Closed Song of the Stars (Autumn)

Two ethereal beings meet; a lonely ghost and a fallen goddess beneath the stars.

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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Song of the Stars (Autumn)

Postby Luminescence on May 8th, 2020, 1:05 am

Song of the Stars

90th of spring, 520 AV
well into the night

Meteor showers were always bittersweet for Zintila. This one had started early in the morning, difficult to see in the daylight hours; but now that the sun had long since sunk past the horizon, the streaking lights across the sky were vivid and clear. Below, in the streets of the city, she could hear music and laughter as people celebrated the event. Her Constellations would be preparing to set out within the next few days to collect any fragments they could.

She walked with silent steps across the crystalline floor of her chambers to the skyglass doors of her balcony, the train of her navy dress drifting behind her, the material glittering silver and gold as if it was made of the night sky itself. The doors parted silently for her approach, and she stepped outside into the cool night air, inhaling deeply as she approached the railing. She leaned gently on it, propping her chin in one hand as she stared up at the streaking lights in the sky.

The stars twinkled back at her, so close but so far, and she heard their delicate, shimmering chiming gracing her ears; a sliver of twinkling sound like the brush of a butterfly's wings, audible to none within the city except for her. And Zintila began to sing, ever so softly.

The area around the Twuele was relatively quiet; celebrations were usually kept away from the government buildings and more focused on the entertainment sections of the peaks, and indeed, most were busy with the celebrations, laughing and dancing and drinking. But anyone who passed through the streets below the Twuele would hear just the faintest voice, achingly beautiful and full of sorrow and love and longing, in a delicate crystalline tone and a language they couldn't quite place.

And if anyone were to look up, they would see the softly glowing, glittering form of Zintila herself, leaning on the railing of her balcony so high up, looking at the sky and singing the song of the stars.

This is what greeted the ghost of Autumn Rose as she, for her own reasons, drifted past the Twuele that fateful night; this is what enraptured her, as it would any being short of those who were divine and accustomed to such things. Mortal or immortal, living or undead, the whisper of the alvina's voice on the winds, pitched high with her song, seemed like it could have stopped a war.

Zintila knew she was being watched. She did not care, for the time being; she continued to sing until she finished her song, her voice fading out to nothingness. Only then did she turn her gaze downwards to the streets; she could feel, even from so high up on her balcony, the cold brush of undead, ghostly air that floated around her spirit spectator. Whether Autumn was choosing to show herself or not, the alvina could see the shimmering air where she stood in the darkness without much difficulty.

Surprising perhaps even herself as she straightened up, hands on the railing, Zintila spoke impulsively and on a whim, calling down to the ghost, just loud enough to be heard. "What is a lost and lonely soul as yourself doing wandering the city so late, spirit?" Her voice was quiet and soft with an ethereal quality to it, but Autumn would have no trouble hearing Zintila from where she stood.

"Do you not have mischief to do or people to haunt? A long lost life to lament?" The questions were perhaps needling, but also genuinely curious as Zintila leaned over her balcony, her glittering golden eyes visible pinpricks of light even from so high up.
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Song of the Stars (Autumn)

Postby Autumn Rose on May 22nd, 2020, 4:03 am

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Tonight, the sky was alive. No one knew when it had started except perhaps Zintila and Her Constellations, but as dusk drained the light from the heavens, streaks of light began to fill the night. Meteors burned bright as their fragile existence hung in the balance at their entry into the atmosphere. Some burned too bright, disintegrating into nothingness, while others made their way through to speed earthward somewhat lessened by their passing. It was a dazzling display.

Tonight, the sky was alive, and along with it, the city coursed to life. Lhavit never really slept, but it became livelier with a display reminiscent of their fallen Goddess’ power. Though this hadn’t been planned, a party and celebration erupted throughout the city, song and food and decorations appearing as quickly as the people could produce them. Any phenomenon of the night sky was a reason to celebrate, and the people of Lhavit partied well.

Yes, the sky was alive tonight, but Autumn was not. She had briefly considered it but had decided not to. Not that the experience wouldn’t be exquisite; and the party, fun, but Autumn hadn’t had many opportunities to enjoy the meteor showers that had occurred during her existence and wanted to create a memory unadulterated by the biases of the cool night air. The biases, too, of the people and their parties were another thing Autumn hoped to avoid. For that reason, she had avoided the areas common for social gatherings, and that left her wandering the empty, unlit streets around the Twuele.

The emptiness of the area had drawn her here, yes, but another thought had also drawn her. Towering over everything around it, the Twuele would block out unwanted light, letting the glory of the stars speak for themselves. Trespassing was risky, Autumn knew, especially when done in a deity’s home. Fallen or not, Zintila was a Goddess, and even if only a fraction, the merest sliver, of Her power remained, it would be enough to snuff out an insignificant soul like Autumn’s. Still, meteor showers were a rare occurrence, and Autumn wanted the best view.

