Quiet and consuming,
A dark flame that burns,
Devours the flesh.
Strong and unbending.
The rage and hate
Nothing to do or say,
Nothing to listen to;
Tell us about this item. What is it? What does it do? Who made it and why? Tell us its history. Tell us about any major historical events it was a part of. Tell us any legends, myths or stories about it or its creator. Who has it now?
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This is a story that I started a long time ago. I have no idea how many years ago. It is terribly hobbled together in many ways, but the main character and the central idea of it has never left me. It is something that I keep thinking about coming back to. Yet, it never seems to really come together in my mind. This story is as fickle as this little bubble of water.
The dark and stormy clouds roll across the sky, swallowing the sun as they come. Their arrival is so sudden that it is like God reaching up and turning off the sun as a child would a lamp before laying in bed for a nap. It is barely noon and I know that the storm will be large and an all encompassing one; with great winds and a full down pour of rain. This is the storm that I have been waiting for. I know that every thing I need is locked up in those large bulbous clouds.
I move from my home and out into the center of the field that I reside within, and I wait. I am not disappointed, by any means. The rain comes in big plodding drops, starting slowly, as if to warm up to the idea of drenching the world below. I raise my crippled arms and drink up the water that falls down upon me, absorbing each drop that touches me. I wail with delight when the drops come harder and faster. The air becomes thick with it and I suck it down, filling myself with all the things I ever needed. Sadly, the rain ebbs and the violent storm is done all too soon. I sigh, but then I take delight in my newly swollen limbs and the strength of them. My thoughts are like the lightening itself, sharp and quick. I had gotten what I had needed, but it is always sad to see the rain go.
Well, with that business finished, I’d like you to come into my home. Right this way. Don’t worry, you won’t get wet. Yes, all of it is composed of real water. Relax and have a seat. Please, make yourself comfortable. Put your feet up and have some wine. I will tell you my tale. What am I? Well, that is a hard one to answer, but I promise that all things will be made clear in the telling of my story…
I began as a dream, a thing of a mage’s imagination. He was a kind old man, but very curious about the world in which he lived. He always believed that through his powers he could make things come to life. He hoped that he could use this power to raise the dead, with out all the known side effects, of course. No one wants to see a dead child rise from his grave as a rotting corpse. However, no one wanted to let this man test his magic on their dead! What if he turned them into some kind of monster? Or worse? I’ve always wondered what could be worse then your child turning into a monster. But, what would I know of human fears?
That’s were I began. A beautiful thought bubble in an old man’s skull. I floated around in there for many years before he ventured to create me, but he one day did. He wove and spun his spells and was delighted to see a simple glass of water move against all the laws of physics. I lurched out of the glass and splashed onto his kitchen table. I looked up at him and was surprised that he wasn’t water. Wasn’t everything water? He touched me and I squirmed away from his curious finger. He poked again and again I moved from him. On the third poke, I got angry. Didn’t he have any manners?! I shaped my whole body to look as his hand had and jumped up to return the solid poke. He was startled when he found that I kept my substance and didn’t splash in his face as he’d expected me to. He laughed and laughed and declared me wonderful. I was glad to be so declared. He studied me a moment, past the hand rubbing his wronged nose.
“Do you understand me?” he asked.
I did, but didn’t know how to shape my answer. He frowned, thinking me stupid or some such nonsense. I melded my body to look like his down turned lips and pulled the corners further down into an impossible grimace. He laughed and realized that I could be what ever I wanted to become.
“Can you make yourself look like me?” he asked.
I splashed down into a shapeless puddle and rested there a moment before I gathered the will to become my creator. I carefully crafted his wrinkled hands and his shaggy hair, but I could only resemble another old man (in miniature of course). He didn’t seem to mind and clapped his hands in delight. I looked about myself and decided to try and be as my creator was. I wobbly walked across the table and sat at the edge of a small box, tipping my head to one side as he had done. He clapped and laughed, so did I.
That was the way is was for a long time. He would lay something before me and I’d shape myself into it as best as I could. I never passed as the same thing simply because it was still quite obvious that I was water. I soon discovered that I could pick things up and manipulate them with the fingers I had shaped for myself. I could be whatever I wanted to be!
Then a day came that changed his view of me and frankly my view of myself. We were in the kitchen and I was happily playing about his feet. He stumbled over me and dumped a pot of boiling water over me. I squealed, my first vocal sound. I felt the heat penetrate my body and I felt bubbles float through my chest. I squirmed, but the heat wouldn’t release me from its terrible grip. I felt myself getting heavy and faint. I just wanted to roll myself into a ball and plummet into a cold body of water.
“Look at you!” he exclaimed.
I looked down at my body as he had instructed and found that I had grown. My body had absorbed the water dumped on me and it was now a part of me. I stood as high as his knee now, much taller then I had been before. My limbs were badly proportioned, they looked long and twiggy, stretched almost. I laughed. I reshaped myself, losing height.
From then on, he added water to my mass as I desired to grow. I quickly learned to shed the extra water at will, but I could never be smaller then the original glass of water I had been created from. There seemed no limit to how large I could be though.
