A streak of liquid wax raced down a gnarled root of previously spent candles. With a sudden snap, the fire-hot bead halted, solidified in place amongst hundreds of nearly free bumps. The candlestick, tarnished with the neglect of a forgotten present, had once bore an inscription of his name. Now the stick and base were consumed by years spent in zealous studies; cascades of petrified time ebbed out in all directions.
A great, fanning base of wax, mildly translucent like foggy ice, spread across the once beautiful desk. Knotty fingers of melted time bent over the edge, appearing more skeletal in reflection of the crazed man who poured over his tomes. Lynox received the gift from his long abandoned wife. It was her parting gesture – a gesture of love and of spite. She believed, once he gleaned the boon he sought, Lynox would remember her name. She would not be there for him though, as he had not been for her when Elora was taken.
He asked her, so many years ago, why she was bothering him with such trivial trinkets. Rhenna’s eyes, sapphire and glossy with held-back tears, had grown hard with the question. It was an aid for his studies. To protect the eyes she once fell in love with. She told Lynox that he needed his eyes to study, because once they failed, he would be left with nothing. Not her. Not Elora. Rhenna received nothing more than an irritated grunt as the door closed behind her.
There were times when Lynox thought about her. He would stare at the candlestick, watching gentle drops glide over and beyond faded memories. There was too much to learn. The stakes too high. So he pushed those thoughts deep within. If he found the kernel of truth he sought, he and Elora would walk, hand in hand, to search for Rhenna. All would be forgiven if he could bring their daughter back. She had been selfish, but he would not blame her for that. Her life, previous to running away with him, was privileged.
Another tallowed drop plunged from the base of the gentle orange flame, fracturing in its journey downwards. Now two beads, the momentum slowed dramatically. They ceased and congealed along two different paths. One of the beads resigned itself to reside near a streak of red wax, vaguely covered by thinner layers of creamy white. The original candle Rhenna lit for Lynox, when she delivered the present, was too a red one.
Somewhere, entombed within eleven years worth of sloughing candles, was her final futile effort to regain his love. She remembers the original trail of red wax. She still carries a delicate pink scar on the side of her hand. At times, she thinks it resembles a heart. He too remembers the red wax. He scratched, for years, at the stain she left on the supple leather cover of one of his tomes. At times, he thinks the stain resembles Elora.