He plied his trade in the village, and gathered wax from the bees, and plants, not forgetting the fat of animals, for those candles of the lowest price. Whether beeswax or bayberry, tallow or cinnamon, the man was acknowledged a master. Walking the path to his workshop, among the trees and bushes which he had cultivated, he would note them all. He could make simple votive candles, in large numbers, while tempering other wax for sculptures, and even casting. He had a secret method for making wax from pitch, which was very desirable, but had to be expensive, due to the work involved. His candles sold for prices which rivaled precious metals, if they were the most decorative, scented, carved, and layered examples. He even had a method of putting the most volatile wax in the center of the candle, to extend its life, scent and appearance. They were all works of art, but some were simple, and some complex.
He lived alone, and simply, in spite of his income. His house was spare, and his victuals simple. He spent all of his money on research, or buying the esoteric ingredients for his works of art. He was never satisfied with his best, because he always felt that he ‘could have done better’. That was almost his downfall.
“I need a pure candle,” the old woman told him, “And price is no object.”
“Price is always an object,” Chandra, which was the old man’s name, answered.
“Show me the candle, and name your price,” the old woman, who had, as yet, given no name, responded.
Chandra took a box, which had been within a cavity inside the wall, near the floor. It was cold to the touch, and required two keys to open. There, within the lockbox, was a wrapped candle, one of three. Chandra took it out of the box and carefully unwrapped it. It was as clear as crystal, and shone softly, from it’s waxy nature.
“This is one of three,” he told her, “As you may see. It is the purest, and most valuable, having taken me almost a year to craft, one drop at a time. I had to cast it, as if it were bronze, once I had the substance, and I tested a small amount with a fine wick. It burns cleaner than a lamp, and will last a full day.”
“Hmmm,” the old woman seemed to look at the candle with both her eyes, and her mind. “It will suffice, inasmuch as the clarity will lend itself to the process with which it will be involved.”
“ I would charge an imperial, and two royals as well,” Chandra told her, “If you had them. Otherwise, I have other candles you might like.”
The old woman fished into her pouch, and retrieved three coins. These she handed Chandra, and told him, “Here are three Imperials, for the worker is worth his hire,”
Chandra was wide eyed with astonishment.
“Who are you,” he asked her, “To carry a years wages for a master tradesman, three times over, in her pouch?”
“ I am called Tara Sandera,” she told him, “And am of the house of the Moon. My wealth is of no consequence, when compared to my magic.”
Chandra found that he could not speak. He had no words for a person he had been taught was a Goddess, and a dead one at that. She had to be a dozen centuries old, at least. Tara reached out with a fingertip and touched Chandra, so that his voice returned. He said only what was foremost in his mind.
“ I would give you all of the candles,” he confessed, “For the price you have paid. They are little enough for one such as you.”
“I would very much like that,” Tara told him, “And here is a small token of my appreciation.”
She handed him a book, scarcely larger than his hand, and thin. Still, it was the gift of a Goddess, and so he eagerly gave her the candles.
“Do not skip around in the book,” she warned, “For it is designed both to teach and to provide practice, that you make no dangerous mistakes.”
“I shall follow it faithfully,” Chandra promised, “And strive to learn each page, before turning the next.”
“See that you do,” she answered, “You would not look good in feathers.”