Written by Eilidhan on 17 May 2017 19:15.

Close your eyes.
Now imagine that you're outside. It's a cool, clear night, though dawn is not far away. The wind is low; there are no clouds for it to chase across the sky.
Look up.
No moon, no stars, no rising sun.
But there are fish.
Far off in the distant deep sky, angler-fish roam, their lures like lamps making ever-shifting constellations.
Closer to the land, the sky-fish fly, glowing with incandescent light. The natural magic of this world occurs only in tiny fragments, disordered and useless to the people who call it home. The sky-fish consume this magic, changing it into something that flows easily through the hands of magicians and lights up the skies in great curtain-like auroras. This magic, once used, decays back into fragments in a self-sustaining cycle. The heat and light of the sky-fish is but a fortunate by-product of this process.
The best known of the sky-fish is a golden carp the size of a plane, called Day, often worshipped as a deity. And why not, when the sun has been thought a god? Burning gas and glowing fish alike bring life to their respective worlds.
But Day has disappeared. The light that has kept the land safe from the predatory terrors of the deep sky is fading, and in a winter set to go on forever, the only protection to be found is from the magical lanterns made from pieces of fish scale that yet retain some small part of the magic-generating power from the whole divine sky-fish. The only greenery left is in the glasshouses, the only safe roads marked by lamp-posts, long and lonely paths through what have become desolate wastelands, reliant on the generosity of a tight-fisted government for their maintenance and upkeep.
So what do you do when your fish-scale lantern - the artificial star that lights your town, grows your food, keeps you safe from the carnivorous horrors that lurk in the night - begins to flicker and fade?
No sun. No stars. No fish. No light.
What else is there but hope?

Next Chapter: The Glasshouses by Eilidhan

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