That was where she was at, circling the tower to see if anyone was still there, when Zintila stepped out on to the balcony of the top floor, glittering eyes cast heavenward as if She could fall back up through the atmosphere to rejoin the stars and take the meteors with Her. Stopping where she was, hidden within the shadows of shadows, Autumn congratulated herself on thinking ahead. Had she rushed in blindly, she would have found herself face to face with a Goddess. It wouldn’t be the first time, but it would have been the first time uninvited. Uninvited in a Goddess’ presence was a dangerous place to be.

Silence was the song that greeted the dying of stars, the falling of meteors as they coursed and burned and fragmented and ceased to be. There was no great lament, no dirge, no song to sing of their splendor and their feats. They simply were… and then were no more.

Silence was all Autumn heard until Zintila began to sing, and in that moment, Autumn knew she had never truly heard song before. This was a voice that had either learned music from the most minute and intricate intertwining of existence or taught the universe its song. Rhaus Himself would have been enamored with Her song, and Autumn had to wonder if He had taught Her or vice versa. Either way, she was enraptured and did nothing to stop it.

The longer she listened, the more familiar the song began to sound, as if she herself had sung it word for word and note for note, though it was in a language Autumn knew she had never heard yet felt was inherent in her soul. Several repetitions of one refrain passed before Autumn understood why it felt so familiar. It wasn’t the melody or the language. It was the emotion it carried. Autumn knew it too well. Sorrow.

Since Maro’s passing, Autumn had existed entirely in a state of longing for what she had lost. Sorrow had been her constant companion. She had lived long enough to know better than to compare one sorrow to another, but in the light of Maro’s return and the weight of Zintila’s song, Autumn felt no right to claim she had ever known sadness. Whatever had happened to Her, whatever Zintila had lost, had been enough to crush a Goddess.

In her continued listening, though, another revelation came. On occasion, there were pauses and brief, interjected lines of melody that sounded off, but when she really listened, she heard them for what they were. The pauses weren’t pauses for pausing sake. They were deliberate opportunities to listen, and the off-sounding melody wasn’t a melody at all. It was a harmony. Someone was singing to Zintila, and She heard them and sang Her reply.

Never had Autumn been more captivated. Never had she been more jealous. She wanted to hear what the Goddess heard, wanted to know who could sing a song so powerful it moved a Goddess to respond.

As ensnared as she was in Zintila’s song, Autumn forgot to keep herself hidden. As if it were a song itself, Autumn’s materialization rose like a lesser harmony to met the other two voices, blue eyes singing in a language all of them knew but none of them spoke.

If it had lasted for all eternity, Autumn would have stayed and listened. As it was, she felt she was cradled in eternity’s arms, but it didn’t last long enough. It couldn’t. For anyone who heard it, no length of the song would satisfy them. For as long as memory served them well, the song would haunt their thoughts and the dreaming, half-woken shallows of their souls.

Autumn knew it would end. All good things did. All things did. And so Autumn’s heart and the heart of a Goddess broke at the bright dying of a light as Her voice faded with a streaking meteor into the waiting dark.

And then came something Autumn wasn’t prepared for. Zintila spoke, and She spoke to Autumn. "What is a lost and lonely soul as yourself doing wandering the city so late, spirit? Do you not have mischief to do or people to haunt? A long lost life to lament?"

Terrified at having been caught, Autumn let go of her materialization completely, disappearing from mortal view only to let it come back into sight like a growing, bashful blush as she realized running away was pointless. She’d already been caught, and it was impolite to refuse a Goddess.

Looking up, she decided the Goddess was too far away to respond to, and in several short, bursting blinks found herself standing on the balcony, face to face with the Lady of the Stars. Autumn hoped she had been right in assuming being addressed was an invitation and curtseyed awkwardly. She’d never known how to greet someone of such stature and power, and her limited experience made her no better at it.

“I came hoping for the best view of the stars. For this view,” she admitted as she tilted her head back to shift her gaze heavenward. “I didn’t think I’d be so lucky to get an invitation.”

Not finding any meteors as she scanned the night sky, Autumn’s gaze came back to Zintila, and her mists sparked tremulously as she saw the light of stars existing within the Goddess’ eyes as well as reflected from where more stars rested in the heavens. It was only here, with the span of the cosmos staring back at Her from the depths of this Goddess’ soul, that Autumn realized just how young she was.

But it wasn’t this that stopped Autumn in her trackless tracks. In the Goddess’ gentle eyes existed a sorrow that even the weight of Her song had failed to describe. That had made Autumn lose what she was about to say, something about having no one to haunt and no lost life to lament aside from lives not her own. For several ticks lost to time outside of time, Autumn considered the woman, the Goddess, before her and saw only a child who had lost everything, and her heart broke a little more.

