One day, whilst in his 377th lap of his bowl for the morning he had a genius idea. He didn’t want to leave Raisin alone, he didn’t want her to die and leave him alone and he really needed to start work on becoming Edgar the Great! It was so simple and right there in front of him all this time. When he had devised a way to leave his bowl all he needed to do was murder Raisin, in a kind gentle way of course. She wouldn’t be alone and by this point, he would be independent and able to care for himself. Win win situation all round he thought. Edgar was pleased with himself.
Summer turned to autumn and in what felt like no time at all turned to winter. Months had passed and Edgar was no closer to devising a plan. The days were short and cold, the nights were long and bitter. To keep the house warm his elderly owner had summoned a small fire spirit which sat burning away on a log below the mantle on which Edgars bowl was placed. Fire spirits are not much for talking, all they want to do is eat through fire logs and… well actually that’s it. Each year with each winter a new fire spirit would be his downstairs neighbour. Some years he would try to strike a conversation with the spirit, other years wouldn’t bother trying. This year, Edgar was feeling positive, especially since he had come up with so many great ideas already, he decided to try and get to know this little glowing fire spirit.
Psst, hey! He whispered, you there! No reply. I know you’re down there munching away on those fire logs, he continued. Hey, answer me you silly little flame! He shouted. Keep it down, replied a deep gravelly but quiet voice, I’m busy working down here, the fire spirit continued. Don’t you get bored doing nothing but eating away on fire logs, Edgar teased, it’s not exactly the most exciting way to spend your life.
Fire sprites by nature are generally quiet and keep to themselves however when provoked or angered can become extremely aggressive in a very short amount of time. Listen here you small insignificant little fish, the fire spirit yelled. Without the warmth I’m creating your bowl would be nothing but an ice cube! Show me some respect, this is important work I am doing. Edgar enjoyed this fiery come back. He hadn’t had a conversation with someone in a very long time. Deciding to push the fire spirit a little more he replied, well, I can’t disagree with you, I would certainly be an ice cube without your warmth, I just think it’s a shame for such a great powerful spirit like yourself to be wasted on burning logs in a tiny cottage for a couple of months to only be extinguished once spring arrives, but you know, i’ll leave you alone and mind my own business.
Several seconds passed before the fire replied, what do you mean extinguished and what is this spring that’s arriving? Oh you haven’t heard, Edgar exclaimed with a smirk on his face. He knew he had the spirits undivided attention. Yeah, Spring he continued, when the weather warms up there will be no use for you, you will simply be extinguished and then next year we will have a new fire spirit to warm the house. But it doesn’t have to be that way, you have potential to do much much more!
The fire spirit hadn’t heard of this concept called spring or had any knowledge of the weather warming up so was not sure if to believe this annoying fishy neighbour. The spirit was also aware that he had only been brought into existence a few weeks ago which is peculiar, what must have happened to the previous fire spirit to have needed a new one. There could be some truth to this the spirit pondered.
How do we stop Spring arriving, the spirit asked. We can’t, Edgar replied. It’s the natural cycle of the world, things come, things go, just like me and you. However we have potential to extend our boundaries past this single room and continue on. I have a plan, one that will be a great benefit to us both. The fire spirit paused for a moment then responded, OK, I’m interested, tell me this plan.
Both Edgar and the fire spirit spoke long into the night, Edgar shared his plan with the flame. By time the sun had risen the pair had completely plotted out what needed to be done so that they both could become more than just a fish and a short lived fire living in a single room.
Raisin climbed out of bed, her back and legs creaked with old age as she slowly stood. She grabbed her staff to help her balance, once her hand touched the staff she felt life rush back into her tired body. The staff was one which could control nature and all its elements, it helped her stay nimble and to also control the world around her. Including summoning elemental spirits such as the fire spirit to do her work. The staff although is very powerful she only used it for good and to do her own small tasks but in the wrong hands it could cause devastation and horror to all those at the mercy of its powers.
Quick, she’s coming, the fire spirit whispered to Edgar, get yourself ready. As she walked into the room Edgar began swimming vigorously back and forth. The water began to slosh side to side. With each pass left and right the bowl began to rock more and more until it became unstable. The bowl tipped spilling water all over the mantle, dripping down into the fireplace! Edgar lay still on hard rough wood which his bowl once sat on. He had never touched anything outside of his bowl before, he was excited, this was the first step in his adventure. Raisin rushed over with fear that the fire would go out as the wood was drenched in water. She knelt down in front of the fire and dropped her staff beside her. Now! Edgar shouted. Edgar with a flip of his tail propelled himself off of the wooden mantle down towards his target, the staff. Simultaneously the fire spirit jumped onto the arm of the old lady and rapidly spread engulfing her in flames. Edgar had asked the spirit to try and end her life as quickly as possible. The spirit kept his end of the deal and she was killed almost instantly by the intense heat. Edgar landed a few inches away from the staff, he rolled his body over and touched it with his tiny fin.
The power of the elemental staff flooded his body, it was never intended to be yielded by such a small creature. He felt powerful, magical and now unstoppable. He used his new powers to summon all of the water spilled on the floor to form a bubble around him so that he could breathe again. Although not touching the staff any longer it seemed that the immense power that hit his small fishy body had changed him. He had become bound to its powers, it now belonged to him.
Quick I’m running out of stuff to burn! The fire spirit said in a panic, i’ll have to start burning the house down if you don’t help me. Edgar closed his eyes and focused on the fire, it became stronger and glowed brighter. The spirit was being sustained by the powers of the staff, it would no longer need to rely on a source of fuel to survive. So long as the staff and Edgar stayed close he was self-sustaining. We need to leave before any of her customers stop by, Edgar thought. Again he closed his eyes and focused. A few seconds later, water from the stream outside began flowing through the air, smashing through the glass of the small window from which he used to watch the sun setting. The water engulfed Edgar, it took on the shape of a humanoid body, legs and arms formed, a torso and finally a head in which Edgar swam around proudly.
With his watery arm he bent down picking up the staff and held out the other towards the fire spirit. It’s ok he said, jump on, you won’t die. The fire spirit was nervous, jumping into water wasn’t the smartest of things for a fire spirit to do. He had no reason not to trust the fish at this point so he decided to take the leap. He closed his fiery eyes and jumped from the ashy body of the old lady towards the watery hand. Expecting to feel the cold water he felt nothing, he opened his eyes and he was floating just above the hand. Edgars tall watery body stood tall. we will do great things together, he said looking down at his fiery friend. This was the moment the not so great Edgar was born, their twisted logic and desire for power did not lead them down a path to do great good but a path of greed, evil and destruction for all those that stood in their way.
This is the true and unknown story of a small fish and a fire spirit that became known as the Dark Elemental Wizard, said the village elder as he closed the dusty book. He peered up to see the faces of the terrified children sitting in a semicircle on the floor around him. One child slowly raised her hand and asked, did a little fish really become the Dark Elemental Wizard? How do I know my pet frog Toby won’t become an evil monster? The elder laughed, don’t worry child, it’s just a legend, nothing more than a tale.
The small girl reached into her pocket to pet her tiny frog friend. She knew he wouldn’t become an evil wizard and take over the world, or would he?
A short story by Andy Williams