4.04 Living Fire and Living Shadow

Watching the carnival folk perform had rekindled the old part of Taylar’s mind that was still a roadside performer. While most of the public do not like to give money to beggars, let alone dirty gnomes, many will still drop coins into the hat of an entertainer, especially one displaying a skill that the mark doesn’t think they can do themselves. His hands reached into the old hessien bag that held his fire chains. Crude fire chains they were, old lengths of used chain that he had, with Hetty’s help, pried free of old ships and to the final link of which he had bolted the heads of torches. He had made them himself; maybe the time was coming to commission someone to make him proper fire chains, maybe if he found use for them again. He doused them with oil and allowed the oil to seep deep into the woven heads of the torches.

He slipped the chains out two feet or so, keeping enough chain for him to be able to extend and retract the flaming balls as he needed, then he started spinning. A few passers by on their way out of the carnival looked at the small guy spinning chains around in the air. The webs he was weaving in the air were impressive but due to the speed and the darkness most of the passers by couldn’t see what Taylar was doing. A few people still hungry for entertainment stopped and started to watch the gnome. When a small crowd had gathered Taylar decided to actually perform rather than just practicing, calling on the magic in his blood Taylar ran fire down the chains to the torch heads making them flash into flame, he slowed the spinning heads while the fire bit deep into the oiled rope that was wound tightly around each torch head, because otherwise the speed of the air would extinguish the flames rather than feeding them. The crowd, astonished by the burst of flame, was further amazed when the gnome’s speed more than doubled.

As Taylar span, he began to hum to himself, creating a rhythm for himself that he used to create complex webs in the air around him. Using the rhythm he was able to safely step around the whipping chains and flame which first formed a web of death, then his halo, then his shield, then paired shields front and back and them formed wings of fire akin to the flaming butterflies they had lured back to Skyhold. As he created rings of fire that orbited around him his brain went into thought mode and his muscles took over the display.

While Taylar span he imagined the living flame that the little girl had given him. He had asked her flippantly about living fire after having seen Tamarack’s living rocks and was astonished when a few weeks later she had imbued his knife with a flame which came when he called it and which had allowed him to smite down many foes which threatened his friends. Taylar had studied the Living Shadow, talking to the thieves of the old city and had learned parts of the shadow dance from them, that was one of the three reasons he had learned to spin fire; the first was to generate a busker’s spectacle, the second to create a distraction so his pickpocket friends could ply their trade, and as he thought that he noticed a shadowy figure plying his trade through the crowd; The third reason was to develop a relationship between light and shadow so that he could learn the shadow dance.

After the little girl had ignited his blade it had taken Taylar months to learn to call fire to his blade when he needed to and even after months of practice he couldn’t keep the blade alight for more than a few moments, nor could he ignite it more than once every hour or so. Taylar loved his gift, it made him feel magical, much more than the innate magical gifts of his gnomish race. But Zaiomancy was Illegal?

Forbidden? Outlawed? He understood why curse magic, nigrimancy, demonology, and necromancy would be outlawed, but not why the act of bringing life to elements and mundane objects would be outlawed. In fact, if Living Fire was illegal, why wasn’t the Living Shadow of the Shadow Dance illegal? As he span on he thought about the Gangrel, creatures able to blend themselves not only against darkness but also against light. Was that more Zaiomancy? Living Light, Living Air, Living Skin? Maybe their path would be a better one for him.

He realized in his musings that his fire chains were starting to dim. Calling on the magic in his blood he flashed ghost sounds across the sky to create a crescendo that clashed with the spinning of his chains. Then he changed the flaming balls so that they changed color every time they crossed. He dexterously knocked over his flash of lamp oil so that it made a pool a few feet in front of him and as the fire chains guttered he brought them through the small pool creating a burst of flame as the oil ignited. Then Taylar sped the chains up again so that the air stole the rest of the heat from the chains so that the small fires flickered and died.

For a moment Taylar stood there looking at his audience, which had grown considerably since he started, in the glow of the small puddle of burning oil and he smiled. He was smiling because he had seen admiration and respect on the faces of townsfolk that had previously only looked upon him as a dirty urchin and probable thief. As the pool died Taylar gathered the wide variety of coins that had been tossed onto his dirty coat during his performance and on the way home he distributed his chinking bounty to those in the town he thought most needed his largesse.

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