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Monday, September 2, 2013

Prologue: Born of Fire By Amy Erstad

Niya stops in her tracks, no longer paying attention to what she’s doing while she waits for this newest vision to work its way into her mind. The rainbow of colors before her begins to change, from the gorgeous sparkling ocean and fresh cut grass swaying in the wind, to an array of exquisitely colored flowers and the bright blue sky that is slowly making its transition into nighttime. It appears as though she is looking through steam that is materializing out of nowhere as the vision is coming into focus.  The beautiful night she is expecting, with stars twinkling in the sky and a moon so full that any wolf shifter would risk being seen mid transformation for, is emerging as a totally different scene.
The vision is turning Niya’s view into stomping grounds for the fire elementals. She looks straight ahead seeing fire before her eyes. This is not a good sign, she says to herself as she stares at the dreary sight.  She knows that Foresight isn’t always pleasant, but it is one of the gifts she was given. And just as she is gifted with the sight of wonderful futures, she must also endure those that are not as pleasant. This premonition of the future is not going to be one of those bright cheery prospects, so all she can do is wait and watch. Wait for the vision to completely clear and then observe as it plays out.
As the premonition becomes clearer, she sees Ra standing there. In front of him sits the car he used to start the destruction. The car was used as a type of kindling, like when small pieces of wood are used for a fire when burning a witch at the stake; one fireball was all it took to set the car ablaze and shatter its windows, killing his intended victim. He knows it won’t be long before he is able to move forward with his plans. And while he stands and waits, Niya watches as he cloaks himself from sight while he continues to stare at the sedan like it’s a prized possession from the centaur fights. The burning car sits there glowing from the heat, the flames slowly dying down and smoke billowing up toward the sky.
He is staring so intently in the direction of the car that she can’t help but think that whatever is going to happen next is going to happen there. She focuses her attention in that direction, carefully keeping an eye on him for anything else he might do. It’s not long before her thoughts are completely diverted away from Ra and towards something else that’s making itself apparent. Within minutes, Niya sees Ra’s victim fly out of the ground with lightning quick speed, like a torpedo being shot from a submarine. Along with the creature comes the swooshing of wings and a trail of fire. The being flies up into the night sky and comes to a stop instantly, hovering above the ground and looking all around. Niya observes the creature closely, finding it to be a female.
As Niya watches Ra, standing there in the parking lot beneath the girl, he once again reveals himself to the world by lifting the shroud that magically appeared not long ago. He looks up into the night sky at the girl, looking pleased with her appearance. Ra’s arms extend up in her direction and he displays a huge smile across his face while staring at her. Thoughts start running through Niya’s mind as she views everything, still unable to anticipate what the premonition is about to show her. Standing there like that, he looks as if he is summoning and admiring her at the same time, she thought.
Thunderous booming rolls across the evening sky, followed by one lightning bolt after another raining down upon them.  It’s as if the other gods have sensed what is about to happen and are rebelling. Pinks, purples, oranges and various other colors from the setting sun are displayed vividly across the horizon, all of which are no longer visible in the dark of the night, but become attainable to Niya’s eyes with each flash of lightning. 
The girl hovering above the ground turns slowly to look at Ra, then turns back to face the coliseum and many rows of vehicles leading to it. She can see all the people who have gathered near the entrance to the building watching her in disbelief. Paying no attention to them, she looks down at the ground to the right of her where more people are watching. She observes one girl sitting on the ground screaming a name and clawing to get to her. The hysterical adolescent is being held back by the guy next to her. He keeps a firm hold on her waist, keeping her from getting any closer. And while the name and the girl seem familiar, it makes no difference.
With her wings beating behind her, keeping her suspended in midair like a spider dangling by a single piece of silk from its web, she raises both her arms and extends her fingers, pointing them toward cars several rows away, and the guy she sees standing there. A guy she wants to bring her wrath down upon. She takes one more moment to steal a glance at Ra standing below with a smile on his face. He nods his head ever so slightly, as if she has just been granted permission; she turns back around to unleash her fury.
 While the girl is turning her head, Niya catches the little flames dancing within the girl’s eyes. Gasping at the realization of what the vision is now showing her, and understanding what is about to come, she watches as the girl’s hair starts flitting about and little sparks of fire start darting in every direction. Within seconds her fingers also start glowing red and fire shoots from the tips in a long steady stream. Like shooting a laser from her fingers, the other end of the fire reaches two cars in the row she is pointing at.
That’s not the end of it though. Ra speaks up. “Wonderful. Keep going my child. Show them what they need to see.” With the encouragement of her creator she continues to shoot fire everywhere. She has lasers of fire coming from her fingertips and she blows fire from her mouth like a flame thrower. When she puts her palms up, she throws fireballs in endless waves, blasting anything or anyone she can. She hit cars and buildings. She even hits people without batting an eye. It’s like Ra has her under a spell. And while the flames don’t leap from her eyes, they dance around in them, daring anyone to look at her the wrong way. On top of her fiery blaze she started screeching, sending out a summons to all of her kind in the area, calling them all into action. They heeded her call, transforming and flying into action right alongside her, adding to the devastation.
With the ability to hear thoughts, Niya listens carefully to what Ra’s puppet is thinking. They will learn. They will not forsake them. I will teach them. She hears the mantra repeat like a broken record in the girl’s mind with no other invading thoughts. The mantra is so loud she barely has to use her mind reading power. It’s like the thoughts are being projected over a loud speaker right into her head.  She can’t guarantee the girl’s thoughts are coming directly from Ra because she doesn’t have the ability to hear the thoughts of the gods, but she suspected that is what is happening.
Niya pulls back from the girl’s mind to view all the destruction before her. Cars are ablaze and several buildings are burning from the ground up, fire spreading quickly towards the roofs, becoming tombs for those who are not able to escape. Looking over to the coliseum she sees the lights starting to flicker on and off as the flames began eating their way through the electrical wires like hungry monsters. Another thought runs across her mind as disbelief sets in. It looks as if Ember has let loose one of her creatures to feed, providing her more energy.
Niya watches as the humans run every which way possible. They look like little mice trying to find their way out of a maze, trying to get away from the terror happening right before their eyes. They run from the burning buildings and the fireballs. They run for their lives. They even run from each other, not knowing who the cause of all the death and destruction is, and not stopping long enough to find out either. Those that aren’t running in every direction possible look like they are glued to the cement. Their bodies become easy targets, charred in a matter of seconds as she releases her rage on them. 
She sees so much fire and smoke, hears so many screams of pain and fear. She feels all the terror running through their bodies, and hears the crying of all the people trapped in the burning buildings with no way to get out. She can even hear them wondering if they are going to make it out alive with their loved ones. Many of them are praying to the gods above to spare them and the ones they love. In the end, total obliteration is what Niya sees. Not a soul in the town spared. Not a child left to carry on. No voice in the town left to reason with the gods.
With the vision coming to an end, Niya voices exactly what she is thinking, speaking out loud, but to no one in particular, “Ra has done what he set out to do. He has brought many forsaken back to them, but at what cost? Hundreds of lives? Innocent lives that did not deserve the pain he has brought to them. And how many more will be brought back by the fear he is instilling in them?” She shakes her head, willing the tears to stay away, while she tries to hold back the pain she feels in her heart for all that is to come. She knows now that she must do something. With a hint of animosity in her voice she speaks to the air one more time, as if someone up above is listening to her.

“All of it possible, because the seven deadly sins have an effect… even on gods.”