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Staked to the sands, waiting for death by the dawn fire, Kia finally admits that she didn’t think the price of defiance would be this high. But even if she could undo what she has done, she would not. Her land of Cymer is too afraid of the world beyond the great desert. Wanderers are killed on site, their flesh stripped from their bones and driven into the sand as a warning. But Kia knows that survival in this world harsh of climate and bursting with wild power will not be through isolation.  So when she found a young girl past where the maps go, with a warning on her lips, “Darkness this way comes.” Kia did not kill her, but brought her home so that those wiser than she could hear what they needed to. Though they listened, and maybe even believed they could not reward Kia for defiance with her continued life.

Now with the rising sun, the wall of wind and fire that cleanses the desert each day rushes towards her. Kia looks death straight on refusing apology for loving her people more than herself and sees in the center of the flames a creature walking with wings of fire, the neck of a serpent and the head of a great sleek cat. Its legs are hugely muscled ending in talons that leave gashes of glass in the sand. He fixes eyes blazing with terrible intelligence on her and cocks his head, “I am Graxlam, God of fire and fury and I have seen you. I have cleansed these sands alone for too long. Would you join me?”

She nods once and her skin begins to color with the deepest of blushes. Flame quickly replaces what was once flesh and pain burns into grace. She is the first, but not the last of the Effiret born. The children of Graxlam who ride the sands of Cymer protecting all that make their lives in her desert still.

***

Inspired by Trifecta’s word of the week:

color (noun)

3: complexion tint:

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