Fire

Rhesk, the Element of Fire

Totem: Tiger
Number: 2
Colors: Red and Gold

Fire is an Element of compulsion, of passions and of fierce tempers. It can consume an individual who is not careful, but when tended carefully it can be the powerful force of motivation. Fire represents the eternal quest for more. To have an abundance of Fire means to seek out all that life has to offer, to challenge one’s self and seek to push the boundaries just a little farther. Devotees of Fire live in the moment, and are seldom concerned with the past or the future. This doesn’t suggest a lack of intelligence, however. They simply believe in fully experiencing everything around them, and it’s hard to do that if your head is somewhere else. Strategy is not the strong point of a Fire-type personality, but for sheer blood-lust, willpower and courage there are few better. Warriors are prized disciples of Fire, as are prostitutes, artists, chefs, and writers. Any occupation that could benefit from an inner spark of creativity will find that Fire feeds their passions and keeps them hungry for more.

Lovers are often associated with Fire, as are those motivated by furious vengeance. Allusions to this can be found in the phrases “fiery passion” and “heat of the moment”, expressions which were first attributed to Rhesk and have gradually come to be applied to all those who exhibit His mannerisms. While these tend to be the most notable traits of Fire, it is also worth keeping in mind that those who display an easy-going nature, forgive as quickly as they grow angry, and are compassionate and loyal also display aspects of Fire. These are, perhaps, a result of Fire’s “domestication”, as the flame can be either a raging inferno or a comforting hearth blaze, depending on the circumstances and how it is treated. Likewise, those with a strong dose of Fire will feed off of what they are given, and can either be staunch allies or implacable foes.

Rhesk

The hunger of Fire is a legendary thing, consuming whole cities and lands in a never-ending quest to fill the aching void within Him. No one knows where this emptiness sprang from, not even the Element Himself. All that is known is that the hunger drives Him always, keeping Him restless and moving, never knowing peace. Women, ale, food…Rhesk can never have enough, and so He has come to be known as a prolific lover, siring more children perhaps than all the other Elements combined. He has been the companion and occasional lover of most of His kind, though He can be found most often in the company of His comrade and rival, Evoru. He has even earned the distrust and hatred of a few Elements, Belimedra foremost among them. There is a story that Earth once even tried to snuff Him out, luring Him into its depths with the promise of a food that would finally satisfy Him, only to attempt to take vengeance for the death of one of Her priestesses.

It is said that once Rhesk was a wild thing, giving comfort to none and a danger to all. This changed with the birth of His first mortal daughter, an Orc known as Medrega. Her mother did not long survive the peace of Al’Drenra, attempting to take her life in madness and despair at the wrongs she had committed. This would not have concerned Rhesk, but He perceived that she was pregnant with one of His daughters, and He marveled at the way the tiny creature fought to live inside her mother’s cooling womb. He birthed the girl Himself, and realized at once that she could not survive the cold winter into which she had been born. Feeling desperation for a creature so fragile, He dimmed his inner flame and held her close to Him, sheltering her body with His own. It was at that moment Fire learned there was another side to Him, one capable of being an ally to the weak and a comfort for the desperate. This realization prompted Him to teach mortals the secret of keeping fires, and so Rhesk, one of the most temperamental and ravenous of Elements, is perhaps the very being responsible for civilization.

Aurix – Rhesk doesn’t understand Wood’s great love of “sportsmanship”, or the way He seemingly holds Himself back during some hunts to give others a fair chance. As far as Fire is concerned, those concepts are pointless, and He is much more enthused by the idea of throwing everything He has at an opponent until they are utterly crushed. Aurix has told Him on more than one occasion that this is “overkill”, but Rhesk is certain Aurix is just jealous.

Belimedra – Once the two Elements were lovers, but Rhesk was unable to confine His appetite solely to Earth. That, coupled with the death of one of Belimedra’s favorite priestesses, ensured that the two were on rocky terms. When She tried to take Her vengeance by killing Him, their relationship was well and truly over. Rhesk has made half-hearted attempts to placate Belimedra in the past, but smelling as if He were fresh from a whore house and setting Her temples ablaze because He “got bored waiting”, as the stories say, have done little to smooth things over.

Brodgeir – Rhesk is, strangely, a little in awe of Brodgeir. This is perhaps because He has witnessed the few times the Stone Element has lost His composure and given in to violent urges. When this happens Fire is always pleased to join in, believing that by releasing some of these pent up emotions Stone is doing Himself a lot of good.

Caraleria – Always certain that He is being mocked by one of Caraleria’s comments or that He is being treated as somehow less, Rhesk is known to lose His temper quite easily when around Magic. Afterwards He wonders if that was not exactly what Magic was hoping would happen, and, inevitably, He feels like a fool for allowing it to occur time and again. This only makes Him more irritable, however, and so He tries to avoid Caraleria whenever His ego is feeling particularly tender that day.

Evoru – His almost constant companion and rival, long ago Rhesk won Her away from Brodgeir, and were She not known for Her cold nature and cruelty, He would almost think She loved Him. Strangely enough they have never created children together, but the pair of them have been known to come together to raise up fierce warlords and soldiers, only to end up squabbling over who their project should worship. Fire prides Himself on being one of the few who understand Metal and who can, with a bit of heat, twist and shape Her as He desires.

