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Thread: Light the Candles.

  1. #1
    Mr. Person Taco-Calamitous's Avatar
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    Light the Candles.

    Got a bit of a piece of art, and a short story, for y'all:
    Light the Candles.-light-candles-jpg
    He walked alone. Regardless of darkness or light, civilization or wilderness, he carried on. A feeling of vulnerability and loneliness followed him wherever he went, but he carried on, regardless.

    Someone had to. At times, it didn’t seem like anyone else in the world was willing to do it, but he walked where he needed to walk.
    Regardless of how futile it seemed. Regardless of the misunderstanding, fear, or even hate, he often felt from those he met. Where he walked, they thought no one should. It was dangerous to go where he went, and they seemed to believe that he would inevitably bring the danger back with him. However, they simply did not understand.
    In some past life, he had been a woodsman. He still wore the clothes of the trade, complete with the brimmed hat, half cloak, vest, long-sleeved shirt, work pants and knee-high boots. His beard, along with the hair atop his head, was growing longer and more unruly than he would like, but there was no time to cut it. He had work to do. Carrying his axe made him feel safer, but that was no longer the tool of his trade.

    He had to light the candles. The darkness closed in ever more, and at times, it breached humanity’s defenses. All that kept the darkness at bay was the light of the candles. All that kept the fiends of the dark out was the light of the candles. At one time, there were many more who kept the candles lit, and the dark had hardly a foothold in all the land, but now, it seemed he might be the only one left. At the least, he was the only one that he knew of who still braved the boundaries of the dark. The rest who lived preferred to remain huddled in their settlements together, where the light was still in abundance—but it grew fainter.

    He had a family, once. If any of them remained, he knew not where they were. He had let them know when he had first started lighting the candles, but when he had returned, he could no longer find them. Perhaps they had been lost. Perhaps they had abandoned him. Regardless, he could no longer return to them. He did not begrudge them this, but he rarely thought of them anymore, if at all.

    He was not lost, but at times, he felt hopeless. At times, he wondered if the others were right about him. Maybe he was a fool for trying to do what he was doing. What right did he have to light the candles that kept the darkness at bay? There was a lifetime of darkness in his past. There was a lifetime of regrets that he wished he could forget. Still, he persisted, believing that no one else would do it if he did not.

    His lantern lit his way. He had walked this path before, more times than he remembered. It was as many times that this candle needed to be relit. Just as the last candle he visited would have to be relit. These candles needed to be visited an infinite number of times, because the darkness never truly went away, but the light of the candles always waned. No one else thought to light them, it seemed. Or maybe they wanted them to go out, forever.

    A dirt road led him up a slow incline. He could see the grass surrounding the road, and some vague forms of hills and trees to his left or right, but not much else. Yet he knew the candle remained where it always was. It had to be.

    “Going to light the candle, are you?” A lazy voice suddenly asked. Momentarily caught by surprise, he reflexively let out a shout, and then spun around with his axe at the ready. A young man stared at him through the darkness, slouching against a tree.

    “Yes,” he answered the young man simply.

    “Why bother?” The young man asked with the laziest of shrugs. “You superstitious or something? The candles won’t do anything for you. They’re just candles.”

    “The candles keep the darkness from taking us,” He responded, not entirely trusting this young man. “A great calamity would befall us if we let the lights go out.”

    “Ha! So you are superstitious, old man,” the young man said with little energy.

    “Call me what you will, but I am lighting that candle,” he responded resolutely, and began following the path once more.

    “Nobody around here believes in that stuff, old man,” the young man said, and moved to cut him off. “Why don’t you just go back to wherever you came from? You’re wasting your time, here.”

    “Oh goodness,” he muttered with a sigh, and leaned warily on his axe, eyeing the young man from under the rim of his hat. “I don’t believe I am wasting my time, young man. I think this is where I am supposed to be, and what I’m supposed to be doing. I can only hope that some day, whoever is around here, and doesn’t believe that, will believe so, as well.”

    “What makes you think anyone wants to think the way you do?” The young man’s voice held a note of annoyance, now. “Your beliefs are antiquated. Fairy tales. Tales that set us back hundreds of years, if we listen to you.”

    “I’m not asking anyone to listen to me,” he reasoned. “I just ask that I be allowed to carry out my task at hand. If you would be so kind…”

    “I don’t want you to light the candle,” the young man admitted. “No, I think I’d like to see what happens when you don’t. What scary abominations will come out of the night sky if you don’t light that candle? That seems more interesting to me.”

    “If you want to see,” he reasoned, warily, “you could walk not fifteen miles to the east, where the darkness has already overrun the countryside. You could observe, I could carry out my task, and no one else would have to come to harm.”

    “Who’s going to come to harm?” The young man scoffed. “What will bring them harm? The ‘fiends of the darkness?’ I told you, no one believes your fairy tales anymore. You and those like you are frauds. No go away.”

    “I am not going to away,” he responded, slowly, deliberately. He deeply hoped the young man would understand what he was trying to convey. “I am going to continue walking up this path until I reach that candle, and I am going to light it. It must be done. I cannot allow anything—or anyone—to stand in my way. Please, young man. Let me pass. I don’t want to hurt you—”

    “Why would you hurt me?!” the young man shouted angrily, lifting an accusatory finger. “Are you really trying to intimidate me into giving you what you want?! And you think you’re worthy of lighting the candles, when you’re guilty of such aggressions?!”

    “I am not worthy,” he admitted. “I have sinned countless times in my past. But someone must light the candles, and if I wait until someone worthy comes along, they will never be lit. So please, young man, let me pass.”

    With that, he intended to continue on, whether the young man wanted him to or not. Quickly, he attempted to maneuver around, back onto the path—when a fist struck him in the face. Momentarily, he flew through the air, and then for several seconds, he rolled across the grass, completely losing his bearings. A force tore at his axe, trying to rip it away from him. Blindly, struggled against it, wildly attempting to regain control of his tool. With a kick, he sent his opponent to the ground, and regained control. Without thinking, however, he swung.

    “Augh!” The young man cried out in agony, the head of the axe imbedded in his chest. “You… killed me! How… how could… you…?”

    “I… didn’t want to…” Overwhelming guilt surged through is body, causing him to shudder. A dead body lay at his feet. Somberly, he pulled his axe from his victim, cleaned it off, and continued his journey. Silently, he asked for forgiveness, if there was any, for his latest sin.

    Not long after, he followed the path to a hilltop. There sat a simple stone alter, and on the pillar sat a single candle. Bringing the candle to his lantern, he relit the candle, and continued on his way.

  2. #2
    Bananarama Light the Candles. Pete's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed reading this, but damn, I wish there was more to it. I got a very post-apocalyptic vibe from it, kind of like The Road. I also got some FFXV vibes, after monsters started populating the world at night.

    I'd like to know more about the candles, the woodsman and the relationship between the two. Why is he so motivated to light them, other than to keep the darkness and evils away?

    I liked it. You had a great hook that wants me to want more
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  3. #3
    Memento RK Light the Candles. Yoko's Avatar
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    I get a kind of Dark Souls vibe from it. You go from location to location lighting bonfires along the way. For the most part, you're not really sure why. You're killing monsters, skeletons, and any other thing that seems like a threat. Eventually you forget whether you're doing good or evil for the world (DS1). In DS3, you once had a family, but eventually once you start your adventure, you're called to the void which brings you into the Land of Drangleic saving the world from darkness and corruption.

    I'm still working through DS3, but it's still the same sort of concept. I would definately like to see more.

    Also, this is very well written. Please continue sharing your work with us!
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    Brett Litz says (5:50 PM)
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