Candles are a recurring theme in these books, not just common candles such as Kvothe is caught with in the archives, but important candles such as the one Auri makes especially for him. The Mauthern pot links Haliax to candles, the Lackless rhyme features them and the Adem may have a surprising addition to the list too. Auri makes a special candle for Kvothe in the slow regard of silent things and we get to see the whole process…well, sort of, and so that is where we shall begin our circtangular investigation into the the lost art of chandlery.
Her ingredients are interesting since two kinds of wax are used, both beeswax from honeycomb and the wax obtained from Laurel fruit. This is important because bees are obviously not plants and the formulae and factoring needed to mix and meld these fundamentally different things together properly, not forgetting the importance of including the dreams of lavender, all together into something that would suit Kvothe’s unique personality… is a very long drawn out process. Auri clearly knows her way around a laboratory and has mastered all the necessary skills of artifice to be able to follow the normal formulae perfectly. But! Auri also knows that to do things the correct way takes time and that vital ingredient is just what she does not have. Even entering the laboratory through Boundary was against her nature ‘For herself she would not dare, but this was simply how it had to be.’ but this step is even more daring. This was not a time for ‘begging favors from the moon’ but given that this was a special occasion and it is for a special person then Auri deemed it acceptable to use special ways of doing things and Auri knows things, secret things, things that even the masters don’t know. If time is the problem, then best practice would be to remove it from the equation altogether. And since she could, she did.
‘ She grinned and bought the weight of her her desire down full upon the world. And all things shook. And all things knew her will. And all things bent to please her.‘
It was not long before Auri returned to Mantle with a sorrel coloured candle pressed with lavender. It smelt of bay and bees. It was a perfect thing.
Master Alchemist Mandrag says that ninety nine parts of alchemy is waiting, but Auri knew this final and most important part, something she shares with the adem legend Rethe, she understands the part that is not waiting, Thus she acted instananeously and removed time the whole process and, in an instant, had created her perfect present. Exactly how she did this involves poking about with the deeply profound arts that are best summed up elsewhere and can be found in my chapter ‘under lying principals‘ but to put it bluntly, she caused all the different wax to become one wax using the forgotten art of shaping which brings together a combination of names and alar to bring you your heart’s desire, and since she was factoring out unwanted raw principals, all things that she wished to remain must now co-exist together in harmony. This candle has been shaped to be tuned to Kvothe’s personality and whilst he is not perfect, this candle undoubtedly is. And there lies the rub. All perfect things have no imperfections and so will remain perfect for ever. Just like Caesura will never need sharpening, Auri’s candle will never melt because by it’s very nature it can never lose it’s perfectness to any form of unwanted decay… a bit like Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstoppers. That means that this candle is exactly what Master Artificer Kilvin most desires in all the world to create for himself one day, an ever-burning light that can never go out. What a clever lettuce.
Seeing the Light
Shaped things are rare in the world now, the art has been lost to all but Auri. But that’s another story. Yet I have a rather good feeling that kvothe has already stood within the light of an EBC without realising it elsewhere in these books. It is possible that the candles in puppets lair are EBC too since if any other eternal candles existed, and master Kilvins old legends say that they did, then such things are rare and desirable and probably very dangerous to leave lying around. Any artefact left over from the forgotten days of shaping would be of huge significance to the university and amyr both and given the time scales involved then such things would undoubtedly have found their way to the bloody handed Amyr, or rather into the hands of the leader of the order, Puppet. Master Kilvin’s private workshop holds all the other shaped items and restricted schemata but he clearly knows nothing of any candles. Wherever they may be hiding in the world they should certainly be hidden away from irresponsible people like Kvothe and the best place to hide something is usually in plain sight. An ever burning light means exactly that, they cannot be destroyed and once they were lit I doubt if they could be extinguished or rather forced to act against their nature any more than you could blunt an Adem sword or throw a rock and bring down the moon. It is necessary that the original owner of any such candle would be able to control it but no other would have the same alar that he has, rather like a gram is individually tailored to it’s wearer and any external interference is rejected by the gram itself. If there ever were any EBC that outlasted their original owners then they could be burning still. It all depends whether the candle bearers themselves wished their light to be extinguished and that would depend upon whether they considered the blowing out of a candle to be against the lethani or not.
If you had a few such candles in your posession it seems very likely to me that you would want to keep all such finds together, safely under lock and key in one room…together with any other unique artefacts that you may possess, like the adem’s old shaped swords for example.
