Crackle. Pop. Wood snapping, crumbling as it turns to ash. Roaring endlessly from the gaping jaws of dragons. The gentle flicker and sizzle as the demonic souls settle in their hearths.

The sounds of fire.

Blistering heat. Scorching, sundering life, leaving choking dust and burnt obsidian in its wake. Charring the flesh of the green, finding manic glee in chasing the softness of fur, the dryness of grass. It is violent death, an inescapable heat, drinking you dry as it rushes past — forever hungry.

A cradling warmth, gently caressing as it flows — harmless — across your skin. The heat of safety, of a loved ones embrace, of a gentle light chasing away the darkness without blocking it completely. Leaving glistening stars and stories told in dancing shadows.

So the flames go.

It washes away the old and dying, leveling the field for the new to take its place, long as the wait may be. Saves the living in the cold, breathing new energy into its hosts. The people with scalding souls who tend, let the shining orange and gold and sapphire rise up like the fabled phoenix. Who run, chasing and seeking excitement, ever following the brilliant light.

The flames give.

We spark it from blackened stones, feed it wood and grass, the remains of the dead. We build it machines, give it more powerful fuel, only to forget that we too are easily burned.

We flee from it. Watch in gasping horror as it turns on us, stealing crystalline breath and replacing it with choking, pushing heat. In an instant, it changes from friend to foe, and steals all before it, for we opened the door without caution. We make tools to protect us, to douse the flames, yet still, the gaping flickering maws chase us. And we let it.

And take.

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