The fire roared and crackled as it ate the entire village, gaining speed as the wind egged it on. Standing in the centre of the fire was a young woman. The flames never touched her and the blue jacket she wore never darkened with soot. She stood on the balls of her bare feet, her fingers pressed to the ashy ground. She stared straight ahead, her bright eyes staring intently into the flames, taking deep controlled breaths that the fire seemed to mirror, billowing up and down as she inhaled and exhaled.

    Satisfied that her fire would not be extinguished, she stood up straight, running a hand through her short flaming locks of scarlet hair. As casually as though it were a Sunday stroll, the woman put her hands behind her back and stepped through the wall of flames. On the other side, the deep woods loomed up to meet her. She grinned to herself as she disappeared into the shadows, glowing in the self-pride that destruction left in her.

    The light of the massive inferno had hardly vanished in the night, when a voice whispered through the trees. 

    “Keezheekoni,” whispered the world, causing the fiery woman to freeze in her tracks. Her golden eyes flashed around through the darkness, fire appearing on her finger tips.

    “I’m here,” she called. “Where are you?”

    “I am everywhere, Keezheekoni,” it continued to whisper. “I am the ground you walk on, the darkness that envelops you, I am the very fire that you sprout from your fingers, and the heartbeat that speeds up in your chest.”

    Keezheekoni fell to her knees, instantly humbled by the presence of the Creator. “Forgive me. I didn’t recognize your voice.”

    “You haven’t been listening hard enough.” The voice of the Creator was toneless, genderless, but even so, Keezheekoni could sense the anger hidden within. She winced inwardly. “Tell me, my daughter. Why do you hide in the shadows, afraid of the destruction that you create? Why must you destroy years’ worth of hard work done by the humans that you are supposed to be protecting?”

    “Because it’s fun!” The young woman blurted out, inwardly cursing the Creator’s Magic which made it so she couldn’t lie. “And because I love to see the awe that my Magic stirs in the humans.”

    “They live in fear of you, Keezheekoni. What do you have to say for yourself?”

    “I’m glad they are scared,” Keezheekoni hissed, her lip curled up in a snarl of menace, her eyes flashing with glee. “I’m better than them.”

    “Do you honestly think that?”

    “I cannot lie with your Magic upon me.”

    There was a heavy silence that fell over the woods, but Keezheekoni could still sense the Creator’s presence in the air and on her tongue. Finally, the wind and the ground heaved in a sigh and the toneless voice said, “Then it has begun at last.”

    “What has begun?”

    There was no reply. Suddenly, sprouting from a great oak right in front of the young woman, there was a twinge of light and then a human made solely of flames stepped forward. Keezheekoni tried to summon her flames, but nothing happened. She drew her dagger and held it in front of her, but the creature didn’t even hesitate.

    “Keezheekoni, for lack of all the things you hold dear, I curse you to mortal form, just for one year. If in that time you have not changed, it is certain that your death will be arranged.” The voice of the Creator rang loud and clear from the fire figure as it approached her. It’s white eyes glared at her as it surrounded her in flames. Though she could not feel the pain of the heat, she could hear the screams of one who could, and the mental pain of the tortured person sent her to her knees. She could feel the flames lapping at her back, curling around the contours of her body, sneaking through her nostrils into her lungs and mind as she breathed in, and the pain became agony. 

    She moaned as she felt her immortality being stripped from her, and just when she thought she was going to die, the flame giant stepped away and knelt beside her. It reached out with one white hot finger and gently caressed her face with a touch as soothing as water.

    “Oh, Keezheekoni,” the Creator sighed. “You always were the slowest learner.”

    “You robbed me,” the Master of Fire hissed, her golden eyes flashing in fury and outrage as she lay on the ground in a ragged heap, feeling the emptiness in her heart from the lack of her flames. “How am I to live without my powers? I demand you give them back!”

    “You do not command me, Keezheekoni!” The Creator roared, the sky and the ground heaving in their rage. “When you can learn how to love, your powers will be returned. Until then you shall live like any other mortal. Now begone! Start your mortal life well.”

    With that, the ground where Keezheekoni was laying cracked open and as she tumbled into the abyss, the last thing she saw was the flame giant that was the Creator walking slowly away without looking back. Her heart stirred in hatred. Right before darkness overtook her, she thought vehemently, I hate you, Creator. You shall pay for doing this to me. 

