Jenson put on his goggles and flipped the switch that turned on the vision setting. What had been close to black, with only the dim silvery light of the moon that hung in the space-dark sky to supplement the pale street lights jumped to life. He could see more clearly now, the places that the street lamps didn’t reach. The city couldn’t very well be plastered with street lights right beside each other, after all. On each lamp post was plastered a poster he didn’t want to be reminded of. His sister’s face stared out below the word ‘Missing’.
Allyson didn’t like to deceive her brother, but he just wouldn’t understand. He was a scientist. Rationally minded, like everyone else that lived in the city of Lunestra. She understood why they were. Science and technology helped them survive without the sun. It was thought that centuries before, the planet had stopped spinning, so that the sun only ever hit one half of the planet, and cast the rest into darkness, lit only by the intermittent light of the moon, when it was not hiding behind cloud. But how could so many people forget about their past? About the power of magic.
Oliver loved being an Elder, the Librarians of the Tower of Knowledge. And he especially loved when he came across something new in the Hall of Knowledge, otherwise known as the archives. He had never noticed the dusty pile of paper that was leaning precariously against one of the many rows of tall mahogany shelves. He put on his gloves and picked up the first item on the top, a folder bound tightly shut with writing scribbled on the side. He screamed and dropped the folder as he rubbed away the thick dust with his thumb revealing his own name.
Jenson knew exactly where he was heading. With the aid of his walking stick and vision goggles, he quickly traversed the city that was cloaked mostly in perpetual darkness, despite the feeble glow of streetlights. He tried to stand up straight so that his ruined leg wouldn’t be noticeable, even though you could barely see the contraption that helped him walk, underneath his trouser leg. He tapped the metal cage that surrounded his leg soundly with his cane. “All thanks to science,” he said, as he took the heavy brass knocker in hand and let it fall.
Allyson has seen all the posters around town with her face, and she knew her brother would be looking for her. It wasn’t like her to just disappear. But this was too important, too big to ignore, and Ally knew that her brother would just get in the way and ruin it all. He didn’t understand. He didn’t believe in magic. Not many did. The Council had deeply buried Lunestra’s past, kept it hidden and were very insistent on its non-existence, but Ally knew better. Ever since she had come across the folder with her name on it in the Tower of Knowledge.
Jenson knew his cohorts would be up for helping him. The Society of New Alchemists would most definitely be able to find Allyson. They had methods, they had machines. They even had their own airship. Granted, it was just a decommissioned old delivery ship, and it had a tendency to want to list and go in circles when you wanted to go straight, but the Society had outfitted it with some useful bits and bobs. Including a telescope. The heavy door opened slowly and an eye filled the gap. Jenson gave a small bow. “I’m looking for Allyson.”
Oliver read through the thick file with shaking hands, barely believing his eyes. Growing up, he had been told by his parents that magic wasn’t real. That people who practised it, or pretended to, were punished by the Council. The Magic Council was his parent’s version of monsters under his bed, scaring him straight saying the Council would take him away. He had heard that, of course. It was true people disappeared. But these papers, they were shattering his whole reality. His grandparents, his mother’s parents, were sorcerers? How was that possible?
Allyson sat in the comforting darkness of the old vaults under the city. She drew her shawl around her shoulders as she thumbed through her grandmother’s old leather volume she had found hidden in her mother’s wardrobe. She mouthed words to old spells and wove her hands in complicated patterns, after she had finished secretly delivering the last of the files to the people who needed to be reminded they came from a line of sorcerers. She was going against the Council, but magic needed brought back to Lunestra. And not just magic, but the sun itself. She had found a spell.
The last page of Oliver’s file was scrawled with a handwritten note. Want answers? Come to the Drunken Squid at 10pm sharp and ask the bartender for the silver key. He removed his watch from his waistcoat. 9:45. He shoved the file under the long monk-like robes the Elders wore and ran down the winding staircase and out into the night, heading for the Squid. Tentatively, he asked the man behind the bar about the silver key and was motioned to a table at the back of the room. He wasn’t expecting a pretty, young woman. “I’m Oliver,” he said dropping to the chair. She smiled. “Welcome to your destiny.”
Jenson scanned the streets as the airship glided silently above the city. Then he saw her familiar turquoise shawl darting across the street and into a pub. “Ground her!” he shouted to the pilot. He was worried she wouldn’t be there by the time he got to the pub, but to his relief, she was. Along with an older man. An Elder, he noticed with surprise. “What is the meaning of this!” he shouted, storming up to them. Allyson smiled, hanging over a folder with his name on it. “We are going to bring back the sun to Lunestra.”