When the Wizard is certain he’s no worse for wear, she takes her leave. He doesn’t stop her but the air does seem to get more prison-like. He understands that he needs to stay hidden for his own safety but it is still less than pleasing. He is more heart sick than ever.
‘I’ll be your friend,’ she had said.
Is he so lonely and alienated that he would accept such an offer? He shivers. She had left her blue cloak despite his accusations. However, it’s too short for him. If he pulls it up, his boots poke out. He’s left it where it is but his arms are cold. She must really not want to hurt him. Back in Heaven, he had been fairly decent at reading others but he is no Empath. Not even the Sages could read others as an Empath. Still… her movements had been sincere, if awkward.
“Heaven help me,” he whispers. “Give me peace of mind.”
He doesn’t expect it anytime soon.
A knock comes at the door just then. He looks up to see her poke her head in. At least, he thinks it’s her. He can’t tell since her face is covered by something. When she enters, he sees it’s another cloak. This one is grey with white fur around the shoulders and hood. She’s holding a bundle.
“I’m sorry for keeping you in here,” she says. “Especially with your condition and whatnot. Unfortunately, some of my comrades really wouldn’t mind putting you in the ground. They’re not as understanding as Mercy.” She pulls her hood off. “Anyway, to hopefully ease it up a bit, I brought you some stuff.”
‘Stuff’ turns out to be a big piece of deep brown fabric smeared with a camo pattern and another pillow. The fabric, the Wizard explains, is a blanket. She borrowed it from Mercy, whoever that is. She’s convinced it will be better than her cloak since it’s thicker and definitely larger. Almost quicker than he can keep up with, she whips her cloak off him, dumps it on the floor then covers him with the blanket.
“It’ll keep you warmer,” she tells him. “Mercy uses it when she has to sleep in fields.”
The pillow is shoved behind him, under his head. It’s firmer than the others and fresher.
“I wasn’t sure if angels get cold,” she says. He doesn’t tell her that some do; mostly the ones who don’t use ice, like him. “So I brought the more practical things. It’s getting freezing out there.”
He can tell. Her cheeks had been almost red despite her cloak. This building is cold. The Wizard then takes a breath and waves her hand. A little burst of light and heat is brought forth, seemingly out of nowhere. The colours of fire and flame rainbow throughout it as it quickly zooms around a few times. He is awestruck.
“Sparkflint,” she tells him with a smile. She addresses it as if it were alive. “Sparkflint, this is our new friend. I would greatly appreciate it if you would stick around and warm him up.”
It twinkles, zooms around again, as if in response, then comes close to him. He feels the air get warm. To his senses, the weird creature seems to be alive. Which is odd. He had figured that everything on Sanctuary was made up from angel and demon yet this thing here is neither but here it is. It flies in a circle around his head.
The Wizard beams. “Sadly, he can’t stay long. Only a few hours, but he’ll keep you company and warm at least. Whenever you need him, let me know and I’ll call him back. He likes you.”
She leaves them alone.
“Sparkflint?” he asks.
It glows brighter for a moment.
He swears on the Crystal Arch it is alive.
Sparkflint’s light makes the darkness dance and dance they do with eerie beauty. He is entranced. Earlier, he had reached out to touch it and received a sharp stab of burning pain. His armour had flared bright and it had zoomed away, sparks showering down then dying before reaching the floor. It had floated around, seeming to study the room before slowly returning to him.
He reaches out again, careful not to try to touch and with palm facing upward. “What are you? Are you truly fire? You are not made from Light nor from Dark. You are not a creation of magic. You are summoned but are alive. I can feel it.”
It comes to a stop several inches above his hand; close enough that he can feel its heat but not so close as to burn him again. Behind it, the shadows wait patiently.
A strange myriad of sensations come over him as he stare at it. Inside, the black abyss of failure seems to fill. His hand tingles as if the nerves had fallen asleep and were beginning to wake. He feels warm inside; not just out. Where there had been nothing but Death, something new begins to try to take root.
Sparkflint flickers with Life.
He remembers something Arias had said once.
Where there is Life, there is Hope.
Is there hope even for him?
With the strange little ember as his focus, he thinks hard about what the Wizard had been telling him, about all the recent events, about his Master and brothers and sisters. He keeps going back to the memories of how after leaving the miser and dog, his companion and he had stumbled upon a sorry looking farm. He doesn’t remember much about the family that lived there but he is sure they had been as good as they could be. He remembers also the wandering man they had met who travelled around, teaching those he could to read and write, encouraging those skills to be passed on for he believed they helped save. A memory of the wealthy older woman who ran a town orphanage and a half-way house without expecting any money in return.
He wonders how he could forget such things.
Perhaps they hadn’t looked long enough. Because although it is truth they had seen and encountered more bad than good, they had still found pockets of good, sometimes in the most unexpected places. And it had been pure.
How could something like that be forgotten?
Perhaps this Wizard hadn’t killed Master. Perhaps Master had erred in his path because he had forgotten. Perhaps they were wrong. Perhaps they had strayed from the path of Wisdom since they had forgotten any light they had found.
So what would happen if he tried to remember?
Sparkflint casts its light without destroying its shadow. It sees both somehow and doesn’t worry about having a shadow in the first place. He wonders if maybe having a shadow wouldn’t be so bad. When he was an Angel of Wisdom, he often encouraged his friends to look at the shadow as well.
Fate had let him live for a reason. He might feel better if he can find that reason. He might be able to save what’s left as well. The Wizard might actually even help.
The only question that is truly important at the moment is whether or not he has the courage to fly in the storm again.