals, but if Pyros commanded its servitude to them, then it would obey. Such loyalty and obedience to the great Lord of Flame was ingrained in all servants of the flame from creation.

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