Out of Curiosity


Twilight remarked the eyes of her witness, who was eavesdropping on what news she had to share with her children. The bright burning stars. 
         The eavesdropper was a woman who stood in her turret gazing through the iron rim of her spyglass. The luminosity of the moon radiated from her sheet-like skin while she studied the conversation of every little speck above. A sharp shiver ran down from the base of her neck until it ended in her stomach. Nerves were getting to her, but there were reasons for that. This was the night she had been waiting for. Her frail arms heightened with little bumps that raised the hair on her neck, she would see it soon and then all of her quarrels would be resolved. She could have the life, she was born to have and take back what was stolen from her. 
         As night passed, the moon rotated on its axis. She, however, did not. Rooted to the spot, her fingers wobbled and clammed up. She couldn’t miss her chance to ask, there was too much at stake this time. Only every thousand years, on the last day of frost moon, was this anomaly visible. The untrained eye may just continue live without a care, but her eyes were trained–– highly in the skill of star reading or as it was called in her world, a Magus. 
         There, a sparkling rippled in the pool of her iris bursting into a fire. There it was. The star she was looking for. It carved its way across the dark night sky and over her turret south. 
         “Ahh!” she shrieked. It was exactly the one she was observing for. It was the Adrian Star. The tail of this sequin stretched across the entirety of the sky like a spider’s web. 
         The Adrian Star as called by a Maguswas a Riddling Star. When a Riddling Star burst in the midnight sky, the spectator had moments to view it, and in that moment, they could ask any request. There is no limit to what kind of question you could ask a Riddling Star, but it came with a tremendous price. Ask it when you will die and you may not wake up tomorrow. Ask it when the sun will rise and forget the chances of ever seeing it again in your lifetime. There was one catch, however, when an answer was delivered, it came in the form of a riddle. Only the most skilled and patient Magus could unravel the mysteries to these riddles. 
         “In what way–– how do I regain—reign—over all dominion?” Her knees wobbled and her fingers fidgeted with the cold metal rim of her spyglass nicking the side of her finger. A crimson stream slid down her finger. 
         There was a brief moment of silence before the star disappeared. Her enormous dark robe fluttered in the wind as it passed through the openings of her iron railing. 
         Had she missed her chance? 
         In a blaze of light, the star returned and stretched like a moving depiction. 
         The picture revealed a young man in fields of green, before transforming into a soft white flower within a cave. The picture shifted once again from a flower into the figure of a woman. The Adrian Star shuffled through these three images multiple times in no particular order like a flickering street lamp in London during winter.  
          The woman in the picture sauntered unaccompanied under a canopy of trees, her long flowing hair twisted between her bony fingers, and she wore a lengthy silvery gown. The man’s identity remained a mystery, failing to reveal his facial features. The only evidence the Adrian Star gave was a glimpse of a spotted fungi that reflected in the man’s blue eyes. He was standing on the edge of a lush woodland, inside a perimeter of lichen covered stones. The portrait persisted only moments before it vanished back into the obscurity. The riddling star had vanished. Another thousand years it would be before it was seen again in these lands.
         The lady stood there in thought. It would take her time to unravel these clues and set straight the riddle, perhaps she didn’t have enough of it. The thought of dying in her current conditions scared her. A tear slid uncontrollably down her grave face but it was quickly wiped away. Now was not the time for tears. Her actions need to be made swift and soon if she had any chance.  
         “Remus!” she called from the lurches of her diaphragm.  
         There was a clanking of steel and hustling of footsteps that came nearer to her chamber door.  
         “My lady,” he said opening the door. 
         “Prepare your legion.”
         “Certainly, my lady,” he said departing from the chamber. 
         She rested at her window and reached for a bit of old parchment, scribbling away with a raven feathered quill. That spotted fungi, it reminded her of something from her childhood. It puzzled her to think about until by chance she recalled an aged old memory from her youth. Why didn’t she recognized it? The man, the fields of green and the fungi in his eye, it reminded her of a place she had been as a child. In fact, he was her home many, many ages ago. A place that banished her parents, and sent her here to live in lonely exileButwhere ever this place was now was far away from her castle. She would need to rediscover how this place could be reached.
         Traveling between worlds was the practice of many Magus.There was a certain art to it and more importantly, rules that needed to be followed or the voids between would kill you. The only way to stumble into another world was by accident otherwise it would not reveal its true self. Ancient magical rules that as deadly as the ones who performed them. 
         An old leather book opened up upon her table. She spun across leaf after leaf until she found a concoction that may remedy her problem. A draft it was called, that would allow its drinker complete obliviousness, the key to passing through into this, other world. The potion was no simple task. It would take her some spell to brew. It required wolfsbane, the tears of an innocent Yunigl, and dragon’s blood straight from the tail which would take a few nights to collect.  
         There was a knock on her door and Remus arrived inside the chamber once more. He bowed and kissed the woman’s bleached hand.
         “We will do as command my lady,” he said. 
         “There will be some preparations necessary. I will inform you when these are completed.”
         The lady glided over to her balcony, leaning on its iron railing, and in a language that was not English, called out to one of her loyal followers. A pair of large yellow eyes fluttered closer and closer with its crusted shadowy feet, and landed on her outstretched hand.
         “Vonik un der,” she whispered to the bird. “I want a report on every step he take. Do not let them out of your sight. And each night before the moon ends, you shall return to me with your verdicts.”
         The oil black raven swung its head to gape into her eyes. 
         “Vonik un der risen,” she said once more and the once yellow eyes turned a blood red. The raven’s wings flapped uncontrollably until it gave in to her power, losing its own will. The bird perched, obedient, upon the bridge of her finger. “Survey them carefully.” 
         There could be no dependence in her servants. Even she recognized that her likelihoods were greater if she took matters into her control, but she needed to be careful. Her powers were not as strong as they once were. It took all of her energy to remain alive for this moment. If she could prolong death for just a short while longer, she would have all the life she could manage.  
         With a pleased look in her eye, she imagined what it would be like for her to convene on the throne in Embïr, forever. The thought comforted her anxieties. 
         And anyone who prohibited her from this future would perish.