Cloud Chamber

A Face of Fire

The resulting works show a parallel work to Cornelia Funke‘s short story. They are inspired by this and transform the core of the thoughts into a free work, which in turn could be inspiration for a new parallel work and hopefully develop into mutual back and forth play.

A Face of Fire

Cornelia Funke

Mortal men. Soldiers, peasants, princes … The lake showed them their faces like flotsam found on its shore. Some promised much, but when they lured them to the island, they fell for them so completely that in the end there was nothing left of them. The others liked that, but the Dark One wanted more, so much more. Maybe that’s why her sisters called her the Dark One—because in the shadows of the night she dreamed of things they didn’t understand.

The trees that grew on the shore of the island whispered to her that there had once been men who, like her, were immortal. They whispered that they had even been able to give them children. The Dark Fairy asked her sisters about them. “It’s just a fairy tale,” said one. “It was a long time ago,” said another. “They stole from us and now they are gone,” said the Red One, “we have wiped them out.”

The Dark One carried her words to the lake and looked into the waves. The faces the water showed her drifted among the lilies as if they were glass, and the fairy stood there feeling the emptiness within her, all that terrible emptiness.

They had sown it themselves.

Her sisters filled it by breaking mortal hearts. Why wasn’t that enough for her?

She took for herself a prince. A peasant. A soldier. Sometimes she didn’t even know who or what they were. She didn’t want to know their names, and none of them ever knew what name the water had given her. They stumbled onto the island like drunks. Most of them killed themselves when she sent them away, and returned to her still in death, to be lost as moths in her hair.

The Dark One, however, felt the emptiness each time worse than before. 

So much cold.

And the endless flow of meaningless time. 

She had to wait so long for him.

Of course, the red moon was over the lake when she first heard his name. The Dark One loved those nights when the water reddened as if the sky were on fire. 

Kami’en. The trees whispered his name as if the wind had blown it here, from all the lips that screamed it, invoked it, sighed it, cursed it. Kami’en.

The lake did not show her his face this time. The water was too cold and damp for his skin of fire. She saw it in her dreams. As if they wanted to punish her for having stolen so often into the dreams of others. 

Day after day. Night after night. Eyes of gold and a face of petrified fire.

How could she believe it would still be a game? 

All those centuries nothing but moths in her hair.  

Immortality made one stupid. 

Would she have gone to him if she had known of the pain? 


Her sisters threatened her. How could she leave to find him? Men came to them, lured like children by the cake of sinister witches, only their bait was not sugar and cinnamon, but beauty. But the Dark One was tired of being like them. They knew nothing of the world and the world knew nothing of them. Immortal lives wasted looking at their own reflection in a lake and occasionally breaking a human heart. They were as useless as flowers without pollen, dead despite their immortality, lost in the cage they had built out of contempt, contempt for everything that was different from them.

Yes. She left her sisters, the island, and the lake to find him. She was the first to leave, the first in countless years. 

The dreams showed her where she would find him. The bloody earth, the dirty tents, the fields covered with the fallen as if a farmer had sown dead bodies.

The Jasper Goyl stood in her way. Hentzau. He hated her from the first moment as much as Kami’en would love her. The Jasper Dog knew immediately what she was. A fairy. His fear made him almost as weak as his hate. She passed through him like water through porous stone—and she knew all about him afterward.

The moon was over the dead, and she still thought it was all a game.

Kami’en was alone.

He turned as she stepped into his tent.

His face was almost as familiar to her as her own, but he was seeing her for the first time. She had not visited him in his dreams, though he was in hers. She had wanted to stand before him when he was lost in the desire with which her beauty encompassed them all. 

And she saw it.

Saw it all in his golden eyes.

But then it was she who was lost. In the untamedness of his heart. His strength. The echo of his own hunger for more, always more.

He was fire burning on water.

And the game was lost.

For the first time.

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