Afrite and Troll

He had hoped to die, but this was not the place. He was too old, exhausted, defeated, hopeless, whichever word, he was ending. He journeyed from the land of fire and desert, the land of the Arians, north, hoping to lie down embraced in a blanket of ice. He had begun to realize, however, that he would not make it. Those that had worshiped him died long ago and the power that he had once had was dwindling. He would not make it to the land of ice.

His footsteps left behind small burnt patches of terrain. The horizon was magnificent and slashed with stratus clouds painted pink and orange. The mountains were tattooed by moss and fog, white-tipped. It was beautiful and he cried. Vulcan tears dripped scorching the wild grass causing them to hiss and curl back. His body relaxed into the tickling grasses and ferns burning them as he descended. His long spiraled horns rested on the rocks. As his eyes began closing, diamonds of lights flickered, and he awakened to see a great creature approaching. Patches of ice covered its vegetatious body glistening like armor, and its two heads stretched high above its shoulders. It had hominid like features and met his glowing combustive eyes. It approached him, but he could no longer move. His body had already begun to shut down. The great creature knelt down looking into his now smothering eyes and sat beside him.

They watched the sunrise stretch across the sky. The fire beast spoke, “The sun is made of my ancestors created long before my existence. Stareh the humans call them. I may join them. Or I may join the flames within this great planet. I know not. I may become dirt, but, then, what will be my purpose?”

“Dirt never questions its purpose. Quell your curiosity in knowing that you will receive your answer very soon. Even if you will not remember it. Free yourself of worry to witness this last gift. Sunrise,” Shifting, the patches of ice on its body glistened.

“Did you reign with the sentient ones? The humans. Did they view you as a god?”

“No. Though we have gods, we are often seen as lumbering beasts. Often hunted and greatly feared.”

“Mine as well. We were called lesser beings. Beasts. We were the nightmares told to children; warnings to the wayward. What do they call you in their language?”

Troll. And you?”

Afrite,” steam rose from its nostrils,I am going to pass soon.

“I will remember your death. We have shared an experience together, we similar beings. We are equals,” the troll’s second head kissed the afrite’s horn singeing its moss covered lips. The afrite sighed and extinguished melting the ice and vegetation around its body. The troll leaned into the puddle of water and whispered ripples. As it walked into the rising sun, the troll’s armor glistened as grass began mending the scorched patches of earth.

(Originally submitted to the Iceland Writers Retreat Competition 2015)