A thousand miles ago, in a country east of the jungle and south of the mountains, there lived a Firework Maker called Lalchand and his daughter Lila.
When she was old enough to learn, her father began to teach her the art of making fireworks. She began with little Crackle Dragons. Then she learned how to make Leaping Monkeys, Golden Sneezes and Java Lights. Soon she was making all the simple fireworks and longing to make more complicated ones.
She desperately wanted to be a true Firework Maker, but her father had other plans and wanted her to marry a good husband. Her father taught her many skills but would not tell her the final secret into how to become a Maker. Lila had a plan and asked her friend Chulak to help her. Chulak questioned Lalchand until he found out at least part of the secret.
“I was apprenticed to my father and then had to be tested to see whether I had the Three Gifts.”
“Oh, the Three Gifts,” said Chulak who had no idea.
“So no-one can ever be a true Firework- Maker without Royal Sulphur which comes from Mount Merapi. Isn’t that the volcano?” asked Chulak.
“Yes, you pestilential boy, I have told you far more than I should. This is a secret, you understand?” replied Lalchand who knew he’d been tricked, but couldn’t imagine why.
Knowing some of the story Lila set off on her journey towards the volcano. Travelling for days, through jungle, through the heat and then finally spying the Grotto, she knew what she had to do.
With shaking arms, she stepped inside. The floor was baking hot. The air was hardly breathable. She walked on, deeper than the moonlight went, and heard nothing but silence, and saw nothing but dark rock. Then the tunnel opened out into a great cavern. She had never seen anything so gloomy, so empty of life. Her heart sank! She had come all this way and there was nothing here.
Then the earth shook and groaned, and with a harsh grating sound the rocky wall tore itself open and suddenly the cavern was full of light.
All of a sudden, the Grotto was alive with movement, as a thousand fire imps swarmed and a carpet of boiling lava spread from side to side with a clang and a clash like mighty anvils ringing the rhythm of a great fire dance.
The Fire King Razvani stood before her…