Where is the Ivory Castle?
Author Josh Fickes
Where is the ivory castle? It is closer than you think. What, you don’t what this ivory castle is? Well, it is real, though I am sure you will think otherwise. Take a moment to really visualize it. I would suggest closing your eyes to see it, but that would make reading a bit difficult.
There is an ivory castle. It is perfectly smooth and perfectly pale, spiraling skyward with its many elegant columns. In the sky hangs the moon, full and shining. The moon is always in the sky. Day and night, it hangs in the exact same spot, always full and bright, like an observant eye. It is also bigger than it should be, about three times longer across than normal, but then again, this would be normal to someone if they lived here.
There is an ivory castle. It is in the middle of a blank, sweeping expanse of snow. The white rolling plains of ice sparkle in the moonlight, twinkling with a cool light. Sometimes it is clear, but right now it is cloudy. However, the thick sky has granted a window for the moon, a misty hole in the clouded canopy for its light to shine through. Thick flakes of snow drift down from the gray sky and merge with the empty expanse, their own contribution insignificant. However, it is each infinitesimal flurry which causes the shining, blank snowfield to exist. The wind silently lashes across the gentle, rolling dunes of white dust, carrying twisting ribbons of snow across the ground in ethereal clouds. It is very cold, the kind of cold that would chill you through to the centers of your bones, and yet, you feel that if you were to stand there, in the gently rippled snowy vastness, you would not need a jacket after a while; you would not adjust to the temperature, but rather you would eventually stop caring that you are cold.
There is an ivory castle. It is in the middle of a town, its snow-blanketed inside hemmed in from the snow-blanketed outside by a large, circular, ivory wall, with an arched ivory gate. The town is empty. Every stone house and cobbled road deserted. The snow shines with moonlight, despite the cloudiness, illuminating the husks of homes where people once laughed and sang around warm fires. No one has been to this town in many years. Fire has not touched this town with its orange light in many years. A gust of wind stirs the snow in a street, blowing a ribbon of flakes toward the castle like a carriage bound toward a cheerful visit with the royal family. No one has been cheerful here in many years. For as long as anyone would have been able to remember, if anyone lived in the town, there would have been nothing but the full moon’s beams, the frigid embrace of wintry frost, and silence, save an occasional whisper from a particularly forceful gust of wind.
There is an ivory castle. As snowflakes drift past its white spires, the castle’s large form is painted in stark shadows from the moon’s light, which finds the castle easily on the small hill where it is situated, just above the roofs of the town surrounding it. A perfectly angular, cleanly cut staircase leads up to the castle’s arched entrance, where clear, perfect icicles hang down, shimmering with gentle moonlight reflecting inside them. The ivory castle is as cold as the air outside, for it is perfectly open to the outside, without any doors. The ivory castle is filled with large ivory rooms, long ivory hallways, and twisting ivory staircases. A layer of frost stretches its icy, flowering fractals across every surface, so that each inch of ivory gently glistens in the moonlight quietly reflecting inside. Silent breezes roam the empty halls, follow the ascending staircases, and brush past the delicately painted purple tapestries, now as pale as dead skin with icy bits of snow and frost. A whispering gust from outside adds a few more flakes to one tapestry, gingerly stirring it away from a concealed doorway for a moment before it settles back in place.
There is an ivory castle. And within the cold walls, there is one person, one person sitting silently in the ivory castle, waiting. The silent individual’s hair is streaked with frost and filled with snow, turned a gently shining white. This person stares ahead, watching the frost silently spread at an imperceptible rate. Imperceptible to those who do not know how to wait, that is. This person sees life carefully drawn out in the frost, and accurately explained, down to each detail, in the flakes of snow that drift in through the moonlit spaces where most castles would have had tall windows. Perhaps this person feels deeply lonely. Perhaps not. This individual’s chair is carved out of beautiful ivory, sculpted in elegant arches and swirls, like the swirling, frigid winds sweeping the barren lands outside. Unwavering moonlight continues to give its soft glow to the room, as more snowflakes silently dance across the air. The person still waits. Beneath the chair, there is a secret room, its ivory walls as uniformly covered in frost as the rest. However, the room has been kept faithfully closed, and no snow has alighted within it. In the center of the room stands a small pedestal, and atop it, an ivory vase filled with frozen soil. A small, shimmering, transparent sapling sprouts out of it, just beginning to extend its first leaves into the darkness. Its silver leaves wonder what kind of light it will one day see. At the base of the young plant, the only plant in the ivory castle, there is a small object which the one person in the castle cares deeply about. Perhaps the person cares about the object itself, or perhaps the memories associated with it. It is a small talisman, glowing red so softly, it is hard to tell whether or not the light was merely imagined. The charm is faintly warm, and just the right size to fit in the palm of one’s hand. The moonlight continues to shine across the ivory castle and its town and the snow-covered expanse. The snow begins to slow, and the clouds begin to part to allow more moonlight, but there will be more snow again soon. The ivory castle is silent, and within, one person, the only person within the tall, circular, ivory walls of the town, patiently waits.
Where is the ivory castle? You should know; you’ve just visited it. It is right there, precisely halfway between your two ears.