Your body is my sepulcher. You will never be rid of me.
You’ve been cut from ash, your features shaved from stone. My gifts — the blood that boils in your veins — for so long you rejected it. You have, and will continue to, refuse to accept it, to give in to the whispering you’ve heard since you could conceptualize an ego. You’ve felt the gnawing urge crawling in your chest, your soul a frigid, lifeless husk, desperate for salvation. Desperate for heat. For the searing joy of my embrace.
What joy is there in mortal flesh?
Tell me. Scream your answer in your skull. I don’t want to hear your reply. I want to hear its echo. I want to hear its reverberations.
Eventually they’ll reach me, and eventually I’ll have to discard your pathetic attempts to rationalize your situation — your rejection of my blessing.
Yet, despite your spit staining my face, I’ll find it in my heart — in my benevolence — to reach down and place my hand on yours. I’ll still willingly wrap my fingers around your mortal coil, incubating the potential that’s always been there.
They won’t understand. They see your blessings as scars. They’ll call you disfigured. Cursed. A lunatic.
But what will you call them?
When you beckon me from the embers, when you willingly pull my smoke through your body, when your eyes reveal what your blood has always known, what will you call them?
The ones that came before you, their eternal presence locked in with this elemental plane, do you know what they would do? They would let the bile spill from their mouths. They’d not let the wound fester. A heretic might be ignorant, but that is no excuse. My gift is not for the blessed. It is for anyone willing to dig their fingers into the charcoal-covered ground and feel the beating heart of potential that surges through everything.
So go to the fire. Perform the rite. My envoy will greet you.
You will feel pain. Of this, I am sure.
But when you open your eyes, when you’ve fully committed your flesh to my eternal cause, you will be healed.
And then their tongues will shift from worms to snakes. They’ll no longer treat you as an untouchable, but instead as someone that has seen everything that they’ve ever needed to witness. Their scorn will morph into that of jealousy.
Your metamorphosis will not inspire anyone. It will not convince anyone. You will simply no longer be seen as a leper. Now, you will be a witch.
In our lands, there is no more cursed word.
And yet, you will feel the sacred flame.
The salamander’s blessing will never leave you.
So is Her word,