Fia was sweating from the heat and from nervousness. Today was the day of her test to become a Flame of the Fire. If she passed this test, she could take the last test to travel to the Cave of Heat. If not, she would have to undertake another year's worth of training.

"Fia." The sound of her teacher's voice, Cessa, made Fia look up at her mentor.

"Your last task will be to light this leaf. Then you must keep the flame from touching the edges of the leaf for as long as you are able. Begin."

Fia looked down at the leaf and lit it easily. She closed her eyes and stopped the fire advancing. She sat there for many hours. Cessa's soft voice interrupted her vigil.

"Fia…that is enough," she said calmly.

"Did…did I do well?"

Her teacher replied, "You have exceeded the expectations of the test. In fact, you have even exceeded my expectations. Now, it is dawn. Your ceremony will begin tonight. Get some rest, and be at the Temple of Flames sharp at dusk. You have done well, Fia, Pupil of Fire."

As was tradition, Fia responded, "Thank you, Cessa, Mistress of Fire."

She hurried home. On the way, she saw five girls return home from the market, two of which were her sisters. Children poured out from houses and questioned the girls. Fia went to greet them.

Liah, the eldest of her sisters, turned toward her as she approached. One of the children whispered loudly, "Oh no! It's the Fiery Fire Freak! RUN!"

So they all ran off, leaving the six girls behind. May, who liked to be the center of attention, was indignant at Fia scared the children away. She opened her mouth to scold Fia when Liah told her to be quiet.

"I'm sorry, Fia, for making up that horrible nickname for you. I had no idea it would cause such grief," Cleo, one of her sisters' friends, sadly explained.

"That's okay. Daina, how'd the market go?" Fia enquired. It had been Daina's first time visiting the market.

Daina, her sister, beamed. "Oh, it was simply brilliant! I'd love to go again. But let's go home now."

"I'm going to take the last test to become a Flame of the Fire tonight," Fia said.

"Oh, that's excellent!" Liah said. "We've got to get home and tell Mother and Father."