Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Lamp

Not all shadows are dead.

Some, a rare but aggressive few, breath, grow, and flourish. Fertilized by fears, shuffling, layering, filtering anguish and doubt, these shadows move in the soul-pools, and feed on festering apathetic algae.

He sensed that one was growing in Matty's heart, and he knew just what to do. Summoning his warlock comrade, he commissioned her to create a lamp. (Warlocks are accustomed in extinguishing their own dangerous shadows, and are quite skilled lantern crafters.)

The recipe is ancient: to make a powerful light that will kill a metastasized shadow includes some unspeakable truths. However, this is what is known: the paper is crafted from ground Azuremyst moth wings, fire beetles, and boiled to make a gluey mixture, to which is added two fistfuls of light feathers (priests are stingy with these), rolled with a diamond-tipped staff to a web-spindle width. The frame of the lantern is made from brass shavings found on the floor of a thrice-widowed blacksmith, smelted with baby's tears, talbuk horns, and paladin mana. (How these items are obtained are known only by goblins of the lowest social rung, and the black rats who witness these deeds.) The eternal bioluminescence is the critical secret, but most suspect it is derived from fathomless sea creatures who light their own ways in the abysmal depths, captured by drowned sailors and traded for their souls. No one knows for certain.

The lamp was created in the speed of a wish. There was no time to waste.

She opened her gift, and gasped - all despair dissipated. The cheery bobbing lamp stayed with her every step, lighting her path, inside her heart and out, and made her see truths that bruised, but the hope to face them. She embarrassed him a bit in her gratitude; he humbly, and mumbling, accepted her thanks. No more needed to be said.

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