They called it The Darkness: the black expanse of sky above Astara with all the stars ripped out.
It had been there for centuries. No one knew where it came from or even what it was. The night skies of Trestlewen held all sorts of mysteries—planets, constellations, halos, shooting stars… . Why would The Darkness be different?
Yet, something about it was frightening. Intelligent. As though it possessed a mind. Listened to your thoughts. Watched you like a menacing eye.
The Darkness faded at dawn, only appearing at night.
There were theories. It was a hole. A shadow. A veil. The place from which Chaηts came.
But, a shadow of what? A hole to where? If a veil, what did it conceal?
Clearly The Darkness was something, because every hundred years or so something strange would happen. Once, the townspeople heard eerie noises coming from it. Others recalled seeing a dark halo glowing at The Darkness’ edge. A very old account told of a weird creature flying out and wheeling above the kingdom, before disappearing from whence it came. The last incident occurred thirteen years ago, one autumn night: an unearthly whisper issued from the sky.
For weeks the townspeople lived in fear, convinced something terrible was going to happen. Nothing did, though, and the fear faded like all the times before.
They weren’t wrong, exactly.
The terrible thing was happening now.
Excerpt from Chant and Crown. Copyright © 2014 by Jordan McMakin
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