|Album cover by Ryo Ishido|
Below you'll find my entry, a tale based on a story I wrote that required much love and massive amounts of editing. The inspiration I needed to transform this story and take it to the next level came from the phenomenal track: One by Ryo Ishido featuring Nik Kershaw.
When Paper and Fire Fall in Love
When Paper and Fire Fall in Love
The lines in the wizard’s face were deep, like the folds of his velvet cloak. Every night his faded blue eyes gazed in mournful meditation out the window. Tumultuous rains had befallen the land and the future was being swept away. On the darkest of nights, the wizard concentrated his magic to summon a noble light. The light resembled a tiny man made of fire who was anchored to the wick of an enchanted candle. The wizard named the man, Flame.
Flame was grateful for the life cast into him and honored to provide a soothing light in return. But after several moons, the wizard noticed his friend’s light was fading. A foreign emotion had begun to fester in Flame’s heart, it was called melancholy. Worried, the wizard took action and retrieved one of his finest sheets of paper vellum. He placed the paper on his desk and rolled up his sleeves. Aiming his wand, he mumbled a few magical sounds into his long grey beard. The tip of the wand glowed like molten lava, and released a bolt of magic that electrified the paper vellum, infusing it with life. The delicate sheet began to tremble. Flame looked on with glowing curiosity. Slowly, the sheet began to fold upon itself. It twisted and creased. It folded and unfolded. It pleated and opened until at last, a recognizable figure was created—a delicate paper girl known simply as, Vellum.
The girl lay still on the table at the edge of Flame’s light. Her eyes were closed but she was breathing. Captivated by what he saw, Flame pushed his light a little further and wrapped the girl in his warm glow. The warmth made Vellum stir. She stretched her arms and opened her large round eyes, turning a delicate face to the source of the light. When she met Flame’s gaze, she smiled for the first time. She couldn’t blush, but she felt as if she could as she stared into the eyes of the man made of fire. Flame had never seen anything so beautiful and wished he could reach out and touch her lovely face. Her smile alone was enough to cast out the loneliness. He swelled with joy and the entire room filled with a magnificent light.
Satisfied, the wizard put away his wand and gave his creations a warning. He told Vellum should she get too close, Flame’s light would burn her to ash and she would perish. But, the wizard also said the day would come when they would be together as one. Their union would bring an end to the rains and hope for a brighter future. The two nodded, heeding the wizard’s cryptic words, and Vellum kept a safe distance from the enchanted candle.
But distance proved powerless in keeping Flame and Vellum from spending endless nights together. They shared their thoughts and dreams, and soon the two became close in heart. One night, the paper girl danced for her flame. It was an expression of love, and the only gift she could give that could not be destroyed by fire. With music in her heart, she danced. Her arms painted rainbows in the sky. Her heels kicked high as she twirled on her toes. She was a delight to behold. Flame could have watched her for hours but soon sadness unfolded. Watching her dance reminded him of everything he could never do or ever touch. How he wished he could hold Vellum in his arms and dance with her.
The wizard also watched Vellum as she pirouetted across the room. A sad smile hung on his face. The outside world had long lost all hope, but when he looked at Flame and Vellum he knew, their love could bring it back. The time had arrived. The wizard glanced out the window, pausing for a moment at the sound of despair that rained against the glass. Then, he placed his head on his desk, and closed his eyes.
Sorrow fell upon the room. Vellum and Flame realized their friend had closed his eyes for the last time. But something else came over them—fear. Without magic, the candle was no longer enchanted, and Flame knew he would soon burn to the end of the wick, disappearing forever. Vellum raged against the thought. She searched the wizard’s books for answers, but no answers could be found.
Then, the floods came.
Outside, the rains brought floodwaters that rose with determination. Water forced its way into the room. It trickled through cracks, and rushed in rivulets from under the door. The floor was soon covered with water that never ceased to rise. When the water reached the wizard’s waist, it pulled him from the desk, and his body disappeared beneath the surface. Flame’s heart filled with despair. He cursed his body that committed him to the candle. His forever was with Vellum. How could life be so cruel?
Inevitably, water cold as death reached the edge of the table. Vellum would be washed away and Flame’s light extinguished forever. Yet despite this brutal fate, they still refused to succumb to the floods. In an act of eternal love, as the water spilled over the surface of the desk, Vellum turned towards Flame. She ran into his burning light. Then, she jumped. Responding with the love he felt for her, Flame expanded his noble light, and received her in his arms. For a fleeting moment he felt her, and held her, and watched her smile one last time. As she smothered his light while his fire burned through her body, the cold waters took them both and they became one.
When the rains had washed everything from the land, the only thing that remained was a patch of soil nourished by ash, born of love and hope. The sun returned, and warmed the land, and from the ashes, rose a man. Flesh and bone replaced fire and wick, and at his side rose a woman. He recognized her large round eyes and beautiful smile. It was Vellum. Flame looked at her in awe and she blushed under his gaze. Reaching for her without fear, Vellum fell into his arms. Hope had returned to the world and finally, Flame and Vellum danced towards a brighter future.
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Happy New Year!