104 - World of Swords

The planet was a burned-out cinder, a rock ball trapped in a gravitational web spun by a dozen suns. Night came once a year, but a “year” was a very long time indeed. The surface wasn’t quite lava during the day, but the distinction only mattered to the plasma-based life forms who’ve been known to come here from time to time. Anything made of flesh would die of heat on the surface, even at night.

There was a chasm that led deep into the crust, miles deep. What little air survived on the planet had pooled here, protected from evaporation by a careful balance of gravitational and hydrodynamic forces. The stubborn rock at the base of the abyss had been carved into a temple, eons ago, in honor of the moment which was to occur.

No one could look at the sky unaided. To do so meant blindness or burning. The temple, instead, featured an arrangement of reflective metals embedded in its rocky spire. The net result was a column of light, shining down from the surface and into a shaft in the temple’s floor at “noon”. As the suns moved, the light would move too - splitting into twelve beams, each playing across a complicated pattern of gemstones that reflected a multitude of hues across the stern stonework.

Twelve acolytes stood ready within the bounds of the temple. Four wardens watched from the four directions beyond. Sixteen individuals watched the rainbow of light ascend the walls of the temple, and then - vanish. The hour had come. Night had fallen.

Above the abyss, the mystery of the stars revealed itself. This was not the panoply of constellations an astronomer might predict, if shown the planet’s position in the galaxy. The gravity of a dozen suns combined in ways that twisted spacetime, and what the acolytes and their masters saw was the sky of another universe, accessible through a natural wormhole that only opened once a night, on this sacred world.

Each acolyte plunged a hand upward, grasping at the alien sky. One by one, twinkling stars vanished from the cosmic fabric. Beams of light lanced down through space. One by one, the acolytes were cocooned in a column of blinding white. And when it faded, each held aloft a sword made of spacetime, with a star’s ever-changing corona as its edge.

“The ritual is complete!” boomed one warden. “Champions of Night, go forth!” The acolytes vanished one by one, carried across space and time by the power of a star in their hand.

The wardens remained, looking at each other in satisfaction. Nobody had been killed this time. This was a good omen. The Void Shadow Collective had grown.


This is some Sablestar background that we’ll get into soon, but I figured the imagery of the temple and the star-sword ceremony would be good. I can kind of picture the Kirbyesque comic version of this, but I can’t draw it.