The Aetherfire I think it's called? Yeah, that sucks... It's always a toss-up between run the gauntlet through it to the other side or trying to find an alternate (usually not so direct) route around.
Yep, that definitely rings a bell from playing HC Sacred!
Yeah, I wont lie, I've died a few times here and there playing around in veteran vs. normal. I may at some point adopt something akin to your philosophy Knuckles, but I figure for a first toon I want to at least get through the story and experience the game once before worrying about all that too much!