Starless Sky Preview #3 – “The Sphere of Heaven”

In today’s preview from Starless Sky, Eevie Demirtel offers a vivid description of the Starfall from the perspective of a scholar’s young assistant. Here’s part of her story, “The Sphere of Heaven”:

“What have you done?” Master Andronicus said quietly somewhere near my head. His voice was trembling, probably with rage. I blinked tears from the corners of my eyes and swallowed hard. The master was sitting on the floor next to me, his walking cane carelessly thrown aside. With trembling fingers, he held up one of the metal stars that had broken off of the orbitary. My stomach lurched when I saw how seriously it had been damaged.

“Hesinde be with us! That was a special piece, foolish boy” he said. His brow wrinkled with rage, he pointed at the broken mechanism with a accusatory gesture. “It could plot more than the  wandering stars! It had a ring for the constellations, and even one for the gods!”

I looked and saw that some of the metal rings depicting the starry sky had been severely bent. Some of the more delicate pieces had broken off and now lay scattered on the floor. It seemed as if only the constellation of the Hero remained in place, bravely standing his ground.

Master Andronicus was holding the small Aves star, which I recognized because it was made of lapis lazuli. “Help me up, boy,” he demanded, his voice carrying the hard edge I had learned to fear. Keeping my head bowed, I helped him up and was surprised to discover how light the man had become in his old age. My head was already pounding, but I deserved the beating I would receive. Resigned to my fate, I was just handing him the cane when suddenly a bright light flashed outside. We went to the window and watched as the entire sky lit up. Hundreds and hundreds of shooting stars streaked across the night sky.

With a clatter, the cane fell to the ground, and Master Andronicus spun the telescope around with surprising strength, as if momentarily freed from the burden of his age. “Somewhat to the north,” he mumbled, skillfully adjusting two the complicated device’s knobs. Dutifully, I rotated the lens mounts until he raised his hand.

“This is…indescribable,” he whispered, motioning me over to the eye piece. “Look at that, boy. You’ll see something like only once in your life.”

I was happy that my misdeed was forgotten for the moment and looked through the eyepiece. I saw the heavens alight in the magnified image. Night had become day, and I stared at the spectacle in awe. I felt as if the gods themselves were firing catapults from the battlements of Alveran.