|artwortk by Tim White|
In the days of the wizard Nirmas, the land was poor, people sick, and the fear took over the place. People rarely went out, scared of what might happen, protecting their children and homes from the thieves and diseases. Not many travellers were passing the old land of Veruca as they used to. The darkness seemed like an endless curse. Some people even blamed wizards, others blamed God, but no one decided to seek for the answers. Except one young man, Otto.
Otto lived alone with his mother and remembered quiet well the sunny days of Veruca. He was a smart boy, and despite the fear of his mother, he decided to search for the wizard Nirmas. There was nothing to do in Veruca, after all. Otto went into the woods to seek him as his mother cried silently hoping he will come back soon and safe.
The cottage was much closer than he imagined, and the wizard seemed genuinely delighted to see him.
-What's your name, young boy?-asked Nirmas.
-Otto, sir. Sorry to disturb you, but I would like to talk to you.Sir-he replied nervously.
-I am no sir, Otto. My name is Nirmas. Come in.-smiled the wizard.
-Thank you sir, I mean, Nirmas. It is very lovely inside. One would never think there is any kind of danger outside.
-There isn't. Time changes its colours, but there is no reason one should be so afraid. Is this is way you're here? To hear that there is nothing to be afraid of?
-Well no...um yes. –replied Otto. –I would like to understand what is happening. People seem so desperate, and Veruca never seemed as dark as it is now. What should we do Nirmas?
-I cannot tell you what everyone should do. It's the cold in the hearts, not in the air that has taken over Veruca. I can tell your heart craves for warmth. Go to the woods, alone. You will meet three beautiful women on your way. The first one will make the strongest impression on you, as you never talked with the creature like that before. You will think she has all the answers. The second one will surprise you as she'll appear as she's from another planet. You'll love her, but wont understand her until the journey is finished. The third one will charm you by offering you all the answers, and you will love her. I'll be waiting for you right here. You'll recognize the path. It's time to go-said Nirmas to the boy.Otto saw the wizard was determined and kind, and he accepted the path Nirmas proposed him.
|Gemma Ward/Alexander McQueen/Spring 2007|
He was mildly surprised when he saw this beautiful creature who appeared as a fairy just in the beginning of his journey. He smiled instantly and the lady smiled back:
-Hello stranger. You lost?
-I don't know actually-he replied–I was sent here, and honestly, I have no idea why. People in our land are having a hard time surviving, so I decided to reach for the help of some kind...
-Oh!-lady smiled–You're in the right place! I'm Jeda by the way. What's your name?
-Come, Otto. Help me carry the fruit for the beginning, I live close to the river.
They carried the fruit, then they talked and talked, and talked...and Otto thought Jeda was the most magnificent creature he has ever meet. Her stories were impressive , her dishes delicious, and she knew how to make the best tea in the world. He fell in love with her and they lived together for a while. Otto has almost forgot about his journey, and a whole year passed when he said to Jeda:
-I'm worried about my mother. And my people are not well. I need to find some kind of help, would you join me, Jeda?
Jeda suddenly looked worried as she replied:
-I take care of this place, you see. I cannot leave it. Don't you enjoy the time we spend here? But I understand if you must go. Many people pass around here and me, I wont be lonely. In times like these, I've never seen so many different people and heard so many wonderful stories. I must stay and learn more. Wish you all the best, Otto.
Otto was confused, but he knew his journey can't stop there. He tought about Nirmas and realised he should really move on. Jeda carved the symbol of love into his chest so that he never forgets her and feels alone. But oh, how he felt alone. Wandering and wondering why is that.
Just when he tought he can't move on as tired as he was, another girl appeared. Although her pale face and dark hair looked scary, her gentle smile convinced Otto she was probably another fairy.
-Where ya goin', funny boy?
Otto, surprised by the sudden appearance of the girl, replied wearily:
-I don't know...I'm searching for some help... I guess..
-What's that heart on your chest over there? Lost your love?
Otto didn't know what to say as the word ''yes'' just slipped from his mouth.
-Well, it's not like there's one love, or one home, or one day in the life after all-the girl smiled-Why you must cut yourself to feel loved? Come with me, funny boy, and rest. I don't live that far.
Otto followed her as he had no other thing to do after all. She gave him shelter. Her place was full of carpets, candles, and weird plants, who somehow survived there, although it seemed like there's never enough light. Otto never asked for her name, nor did she asked for Otto's name. She didn't ask anything. When Otto got better, she took his hand and said contentedly:
-You are alright now. Don't be afraid, there's one rocky road over there, but it is not dangerous as it looks. Many people pass there and you might find there what you need. I can heal your scar on the chest with these leaves, but I cannot heal your heart. I'm just glad I've met someone who wants to heal it. So many people think they have one, when they don't...You'll be fine. Oh, just one more thing. You'll see a rose one day, and that's how you'll know...Goodbye.
Otto didn't understand the girl, but he was deeply touched by the warmth of her voice and smile. As they said goodbye, he noticed the tears in her eyes, the picture that was now deeoly carved in his mind for some reason.
He walked for days, but strangely, didn't feel no pain at all. He felt strong. Eventually he stopped as he noticed a majestic castle in the middle of a glorious garden. There were soldiers and many local people around, singing and waiting for something to happen. He asked one of them quietly what was happening. The man yelled delightedly:
-The princess has a birthday! And today she will pick her prince, everyone is so excited to see who will be the chosen one!