Then the day came when I first began to understand that life wasn’t solely one wonderful discovery after another…
It was a terrible day, filled with the drizzle of half-hearted rain and winds that chilled to the core. My master was as dreary as the weather and I fretted over him. I brought him tea and a hot meal, but he failed to notice them. His mind was weighed down by heavy and dark thoughts. I wondered if they were the thoughts that lead to his wonderful creations or if they were the thoughts that troubled and plagued him. He had both about as often as he blinked. But, there were times when a thought would stick and stay, shaping his mood for hours, or even days. I had no way of knowing that it would be the last time I saw my master…
Hours slipped by and he continued to mope and pace about the house. I had just begun to fear that he would never pull himself out of it, when a knock on the door pulled him from the realm of his mind. However, it did not ease him. He looked more afraid now that some one was here then he had before.
He leaped up, and grabbed me in a sweeping motion, tucking me under his arm. He carried me to the kitchen. The knocking was quieter there. He stuffed me into a small glass jar, forcing me to shed my excess water. I cried in protest.
“They won’t find you here. You’ll be safe.”
He crammed the lid onto the jar, pushing me down into it. I felt the seal press on me as he screwed the lid securely. He lifted me and set me on a shelf with his herbs and spices. I looked out the glass at him and he returned my gaze. Fear filled his soft brown eyes and a little sorrow. He left the room then.
I was alone.
I heard the struggle in the other room and my master screamed. It was horrible to hear the noises of the next room and be unable to reach the one person I loved in their only hour of need. I struggled against the glass, but I couldn’t even make it shake on the sturdy oak shelf. I gave up long after my master’s cries died out. They had dragged him from his home and left me there, in a jar, wondering. What was a bubble of water to do?
The days passed and I could find no way to escape my new prison. I resigned myself to this queer fate and turned my thoughts to mortality. I wasn’t even sure I would die, if left here forever. I would just remain, collecting dust and thinking. At least evaporation wasn’t a problem. Any water that rose from my body collected on the lid of the jar and rained back down on me. This jar could sustain me indefinitely… I wondered how much time had passed. I don’t sleep, so I had long ago lost track of the days.
I was sure I had reached a point of delirium when I heard voices out side my master’s home. After all that time, who would come here now? It was a woman’s voice. She was in the living room, had to be. Her voice was muffled enough that the words mashed together. I was sure she was talking to some one, even though I didn’t hear the other voice.
I was afraid. Why were they here? Were they the people that had taken my master? No, the dust on the shelf told me that day was long passed, if they had wanted something here they would have come for it long ago. Who then?
She stepped into the kitchen and I felt a bubble pass through me. She was beautiful. Her red hair hung around her face in short, fiery locks. Her chocolate brown eyes glowed from the shadows her hair cast on her face. There was something about her that spoke of power. It was unsettling and alluring. I pressed myself against my glass confine and hoped that she was thirsty. If she opened the jar…
“Krye, come look at this,” she said.
“What?” his voice was soft and reminded me of falling snow.
He stepped from behind her and I felt another bubble. He was as wonderful as she. A perfect match. His long hair hung around him like a living cape. He was thin and tall, but not lanky. His face was etched sharply into fine features. The most wonderful thing about him was that he was all white. I do not mean that pale peachy flesh color. He was white, like snow. All except his eyes, they were a disquieting pink.
Fire and Ice. The perfect pair.
“Look at all this stuff. I bet there’s something here we could use.”
She started shuffling through the jars. The man stood with his arms limp at his sides. Nothing betrayed itself on his face, but he was looking at me. I pulled back from the glass and he raised an eyebrow.
He extend one long, slim finger and gestured towards me. The woman stopped rummaging and looked where he pointed.
“What? It’s a jar of water.”
She was surprised that he showed any interest in me and was about to go back to the other jars when I moved. She stared in horror.
“Is it magic?” she asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Should we look at it?”
He reached up and plucked my prison from the dusty shelf, I sloshed inside for a while after he set me on the counter.
“The ring is rusted. I bet we could pry it off.”
She picked up a knife and wedged it under the ring of the jar. It crumbled easily. I had been there longer then I had thought. I stretched out and waved, eager to thank my saviors. She squealed and let the jar fall from her hands. I splashed onto the floor among the broken glass. It stung, but I was unharmed.
“What’d you do that for?” I squawked.
She knelt down, ignoring the broken glass, and looked at me more closely. Her companion didn’t seem very interested. He actually looked bored.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Probably a pet of some kind,” he said.
“I am not a pet!”
I was furious at such an accusation and I couldn’t believe they were talking as if I were not there! I quickly shaped myself to look like a man and stomped my foot with a quite splash. She smiled.
“I think he understands us.”
She looked at her friend a moment then back at me. I gave her my most winning smile.
“Well, if you understand, jump twice.”
She held her breath.
I jumped twice as she had asked. She released her breath in a happy giggle.
“Oh, Krye, we can’t leave it here.”
She picked me up, with out waiting for an answer. Krye didn’t respond, knowing she was going to take me regardless of what he thought. He didn’t seem to mind though. In fact, I think it pleased him that she had found something to amuse herself with. I wondered if she was a child. I had never seen a real female human before and even the pictures I had seen were of my creator’s wife and she was old when they were taken. I had no idea what human youth looked like.
She carefully tucked me into a pouch that hung from her belt and was kind enough to leave the top open. I poked my head out so I could see where we were headed.
So, that’s how I came to travel with the lovely pair. They took me all over the realms and taught me many things, including how to speak and read their language.
The doctors told the amputee he might experience a phantom limb from time to time. Nobody prepared him for the moments though, when he felt cold fingers brush across his phantom hand.