(Written for myself, primarily as exercise)
One: Post-parturition Rain
First, sunlight, and then child, in sunlight. In childhood, he looks with wide eyes at the sun, and at the embers he holds with him, his birthright, holding them, looking close. Smiling wide, with all of the brightness of the sun, and the embers in his eyes. Walls to sleep in, undisturbed sleep through night, and more sunlight upon awakening, waking to the beloved embers, still glowing. And the child grows, always holding the embers close, his beloved. And he finds himself looking around at his birthplace, and finding it altered, from the time he saw the sun fading, to the time he noticed there were no walls to sleep inside. And one day he wakes up, not to sun, but to clouds, and finds himself cuddling his embers in the pouring rain, and sees the rain preying on his embers, and he can afford sleep no longer. And when night comes, the rain never stops all through the late hours, and the boy sits huddled, pale-skinned, rainwater finding his bones and making them shake, all the while, gazing at his embers, which are his spirit, which glow and which he defends from the cold rainfall, all until he falls asleep and wakes again, to find that his embers had long since faded.
In the dead of night, through rocks and skeleton trees, the stumbles with downcast eyes, silent and cold, hugging his chilled body with chilled arms, arms as white as the bones within them, knowing nothing, seeing nothing, and feeling only the unrelenting cold, and remembering warmth. Traveling into abysses in the stone, where all light dies halfway in, seeing nothing, tripping now and again, and feeling the unresisting stones crash against his pallid body, with sudden hopes for mercy, that the stones would have mercy against his bones, more easily cracked. Looking all around, and seeing nothing. Feeling the hard crashes penetrate the freezing numbness. Seeing the end of the rift. Finding the beginning of another.
Three: Occasional Daylight
Through troubled sleep came, sometimes, dreamy unconsciousness. Now and again, between long and difficult trials, he would open his sleepy eyes and think it a dream, to see all of the brightness around him. Not sunlight on stone, and cold chasms, but sunlight on a soft forest floor, among swaying trees and vibrant, aromatic grasses. And he would sit up, looking all around. And just one time, he didn't understand the sunlight and warmth, but he loved it. And through the cold and the dark, he met with more days of light and warmth. And he noticed that the embers had come back. Not come back, but had never fully faded, and were only too covered in grimy ash, to see their little orange glow. From then on, he nurtured the infant flames, through the freezing silence, through the roaring windstorms, and in the night, he was accompanied by the little orange pinpoints of light, which were his. The fire was his friend and his brother. And embracing them through anything, protecting the fire from all, by using his body as a shield from obstacles, he found himself rid of the dark, cold valley of rifts.
Four: Long Nights
Through forests he had seen in daylight, on roads he'd known during times when they were soaked with the light of the sun, he walked now, in the dead of night, with only brusque bursts of wind to break the silence which stretched out around, and overhead, as far as he could perceive, and much further. Some nights, he couldn't bring himself to look at his embers, but could think only of protecting them from the ripping winds which made his head fall, his eyes shut tight, and his steps heavy. Some nights, the light of the moon peeked down at him, through the tidal waves of dark gray, which slithered overhead. There was a night when the road was wet with rain, and the moon hung overhead, valiantly, as if it, itself, had swept aside the dark stormclouds, and now was spilling its light all over the winding roads and blackened forests, in pride. So many nights went past. Sometimes the amount of consecutive nights was so great, that he lost count, and slipped into a hazy state of ember-protection, and exhausted wandering.
Five: Beauty in the Night
He didn't notice when he stood taller, and slipped into young adulthood from childhood. He had taken notice a few times, when the embers had had become more than embers, but small flames. His eyes had become sharp, his body had become rigid with protection, and now and again, he would smirk against the burst of cold, night air, and the wind would break against his body and his face, and his smirk would remain, and the cold would take the color from his face, but he wouldn't notice the cold, seeing nothing but his flames, dancing through the wind with him.
Some nights, there was no wind, the cold wasn't to be noticed, as he walked by a valley of trees pressed against a glowing sky, which was lit with some sort of celestial light. He would see glittering spirals of stars beyond, suspended above open fields, and he would stare at them with the same wide, infant eyes of the child he no longer was. At this point, he understood that the true death of the flames was the same as the death of himself.
Six: Nurturing Fire
His fire became a part of his eyes. He could see nothing without them, all that was perceived, thought upon, walked towards, all was preceded by it, all was useless without it. He embraced the fire lovingly, profoundly, he looked ahead of himself to make sure he could preempt any obstacles that might threaten it. Any obstacle that slipped towards him, steady rainfall, night wind, he broke through, swept aside, with hardly a second glance of pitiless contempt to spare them. If he wanted to commit suicide, he knew all he had to do was let the fire die. So he pulled it closer, wrapped his arms around, protected, mothered the fire in any way he could conceive.
Seven: The Light at the End
Through whatever pain or beauty each night held, there were times when he saw nothing but the expanse of time behind him. Birth, rain, cold, darkness, rifts, wandering, conviction. Whatever intensity of pain, he was never without an answer for the question "Why?" He went on through night after night, with his fire undying, and the sight of the sun in his mind, and the sight of those stars in his mind, and those things were the answer to the question. He pondered this answer, as the wind raced to him like a predator, and burst against him, fragmenting in all directions, as he gazed in silence, not noticing. Whether it was visible or not, if it had any form other than abstraction within his mind, every step had been taking in the name of his final destination. Every step was taken in spite of cold and wind and rain, in the name of the light at the end.
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