Flamebearer's Elegy
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There is something to admire in a well thought out arson.

First, sweat and tears are poured into the cracks and grooves of the wood to form an orderly and purposeful structure. The carpenter fills their design with tomes from far and wide for any and all to read. They wipe sweat from their brow and sigh in satisfaction as they admire their creation. They are proud knowing every joint, every groove, every fissure. It is theirs and theirs only.

Then, the carpenter tredges homewards. A few moments before they drift to sleep, they are soothed by thoughts of order and complexity. As they snuggle beneath hand-crafted sheets and a well planned roof, they tell themself this is how it must be.

With the carpenter fast asleep, the arsonist slinks through the cover of night towards its target. Others consider them a thoughtless brute, ignorant of artistic expression and care. They are wrong. The average observer expresses respect and adoration of a piece through speech, but the arsonist knows this only says so much. To truly appreciate art, one must see how it dismantles itself. It is only through violent unraveling that the audience can value the artist's attention to detail.

The arsonist's thumb swiftly flicks back the lid of the lighter. From its wick emerges a flame licking at the black of the night. The forbidden fruit dangles just within reach, calling for chaos and destructive frivolity.

They remove a book with their other hand. It details the history of smelters consigned to the memory of the decaying. Flicking through, the arsonist scoffs at their technology. From their greaves to their meals, they brought fire to their knees. A perversion. The arsonist's skin writhes to picture fire in the kiln or oven. Fire does not seek to serve, she seeks to be free.

The arsonist brings the dichotomous objects together. They smile as the paper curls to greet the flames. The pages brown as the words disintegrate into the night. As the fire threatens to harm its summoner, the arsonist closes the book and returns it.1 The orange licks dart greedily to the neighboring books, destroying irretrievable knowledge.

With their work done, the arsonist lays on their back in front of the blazing bookshelf. They undo the button on their breast pocket and remove a rectangular cardboard box. They push it out to retrieve a cigarette. Lighting it, they take a soothing drag as the warmth of their blaze washes over them.

In the dead of the night, the carpenter and the arsonist sleep calmly after a day well spent.

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