The princess soon appeared in front of the crowd, stunning, in her silver dress, as her long red hair played with the wind. Her beautiful green eyes look directly at Otto's and stopped there for a moment. The seconds seemed like hours, as she smiled proudly at Otto and asked him to join her. The crowd was insane, and Otto wasn't sure if he was dreaming or not. The princess said to him kindly:
-You're not from here, I can tell. Would you like to be the real prince? Would you like the life of gods? And I will be your goddess.
Otto was out of himself as he took the hand of this surreal being. Him, the prince. Suddenly, he was on top of the world he never knew existed. The princess wanted a young man devoted only to her, known only by her. Otto thought to himself:-This must be it, the end of the journey. I got everything I could wish for, honour, kingdom, beautiful wife. I could even help my people now! This was my journey!
The days, months and years passed and Otto had no idea what was going on outside of the castle. The princess Bertulia would tell him:
-Why worry, my dear prince? You're the emperor. I told you I will send help to your people. Oh, just look how beautiful we are. We are happy, and so is everyone-she said to him while looking proudly at their reflection in the mirror.
But Otto wasn't happy long time ago. The clothes, the parties, the promises and the talk seemed emptier than the air he was breathing back in the woods. And he didn't understand completely why is that. He should love this, and princess must love him. But his heart was still missing. So he talked to Bertulia:
-My princess, I know you wanted a partner to your kingdom. But this clothes doesn't make me a prince. I've left my home long time ago and promised to come back. We can go there and help the people of Veruca to get better!
Bertulia instantly replied:
-I don't have the cure for them, but haven't I given you everything? I gave you this castle, the power and beauty and you still cry for that sad little land? You are much more than that! You can go, but I cannot go with you. I give you one month, and if you don't come back by then, I will know you never will. There are plenty of other men who would die to be at your place right now anyway...I'm sure I would find someone worthy. And we have so much to do here these days, the emperors of Guania are visiting soon, and all those celebrations and preparations...So if you must go, hurry please.
Otto felt another stone in his heart, and finally said:
-You might be the most majestic woman I have ever seen, your beauty and power are breathtaking. It's like I'm under your spell. Still, I must go. This isn't my kingdom. Forgive me.
As soon as he crossed the border and approached the wood, he felt such a release and was extremely shocked to feel that. As there was truly some kind of spell out there and now he was free. He couldn't wait to go back home, and to visit Nirmas. When he realised that it would make him happy, suddenly, he felt disappointed. All this journey, what for? He went through the pain, confusion, addiction and the cold and it seems he only got older and more tired. It's almost like he got angry at Nirmas for promising him the answers and making him take this journey. But soon as he approached the lands of Veruca, he noticed the air was different, fresher, and the was sun shining like never before. He would have thought he got lost if he didn't know the path to his home so well. Right before the wizards house, he noticed a large beautiful rose, out of nowhere, as it didn't belong there. Suddenly he recalled a strange memory of the dark haired girl who warned him about the rose. Although it all seemed now like a dream, he curiously picked up the rose.
The wizard opened the door as soon as he heard Otto's steps:
-You look like a man, my boy!In 3 years a lot of things change!-Nirmas laughed–Come in, let's have a talk.
Otto entered the cottage, holding a rose full of thorns. He told Nimras about Jeda, the dark girl and the princess, and how he felt now completely tired and confused, not knowing what to do to and what was going on in Veruca. Nimras delightedly started to explain everything:
-As you left Jeda and met the dark haired girl, who's name was Rose by the way, she fell in love with you, knowing that your heart had been broken. So she came to Veruca, planted all these roses, came back to her kingdom and asked her father to help your people. You see, she was a young princess who had chosen a modest life in search for something meaningful. Thanks to you, she had found that true love could only bring more love, and that 's how Veruca blossomed. She told the king and her soldiers to follow the roses. And so they did, bringing all kinds of herbs with them, to cure the illness. This land is rich again, the houses are restored, even the weather is brighter again. Also, your mother knows you're well and she's happily waiting for you.
-But where is Rose now?-asked Otto in such dramatic way, as he was trying to understand everything all at once, and in the same time felt so weak for not being able to understand the girl or even know her name.
-She went on another mission with the king across the sea, I don't think she will be coming back-said Nimrad as he looked suspiciously into Otto's eyes.
-My boy, you love Rose I see. But you also loved Jeda and Bertulia, isn't that right? Or to be more precise, you loved what they did for you. You made a wise choice coming back here, I was worried for a moment you might have wanted to stay in that castle forever. But this is how you learn, so there is hope for you. See, the first woman was safety. The second one was love. The third one was lust. The first one became pain. The third one became cold as ice. But the second one never felt wrong. So now you see. The love should never give you scars or make you feel empty. Love knows how to listen. Love never begs, explains, or pushes. Your mind might not understand that right away, but your heart does. Ask yourself, where is your heart now? In the castle, by the river, or across the sea? Or is it right here? How far can it go, Otto?-Nimrad wondered.
Otto looked at the rose in his hand and for the first time in his life the tears started falling from his eyes, as his heart has finally become alive. He was cured. He felt the drop of the blood from the thorns in his hand, and let his tears wash it away. He knew. There was a new journey waiting for him across the sea.
Invitation to Inspiration <3