What Did You Think the Axes Were For?

There’s fire all around and too much smoke to really see, but habits are habits, and Sam Yamato’s body has done this dozens of times. It’s not that he’s not hopped-up on adrenaline and terror. It’s that he is used to being hopped-up on adrenaline and terror.

They’ve almost emptied the building, but he saw movement down a hall, someone walking, and he’d seen that kind of walking before: calm, unhurried strolling. Saving people is the main part of firefighting, but so is this. It’s just the part he likes the least. If it is what he thinks it is, which he hopes it isn’t. But whatever. His body is already double-timing own the hallway because that’s what bodies do: what they’ve done before. That’s also why he has his axe in his hand. It’s there before he even notices.

At the end of the hall is a conference room. Big table (on fire), faux-leather chairs (almost burned to nothing), generic art on the walls (fully immolated). And a slim figure sitting cross-legged at the centre of the table. Long-fingered, nearly skeletal, huge jaw chewing the air, and its whole body glowing red-hot. They all look a little different, but this one seems especially languid, in no rush. Fire elementals are the worst. Sam grips the axe a little harder.

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