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Her Elemental Dragons: Light the Fire: Chapter 5

Somehow I found my way back through the empty town, past the abandoned stalls, discarded dragon kites, and the new crack in the road. I felt so odd, like I was watching myself from a distance, unable to comprehend what had just happened. The Fire God had done something to me—but what?

I was in shock, still in disbelief that I’d said yes to his offer, and now I had a journey ahead of me that I was both excited and nervous about. But first I had to talk to the four men in my life, along with my family. How was I going to explain what had happened on the beach? Would anyone even believe me? I certainly wouldn’t.

When I made it back to our home, the door flew open and Loka dashed out. “There you are!” she said as she wrapped her arms around me. “Gods, your dress! What did you do to it?”

I glanced down at myself and saw my crimson gown, which I’d worked so hard on for months, had been torn, covered in sand, and singed in numerous places. I could only shake my head as she led me inside, where the rest of our family waited.

“Thank the Gods you’re safe,” Mom said, as she swept me into her embrace.

“I’m just glad Loka made it back,” I managed to say.

“Yes, she arrived not long after you left to find her. You must have just missed each other.” She wiped soot off my face. “Goodness, you look like you had a fight with a hearth and lost. Is the ash from the volcano truly that bad already?”

“No, I…” I sank down into a chair, still shaken. “I have to tell you something.”

They sat at the wooden dining table and listened intently while I went over everything that had happened at the beach, which sounded even more unbelievable when I said it all out loud. When I was finished, my sisters glanced at each other skeptically.

‘Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?’ Krea asked.

‘Yes, maybe you slipped and hit your head on the rocks,’ Loka added. ‘Are you feeling all right?’

I shook my head. ‘I know it sounds impossible, but it was real. I wish there was a way to prove it to you.’

My mother had remained silent the entire time, her mouth frozen in a permanent tight line. But now she said, ‘There is a way.’

‘How?’ I asked.

‘The High Priestess can summon her God’s element.’ She reached for a candle and set it on the table in front of me. ‘Try it.’

Now I was the one giving skeptical looks. ‘How do you know?’

A faint smile touched her lips. ‘My grandmother was also High Priestess, as was her mother, and her mother before that. They could control fire too.’

‘It’s hereditary?’ I asked.

‘It was, at least in the old days.’

‘You never told us any of this,’ Loka said, her eyes huge.

‘What happened?” Krea asked. “The Fire Temple has been abandoned for years.’

‘My grandmother Ara left the temple and married a man here in Sparkport. I don’t know why exactly, but my mother believed perhaps Ara grew tired of serving an absent God that no one believed in anymore. Maybe all of the world did stop believing, but now the Fire God is stirring, which means something is changing. And he’s chosen you to be part of it. You can’t refuse.’

‘But I don’t have any magic,” I said.

‘Maybe you do now. You said the flames covered you, but you appear unharmed.’ She rested her hand over mine and gave it a squeeze. ‘Have faith. He came to you for a reason.’

‘I’ll try,’ I said, but I didn’t have any confidence it would work. My body felt no different than it had before meeting the Fire God. It was my mind that had been shaken.

I reached for the candle and thought of fire, but nothing happened, although I sensed…something. I closed my eyes and remembered how it had felt when the Fire God had touched me and infused me with flames, how they’d become part of my body. Maybe I could channel that out of me now.

The candle wick suddenly burst into a huge flame, so large it made me gasp. My sisters stared at me like they’d never met me before, while my mother had never looked more proud.

She clasped her hands to her chest. ‘I knew it. Praise the Fire God.’

‘It’s true,’ Loka whispered. ‘You really are the High Priestess.’

I waved my hand at the fire, and to my surprise, it went out. ‘Not yet. I still need to travel to the temple. Only then will the Fire God tell me my purpose—and stop the volcano.’ I swallowed. ‘And I need to bring four men with me to be my priests.’

‘Lucky you,’ Krea said, with a knowing smile.

‘That shouldn’t be a problem,’ Mom said. ‘I’m sure Derel will agree, and those other friends of his probably will too. They all seem to be smitten with you.’

‘For some strange reason,’ Loka added as she nudged me with her elbow, making me smile.

“This is such a large thing to ask of them though. They’d be giving up their lives here for one at the temple, and they’d have to all agree to be with me.’ I glanced at my mother. ‘Are you sure you’re all right with that?’

‘As I said, our family is descended from the High Priestesses of the past. My grandmother had four fathers. It’s not common in the Fire Realm, but if the Gods demand four husbands for their High Priestess, who are we to argue with them?’

I nodded and ran my hand along the table, feeling the ridges and grooves that I’d known my entire life. ‘If I do this, I’ll be leaving Sparkport forever.’

‘You can still come visit, I’m sure,’ Krea said. ‘The Fire God won’t demand you stay in the temple every single moment of your life.’

Loka squeezed my hand with a smile. ‘We can come visit you too. We’ll make sure you have enough supplies. It’s not far, after all.’

I nodded. As she said, Valefire wasn’t far—only about a two day walk or so—but the journey up the volcano wouldn’t be easy, especially when it was active. I’d have to trust that the Fire God was not sending me to my death and that he would protect me and my men.

Emotion made my throat tight as I glanced between my sisters and my mother. ‘I’m going to miss you all so much though. And the bakery—will you be okay without me?’

‘Of course we will.’ Mom wiped at her eyes and then gathered me in a hug. ‘We’ll miss you too, but this is your calling. I’m so proud of you, dear.’

I hugged my mother back, my eyes filling with tears. I’d wanted guidance, but I hadn’t expected my entire life to change this night—or that I’d have to say goodbye to the people I loved.

‘We’ll take care of Mom,’ Krea said, as she and Loka hugged me next.

‘Don’t worry about us. When are you leaving?’ Loka asked.

Another small quake rippled under our feet, reminding us of my duty. ‘Tomorrow. Assuming I can convince the four men to come with me.’

Mom jumped to her feet. ‘I’ll start preparing some food for you to take.”

‘I’ll help you pack,” Krea said.

I rose in a daze to begin preparations, but then a knock sounded on the door. Mom rushed over to answer it and smiled when she saw it was Derel. ‘What a lovely surprise.”

‘Mother wanted me to check on all of you.’ His dark eyes found me behind the rest of my family, almost like he was seeking me out, but then he turned back to my mother. ‘Are you well?’

‘Yes, thank you. But Calla has something she must speak to you about.’

‘Is that so?’ Derel asked, raising an eyebrow.

I took Derel’s arm, leading him outside, away from my nosy family. I closed the door behind me and spoke in hushed tones. ‘Can you get the others and meet me on the beach in a few minutes? It’s important.’

His face changed from intrigued to worried. ‘Is something wrong?’

‘No, but I need to ask all of you something. Tonight.’

He nodded. ‘I’ll get them.’


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