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Servant of the Mud Excerpt

Twill, Weaver of Fire, lived in the greasy flames of burning human bones. Nameless had been curing a skeleton in the woods for some months now. It hung in the thick bushy top of a pine tree, the meat long since picked away by insects and birds. Up she went in the darkness, branch after branch; the stars painted across the sky. The bones were as she left them, dry, blue in the moonlight, tied with bits of leather that had been stripped away from the meat of its back, before the insects had their way. She worked the arms away from the sockets, and finally the dried pieces pulled away with a crunch. Back down she went, holding the bones in one hand, and carefully descended step after step. Finally, on the ground again, she sat, and began breaking the bones into pieces, and piling them inside a ring of stones she'd laid out earlier. She sang praise unto Twill's name in hopes to lighten the Weaver of Fire's legendary foul mood. The bones were soon piled together in an intricate and purposeful pattern.

She turned her palm towards the sky, faint starlight seemed to fall almost invisible even to her eyes. Then a blue flame sprouted from her hand, she brushed it carefully onto the bones, and watched it devour them. No smoke came, only the dry crackling sound of the flames consuming. Moments later, when the flames raged, she touched her fingertips to flame that was now the doorway to Twill's place of seclusion. The flames caught her fingertips, then her arms, soon her whole body was raging and she leaned forward and disappeared into the blue flames.

In Twill's abode the fire fed endlessly upon itself in various hues of blues, and greens, oranges and reds. Nameless joined the orgy of fire, floating, consuming as she was consumed. In the depths of the flame she met Twill, as black as sin, devouring herself--the hermit Weaver of Fire.

"What do you want?" Great bellows of black fire churned from Twill's mouth.

"I have the seed of the Mud in me."

"What concern is it of mine? You are cursed, and I want nothing to do with you."

"I want it quickened."

"You know my price?"

"Your appetite is no secret."

"Agreed," The black fire boomed like thunder. Without warning Twill consumed Nameless, mixing flame upon flame, and mingling the cold heat of their fabric. Nameless was silent, but Twill heaved in great shudders of pleasure as Diego's seed was quickened. Finally it was over and the blackness lifted.

Inside the cold blue fire, green flames brewed in the center of the Nameless. They spun, like the Taijitu of the ancient east, chasing each other in endless circles, like day and night, and the cycles of the Mud. Colors bloomed within the greens, and spread, running together, then finally splitting into two distinct beings. They grew in seconds, as mirror images of each other. Finally they took on form, strange and simple creatures, caught somewhere between the race of the mud and the race of the djinn.

Twill watched the life growing in Nameless' body, churning with eagerness. The new creatures pulled away in a great whoosh of fire, entirely separate from their host. Their huge heads sprouting young flame, they looked to Nameless in unison and babbled a few attempts at words. The new creatures were nothing more than gobs of blue, green and pink smeared together. Streaks of black ran in eddies and whirls.

"It is good," Twill said. With a roar of movement Twill picked up the larger of the two in between black flames of her fingers. "I choose this one." The new thing squealed as it was lifted into the black flames and sucked away. Twill smacked fiery lips together. The other creature horrified at its twin's demise hid behind Nameless.

Twill laughed.

"You'll find your way to me in the end, little one, don't you worry about that. But for now you will become seasoned with your fear, with your suffering, and with your failure."

Nameless enveloped the creature, in protection, and took her leave.

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