Her voice remembered itself as did her mothering courage, and as she stepped toward Zintila, Autumn spoke. “I thought I had known sorrow, but I have never felt what I see when I look into Your eyes. I have never felt what I heard when I listened to Your song. Child-” it was her habit to address everyone as if they were young than her- “who were You singing to and what did they say to break Your heart? Who did you lose?”

Autumn lifted a hand toward Zintila’s face in a gentle, motherly gesture but froze as her soul met a soul that was unable to be fully bound by the body before her. Soul met soul, and Autumn felt the magnitude of her own insignificance. Soul met soul, and Autumn found it to be like staring into the sun, beautiful and painful and exquisite. The nature of this soul was too much for her ghostly existence to comprehend.
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Song of the Stars (Autumn)

Postby Luminescence on July 14th, 2020, 11:11 pm

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Zintila did not bat an eye as Autumn blinked up to the balcony where she stood, tilting her head as the spirit curtsied, lifting her skirts slightly and bowing her head. Above them, the dark sky was mostly still, with only a few remaining meteors streaking through every so often.

This close to the Goddess, Autumn could see that she shone like a star herself, glittering and resplendent. Her golden, gleaming eyes seemed to hold the constellations themselves as she gazed upon Autumn's ghost, the full force of the once powerful Goddess piercing through her with a quiet intensity. Such was the weight of her stare that Autumn could swear she felt it, prickling points where she was speared through by Zintila's gaze.

Above, whenever one of the last few shooting stars of the night streaked by, a shimmer of light came from Zintila as well, one that Autumn felt more than she saw now that she was so close to the Alvina. "Who said you were given an invitation, spirit? All I did was ask you a question." Zintila's voice was low and soft, dark in its dulcet tone yet somehow bright, as if when she spoke the night sky itself weaved words from her throat, her voice glittering with the lights of her stars.

But her voice held no venom, and her solemn expression did not shift, nor did she make any move to send Autumn away. As Autumn continued to stare at Zintila, her wispy form meeting the Alvina's gaze steadily, the lady of the stars tilted her head ever so slightly. Her own gaze bore back into Autumn, shifting with starlight as she sought an answer to an unspoken question in the ghost's gaze.

She felt it too, not that she needed to. Ghosts were creatures of intense sorrow or anger, often both. But what Zintila saw as she searched Autumn's gaze confirmed it, and the Alvina felt the heavy weight of sadness twisting around the ghost in the air. Two ethereal beings, trapped where they did not belong, souls heavy with sorrow.

Zintila did not move when Autumn stepped forward, and she stayed silent as the ghost spoke. She remained silent for a long moment after as well, her eyes fluttering closed for the smallest of moments as Autumn reached her hand up, feeling the cool essence of her soulmist ghosting over her. When Zintila opened her eyes again, she laughed.

The sound was sudden and soft, like the unexpected falling of the stars above, gleaming and bright. "You're a brave soul, child," Zintila said, parroting Autumn's word back at her, mocking yet somehow gentle, her glittering voice rich with amusement. "You assume an invitation to my own balcony, you press me for details of my greatest sorrow, you call me child and touch me as if you could heal my pain like a mother. To approach a goddess so, even one fallen, is quite reckless. Some might call it stupid." Her voice became slightly sharper at the end; it was a mere hint of displeasure, hardly noticeable in anyone else, but coming from the Star Lady it plunged the air's temperature to a burning cold, the words snapping like a whip.

Still, Zintila did not move, and after a moment her features softened, the crackling tension in the air dissipating. She turned her eyes skyward again, and for the unlife of her, Autumn could not tell if the glowing spots in her eyes were a reflection of those so far above, or the shining of ones deep within. "Tell me," she said, after a long moment, her gaze locked upwards. "Have you heard the story of my fall, spirit? Do you know why I walk these mountainous streets, somewhere between divine and mortal, unable to return home? Stripped of my power and ripped from my own creations?"

Zintila looked back at Autumn. Her expression had shifted back to something solemn but neutral, the swirling constellations within her eyes unreadable, but a deep, unfathomable sadness seemed to radiate from her, a near tangible aura in its intensity. "You've lived your life and then some, surely you have heard something." She had yet to answer any of Autumn's questions, having brushed them aside, but they both knew she had not forgotten them. If she would leave them to the wayside or answer at a later point remained to be seen, and it was up to Autumn if she wished to press a Goddess for answers.
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Song of the Stars (Autumn)

Postby Autumn Rose on September 7th, 2020, 2:32 am

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“Who said I gave you an invitation, spirit? All I did was ask you a question.” The Goddess’ response to Autumn’s arrival let the ghost know she had overstepped, and yet curiosity and stubbornness won out. Autumn stayed, then overstayed her welcome. When she had reached for the Goddess’ face, she had felt power and stopped before contact, but it had been enough to draw some amount of displeasure from Zintila. The Goddess let her know. “To approach a goddess so, even one fallen, is quite reckless. Some might call it stupid.”

