Out of the heat waves formed an angelic creature with orange-tinted skin and black, feathered wings. He stood tall and strong, walking among the blazing grass unscathed. It was not often someone visited the Saison Burn, and he surely didn’t expect it to be a wandering soul of the female creature race. He stared with ash gray eyes until noticing the majik fires singeing her skin. Taking care of what seemed to be a fragile creature, he carried her to the edge of the Burn but dared not step foot out of its boundaries.
He stepped back when she wrenched away. Looked down at his large hands. Maybe his ember skin burned her? He watched her, though. Watched her as she stumbled into the shallow banks of the river sixty yards ahead, desperate for a way to cool off. He could only wonder what the waters felt like. He had never touched them before. Never had he left the Saison Burn. But he had a notion to now. He wanted to know more about this fascinating creature whose shrill call summoned him.
She suddenly stopped and turned to face him. Water dripped from her as she slowly rose. Her eyes round with wonder. And she approached. Approached until she was right in front of him, standing outside the Burn. She tilted her head. “What are you?”
His own head slightly tilted. Her words were foreign to him, but he could still understand what she wanted. He gently held one of her hands while he placed his other on her head, palm over her eyes. A blast of piercing heat broke through her eyelids, radiated into her skull, then settled to a nice warm feeling before returning her internal body temperature to normal.
Both retaliated at the vision they shared. He slowly removed his hand. Deteriorat–for that was his name–backed several paces before dissolving down into the heat waves that served as transportation to the underground realm. A realm of ceaseless fire and torment. The Prison Realm as called by many. He was immediately restrained by two guards as a third tortured him. When he was finally released, they threw him into what passed as a cell. Glowing orange blood trickled from his mouth, side, and wings.
The creature he saved floated around in his mind. She seemed to possess a power. One that might set him free. He mentally cried out for her. Not sure if she could hear. But he screamed in his mind. Screamed like he had to anybody if they could hear his desperate pleas. He needed to be free.
But that shared vision suddenly plagued him. He, the girl, and a dragon sat by a lonely tree. Only when the dragon snarled did he draw a sword from his wings. Instinct fully consumed him as he raised the exotic-bladed weapon and charged towards the beast. And only when the female creature stepped in front of him did he stop. He stepped away. Allowed his wings to swallow back his sword.
The dragon unsettled him. She calmed him down and gave him food. He looked up at her, somehow able to speak her tongue. “I have never been offered nourishment. Only accepted it when the One said it was time to eat.” Even though he was a much larger build and well-muscled, his jagged ribs proved his somewhat starvation.
He cautiously accepted her provisions. Positioned himself on his knees and nibbled away at his food. “My name is Deteriorat. Of this, I am certain. I come from the Prison Realm beneath the Saison Burn. I have lost track of time.” He traced a black scar on the inside of his arm. “Nor do I have any recollection of my life before imprisonment. Maybe I never had one. There are many others. All forms of creatures trapped and tortured. My duty is to protect the Burn from those who would reveal the Prison Realm to light. This is why your presence summoned me.”
Pain suddenly exploded through his body. His wings hardened to their blade-like state then softened to feathers again. His eyes snapped wide as he fell to the ground in agony. He screamed and trembled all over, back arching, contracting his wings. He choked on the air he desperately needed until a stream of blood that resembled lava trickled out his mouth.
He left himself on the ground, head and long black hair caught in the ever-growing pool of glowing lava blood. He looked up at her. Skin fading and cracking. His eyes betrayed fear as he knew what happened to him. With each crack and sizzle of his skin, heat escaped. He pleaded her to help.
Deteriorat snapped out of his vision, panting. He had felt all the pain. Lived every foreseen moment. His eyes found the jagged, black ceiling. “Can I only survive in the place I seek freedom from?” he wondered aloud in the Ancient Tongue.


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