Tulk, the lunatic hunter

Sometimes someone is just insane. There can be reasons for, and not. There can be causes, and not. Sometimes, someone is just not right for their own special reasons, and no one can fix them.

Tulk loves fire. He has since he saw a house burn as a child. He comes from a rural nation where fire is important – a giver of warmth, a lighter of the night, a means of forging – and yet it is also the great threat to life. Tulk has always laughed at religion. To him, he sees no evidence of the deities to be worshipped and feared, yet with fire there is a damn good reason to fear it, and for him, far more reason to worship it. He saw its power that night, saw it reach to the night sky in defiance of the efforts of his people to put it out. After, he had wanted to start fires of his own, yet sharp smacks from his mother taught him otherwise. So Tulk waited, instead writing poetry of his love for the flame, and learning the ways of his people. He became archer and hunter, as was common in Bamalia, even for the women, and then he roamed.

He still roams. Tulk walks a free man among the world. He is this because his skill at tracking people down and shooting them dead earns him fame and money, although he wastes the latter on promoting his poetry. That is because his love of fire burns as brightly as that night. Starting a fire in Bamalia is a great criminal offence for the risks it poses, up there with rape and murder, so he had to wait. But true love is patient. Tulk waited until, as an adult, he could express his passion without fear of reprisal. He started fires, which led to damage and death, but these are the price for glory to be unfurled. To Tulk, burning is a blessing. He saw no harm in what he did, although he did his best to hide the fact he was the one doing it. In time, Bamalia was hunting all over for an arsonist. Tulk had his first taste of fame. This meant he had to leave his homeland and he is still a wanted man there, although he is wanted in many nations by now. Being a famed killer will do that.

Tulk loves fire to the dismissal of all other life. For him, killing a person isn’t worth noting. In fact, Tulk believes all people love being burned, even if they don’t know it. The screams he hears are just ecstatic yells of such joyous intensity they come out as agonised noise. Obviously, burning hurts, but the rapture of knowing such intimacy with fire surpasses that. To Tulk, fire makes everything better. No building is complete unless aflame. No painting is art unless on fire. No life is complete unless the kiss of fire is felt.

His poetry, widespread if mainly ignored, declares fire as a goddess, a lover, a mistress, a queen, a mother and a temptress. He rejoices when he sees the flames rise up. He feels as if this is the one true beauty unleashed in its purest form. Of course, Tulk is not so crazy he wants to be on fire himself. He is the fan, the adulating spectator. He is the disciple, who spreads the wonder as wide as he can. He will dance and recite poetry as he glories in the heat and the light, the smell and the noise. Tulk is besotted, and everything flammable around him is an opportunity to relive his happiest moments.

It irks him a little that he is more famous as a killer than a poet, but his love of fire is well testified to. Many of his targets die screaming as he dances around them. Tulk isn’t stupid, however. He never puts success at risk in order to start a fire. He was patient once, he can be again. But he is well known for boring others by proclaiming the wonders of fire for hours on end or reciting the poetry he continues to write. Fire is his beloved. He will never change. Tulk is just insane. The others of the elite know that, but more important is that people in Callascino are more afraid of fire than usual. Even a madman has his uses.

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