Prologue: Children of the Stars
Sometimes, the color white really was despicable. Not that it was a color—white is a combination of all colors, her Shōllyo had said. Personally, she preferred black, but according to her Shōllyo that wasn’t a color, either; no, black was a shade. She didn’t really understand how that was supposed to work. Were there not also shades of white? Could there be a shade of all colors combined? True blackness is not something mere mortal minds are meant to comprehend, Sylarr, her Shōllyo would say. Yes, that was definitely what she would say, if she were here. Unfortunately, her Shōllyo wasn’t here. There was no one here.
There was a strange crunch with her every footstep, but she hadn’t the time or attention to spare for that particular novelty. Oh, no. Not in this white. Not when there were such conundrums as black, but her Shōllyo said there was no black for such puny beings as they, except that her Shōllyo wasn’t here, she wasn’t anywhere, there was nothing here but white!
A bone-clacking shudder thundered its way from her shoulders all the way to her toes. Well, she assumed it reached her toes; she couldn’t quite be sure, as it were. No matter. That wasn’t important. What was important was the white and how despicable it was. A combination of all colors—bah! She knew from experience that mixing all the colors just made a dark, icky brown. Any child with some paint could prove that. But, oh, how she could do with some nausea-inducing brown right about now. That was a combination of colors that made sense, unlike this white.
Maybe it was stardust? Stars were white, after all. Little white pinpricks in the sky, winking at the toiling fools down below. They were so tiny. About the size of these little white granules. Wait, no, that wasn’t right. This white thing on her hand wasn’t a grain of sand composed of all colors. It had structure. Little spears, and bridges between them. Was this what stars were like up close? Were these the children of stars? Would these children of the stars one day rise into the skies and join their parents in the black?
…Not this child. The structure had dissolved. All that remained was a slight sheen on her hand where the stardust had only just been. Where had it gone?
She looked desperately around her, but it was no use. The stardust was white—it was all white! There was no picking out the lost spears and bridges amidst this great sea. It would be like searching for a single teardrop while submerged in the heart of the Inseia Sea.
Such a futile endeavor wasn’t worth her time. Not right now. Not in this white.
Her crunching footsteps were so loud. The white produced no sound without her intervention. Sylarr was unaccustomed to such silence. Where was the wind, the surf? She could hear no mehral lizards crying out for a mate, could see no glowing green waters on the horizon, could smell no salt or algae on the air. It was just her and the white.
Until it wasn’t.