"A fireling is born when a wizard exhausts all of his magical power into a potent fire spell and fails horribly, usually dieing in the process. This shows how dangerous these spells really are, and why they should be kept from the hands of the inexperienced."
(From a discussion on pyromantic magic.)
They are… fire. The shape is not important.
Composed of fire, they need something to burn on at all times to survive; once they run out of fuel they cease to exist, nothing but a whiff of smoke remaining. Even with some measure of sentience, or cunning present from their birth, and a well-developed instinct of self-preservation, few manage to survive for long enough to become truly intelligent. Many die with the first rain, the rarest would survive a winter.
While they can produce a fire of verily gigantic proportions they would travel freely and enjoy, they can only control it up to their maximum ‘body’ size (the size of their creator, actually). Those that survive beyond the first moments of feeding on everything at hand, soon develop an uncanny sense for the way things burn, and how to use them for maximum fuel. As they are effectively immaterial, they can travel fast and slip through tiniest cracks… if they have something to burn on.
There is no such thing as a fireling society, and never will be, they are too rare. They are a new discovery (or rather a side effect) of the field of Fire Magic. Since their birth is accidental (and most likely fatal to their creator), few magic-users seem eager to research the creation of such a thing.
Still, they make a fascinating conversation piece, and a fine addition to any collection of the bizarre. A specimen could be therefore found in the care of a wizard, fed and protected from the (other) elements. And no, it is not an elemental itself… or maybe is, that topic is still hotly debated among the experts.
Their behavior is from the first moment shaped by the drive to survive. They are not ‘evil’, the few that become old may develop in any way desired. Fire-like properties are fine (like hasty, aggressive, or playful), but alternatives may be as interesting (imagine a philosophically bent fireling, or a chronically depressed/fearful one). I leave it open whether they can learn to communicate, or even to speak.
Another one is born
- oh no, wildfire! And we just can’t seem to stop it!
- the wizard that produced it was a (presumed) bad guy. He’s dead, but the divinations show something of him remains… and there are fires showing up in the forest he died. To the arms, brave heroes!
- the wizard that produced it was a (presumed) good guy. He is dead or heavily wounded, but cannot be healed/raised/pass on peacefully, because something of his essence is missing.
- quickly, you must get it for me, before it dies!
I know what you did last weekend
A wizard of note was harmed of killed by somebody, but no one knew he kept a fireling in his care, that escaped in the chaos. Now it is mightily pissed that something happened to its protector… introducing a very strange creature hunting the culprits.
And be good to Fluffy
The heroes inherit the tower of their deceased mentor, on the condition that they water the flowers, and take care of all his pets… which includes an intelligent fireling, that would _love_ to have a more certain existence.