The sword room is locked although theft would be unthinkable among the adem and untrustworthy barbarians are not allowed here. This was ‘the first locked door I had seen in all of Haert’ says Kvothe, which itself is significant and Shehyn, the head of the school, holds the iron key to open it.
‘The three of us moved into a small windowless entryway. Vashet closed the outside door and the room grew black as pitch cutting off the sound of the persistent wind.Then Shehyn opened the inner door. Warm light from a half-dozen candles greeted us. At first it seemed odd that they had been left to burn in an empty room…’
That’s a very good question, there is an air lock in place to navigate before gaining access, maybe they don’t want the candles to blow out, but that should not be possible anyway. Maybe it is a light lock? One to prevent any this special light from seeing the sun and that they don’t want this special light to leak back into the outside world? Maybe sunlight (or moonlight) can extinguish these flames? Whatever the reason, the outside world must clearly be kept safely away from this inner sanctum. Shehyn held the key and is the likely culprit for lighting them but if these are EBC then the original candle owner could have done that task for her long, long ago. They were also left still burning when the three departed the room locking the door behind them. Why leave a light on when nobody is home? the only reason that makes any sense is ceremony, but that doesn’t feel right to me. Wasting energy is not of the lethani and Pat doesn’t waste ink either so that indicates to me to be a clue that these particular candles are very important. That would support my theory that they cannot be put out, except by the one who lit them, or following my tinfoil theories further they mustnt be put out… If this room contains other shaped artifacts from long, long ago then the proper light for illuminating them would be an ever burning one. I can’t prove it, but i’m sure of it nonetheless.
There is a light that never goes out.
Haliax is depicted on the Mauthern pot with two candles. One was yellow with a bright orange flame, but the other sat underneath his outstretched hand: it was grey with a black flame, and the space around it was smudged and darkened like shadow. This important representation of secret things would seem to represent Haliax trying to extinguish a flame, or looking at things from another viewpoint, he could be trying to protect one! Whichever of these two choices may apply, Haliax alter ego Taborlin the Great is also famously associated with owning a candle, it is one of his useful tools along with his coin and key which funnily enough are also some of the gifts that Auri has given Kvothe so far. TTG knew the names of all things and so would have the necessary powers to make perfect things. There is an argument about whether his sword, Skyaldrin, was made of copper or not because as Dedan points out copper wouldn’t hold an edge. But a perfectly shaped sword would be more than mere copper and this would render that argument invalid since shaped items do not decay. A master namer would most likely only employ perfect tools and so they would be unbreakable, hence the attempt to confound him by locking them away instead of just destroying them. It would seem likely that Cyphus the wizard king would have done that if he were able but clearly did not and therefore could not. As to the rest of the tools, his coin and key, well I’m in the dark as to all their real meanings and importance myself… I’m only human.
Nevertheless, candles are another important link here and we get a few pages in the books about ways to link candles during adept sympathy class. Master Dal gets two students to ‘duel’ with each other using their respective alar to over power each others will and the example we are shown involves lighting candles, although there is nothing especial about these tools.
There are three choices to be made and firstly Fenton chose to use candles for the focus of the competition. Then he had to choose a link, and with candles the link was always either wicking or wax. Thirdly he had to pick a source and opted to use only his own body heat rather than a brazier. Since the choice was for wicking (or straw if you are stupid) the aim was to light your opponents candle using your own blood as a source whilst at the same time preventing him from doing the same to your own candle. I can only assume that if the choice had been wax then the opposite would apply and the boys would be trying to smother their opponents lit flame whilst also keeping their own alight. This is tinfoil thinking, backward mathematics in a binary form which is how tinfoil performs best. If your link is wicking and you begin with an unlit candle then the aim is to make things burn, then when the opposite choice of wax is used as the link an opposite reaction must apply by default and so the entire game would be reversed. Starting with a lit candle (one lit using the same source, naturally) the idea would be to extinguish your opponents flame whilst keeping your own alight. I made that up myself but it is hard to argue against such logic when dealing with the unknown. There is no middle path available with candles, they either burn or they don’t. Prove me wrong if you can.
That is about as far as I’m willing to go on candles for now, the Lackless rhyme is the next step and I’m not ready to tackle that rather large piece of the puzzle yet so I’ll wind this part up here. One last observation though, candles are linked to Haliax and haliax is linked to the chandrian. Fact. Now everyone assumes that the chandrian are named after Chaen, the number Seven, but the correct name for a candle maker is a chandler…Hmmm.