Alexi sat against the base of a tree, twirling blue-white flames around her bare arms, attempting to get in as much practice as possible before she next performed. The woman didn’t look old at all; she looked hardly past twenty. Her sapphire eyes gleamed with childlike fascination, as if she were doing this for the first time, but Alexi didn’t perform like a novice. Her grace showed that she trained hard and often, and the presence of her waist-length raven hair showed that she did it well enough to have kept her hair unsinged for quite a long time.

She let the flames vanish into a thin wisp of smoke and rose to her feet, adjusting her black dress with red trim to sit just beneath her shoulders. She turned her head to survey her surroundings, having let time get away from her while practicing. She took a few barefooted steps forward, checking for any sort of strange happenings in her forest. She paused for a moment, realizing she had let the sun set on her. She sighed and looked up. Why?

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