This is based on a roleplay character that I played for a total of five hours. I still feel like I could have lived her up a little more and, apparently, she agrees, because she has stuck around, poking her head out of her room in my imagination and whispering to me.
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“Little Candlemaker”. She didn’t mind the title. It was usually said pleasantly, with the smile of one happy to see her. A few times it had been murmured in soft tones, a hint of pleading and want layered beneath. It really hadn’t even bothered her when the gruff old barber had called her “little match girl”, which she knew was purposefully meant to be annoying; it was just his way. She had usually repaid it with an affected roll of her shoulder as if piqued, to satisfy his attempt.
On average, however, she did not mind the byname “little candlemaker”. It amused her on most days and she rarely distributed another thought about it.
But when one man said it, when one man called her “little candlemaker”, she found herself taking pause. Her entire form’s reaction was different when the words rolled from his lips. Skin warmed, heart thudded, gooseflesh popped up on her arms. But why was that? She had known him all her life and he had never glanced her way a second time.
But now…now things were different. Secrets were out in the open, the threads of the village drawn tighter, stronger. All were considered as family, all considered protected. Now, everyone knew.
She worked the magic of the flame without fear of reprisal and assured of protection. She filled the village homes with light and peace and faith. In the flickering blue hearts of the flames set to her candles, people breathed in calm and amity. She worked the little magic in her blood for the good of her fellows and not just herself, turning her own fortune around.
And she repaid the charity shown her in the only way she had at her disposal. Their home, their livelihood, the seat of their power was filled with her candles, burning brightly into the night, the wicks never burning down, the fat, intricately-carved tapers growing shorter far more slowly than one should expect. She never requested anything. They had saved her life, saved all their lives. She had had nothing, been in fear for her life, and their family, his family, had saved her. He had promised her that nothing would happen, that what she feared wouldn’t come to pass. And it hadn’t. She would repay them, repay him in his lady’s stead, as best she could for the rest of the days that her nimble hands could dip, form, and carve wax into light.
And she wouldn’t admit to herself how her gaze lingered on him. Not at first. How she found herself more and more often at the tavern, spending time with others with the hope of passing words with him. She gave him smiles, though she was unable to hide the color that would spread delicately over her cheeks. She knew his loyalty to his family, to his kin, the prevalence of their family line. She harbored no hope in that vein.
And yet she nursed the little spark within. Held it in her hands and brought it close to warm her like the first kiss of sunlight to appear on the horizon.