Monday, January 28, 2013

The Bride of Loxiset

Loxiset, the God of Fire, sat on his throne in the Temple of Flame, Larxi, thinking about which forest to burn next. There were two that caught his eye: Netlewud, a forest thick with pines that had begun to grow beyond its boundaries, and Felbraunch, where it was rumored a number of demons had made their home. Normally these things brought joy to Loxiset, but on this day he felt saddened for a reason he did not know. He looked deep within himself to find the answer, but the further he dug the more full of sorrow he became. After many hours of meditating he began to weep, feeling a chasm in his heart and finding no reason for its being.

One of Loxiset's servants, noticing the steam rising from his master's cheeks, came to him and said: “Lord Loxiset, why are you crying? Do you weep for the creatures of that forest?”

“No.” Loxiset cast his servant a tired eye. It was not out of character for the Fire Lord to cry for burned furs, but that was not close to his mind at all. He stared at the servant, who seemed to shrink under the weight of his eyes. After a moment of considering a farce, Loxiset came out with the best truth he could understand: “I don't know why I am crying, Lokyund. It feels as though there is a great emptiness in my chest, and it is so greatly cold that it pains me.”

The Lokyund stood, encouraged by his master's honesty. “Lord Loxiset, I think I might know what ails you. Should you hear my thoughts?”

“Yes,” replied the God of Fire, “I'll hear anything you think will help.”

“It seems to me that you are lonely.”

“Lonely.” Loxiset tasted the word, swashing it from cheek to cheek. “Maybe you're right, Lokyund. But how does one cure loneliness?”

“With company.” The creature bowed, letting its flopping, singed ears dangle below its face. “Shall I bring you a dancer? Your harem has become quite restless as of late.”

Loxiset thought of his elegant dancers. He was often praised for possessing the greatest harem in the land, and made sure to bring in only the most beautiful and talented women. He smiled at the thought of their thin fingers massaging warmth through his skin. “Yes. A dancer would be lovely. Bring me Pijure. Her enthusiasm tops the others, and it might be just what I need.”

“Ah, Pijure,” The Lokyund said dreamily. “She is the most beautiful of your dancers. The way her hair sways behind her hips. How fire seems to melt from her shoulders and back, bringing glorious glistening sweat. The way she loosens the straps of her--”

Loxiset made a noise. One flaming eyebrow rose above the other, wrinkling his pulsing head. The Lokyund made a hasty exit.

Soon Pijure was in his company, leaping over auburn tile and effortlessly twirling about the thick temple poles. She wore her a blazing skirt, slit down both sides to offer sweet peaks of her tender thighs. Gold bracelets whispered melodies as they danced with the reflections of the many lively torches. With silent grace she seemed to float across the room, drifting up the steps to her majesty's throne where she slid to her knees and placed herself upon his lap. A giggle rose from her thin lips and she looked up at him with brilliant eyes.

A deep, heavy sigh, full of loneliness and gravel, tumbled off the Fire Lord's lips. He grabbed Pijure's tiny hands in his monstrous palms and returned her energetic gaze with one full of regret and apology. “Don't take this wrong, Pijure. You're the most beautiful woman I have, but your company isn't what I want. I suppose nothing will fill this frigid hole.”

Pijure tossed him a knowing glance. “Fire Lord, do you mean to say that I bore you?”

“Oh no, not at all. Just that--”

“That you aren't seeking nightly pleasantries.” The dancer stood with a smirk. Not only was she the only denizen of Larxi with the gal to interrupt her lord, but she was the only one who would dare stand as he sat in his throne.

“I suppose.” Loxiset seemed annoyed. He would have sent her away had she not said more.

“Loxi, you need a wife.” Pijure declared decidedly. “You aren't happy because you're tired of not being able to share anything.”

Loxiset frowned. “I share everything. I share my home with you, and the harem, and the Lokyunds. I share my powers with the mortals. I share to you all my food, which, I might add, was never meant to be consumed by lesser beings. How dare you accuse me of being selfish!”

“No, you don't understand.” She shook her head defensively. Then, after a moment of consideration, the once-elf leaned forward and tapped her king at the center of his chest. “You need to share what's in here.”

“I need to share my organs? Do you want me to give out my heart?” Such a request concerned Loxiset. He wondered if Pijure had spun the poles one time too many.

“You aren't listening!” Pijure whined. “You need to share your emotions, Loxi. Share your thoughts, and feelings. You don't need someone like me to bring you release, you need someone comforting to bring you peace.”

“Peace. Peace does sound good,” Loxiset admitted.

He rewarded Pijure with a night in his chambers, and the next morning set off to find a wife. At once he ruled out any Goddess, as he'd had clashes with most of them before. He courted many of the denizens of his realm, Pijure included, but found none to his satisfaction. Disgruntled and feeling that the gap in his chest had grown noticeably larger, Loxiset slumped back into his throne and pondered his situation.

“There is no living being on any realm which currently suits me,” he moaned. “What is a God to do?”

Of course the answer was simple. He chose the hottest day of the hottest summer, and descended to the country with the most sweltering air. The primitive humans, then still tribes with hardly any language, dropped to their knees and bowed before him. He fell upon a woman of the tribe and touched her, then without a word he vanished within a fire.

Some time passed and the woman eventually gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. On her ankle was a distinct mark: a dash of waggled lines, blazing red and coming to a point. The villagers named this baby Zei and treated her as though she were herself a Goddess. She was showered in lavish gifts, clad in gold and silk, and fed only the most colorful and juiceful food that could be found. Loxiset smiled and sat back on his throne, watching as his bride-to-be became a lovely young lady. Though he longed for her company at once, Loxiset knew that a human mind had to develop to the sophistication required to reciprocate love, so he chose to let her live with her tribe until her twentieth year.

On Zei's twelfth birthday the tribe began preparations for a ritual which Loxiset had never seen performed. They ate and danced and laughed, and made Zei more comfortable than she had been in her entire life. Then the chief approached and gave her a queer drink which caused her to grow weary, and within minutes she was asleep. Loxiset grew concerned, but he had witnessed coming-of-age drinks before. He reasoned that perhaps Zei simply could not handle her liquor.

Then the tribe hoisted Zei on a bed, and with several men grabbing long sticks, they carried her up a mountain path. Before Loxiset knew what would happen, the chief had sung a prayer and tossed the girl into the gaping maw of a hungry volcano.

Enraged, Loxiset fell upon the tribe. He made the warrior's ash, and their small huts a storm. The inferno there was so intense that night fled from every land. When all was done there remained only a few sobbing tribespeople. The land on which they had lived, and hundreds of miles beyond that, had become a desert of fine sand and ash.

“Why?” Cried the tribespeople. “We did as you asked. We gave you your bride!”

“I did not ask you to incinerate her!” Loxiset roared. “Now she is like your land: nothing but dust. I cannot wed dust. You fools. Do you wed dust?”

The tribespeople looked at each other, confused and in awe. Loxiset went on. “You I will reluctantly spare only to share this message. Now flee for the dunes, before I remember again what has become of my dear Zei.”

And flee they did, eagerly vanishing over the soft sands. Loxiset, now even more depressed than before, returned to Larxi. But he made sure of one final thing: the sands which he had made became so hot that no human being could ever set foot on even a single grain. This sacred place, where he returned to weep every year on the anniversary of that day, was named after the girl it had betrayed.

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