Light and Dark: A WIKTT fairy tale

A Christmas persent for the WIKTT ( ) list by CJK


Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away there was a wizard.

He was not all that mighty. He could not stop time, or colour the sky green, or raise the dead. He was, in fact, working for a wizard who could do all those things and much more. But that's quite another story.

Our wizard was not particularly bad, or good, either. He had touched the Darkness once, and still bore the scars. The Darkness had given him a gift - or a curse, maybe - a gift of being able to look inside his soul and see what waited within.

Scared by what he had seen, our wizard thought that because he saw a shadow in himself he was now tainted forever. He threw himself into his work, barely thinking of anything else, not allowing himself to feel or to contemplate or to hope because he felt he was too dark, and not worthy of hopes.

And his work consumed him utterly, because he was good at it.

For even if he could not recolor the sky or touch the stars, there were things he excelled at. He could bewitch the mind, ensnare the senses, bottle fame, brew glory, or even stopper death, in his dark dungeons, surrounded by bubbling cauldrons and heavy old books.

His work left him no time for anything else, and he was glad of that. He wanted to be the best Potions brewer ever, wanted to be good at something, anything at all, because every breath he took, every second he lived he remembered that he was dark, and unworthy and a failure.

His friend, the mighty mage who could, indeed, stop time and do pretty much anything you can think of, my esteemed reader, this wizard - who also happened to be our hero's employer - tried to help somehow, he wanted to make the other understand that he was worthy, that his life counted, that the Darkness did not own him.

But our Potions Master did not hear.

Well, he did listen, of course, because it is always smart to listen when your supervisor is talking to you, but the words did not reach his heart.

So he still spent his days working, and his nights in an uneasy sleep, his mind showing him images he did not dare remember while awake. He taught young wizards to brew potions, but none of them was even in the same league with him.

And that made him proud, and the pride made him ashamed, and the shame made him even more bad-tempered than he already was.

Sometimes he told himself that he was cross with the young ones because he wanted to prepare them for later life and their tasks in it. Sometimes he made himself believe that he wore his irritability like a cloak, a ruse to deceive the enemies and keep potential friends away, for he felt he was not worthy of friends.

But sometimes, in the darkness of another sleepless night he remembered, and he knew that his malevolence came from the darkness inside of him, the darkness that was eating him from within. And that knowledge made him ashamed, and angry, and scared, and even snappier.

And then his friend and employer, the mighty mage that led the force of what was Good and Light in the kingdom started preparing for a new war against the Darkness, and in his preparations he needed someone who had already touched the Dark, and his choice fell on his friend and member of staff.

And our unlikely hero went on all the missions he was sent to, and came back unharmed - mostly. For the Darkness in his soul was growing, and his heart was getting heavy with sorrow.

One day the mighty War to end all wars - at least until the Dark rose again - was fought. And the Light won.

The Potions Master survived, for those who have been touched by the Dark learn to survive.

The Darkness around him destroyed, he was faced with the Darkness within, and felt helpless and scared.

That made him even crosser than earlier. And that made him ashamed. And shame leads to anger, and anger leads to the Dark.

He would have surely succumbed to the Dark one day, if only he did not have a tiny, flickering, anxious light in his heart.

For he had found, after all these years, something that was dear to him.

One of his students, as bright as anyone he had ever met, a radiance to disperse the gloom in his dungeons.

And as he admired the mind of the student, taking great care in teaching it all he knew and encouraging the girl to learn more, he did not notice how the child grew first into a teenaged witch, and then into a pretty young woman.

But one day after reading one of her essays he looked up to congratulate - sneeringly - the child on a work well done, but there was no child. There was a woman standing in front of him, a woman as pretty as any other beauty the kingdom had to offer.

Shaken to his very core, from this day on the wizard tried to forget the face and body that belonged to the mind he loved so dearly, but could not.

His striking student met him in his dreams, exciting the mind, and innocently smiled at him during the day, making his body betray him.

And it so happened that whenever he saw her, he burned.

He tried not to permit himself the dreams and wishes and hopes as it was his routine, but he did not succeed. And one day he realised that he not only admired the mind and desired the body, but also loved the woman from the bottom of his heart.

He almost cried that night, scared and unsure and desperate. He knew he could never have her, and he knew that he had no right to desire her, for he thought himself Dark. And he knew that it was not proper to desire a student, and all that made him even more scared and even more desperate.

There was nobody he could ask for help or advice, because his crossness had made friends avoid him and strangers hate him. And so he suffered alone.

And finally the day came where the beautiful student would leave the school and go her own way. And the wizard knew that he was forever losing the only Light in his life.

And so the dusk found him in his dungeons, holding a goblet of purest gold, and in the goblet was distilled death.

He held the goblet to his lips, waiting for the clocks to strike midnight, so that he could end his existence at the same time his beloved Light would leave.

But before the clock made a sound, there was a knock at the door.

And as he opened it, scared, and irritated, and lethally tired, he found her on the other side.

And she leaned over to him and said, "I'm leaving tomorrow morning, and this is something I have wanted to do for a long time now - and you can't take points off me any more!"

Speaking thus, she reached up and kissed him softly on the lips.

The wizard stumbled back, his heart a jumble of conflicting emotions.

And the Light turned to leave, sadness and disappointment settling around her like a cloud.

But the wizard did the only perfect decision in his life, and stepped forward, and called her name.

And she turned around to face him, and they embraced.

And the rest is not for us to know.

I cannot say that the wizard and his Light lived happily ever after, for they were both human and could not be entirely happy. But they complemented each other, and made each other happier than each of them had been before - and what more could any of us wish for?


Comments and suggestions welcome at . Merry Christmas. :)