The Academy was large. Before the war it had been little more than a fort. During, it was expanded and fortified into it’s current size. Although it was large, Svert knew every inch of the inside and outside. Every rock and dip in the grass, every creaking board along the battlements, every last detail.
It was a bright and cloudless day, unseasonably cold, but that had never bothered him. It was the day after his punishment for breaking curfew again had ended.
‘If they consider confinement a punishment, they are fools; compared to what they did to me, that is nothing.’ he thought as he ran his hand through his prematurely gray hair. He looked around, and saw Dra slinking along in the form of a black cat along the shadow of a wall.
“I have news!” Dra said with his mind “And before you say anything, I know how much you hate communicating like this, but it’s the only way to have privacy.” A mental image of Dra being followed by some guards came into Svert’s mind.
“Fine then.” Svert replied in kind “What news?”
“Zoldák is going to the Three Cities, he hopes to find him there.”
“You are sure of this?”
“Of course, I heard it from the council and they heard it from a contact in Dynas.”
“No! If he is heading to the Three Cities that means he is as weak as he will get! He must need to resupply. If Zoldák catches up to him before he gets the chance to do so, he may meet with success! And I’ll never get the chance!” Svert shouted.
“Easy now, the Council may be aware of your desires, but no one else needs to hear of them.” Dra warned
“Do you honestly think that secrecy matters now? If anyone tries to go after him, they’ll never make it alive.” Svert said aloud.
Dra shifted back into his skinny human form and said “If, however, So….he does get to resupply, Zoldák will more than likely fail, and they’ll have no other choice but to put you to the task.”
“True, but just thinking about not having a chance is making my blood boil, something needs to burn.” Svert said as he turned toward the gate.
“I’ll make sure the fire brigade is on standby.” Dra said dryly
Svert walked of of the gate and down the road for a few miles. Thinking about all the ways Zoldák and Sovos’ battle could play out. Each thought driving the pressure in his mind and body up. He walked up a rise near the edge of the marsh that surrounded the Academy. Eventually he came across what he had been looking for. A stand of dead pine trees that hadn’t survived the previous summer’s lack of rain, was a perfect tinder box. He walked into the center of the trees, the air was dry and still. He took off his clothes, they could withstand the heat he gave off normally, but not when he was using his power. He made a fireball on each fist, he then shaped the one on his left into a cat o’ nine tails, the right, a sword. Then he ignited his entire form. Flames licked up his body, the needles around his feet blackened and started to smoke due to the heat.
The cat o’ nine tails was made of red and orange flames and each tail was already beginning to scorch the ground around it. The sword was made of pure white flame, the air around it shimmered as he began to swing it back and forth.
He took a ready stance, a sharp intake of breath, and sprinted to the nearest tree. The cat was being dragged along, setting fire to the carpet of needles on the ground. He swung the sword at the tree, it bit nearly halfway through in that stroke. A murder of crows took flight from the branches at the impact.
He pulled his hand back, the sword reformed over it. He began whipping the cat through the air, each tail extending into the highest branches and returned to their original length after each swing. He walked around, setting fire to the trunks with the sword, and the branches with the cat. The trees blazed and snapped as the fire ate through them. He raged, incoherently, shouting for the sake of making noise. His feelings being expressed with each vocalization.
Svert walked back to the center, his throat raw from shouting, and sat on the ground. The soot and ash began to settle on him, streaking his face and body. Soon he was completely covered, completely dark. It made him feel complete, natural. As if a missing piece had been put into place. He breathed a sigh of relief, he had satisfied his craving, all was right in his mind and body.
He had always felt that this was his purpose, to make all the world become ash and smoke. Nothing alive, all things burned.
‘Which is why the Council would never allow me to go after Sovos.’ he thought bitterly. There would be far too much collateral damage, namely property and anyone who got in the way. It would be too much of a chore for the Council to cover up. He stood as the fire took to the rest of the trees. He collected his clothes and put them on. As he began to walk back, he looked at the sky, the sun would be set by the time he got back to the Academy.
‘It looks like I’ll be breaking curfew again.’
He turned back and watched everything burn.