You can read Taliana’s journey from the start of you want to follow the story arc.
After a moment of dizzying vertigo, a new landscape resolved around Taliana. She was standing in the mouth of a cave overlooking a blackened mountain, dotted with countless small fires like flowers. The sky above was red, almost as if it too was on fire.
Taliana frowned. She knew she should be concerned that everything was on fire, but nothing seemed immediately dangerous.
“Oh… another traveler?” Taliana turned to see a mysterious figure with a crimson flame-patterned robe sitting deeper in the cave, leaning over a cauldron emitting an odd bluish glow. “Welcome to my cave.”
“Thank you,” Taliana glanced around the cave; it was lit by torches, though she couldn’t see anything of the torches other than the flames. “If I may ask, where are we?”
“You are in… the Flamelands.” The figure intoned. “You… probably aren’t from around here if you had to ask. Other-worlder, then?”
“No, I’m not from around here, an Other-worlder, as you say. Can’t say I’ve ever been somewhere quite like this.” She looked a bit closer at the nearest torch and realized there was no torch, simply fire burning on the wall of the cave. “Is this… rock on fire?”
“It isn’t, not really. It’s more… fire is on the rock. I suppose fire works differently where you’re from?”
“It seems so.… In my world fire burns things, I’ve never seen it… on something rather than consuming it.”
“I could see that you don’t quite… fit here.” The figure held up its hand quickly. “Not that that’s a bad thing! But like, see how you’re on fire? Again, not a bad thing, but…”
Taliana looked down to find that she was, indeed, on fire. Though it didn’t feel any different there was a certain… flaminess… to her dress that hadn’t been there before.
“I’ve been suddenly appearing in different places a lot lately” she said casually, trying to determine if she should be concerned about the flamey dress, “it’s just the way of things.”
“I see.” The figure’s arm reached up towards its face, as if pondering. “A real world-traveler then. How… how is that working out for you?”
“It generally works well, though lately it has been rather confusing,” Taliana admitted with a laugh, “but, it is what I wished for and I am learning a good deal, so…” She shrugged.
“Oh, you wished for this? Um, I was asking because, well, uh,” The figure paused and looked down, scuffing the ground with its foot, “As I said… you don’t really, you know, belong here? I mean, those flames? Totally fake. I can see the strings.”
Taliana looked down again at the flames and could see the strings, as the figure called them, at work. Indeed, her flames were different than the ones everywhere else around her. “I don’t really, no. I’m just trying to learn more about.. uhm… some different places. You can see the threads, or… strings?”
“When it comes to fire,” the figure admitted. “The world is trying to make you fit, but you don’t fit. I think it’s because of what’s in your head. All your thoughts don’t fit here. Um, again, not that that’s a… you know.”
“Not a bad thing,” Taliana smiled at the figure. “Yes… I suppose like my thoughts about how fire works?”
“Yeah. Your… logic, and this world… are kinda in conflict.”
“Yes, I can see that… I haven’t encountered a world where I am so clearly in conflict… I probably best move on before something troubling happens… I’d hate to mess up this world with my other-world logic.”
The figure pondered again. “It’s only conflict over fire. But… we’re very passionate about fire around here. I wonder if the world would break first, or you?”
Taliana nodded, “It is an interesting question, I do wonder…. But, I don’t want to be breaking any worlds, or myself for that matter.”
“But I thought you were trying to learn about different places?”
“I am… but I’m trying to specifically find ways that this book might connect with them,” she indicated the Book of Evegran, “and seeing what happens if I am in conflict with a world for an extended period just… it doesn’t seem like what I’m supposed to be doing now. It really seems an experiment for another time.”
“Maybe you’re supposed to light the book on fire? I mean, and bear with me here, but if you came here, to this world, and it’s got something to do with this book… I mean, all we really have around here is fire. It’s like pretty much the defining characteristic of this world. Does that make sense to you?”
Taliana pondered this for a moment, “What I’m supposed to find here might be less physically obvious and more… metaphorical?”
“Fire can be a metaphor,” The figure said defensively, “but it’s mostly just a metaphor for, um, for more fire.”
“That doesn’t…” Taliana shook her head, looking more closely at the threads around the fire crawling across the rock, “I suppose we can try it, a little, if you are sure it won’t actually consume the book.”
“Yeah, pretty sure it will. I mean, the book’s not from around here either, right? So the book thinks it’ll burn, so it probably will. The real question is: is that a bad thing?”
“I don’t think it’s from around here… no, and I don’t want to light it on fire to find out, not just now. Perhaps if I discover that lighting it on fire might be a good idea I can come back here for your assistance?”
“I would enjoy that. I don’t get to light many things on fire. Things that aren’t already on fire, I mean. And at that point it seems kinda… redundant?”
“Understandable,” Taliana thought a moment, glancing down at the growing flames around her skirt, “I probably shouldn’t stay much longer… but, here,” Taliana dug a handkerchief out of her bag, “for you to light on fire. It’s not as grand as a book but….”
“D’aw, so nice!” The figure reached out and received the handkerchief. The corner immediately burst into flame. “It smells nice on fire. I’m not sure if this’ll be of much use to you, but it’s all we really have around here…” the figure reached into its sleeve and pulled out a small vial of fire. “But at least it shouldn’t get too… contagious if you keep it in this. In your world, I mean.”
“Thank you,” Taliana took the vial of fire and stowed it safely in her bag, “I really appreciate it.” Giving a small wave, she took a deep breath and stepped into the next world.
This Taliana adventure was a collaboration with my super-awesome friend Elick (also known as Sam).