But no retribution came. No hand of the Goddess smote her. Instead, Zintila’s eyes returned to the heavens, and the heavens within those eyes, lights innumerable, burst into being as if Zintila’s eyes contained the entire galaxy or universe. “Have you heard of my fall, spirit?... Surely, you have heard something.”

Autumn had taken several steps back from the Goddess at the signs of displeasure. Not the clumsy drift that most ghosts used but deliberate steps. She did her best to imitate life. But that question sparked only more curiosity and more wonder in the ghost. “There were so many stories when I was living, but none of the people telling them seemed to know any details. They were all vague stories and myths, ones that knew the outcome but never how things got to that point.”

To avoid Zintila’s gaze, Autumn turned her eyes back heavenward, still hoping to catch more of the meteors. Her voice bore a soft sort of strength, once again motherly but this time also full of wonder. “But I have traveled the earth with Your most devout. If You think the Constellations adore You, You should ride a ship with sailors someday. They are Your truest worshippers. I swear, the only reason they pray to Zulrav is to ask Him to clear the skies so they can see You again. Their existence hinges on the stars, on Your stars, and for it, they have dedicated themselves more fully to You than any other group I have ever met. The things they know about the stars astounds me. The way the stars move moves the sailors. They are never lost if they can see Your skies.”

Autumn sighed, another imitation of life. “But that is not the most astounding thing they know. The stories. By the Goddess, the stories they tell. I swear, You could spend the rest of existence sailing the world and listening to them and still never grow tired of those stories. Every one of them is filled with a sense of wonder. They told those stories as if they were there, watching over the shoulders of those who actually lived them.

“Do you know they told me once that the stars used to sing to You, that each star was a Syna in their own right to worlds beyond our reach and that their songs were meant to let You know of things that came to be on the worlds You had brought light to? I was certain they were mad, men turned inventive by the loneliness of the sea. Now…” Autumn met Zintila’s eyes for just a moment and flashed a smile. “Now, I’m not so sure.”

And in a moment, the wonder of it all came crashing down as sorrow took its place. Autumn’s face fell. “They say that was what You were doing when the world split open, when Mizahar split, when Semele was threatened to be torn to pieces by the Valterrian. I doubt I can do the story justice.”

“They say the world was tearing itself apart, and no one in it cared. War had had the continent divided in two, the two sides ready to tear each other’s throats out, and then, even the Gods and Goddesses became pitted against each other. War raged, holy war. And in a world with only destruction on its mind, there were two who strove to hold it together, a mother and a daughter.

“They say Your mother tried to hold back Ivak’s rage, but She alone couldn’t do it, that His grief was so great that it was tearing Mizahar to pieces. Semele’s life was tied to the fate of Mizahar, and as Ivak’s rage peaked, Semele cried out. You were watching from the stars, and You could bear it no more, and so You let go and fell, and when you struck the face of Mizahar, You let go of Your godly might, ripping every spark of it free from Yourself to give it to Your mother.

“They say that gift is what held the world together. They also say that no one has ever given so much, that Your power rivaled Tanroa’s, and that if even a fraction of what You gave remains in Your mother’s grasp, then She has a might that could shake the hierarchy of the Gods and Goddesses. They say…”

So many were the stories and the wonderous imaginings that had come with them that Autumn became lost in them all, and she couldn’t bring a single one to mind anymore. She sighed again. “But people say a lot of things. They weren’t there. I wasn’t there. But I see now that such a sorrow shouldn’t be dredged up. Forgive me. I shouldn’t have asked.”

Her eyes on the heavens, Autumn pointed out the constellation that every sailor and every Lhavitian seemed to know. “See that one there?” She realized as she asked that it was the most ridiculous question in the world. Of course, the Goddess saw them. Of course, She knew them. After all, She’d put them in their place. “They call it Zintila’s Fall. They say it appeared in the sky at the moment of the Valterrian, that it was the last constellation You’ve created to date. If that’s true, I think I might have an inkling of what causes Your sorrow.

“To bring something into existence, to nurture it and to make it thrive, only to have it ripped away, I can understand that pain. I loved once, truly loved. I raised a child, but he was taken from me.” She didn’t mention that he had been given back, or at least most of him. That seemed cruel to do to the Goddess. “Sorrows should never be compared, because they stem from the love that each heart holds for something or someone else. No one can truly comprehend how much someone else loves another. Only each heart knows. Still, I feel petty.”
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