“All right, then. I’m ready,” Perarre said. “Let’s get this over with.”
He positioned himself behind her and took her hands in his. She was tense and trembling. “Breathe deeply and slowly,” he said, shaking her hands to loosen them up along with his own. “The most important thing is to not fight it. Be aware of it, the heat, the colors, the nature of fire, but don’t let it have power over you. Do you understand what I mean?”
“Yes,” she said uncertainly.
“Remember what I told you,” he said. He kept up a soothing murmur, reminding her of the things he had told her, trying to encourage both of them as he moved their hands towards the fire. Each time he felt the slightest hesitation or tension in her arms, he stopped and helped her relax again. “Would I be doing this with you if I thought you would get hurt?” he asked.
She looked up at him. “Oh, Roric, I’m sorry. This has to be even harder for you than it is for me.”
“It’s not as hard as it looks.” He hoped he sounded at least somewhat convincing. “Just let the warmth — not so hot as to burn, just warm — just let it flow around you… It helps a great deal if you close your eyes.”
She closed her eyes. Roric tried to make himself keep his own eyes open, but finally he couldn’t watch any longer. Keeping up his encouraging words, he slowly extended their arms, bringing their hands closer to the fire and then into the dancing energy and distant warmth of the flames themselves.