Eligor

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11.Fern

Fern was asleep in his bed when something poked him in the arm.

“Wake up,” a voice told him. Fern moaned for the voice to go away and let him sleep, but then his own hand (his left hand of course) slapped him hard in the face.

“OW!”

“Come with me,” Bres commanded.

“It’s nighttime. Let me sleep.”

“No. I have to show you something now and I’d rather not have to drag you on my nice clean floor.”

“Carry me.” Fern held his arms out like a baby wanting to be picked up.

“I’m not your mother,” Bres insisted.

“Please?” Fern moaned through barely opened lips. His eyes were fluttering, whether from the sensitivity to light or to add to the begging effect, Bres couldn’t tell. Eventually he gave in and picked the child up in his arms. His limp body felt so warm and soft. Bres carried the boy away. Normally, he would have simply teleported, but if he did that now, he would travel to his destination, but Fern would be dropped on the floor.

Wearily, Fern opened his eyes to find that Bres had set him down on the floor of the treasure room.

“I just finished it,” Bres told him, holding out a necklace. The silver chain dangled from his outstretched finger. At the end rested a diamond shaped crystal that glowed with white light.

Fern reached his hands out to take the gemstone in his hands. His eyes were wide with amazement. It looked just like the earring he broke, except larger and whiter and flatter and brighter.

“I made it for you,” he explained. “I wanted something to do with the shards of my earring.”

“It glows like the light of the missing stars.”

“Missing stars?”

“There aren’t any stars here” Fern observed.

“Maybe they were stolen” Bres chuckled, as if remembering an inside joke with himself.

“What?” Fern asked.

“Just a story my mother once told me.”

“Can I hear it?”

“There was this little princess who was afraid of the dark, so the king plucked a star from the night sky. I think that he had been blessed by a fairy or something like that, because it was as easy for him as picking a flower. He put it in the darkest corner of her bedroom so that the creatures of darkness could no longer haunt her. The princess was very pleased.

The star was no larger than a marble and about as bright as the flame of a candle, but it was so beautiful that people would travel just far to gaze upon it. Eventually, the King grew tired of these visitors. He liked to think of himself as a great king, and these travelers would only pay attention to his daughter’s night-light, not giving him a second thought. So then, he plucked another star from the night sky and had it put into the jewels on his scepter. Now he could show off his wealth and power to all who entered the citadel. Soon, he added four more stars to the jewels on his crown. Later, he lit up his rings and medallions. His name became known in the four great realms: King Lunas the Magnificent.

As one final display, he grabbed all of the stars left in the sky and illuminated his entire castle. During the day, it wasn’t all that impressive, but when the sun went down, it was incredible. The illuminated citadel was so magnificent that it was almost unreal. It only added to his fame. Unfortunately, this is when he got into trouble.”

“What happened?” Fern asked.

“Well, it’s one thing to take a few stars, but it’s another thing entirely to steal them all. Sailors need them to navigate and without stars, what would happen to astronomy and astrology. There was chaos. People complained. They told him that he needed to put the stars back.”

“And?”

“He refused. The stars had given him so much glory and power. He didn’t want to give that up. Eventually, an angry mob showed up to force him to return the stars. Most of their tactics were ineffective, but a gorgon was able to turn him into stone just as a sword sliced his head off. With the king now dead, the forces holding the stars were broken.

The stars were quite angry with the king for imprisoning them, so when they returned home, they brought the stone head with them, to hold him captive as punishment for what he did to them.

Separated from their true home, not belonging in the world they were in.

Although just a stone decapitated head, he was still much larger than the stars. They found this intimidating, but decided that since he couldn’t glow as they could, they were still much more superior. The sun, who had seen all of these events took pity on the young girl. She would grow to be queen, yes, but now she was a scared little child who had lost her father and her light. The sun cast its light upon the stone head at night so that when the darkness arrived, the king’s daughter could still see his face shining bigger and brighter than all of the stars.”

“So the man in the moon used to be an actual man?”

“I never said it was a true story.”

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