And From Fire We Ascend

The Elemental Apprentices I

Chapter I

Life wasn't great, but Titaia wasn't complaining. She had food on the table, a sturdy roof over her head, and comfortable clothes on her back. And that was all she really ever needed.

Besides, she'd been one of the lucky ones.

Titaia lived in fear as a young girl, constantly on the run. She hid from the guards and orphanages alike. They ridiculed and threatened and hunted her all because of her suspicious eye colour; a stunning shade of blood orange.

She was always an independent person, anyway.

But that didn't make it any easier. She wasn't like the golden haired girls, who could easily conceal their head with dyes or scarves. It came to the point where she considered cutting out her own eyes and burning them so she wouldn't have anything to hide.

But fate decided she needed her eyes.

Fate's a bitch, Titaia had concluded.

But that was then. This was now. This is when whispers of a rebellion travel from person to person. When news of a legendary girl with a legendary name finds its way to Titaia's ears. Time is running out for The Queen.

But that isn't her concern.

Queen Mallory is Xanthe's job.

Titaia had other things to worry about.

Like waking up, for starters. It was way after sunrise. Why was she still in bed? Bed was warm. Bed was nice. At least bed wanted Titaia around. Bed made her happy. But she had somewhere to be. And she was running late.

Titaia sprung up and out of her sheets, ignoring bed's protests. She hastily changed her clothes and dragged a hand through her black hair. She splashed her face with cold water and scrubbed her teeth. The water she rinsed her mouth with was boiling when she spat it into the sink.

But she didn't have time to pay attention to details. She pulled on her boots and gloves, and fastened a mask over her eyes. She then put on a cloak and tugged the hood over her face. Her pocket watch ticked away, reminding Titaia, mocking her almost. She donned her belt pouch and hurried out the door. Everyone turned to stare at her as she left the inn. But she paid no attention. She was used to it.

The streets were busy this time of day, everyone out and about to begin their daily routine. Titaia had routines of her own. She slipped unnoticed through the crowd to reach the far end of the plaza, where a stage lay empty in the midst of the chaos. Good. She still had time to spare. Going around the back door, she flashed her ID to the small hole in the wood. It opened and she wasted no time.

"Titaia!" Came a voice from her left. It was Carlos, the ringleader. "There's my little fire breather."

"Carlos." She said in greeting, nodding her head. "I hope I'm not too late."

"No no, just in the nick of time." He held her upper arms. "Go get into costume. We're on in no more than a few."

"Will do." She slipped out of his grasp and hurried to the changing rooms, passing acrobats and jugglers and story-tellers and gleemen and whatnot. They barely passed a glance her way, ignoring her.

She was okay with that.

It had all started when she'd ignited the stage on fire, then emerging unharmed. It was an accident, truly.

But soon after Carlos had taken an interest in her, and she became his new favourite. All the rest grew jealous and began to avoid her.

No matter.

The show must go on.

Her costume was small and tight, with a corset that nearly suffocated her. Oh the pains of being a lady!

She wore colours in a design that made her look like she was on fire herself, with brilliant reds and oranges that matched her eyes. Her black hair was pulled back so it wouldn't get in the way, a dark mask covering the top half of her face.

Her outfit was somewhat provocative, yes. But it attracted a wider audience. So nobody complained. No one dared complain. No one had the nerve to.

But Titaia did.

And even then, she was clever enough to keep her mouth shut. Who knows what Carlos is capable of?

This traveling circus was all she had for a family.

And she would keep it that way.

A rapping on the door interrupted Titaia's train of unsettling thoughts. "You're up next, Titaia."

She rose out of her chair, zipping up the make-up bag and straightening herself out. With a deep breath, she exited the door and made her way to the stage.

The acrobat's act finished right when she got there. Carlos stood in the center of the stage and introduced her, and then receding back behind the curtains to where she was standing.

He squeezed her hand. "Good luck."

She pressed her lips together and ran onto the stage. The pleasant sound of the cheering crowd filled the air.

Titaia started.

She raised her arms, fire springing up around her. She breathed it out her mouth. She kindled it in her palms. She stood atop the flames.

The audience went wild.

Among the sea of faces, she spotted a blue-eyed boy smirking at her.

Titaia went on.

She raised her arms above her head, fire swirling around her body. She remained unharmed. She cupped her hands in front of her, a fire ball growing in her palms. Bigger, bigger, bigger. She held it to her face and blew it above the crowd.

They all screamed.

In what?

Fear? Shock? Admiration?

It was all the same to her.

She tilted her head skywards and roared with fire instead of her voice.

This wasn't just a performance.

This was a way of life.


Author's Note: So this is another fantasy story I started and wanted to share with you lot. This is what happens when I listen to Fall Out Boy on repeat. What do you think of it so far? What's your impression of Titaia? And don't ask me how you say her name. Cause I'm not really sure. I just call her tie-taya or something. This story is a little different from the rest, I wanted to maybe try something new. It's actually the first in a planned duology or trilogy or whatever called The Elemental Apprentices. So uh... tell me what you think?

-Mayah