A story which the sands had ravaged lost almost from memory, gone almost from mind. But this is what is remembered, this little bit is told.

For a child born in a city, there was much desert in him. His eyes burned the yellow-orange of a hawk's gaze; sand fell from his feet when he walked. His voice was the very susurrations of wind against the dunes; his skin was born of earth scorched by smokeless flame. He was the son of a lonely ifrit and an enchanted woman. Some of that tempters blood dwelled within him, some of that bliss shone from his lips.

And it came to pass that the son of fire took notice of a daughter of the earth. She was the only child of a priest, a dancer. Her eyes were umber and liquid; her feet pounded the dirt with a rhythm that soothed his heart. Her hands flicking in and out of the mudras she practiced inspired want of such as only poets could write but he was not born with the tongue of a poet.

And though he knew he should not have her, the son of fire was filled with longing. Thus one day at dusk he sought advice. Tracing the name of god on his knife in his own blood, he drew in the sand the symbols that would summon his father to him. The ifrit arrived in a great swirling gale. Dust and gravel peppered the young man's face and arms, darkening the last lights of the sun. When all was still the son approached the being of flame that had sired him.

The two mortals spoke long into the night until the eastern horizon began to pale. The ifrit s voice, guttural and hissing like icy water on hot steel, his son s eyes averted ever so slightly from the demon s brilliance. Sometime near dawn the young man s father departed with the morning winds. The young man sat in silence for a time, begging the gods of the heavens for luck.

And so with the sun flaring behind him, he went down to the river where he knew the daughter of the earth would be making her daily puja. Dawn broke and she was finishing her ablutions when he quietly approached the weathered stone shrine. She rose and turned. When she saw him she ducked her head modestly and murmured the day s greetings.

His eyes burned with otherworldly fire but his movements were sure and restrained. One hand he held in shiva mudra, an ancient gesture known to dancers. Forefinger and thumb touched in a graceful circle and the other three fingers, past, present and future, pointed upwards. The other he held towards her, fingers spread, creased brown palm facing the heavens, in a gesture asking every word he did not know how to speak.

Her dark eyes flickered to his hands and then his face. What she saw there has been lost to time, her thoughts remain unknown, but it is said that the daughter of the earth raised a hand in shiva mudra and stepped into the arms of the son of fire. Stubble scratched her cheek like sand as they embraced, his breath smelled of desert wind.

Her love consumed him like a firestorm.

AN: This was written as a gift for my friend JD. Please excuse the crude mixing of religious/spiritual icons. I don't intend any disrespect. ;)