    Then her head smashed off a rock at the bottom of the seemingly endless pit, and she knew no more.

***

    Once the portal closed to take Keezheekoni to a new time and place, the fire giant shifted form, the flames dying away like leaves on a tree until all that remained was a flicker in the air, a gust of wind speeding around and around the world until it found who it was looking for. 

    This girl was tall, much taller than Keezheekoni, and her hair shifted through various shades of grey with the light. She was a solidly built girl with a compact torso and a round, smiling face, but even so, there was something light and airy about the way she moved invisibly through the human world. The Creator found her in her usual haunt, a village on an island in a massive lake with lots of windmills dotting the bay. 

    When the Creator approached her, she was laying on her back in the middle of the largest windmill farm, her blue-grey eyes wide and fascinated.

    “Uaetruh,” called the Creator. The girl’s eyes immediately snapped onto the Creator’s invisible form, and she stood up, brushing sand and grass off of her legs.

    “You’re late,” she said, dipping her head.as a sign of respect for the Creator.

    “There is something pressing I need to deal with, Uaetruh, I have no time for small talk today.”

    “Well, what is it? Perhaps I can help.”

    “You can, Uaetruh, that is why I am here. There is another Zodiac who broke the rules. You know the rules of the Zodiac don’t you?”

    Uaetruh nodded. “We are to protect the world and the humans by using our elemental powers.”

    “And if you should fail?”

    The girl blinked, looking slightly surprised. She tilted her head to the side and thought for a moment. “If you fail to protect the humans then you are sent to live as one until you learn. Right?”

    “Correct, young one. Now can you tell me what you think you are doing wrong?”

    Uaetruh looked shocked as she observed the Creator. She shook her head slowly.

    “Uaetruh, I want you to take a look at this island. Tell me about it.”

    “Well, the people on it are amazing. There aren’t too many of them, so they are all really close and they like to share lots of things. A lot of the kids fly these kite things and they are super cool! And they built all these windmill things! Aren’t they cool?”

    “Yes, they are very interesting. But Uaetruh, I need to explain something to you, and I need you to listen closely. This island is a dying one. All the people on it are very sick because all the trees that protected the animals they hunted from the elements have died because of all the wind. The only trees left are stunted and don’t protect anything from the icy North wind when it blows. The people don’t share because they want to, they share because they have to. Those kites you see aren’t being flown for entertainment, they are trying to attract the attention of anyone who passes to come help them. Of course no one passes this island anymore, it is just too windy. And the windmills aren’t because they like the wind, Uaetruh. It’s because they decided to try to harness it and use it for good. Do you understand my friend? I know you love this island, but because you favour it, you are killing it.”

    “I… I didn’t know!” She looked around with her stormy colored eyes, tears forming in the corners of them. “I didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt!”

    “I know, Uaetruh. It’s hard for you to control your powers when there is so much fun to have. But this village has an important person on it, and we cannot kill them, for it would create many problems. We can’t have an accident like last time happen to this island, now can we?”

    Uaetruh ducked her head and slowly shook it. After a moment she whispered, “What do I do?”

    “Well, my friend, I am going to send you on a journey. You know the rules and I believe you had no intention of doing what you did to this island, but to protect it and the people on it, I need you to become a human.”

    Uaetruh’s eyes filled with fear and she stared up at the Creator with large eyes. She opened her mouth to say something, but the Creator interrupted her.

    “I am not punishing you. In fact, quite the opposite. The pressing matter that I have to deal with, I need someone to watch them and make sure that they don’t hurt themselves or someone else. Someone I can trust.”

    The fear in Uaetruh’s eyes melted into astonished surprise. “And you choose me?”

    “But of course. You are my most trusted Zodiac, Uaetruh Aquarius. Will you do this?”

    The master of the wind straightened her back and raised her chin. “I accept.” She said, her voice wavering slightly, revealing the fear she tried to hide. 

    “I will warn you, you will have limitations on your powers, and you will be a mortal soul. If you die in your time as a human, you will remain dead, unless by some miracle someone can revive you. But you needn’t worry, my friend. I shall be watching you always.”

    Uaetruh dipped her head, and the Magic of the Creator swirled around her in a warm gust of air, enveloping her in a protective embrace. A portal similar to the one that took Keezheekoni to the time that she was needed split open, but Uaetruh was delivered to the time much easier than the fire master. 

    The wind master stared expectantly at the darkness all around her, waiting with fearful patience for her new life to begin.

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