Lamulae – Another of His former lovers, Lamulae ultimately left Him when She felt He was too obsessed with Her and Her beauty (something which He absolutely denies), while never taking the time to understand the things that were really important to Her. She worries that He is never satisfied with life, and though She yearns to comfort Him, Rhesk is ultimately too good at making Her literally boil with temper. He seems to find this more amusing than She does, and Rhesk has remarked on occasion that She is only more beautiful when She’s “all steamed up”.

Ri’ – Fast friends, Rhesk has always been appreciative of ‘Ri’s quick wit and creativity. Some suspect that it is because of too much time spent around Air that Fire can become so unpredictable and unmanageable. Certainly ‘Ri’s influence and cheering inspires Rhesk to greater heights with what some call “bravado” and others call “stupidity”. The situation is not unlike what happens when two good friends get drunk together, and indeed Rhesk and ‘Ri are often found in some tavern or another, telling glory stories and inciting good-natured riots.

Udele – Fire does not often argue with Spirit, not because the two are not very different (and they are, immensely so), but because He has a great respect for the passive Element. When the two are near one another, however, Fire often finds that His rage, which can often be out of control and consuming, is much more tempered and focused. It was to Udele and His council that Rhesk turned after the birth of His first child, and He credits Spirit with helping Him to understand the change that took place in Him that day.

History

Many years ago, before the cities began to be rebuilt after the horrors of Al’Drenra, Fire took the form of a Centaur and traveled the lands to better learn its Peoples and seek out the companionship of His children. On His travels (which were many, and are the subject of many stories), He struck up a friendship with three individuals: Gwynar Ap’Fywel, a Human man and legendary archer beyond compare; Sarabal Krultoc, an Orc woman renowned for her magical abilities; and Purdu, a fire elemental magically bound into the body of a tiger. The four companions were responsible for helping to restore civilization by sharing the secrets of smithing and cooking that had been lost during the war, as well as being the causes of a few minor skirmishes that erupted between cities.

One day Fire left His companions to visit with His Element kindred, and when He returned He learned that all of His friends had passed away from old age, save for Purdu. It had never occurred to Rhesk that old age might be a danger for mortals, and He was heartbroken that never again would He be able to be in His friends’ company. Purdu led Him to their descendants, however, who were happy to share with Rhesk their stories of how they had spent the last part of their lives, and how Fire had been fondly remembered by them. Touched, Rhesk made them the first priests and priestesses of His religion, and in honor of His friendship and service took the form of Purdu, that of a tiger, as His personal symbol. Purdu was also said to have been elevated in powers, so that he appears sometimes in the sky as the constellation Tigera, which resembles a running tiger.

Religion

While Fire certainly has temples, for the most part He prefers to be worshiped in the form of small idols, such as a soldier might keep in his pack or a family might place on the mantle. Some of His most visited holy places are, fittingly enough, inside taverns and bars. There, surrounded by bottles of “fire water”, so nicknamed for Rhesk’s love of liquor, the boisterous Element is most at home. These establishments are also the places where typical followers of Fire (the soldiers, lovers, courtesans, and simple folk) tend to congregate and sing songs and lift pints in His honor.

Given the passionate and generally outgoing personality most Fire worshipers have, it is not unusual to see many different people in His service. There does tend to be three distinct branches of His worship, however.

The Bright Brigade – Those few heroic souls who enter dangerous situations seeking glory are often members of the Bright Brigade, a group of men and women easily identified by their golden lanterns, which are either presented as literal lanterns or painted upon shields and armor. These are the people who are often seen in the midst of riots, rousing the people, or at the forefront of any charge. Their lanterns are rallying points when an army needs to be raised, or a welcome light that seeks out the frightened and desperate on battlefields and in foul dungeons. Though many of the Brigade are soldiers or mercenaries, just as numerous within their ranks are the common citizens that volunteer their time and energy towards finding missing children, sheltering the abused, and guarding the weak. These pursuits are seen as no less heroic and noble than war to the members of the Bright Brigade.

The Legion of Light – Followers of Fire’s more humanitarian aspect, the Legion of Light is devoted to using force and strong ethics in order to make the world a safer, more noble place for everyone—by any means necessary. Often they are presented as shining knights and noble lords who rule their peoples firmly but fairly, and employ impressive military forces against their enemies. While they are known for their virtuous natures and their dedication to the people, they are not known for their mercy. There are as many stories of them burning those they consider impure at the stake as there are of them restoring order and peace to villages, and wise travelers know it’s best to stay out of their way when a knight of the Legion is in the area.

The Inferno’s Irregulars – Driven by their passion to pursue their calling to its limits and beyond, the Irregulars are made up of poets, artisans, lovers and chefs who feel driven to excel in their work. Those who call themselves Irregulars often sacrifice everything for their work, from marriages to personal health, for the sake of their idea of perfection. There is a story, held up as a prime example of the Irregulars, in which an artist creates a statue so beautiful that he falls in love with it, and Fire, stricken with pity over this doomed relationship, places the spark of life into her cold marble form so that the man, himself a faithful Irregular, might be granted his true love.

Posted July 7, 2011 by Evoru

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