Metaphysical Flames

I love the notion of what I call metaphysical objects, which essentially boil down to bodily/material representations of natural laws or representations. Sort of like when Admiral Zhao kills a fish at the end of season 1 of Avatar and the moon goes out. And because the moon governs waterbending, waterbending also stops working. In that case, the fish is the metaphysical object.

Rules of Metaphysical Objects

  1. They are tied to some abstract thing, usually a process or natural law
  2. Ownership of the object confers great power over the thing
  3. Building the object incontrovertibly alters the nature of the thing (possibly bringing it into existence)
  4. Destroying the object incontrovertibly alters the nature of the thing until it is rebuilt
  5. They have some physical mass, somewhere, even if it’s tiny or only energetic
  6. Usually they are unique for each thing
  7. They are created by sentient beings, never by natural processes
  8. Creating metaphysical objects is a perversion of the natural order of things*

*strictly speaking, this is a moral judgement, but all metaphysicians agree on it

The Platonic Flames are specimens of their associated fire that someone can move around and keep on the mantelpiece, with the added benefit that they never need whatever fuel they normally use. Owning a particular flame can give some powers over other instances of it (seeing through them, sensing them, extinguishing them or starting them at will). In extreme cases, only the holder of the Platonic Flame can actually start the flame of that type. The processes for forging a Platonic Flame in general and specifically (they vary type to type) are secrets of the highest order.

Fire is unpredictable, and most of the reason Rule 6 is more like a guideline than a rule. For some, it seems possible that more than one Platonic Flame could exist at one time. For others, more than one existing or trying to create another leads to Very Bad Things Happening.

Not even natural law is safe from the voracious Devil Lords, and several are owned by Ceras.

Types of Fire

Phoenix Fire

Color: Normal
Owner: Ceras

This flame appears as normal flame, but is a lot harder to put out via smothering. It has the property of spontaneously re-combusting after some time. It powers and is contained in all phoenixes. Created by the Son of Ceras, before Ceras confiscated it.

Profane Fire

Color: Red to very dark red
Owner: Ceras

Infinitely burning, buts produces no heat, casts no shadows, and does not spread naturally. Every instance of Profane Fire is created, and the first instance was either created or discovered by Ceras. The entire star of Carbax is said to be composed of this flame. It deals no physical damage (unless you stand in it for a very long time) but does erode spirit/memories/information, and will wipe away text and cause XP damage.

Gelid Flame

Color: Very light purple, to pure white, to the slightest hint of yellow
Owner: Ceras

Consumes heat instead of producing it. Very useful in alchemical experiments but incredibly dangerous. In a room of constant temperature, it can spread across a football field’s span in less than a second. It has a hard time spreading across sharp temperature differentials, particularly across colder areas.

Ash Fire

Color: Invisible
Owner: Ceras

Cribbed directly from Arnold K.’s blog Goblin Punch (check it out if you somehow haven’t yet). Basically, the flame creates no heat or light but still burns objects, and is thus very dangerous (since you can’t see it). If someone sends an Ash Fire elemental after you, either start wallpapering the floor or find a less bad way to die (most of them).

Estus

Color: Orange to Pale Yellow to Light Green
Owners: Ceras and Nereyl

It’s Estus from Dark Souls. It heals undead and acts more like a very light liquid than traditional flames. It has two owners because the schism between Ceras and Nereyl was a very ugly one. Both claim to have invented it.

Fire of Discord

Color: Indigo to Purple to White
Owner: Ceras

A pulsing purplish flame, that burns quickly and hungrily. The flame has a chance of randomly teleporting to another flammable object within a range determined by its overall size on each pulse (frequency varies, could be a minute period or a millisecond). This flame is understandably incredibly fucking dangerous, as the only way to reliably put it out past a certain size is to hope it teleports somewhere without enough fuel to sustain it. A creation of the Daughter of Ceras.

Anima Flame

Color: The whole rainbow
Owner: None

Often appear in whirling twisters, with kaleidoscopic or long patches of varying colors. It is instantly snuffed (via diffusion) if it touches a dense enough object. Usually this will be the ground, but most living creatures will do. It cures insanity, madness, mood disorders, curses, spiritual malaise, and XP drain. Of course, if it touches you it will deliver the equivalent of a lightning bolt of energy to your body, so good luck surviving that.

Basal Fire

Color: Dark blue to baby blue fringes, core is always white
Owner: Ceras

Moves around like mercury droplets. Reduces the fuel it touches to its very base components- atomic hydrogen. This requires a massive amount of energy in most cases, so the little beads of basal flame don’t usually get very far, but this can be used to destroy otherwise indestructible objects.

Solvent Flame

Color: Varies
Owner: Varies

More a category than a specific flame, these essentially “burn” a component of an item out of an object, usually depositing it in gaseous or liquid form. Functionally similar to industrial processes but they get much purer yields and also sometimes allow the host object to be preserved.

Jester’s Fire

Color: Normal
Owner: None

A fire that produces its light in one place and heat in another, almost never more than a meter away. Mostly used by street magicians because the kids love it.

King’s Fire

Color: Royal Red to Blinding Orange to Golden Yellow
Owner: None

A fire that causes everyone to defer to the wearer. Even bitter enemies will be ill disposed toward striking someone bathed in the flames, and will be swayed by their commands. Hotter flames are hard for men to even look at. If you get it hot enough, it will literally start melting people’s faces like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The trick, of course, is not melting yourself in the process.

Normal Fire

Color: Normal
Owner: See Below

Some groups have claimed to create a Platonic Flame for regular fire, most notably the Pyrurges and the Cult of Dazna (a goddess of justice, the downtrodden, and flame), but such claims seem unverifiable, and most of the powers the parties claim as a result of this accomplishment are easily attributed to spells.

Star Flame

Color: Pure White
Owner: None (anymore)

Also called the First Flame, the First Fire, True Flame. The fire that burned at the genesis of all things, and continues to burn in the hearts of stars.

Pandemic Flame

Color: Black or Grey
Owner: The lich Galogarda (deceased)

A vicious bastard of a flame. It only “burns” humans, with a preference for soft tissue. It burns low and slow and often starts on the interior of a the body. The first stages of the disease, which can last weeks without adverse effects, during which time they are “contagious” and the only way to tell is cut them open and look for the soft grey flame. It’s easy enough to put out on skin, not so much for the cardiovascular system. Common symptoms include heartburn, blindness (from eyes burning away), nausea, vomiting, internal bleeding, weakness, and sudden death. Almost always terminal; cure disease does nothing, but an expert surgeon might work.

Shadow

Color: Black
Owner: None

Whether shadow constitutes a flame, whether a Platonic Flame has been created for it, and whether a Platonic Flame should be created has been a source of… lively debate amongst academics. The main parties are wizards, metaphysicians, and regular physicists for centuries. The wizards insist that it is a flame but that the Platonic Flame has yet to come into being, the metaphysicians tend towards “no” on the flame question but believe under no circumstances should a metaphysical object be created. Physicists continue to insist that shadows are merely an absence of light, to the derision of all other parties.

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