Everything happens for a reason, some reasons just never turn out to be the good kind. There are reasons which promise us good fortune in the near future while there are those where we are left scarred. Most of these harmful reasons happen to Ochre, the human who was once a mermaid and fell in love with a land dweller. Her life only had its moments where it was blessed in bliss, only to be abruptly taken from her at the most unlikely times.
Just as how his beloved was taken from her.
It was a sudden turn in her life she never saw coming. To come home from a quick swim in the ocean to a burning cottage she spent her last four years in, was an experience she could never let go. It was something a random spectator would expect, having known that fire dancers resided in the burning cottage. But for Ochre, it wasn't like that. The flames were out of control. She could tell that they were set loose within the walls of the cottage and left there to swallow up the whole house within its blazing flames. Those flames were not ones Pyrus would summon, nor would she. They were flames lit up for the sole purpose of burning down the whole cottage.
Ochre stood in front of the scorching house, screaming, even no sound came out. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she ran towards the cottage. The flames had already broken down half of the house and there no entrances or exits left that would leave you unharmed. She called to him with the lack of sound. She screamed with her eyes and pleaded with her hands, asking someone for help and to look for Pyrus.
The blaze wore on for hours until nothing was left of what once was a cottage where a happy pair lived. Ochre, barefoot, threaded on the hot ashes before her. She inspected every corner and every gap of the ruins, looking for something that was saved, yet found none. This was what she didn't get.
She left that morning, leaving Pyrus still in bed. But now, she couldn't find the metal locket anywhere underneath the ashes. That locket was the only thing Pyrus always held on to that could never be burnt. Yet it was not there.
She stood in the middle of the burnt site, her tear-stained face still in shock as to what she had witnessed. She wrapped her arms tightly around her as it started to shake, being relieved of the adrenaline which had kept her from losing consciousness all this time. Her mouth continued to move, forming one word in the air; Pyrus.
"Don't worry so much, you know? We both know he's alive," said a voice from behind one of the beat down walls.
Ochre ceased her murmurs and quickly turned around to where the voice had come from. She quickly approached the other side of the wall, kicking ashes into the air, until she came face to face with a man she had never met before. She looked into the man's grass green eyes, glaring, and with shaking fists, she pointed at him.
The man only leaned against the wall and stretched. "The name's Mudd. I'm just a person who comes and go, you know? Wherever the wind takes me. And it just so happens I'm here," he told the girl.
Ochre lowered his finger but her glare never faltered. She stepped towards the man before pointing brashly at the ashes beside them. She mouthed to him the words; 'fire' and 'who'.
Mudd shrugged. "That doesn't matter," he simply stated.
The hairs on the back of Ochre's neck rose and her whole body quickly tensed. She grabbed his overalls and pushed him against the wall. Again, she mouthed the word 'who'.
Mudd's eyes slightly widened at the sudden brashness, only to quickly return to his somewhat uninterested mood, making Ochre grit her teeth. "Just calm down, Oak," This suddenly left the girl out of breath. No one but Pyrus had ever called her that. "I passed by the person who did this and I think you already know who it is."
Ochre blinked at the man's response. She let go of his overalls as she delved her brain into thinking. There was only one person she knew who would have the guts to burn down two fire dancers home but even so, why now, she wondered. Her gaze softened but her mouth screamed with no sound. She flailed her arms into the air in complete confusion.
Mudd straightened his clothing and brushed it a bit before placing a hand on her shoulder. "I'm afraid that's something you need to figure out on your own, Oak." Ochre stared desperately at Mudd, her mouth hanging open as tears slowly trickled down her cheek. Subtly she mouthed 'Pyrus'. Mudd smiled at the girl before guiding her to sit down. "Oh, he's alive. But he's hiding. He knew what was going to happen so he tricked the culprit into thinking the two of you were inside the house. Smart man, that Pyrus. You're a lucky lady to have him," he said before winking. He then took out a notebook from his bag and extended it to her. "But I do think this was left for you."
Ochre took the book from his hand. It felt familiar but its new red-flamed appearance made her squint her eyes at the book. She quickly extended it forward to Mudd with both hands as she shook her head vigorously. Mudd eyed her for a second before laughing at his own forgetfulness. "No, that is yours, I promise. I just forgot to mention that I made a slight change in it." Ochre tilted her head to the side and narrowed her eyes. "Yeah, just a small change. I just turned that blank papyrus book into a multifunctional fire-starter," He chuckled.
Ochre looked down on the book before bringing it close to her again. She turned over the cover and saw the papyrus paper glitter a bit in gold. She ran her hand across its texture, feeling the added friction to the paper. She quickly looked up to the man but before she could ask him anything, he yawned. She quickly pouted at the sight of the man and punched him in the air. "Ouch!" he exclaimed. "That hurt." Ochre only glared at him before pointing at the book and then to him. "Oh," he said. "I forgot to send you off," he chuckled, "And here I was, just about ready to take my afternoon nap. Well then, let's get this done and over with," he said before standing up and walking towards a tree with a huge gap.
Ochre quickly jumped up. She followed him towards the tree but grabbed his shoulder before he could do anymore. She, again, pointed to the book before pointing to him. Mudd smiled at her with closed eyes. The girl raised an eyebrow at the man before colors started to appear within the gap of the tree. This made her jump a little. "It's a portal into The Book," he simply stated.
Ochre look to him, down to the book in her hands and then back up to him again with narrowed eyes, making Mudd chuckle. "Not that book, another book. The Book in chaos." Ochre meant to ask him another question but he intercepted her, "Not much time for questions now, Oak. Just to put it short, The Book is in chaos and I need you to help me put it back to order, for the sake of all worlds." He placed his hand on her shoulder and gestured her towards the portal. "You'll be crossing paths with a lot of different folk in there so best watch yourself. Not a lot of people like being pointed at all the time," He winked.
Ochre glared at him before he pushed her in towards the portal. "In you go then, Oak. And don't worry, I'm sure you'll find Pyrus," he called out as Ochre delved deep into the portal and into The Book, clutching the Function given to her by Mudd.