"The fire is growing. My angels should hopefully fix it soon, but if not, well... we'll need to start over on fresh terrain." O said while overlooking the raging inferno that Ahrima had so foolishly created.

"What are the odds?" asked his acquaintance Toba.

O sighed. "Slim to none. Of course, we have the concern of the need to punish the evil bones who created this mess. Who was the criminal?"

Toba gulped. "It was the talented one- Ahrima. I saw it. My home has been destroyed. Many fear him now, afraid of the further damage he could cause."

"Ahrima? Are you being perfectly honest with me?" asked O angrily.

"I-I'm afraid so. How shall you punish him?"

O stood up and paced for a few moments. He then stared down at the fire, at Ahrima, who was in tears, at all the citizens fleeing, and at the poor lost wandering Nidria, calling, crying, and trying to find Ahrima. He sat down for a few seconds. It seemed a moral conflict was occurring inside his head. Finally, he looked at Toba the Tura.

"I have made my decision."

"What shall you do?" Toba was almost afraid to ask.

"We shall strain from this scorched, infertile ground, leave this barren terrain. However, Ahrima will not."

Toba was shocked. No matter what Ahrima did, it seemed a little extreme to do that. Especially because he had a family, he had a true love, a future. Surely O the Scientist would not truly leave him alone for the rest of his life!

"But- but he is so young! Who's to say he wasn't put up to it by someone else?" protested Toba.

"I will have none of that. Ahrima is nothing more than a malicious fiend with a taste for destruction. We worked for years to develop this world, and he destroys it!"

He stood up and looked down once more. Ahrima and Nidria had found each other. She rushed into his arms in tears.

"Ahrima! What happened? Thank goodness you're all right! They tell me you caused this fire, that you destroyed the lamps! Is it true?" she cried.

"I'm afraid to tell you, Nidria, but..." Ahrima was on the verge of tears too. "..I did. I broke the lamps, I caused the fire. I tried to listen to you, but my anger devoured me, and I smashed the lanterns."

Nidria was shocked.

"Ahrima, you- I'm stunned... but we can fix this. Together. You can apologize to everyone, and make it all better. If we all have to move, we could use your talent to create the new world. O will realize that, and eventually, society will forgive you." She gave him a long kiss, and the two of them agreed to right his wrong.

O the Scientist gave Toba a long hard gaze. He thought for a second; he told Toba:

"You will be the one to ban him to this fiery abyss."

I can't! thought Toba. I'm not the one that believes that he should be left alone in this Hell forever!

"I don't even know him- maybe it would be best if you did it instead, since it was your idea and all-"

Toba was cut off.

"NO. You go down, you tell him all this, you express all the anger, you send my message. I do not care if you don't agree. GO!" ordered O.

Having lost, Toba trudged to where Ahrima was being comforted by Nidria.

"So you're Ahrima, collusive dreamer."

Nidria stood up at once and started to protest before Toba said anything more.

"It wasn't his fault, sir! He was put up to it by Barayas, who is this really conniving spider who loves nothing more than chaos, and Ahrima was just a bit weak. This wasn't his intent or his idea! He's not that kind of person-"

"I'd suggest you leave now. You will be escorted out if you don't."

"NO! You can't punish Ahrima! I need to stay with him forever, I want to help him. I'm staying here for whatever you say. I will listen too. I'm not going to let this become a trial, and I'm not going anywhere!" she snapped defiantly.

"Calm down and leave, or O the Scientist will punish you too for being associated with this... criminal."

Nidria held her head low and pretended to leave. As soon as she was out of sight, she hid behind some debris and listened in horror.

"You snuffed the glow, replaced it with coals, and you burnt down my home." growled Toba.

"I'm sorry. Let me fix this!" whimpered Ahrima.

"It's not that simple. Let my words tear through the air and pierce through the despair to find your arrogant throbbing ears!"

"I do hear you! I want to help, I can help!"

Toba stood towering over Ahrima.

"If it's too much to bear, or to hear, or to take, I'll be frank. This mess that you made, it's a six-foot grave. It's a home for your lonesome bones that remain."

"What do you mean?" Ahrima squeaked, his heart pounding like a drum.

"We'll disappear, and you'll stay, rot as the king of the dark and forgot."

"NO! Please! What have I done?" he called up to O the scientist. "Please make me your son!"

Toba shook his head.

"Disobedient son, you've broken the trust of your father's love."

What have I become? thought Ahrima. I've destroyed all I love.

From behind the wreckage, Nidria jumped out.

"You can't do that! You can't!" she ran into Ahrima's arms. "He's mine! I won't go with you!"

"I'm afraid that is not your choice." O the Scientist's voice called. By this point, he had appointed twenty- five burlier angels to direct the public away from the desolate land, and to keep Ahrima from joining them.

"It IS my choice!" cried Nidria relentlessly. "If he's staying, I am too! He is the missing piece to my puzzle life! I love him!"

One of the guards approached Nidria and wrenched her out of Ahrima's trembling arms. She was pulled into the solemn crowd, and was incapable of moving towards him. She knew that this would be the last time she would ever see him.

"AHRIMA!" she screamed.

"NIDRIA!" he yelled back to her.

"AHRIMA!" Nidria desperately wanted him. She called his name over and over again.

"NIDRIA!" Ahrima was held back, one guard at each side. He tried to break free from their grasp, but they simply tightened it.

"Ahrima..." her voice was fading from the distance.


A few months later, it was the first night in Nidria's new home. From her singed pocket she pulled out a parchment, a picture Ahrima had drawn of her long ago.

"Place your hand on mine, untie your mind. We'll just disengage, float away.."