The Spirit of Winter Solstice
Magath stood by the window. He felt sad and depressed. Winter had come again and with it the cold and the darkness. Magath thought of Qildor who had left the village of Tanmil one year ago. He had come back in spring and they had spent a day together. But things had changed. They both had felt it. And then Qildor had left again. He had never come back. But Magath could not forget the man, however hard he tried to. Magath grieved.
Magath looked out of the window. Heavy clouds covered the sky and snow was falling. Magath suddenly felt dizzy and his sight blurred. Magath heard a knock at the door. He wiped his eyes and then crossed the room and opened the door. An old man stood outside with an oil lamp in his hand. Magath gazed at him. He had never seen the man. The man held the lamp out to him.
"I’ve come to bring you that light," he said. "And I’ve come to tell you a story. Please, let me in."
Magath looked at the old man in bewilderment, but then he made a step back. The man entered the house, glanced around, and then walked to the table and placed the oil lamp on it. Magath watched him from the doorway. The man sat down on a chair in front of the fireplace. He made a gesture with his hand. Magath wanted to protest, but he felt unable to. So he joined the man.
The old man cleared his throat.
"I don’t have much time. So I’ll better start right away. I have come to tell you a story."
The man shifted his position. Magath gazed at him. Again, he felt dizzy. He felt unreal. He felt like in some surreal dream.
The old man started.
"Once upon time, a splendid light shone upon the land in summer and winter. The light was bright and it filled the people’s hearts with joy. But as time went by, people got accustomed to the ever-shining light. They took it for granted and acknowledged it less and lesser. The light faded over time. But the people did not realize. They were so absorbed in their daily habits and in their selfish dreams and goals that they gave the fading light no thought. Only a few watched with worry what happened. But even those did not interfere.
The centuries went by and the light shone only in summer. It faded in autumn and was almost gone in winter. Winter had become a dark and cold time. And with that change, people had changed also. Many grew sad and depressed when the light faded in autumn. Many suffered during the long and cold winter days. They blamed each other for their depression. And thus people grew angry and became mad at each other. They quarrelled and many even waged war.
At that time, an old wizard sat alone in his tower. He had lived a long life and he knew he had almost walked his path to its end. He pondered on his life and he pondered on what he had gained and on what he had lost. And he found that what he regretted most was that he had lost the light in his heart and with it his genuine love. Love is what keeps us alive and draws us to each other. When there is no love, then there is no light, and people’s souls are dark and their hearts are cold and people’s eyes are blind.
The wizard was a wise man. He saw that what had happened to him had happened to all mankind. The light in the outside world had faded because the light and the love in the hearts of the people had faded. Once upon a time, people were innocent and their hearts were filled with joy. They were like very young children still are. They see the light shine everywhere.
The wizard felt an immense grief. And he swore he would not leave this world without bringing back a bit of the light, even if it was just a spark. He thought that if he was able to light the flame in his heart again, then perhaps the light and the love would spread in the world again. He decided to look for the light.
The wizard was a mighty wizard. He was a gifted magician. He had many skills. And he had experienced a lot. He decided to travel to the source of the splendid light that once shone upon the land. And so he travelled back in time.
He was almost blinded when he opened his eyes. The splendid light that shone in the beginning of time was so bright that the wise man was not able to see anything for a while. His eyes slowly adjusted. And then he took in the splendour until his heart was entirely filled with glee and joy. The wise man shed tears. He wept for joy. And when he felt he could not take in anymore, he travelled back to where he had come from. The world was dark and cold. It was the longest night of the year. It was the night of winter solstice.
The wizard put candles in the windows of his tower. And the light shone far over the country. The people gathered in front of the tower and gazed up to the many flames in the windows. Then the wise man opened the door and stepped out. He was filled with so much love and happiness that the energy radiated from his heart and touched the souls of the people. Each of them absorbed a bit of the light from the beginning of time. They absorbed the light that the wise man had brought with him. The wizard told them his story. And the people felt love and peace in their hearts. They hurried home to spread the light and the love and they told the wizard’s story to their families.
From that time on, winter solstice is a holiday that people celebrate with their loved ones. We place candles in the windows in memory of the wise man and his selfless deed. We sit in front of the fireplace and we acknowledge the fire and the light. And we share our love and happiness with our loved ones."
The old man stopped. He smiled at Magath. Magath gaped at the man.
"I’m the spirit of winter solstice, just you know," the old man said as he rose to his feet. "Tomorrow is the longest night of the year. I sensed you needed a light. And I tell you that it is near."
He gave Magath a final nod, crossed the room, and opened the door. And then he was gone. Magath shook his head. He rose, moved to the door, and looked outside. The place was covered with snow. Wherever the man had come from, he had left no trace. Magath shook his head again. Had he been dreaming? Had he been in a state of trance? He wiped his eyes. And then he spotted the oil lamp on the table.
Magath took the lamp and looked into the light. The spirit of winter solstice had reached out to him and had touched his heart. Confidence filled Magath’s heart. He sensed the light and the love that the old man had brought to him. The dark time had come to an end.
This is a part of the fantasy story I'm currently writing. I modified it a bit, however, to make it fit the prompt.