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Yichimet

By Candlelight

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(( A story not about Yichimet but another character I have been thinking a lot about lately. ))

* * *

Late at night, in the dim moonlight that leaked through the small apartment above his shop, Richard Atwood stared at his hand as it hovered over his desk. His brow, enlarged by the candlelight and by his balding crown, was creased in so fevered a concentration that had someone wandered by and spied through his window, seen his unmoving eyes and statued face, they would have wondered if he was in pain. The open pages of a book provided a backdrop for Richard’s stare. Had he been able to think past his one thought—FIRE—he might have seen how lovely the shadows were on his fingers, how the illumination of the first letter on the page glimpsed between his thumb and his forefinger provided color and detail, how perfect the grease-spots on his fingertips were. He would have thought: what a painting I could make. Or, even better: what a painting I have made, if only I could copy it down.

Instead, he continued to stare. He thought nothing but that single thought: FIRE. And when that did nothing, he prayed, By the Light, Fire. And when that failed he begged. Fire, oh please, Fire. The sky changed while he sat. It moved toward morning, and Richard gave up again, as he did night after night, seeing how low the candle burned and remembering how little money he had to spare for things as frivolous as candles. He sighed, and ran a bony, long-fingered hand over his scalp, and blew out the small flame. He thought about the copper he would waste on a new candle tomorrow.

Outside, in the alley, two dogs began fighting. Richard ducked under the doorframe from his room to the tiny hallway and kitchen of the apartment. He peaked into the only other room at his three recently motherless children sleeping in their bed. They already knew hardly anything but work. The knew nearly nothing but helping him in the small tinkerer’s shop he’d run for years with little profit, running errands for other shopkeeps for money and food, and, in the hardest times, begging for coin in the richer sections of the city. They knew nothing but near-squalor and rumbling stomachs and cramped living. About the only good thing in their lives was the love he and their mother could give them, which was enough, but now halved. He stopped thinking about it just before he felt he would die.

His own stomach growled and, trying to ignore it, he walked back into his tiny room with the small, wavy-glassed window. He closed the book on the table next to his bed and felt the expensive leather cover, thought about the words in it, felt excitement deep in the pit of his stomach. Richard thought about tomorrow night, after the children were half-fed and asleep, after he had rubbed his hands together for warmth and sat down and read again the first few pages of the book he’d stolen months ago. There were things in the book he’d longed for since he was a boy, when he’d heard stories of the Archmagi of Dalaran so far away from this city of Stratholme.

When he laid his tall, lanky body down in the too-small bed, preparing for a few fitful hours of unsatisfying sleep, he ignored the ache in his side for the small woman he slept with for years and thought only of that one overwhelming thing.

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He would have thought: what a painting I could make. Or, even better: what a painting I have made, if only I could copy it down.

((i am in love with this line, and wonder if it is free on saturday night))

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