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She never did have much luck with men.

The man she was seeing could never get steady work, and the moneylenders were always after him. He came to see her sometimes, or so she thought, but he only ever came to coerce her for more money to fritter away.

Had he spent it on repaying the money lenders, perhaps there could have been some salvation for him. He chose to spend it on drink and gambling instead, and whatever money he'd taken from her would always run through his fingers like sand before the day was out.

He was every inch a wastrel. From the time they started seeing each other, it didn't take long for him to bleed her dry. Come the day she told him that she hadn't any money left to give him, he flew into a rage and threatened to leave her if she didn't start earning some more. He was a dreadful man, an utter wastrel who only thought of the woman as an open purse.

Despite that, she loved him, and she had come to her own understanding as to why: he was just like her father, who had passed away when she was a girl. Her father was another depraved thug who had no qualms about abusing women. She had vivid memories of how he would beat her mother.

Her father died in the bottom of a bottle. Her mother, though she had been abused by him for years, had been driven mad with grief at his loss. As a girl, the woman could see the depth of her heart-broken mother's love for her father.

That was before she understood her mother's feelings. How could that scum be worth anything, she'd wondered.

Yet once she grew up and became a woman, she become painfully aware of the similarities between her and her mother. She understood exactly what her mother had felt.

She just couldn't leave this hopeless man. The more worthless he became, the more infatuated she became in turn. The more she thought about how the man couldn't live without her to support him, and how she was giving him life itself, the more alive she felt. She was by no means a particularly attractive person herself, she thought, and by supporting him, she had acquired a reason to live. There was no other place for her in the world except for by his side.

She decided to wander the streets selling candles to scrape together some money. Her mother did just the same once for her father's drink money. However, the woman herself was not so lucky; not a single person would buy her candles.

When she told her lover, he only shouted at her and called her useless. The man would leave her if she didn't make the money.

She had been dimly aware that all the man needed from her was for her to be his money-spinner, no more. He did not need the woman herself- yet she needed him. Were he to leave her, she would be alone. Having lost both her parents at an early age, in her eyes, the mere idea of being alone cast the shadow of a terrible monster. In a way, they were in the same boat: for her, any man would do as long as he kept her loneliness at bay.

Though she had realized this, she was still by the fear that he would leave her.

Calling out to passersby as she might, she still couldn't sell a single candle.

A man walking by bumped into her shoulder. The candles went tumbling down onto the street.

The man didn't even apologize. He just flew into a rage and shouted at her. " Get out of my sight, you eyesore. Filthy scrubber!" He ground the candles into the cobblestones under his boot and marched off.

Picking up the broken pieces, the woman was filled with sorrow. " I'm going to die a miserable death," she thought. " I'm going to die just like my mother."

She was bitterly jealous of anyone who had a home to go back to. Not just a house - a home. A sanctuary. She had never found such solace in her entire life.

She hurried after the man who ran into her. From afar, she gazed at his home. He seemed to be living happily with his family.

What happened next was beyond her control. She was holding a lit match. She reached for a candle to light, but barely noticing the match already gone from her gingers, flame started to take the house before her. As she watched the fires rise, she felt a kind of relief. Yet, gradually, colors faded into the heart of the fire, and the image drained away.

It had all been an illusion. A mere image of a happy life with one's beloved. The illusion vanished along with the flames.

From that night, a rash of arson attacks spread through the town. The culprit was none other than the candle-seller, of course. The vision of flames she'd seen had sunk its hooks in her.

The appearance of the vicious arsonist was the talk of the town. The townspeople were in a state of panic, and the town strengthened its guard. One night, the woman was witnessed setting a fire, and the town guard apprehended her.

She was jailed and interrogated. She admitted to everything, even about how she'd been trying to sell candles for the man she loved.

Yet the local officer performing the interrogation only seemed confused. There was no trace of her lover no matter where they looked.

When they searched her house, all they could find were rows of candles - each sculpted into the form of a man. None of the local residents recalled of such a man, no matter how they scraped their memories.

The man was just part of her delusion. A fantasy character she'd dreamed up. Unable to withstand her loneliness, she'd spun elaborate illusions within the confines of her mind. She'd been seeing a man who simply didn't exist.

When they told her this, she refused to accept it. She could still vividly recall his face and the sound of his voice.

In her view, even if she had gone mad long ago, there was no way for her to identify what had been real, and what had been a fantasy.

Terrified of the truth, she had no intention of finding out.

Just as that moment, an eerie vision appeared before her. It was a white Chalice floating in the air, and it spoke to her: " Make the sacrifice, and i can fulfill your desire."

Was this vision just another illusion ?

That was when she realized: illusion or not, what did it matter? The only thing that mattered was whether or not she thought it was real. Her heart still ached keenly at the memories of her love. He did exist - in the world that she saw.

She decided to prove it.

She started by transforming herself into a candle that would burn well. Then, she set fire to her head. That was where her lover lived. Amidst the burning flames, the lover in her mind appeared.

She showed off her fantasy born from flame, as the sparks of delusion scattered over her surroundings...

At the same time convincing herself that she wasn't alone.

They say that she left nothing but ashes in her wake.

She continues to start fires to this day... ... fires that cast her shadow lover against the walls of the world.


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Additional Pacts - Additional Pact II - Mountain of the Mad Arsonist (Original form; possible ally - Ignisella)

Additional Pacts - Additional Pact II - Fiery Arsonist's Volcano Visit (Doppelganger)

Additional Pacts - Additional Pact II - Ruined Firestarter's Wail (Doppelganger)

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