"Mom, I’m bored."
"Frieda, you said you wanted to come on watch with me tonight."
"Yeah, but that’s because War of the Elements starts tonight, I thought we’d be doing something fun, like aiming the rockets or maybe I could ride the lookout kite. I didn’t think we’d just be sitting up here looking around."
"That’s what ‘watch’ means, Frieda. You know we can’t let Karoshites sneak in and dampen the fire while we’re not paying attention. Go watch to the West, in case they’re trying to circle around us. Winkle P. Garish has the lookout kite, you’re too big for it anyway and there’ll be time for fireworks later."
Frieda sighed theatrically, walked back around the sacred fire to the other side, and leaned over the edge of the tower. Down below, she could see the work of the Lamplighters in progress – little beacons at the street corners lighting up as they were blessed by priests of Gleam, the recently re-manifest god of light in its aspect as aids to civilized sight. A small god, sure, but the efforts of Gleam’s new cult were definitely drawing positive attention. Frieda liked the lamps. She thought of the sacred flames as friendly little fire-puppies. They were one of the two major sources of light visible on this overcast night. She looked out towards the West at the other – a massive sorcerous ball of flame hovering over Salamander, providing dawn-like light despite being several days’ travel away. Maintaining the "second sun" during the War of the Elements was a tradition at the University of Salamander and a chance for the wizards and alchemists there to show off.
The War of the Elements had been a tradition since before she was born, and a highlight of every year of her life so far. Starting the night before the longest day, and ending with the dawn of the day after, the two temples fought. It was a friendly rivalry, of course – both Karosh (God of Water in its aspect as the source of cleanliness, health, sustenance, soothing coolness, and so on) and Fush (God of Fire in its aspect as source of light, warmth, and purification, the cooking of food, useful transformation of metals, etc.) were good gods, and both represented prominent and important parts of the Kingdom of Riparialand. Fush was quite influential in Salamander, whose population liked to believe the active volcano they lived alongside was his country estate, while Karosh was dominant here in river-spanning Nebulia. Each year, the less-prominent Shree (goddess of air in its aspect as cooling winds, driver of weather, drier of clothes, lifter of birds and kites, and life-sustaining breath) and Ok (goddess of Earth in its aspect as solid support, nourisher of crops, provider of mineral wealth, and mother of metals) joined in the War on the sides of Fire and Water, respectively. It was possible this was only so as not to be left out of the entertainment. Frieda thought there was probably some symbolic reason for which sides they chose, but never really cared enough to ask about it.
There were no formal rules that anyone had ever mentioned to her, and nobody ever seemed to keep a tally of wins and losses. There were just ongoing attempts to covertly land burning fireworks into the pewter tub of pure water atop Karosh’s temple by the Fushites, and attempts by the Karoshites to douse the symbolic fire in the massive brazier atop the tower of Fush. Normally, the firewatchers only kept the fire fed and otherwise spend their time meditating and being alert for messages from the flames, but during the War of the Elements they had the job of defending the fire from assault.
Frieda’s bored musings were interrupted by a an odd low rumbling from the ground and a simultaneous shout from somewhere up in the sky.
Frieda’s mother was already reaching into the fire, pulling sparks from it and invoking her Celestial Authority to turn them into bright flares around the tower. In the sudden glare, Frieda could make out three distorted figures in blue-and-white robes on the ground next to an almost organic-looking hole in the ground. They were gesturing in her direction. An instant later, her eyes focussed properly and she realized she was looking at them through a quivering glob of water, arcing rapidly towards her like a cannonball made of jelly. There was no time for consideration. She stood straight up, spread her arms, and closed her eyes.
Frieda was on her back, her clothes and hair soaked. She could hear the water running back off of the tower. Other than the hissing of a few droplets, it seemed she’d completely stopped the watery missile from disrespecting the sacred fire. Sodden clothes slapping wetly, she rose and quickly leaned back over the tower wall.
"HA!" she shouted triumphantly at the laughing Karoshites retreating back into their tunnel. It closed smoothly behind them, leaving the ground looking as though it had never been disturbed. As Frieda glared down, her mother patted her on the back.
"Good job, Frieda. You know, I heard Brother Heinrich built something special for tonight. After you’ve dried off, go down and tell him I said it was okay for you to help. Maybe he’ll let you light the fuse."
(And now, a couple of questions for anyone who may read this: How tall is the tower? What kind of clothing is Frieda wearing?
Yes, I know these weren’t explicitly stated anywhere – just one or two of the vaguest of hints. I’m just trying to get an idea of what people are imagining from what I’ve written of this random scene.)