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Firehearts know that the fires of the mortal world cannot quite compare to the flames of Faerie — and these changelings are grateful for it. In Arcadia, the fire bound into them burned much hotter, consuming their ever-regenerating flesh. As painful as the trip through the Hedge was, reaching home was like finding paradise again, if only for a short time. The fire within a Fireheart is now a source of uncomfortable heat at best, and mortal flames seem so much friendlier by compare. For this reason, many Firehearts are among the changelings most violently opposed to returning to Arcadia in any manner. Too many remember Faerie as a place of pain.
Firehearts are typically slender and graceful, as though their excess fat and muscle were melted away. Their hair may flicker like phantom flame, or fires may burn in their eyes. Some appear to have a furnace in their bellies, a glow lighting the back of their throats and smoke escaping when they speak. The fire that fuels them may be red and orange and yellow, but many Firehearts display different hues — the pale blue of a white-hot heat, the lambent green of a Faerie balefire, the rich violets and deep reds of a bonfire fed on stranger fuels.
Many Firehearts were altered deliberately to serve as living flames, for illumination or warmth or even to act as walking cook fires. These purposes gave them opportunity to interact with other stolen changelings, and a number of Firehearts escaped alongside the Wizened cooks that ran their kitchens or the Fairest entertainers that pulled Firehearts down from their sconces.
Wild Firehearts are much rarer, because so few can be thrown on the fires of Faerie and survive. Yet, sometimes that’s exactly what happened; a captive was disposed of and yet somehow survived, the flame taking mercy upon him. Other Firehearts may simply have tended great festival bone-fires, beacon flames or great ovens until the heat and light kindled within them.
Some Firehearts are akin to the faeries of hearth fires and hospitality, but the majority are wilder in nature. They are akin to the salamander or the fire alf, as hungry as Agni or Loki. The burning faeries that acted as their Keepers were highly mercurial in nature, and frequently destructive.
Firehearts may, just as Wizened, have been attached to the forges of mythic crafters — immense one-eyed smiths, deformed dwarves and the like. A few such forge-touched suffer from some physical flaw, such as the Cyclopeans; the lame or deformed smith is a recurring figure in myth. They may also be tied to the willo’-the-wisp or lightning-spirits; a Fireheart, such as Grandfather Thunder, need not be a creature of pure flame.
Can’t abide the touch of water, may not turn down an offer of food, hypnotized by the sound of a boiling kettle, cannot eat raw food, repelled or injured by wet ashes, must sleep with a window open