On the Nature of Stars
Ultimately, the nature of stars is indeterminate. Nobody's ever got to look at one up close, so most of what is known about their nature is based on speculation. They are widely accounted to be in some way associated with the Light, and indeed this is the doctrine of the Temple of the Light. However, there are also those who claim that they are strange and distant Princes of Breath, that they are fragments of some Vitriarch or other, that they are the oldest of the Old Powers, and a hundred other ideas from the sublime to the ridiculous. The precise nature of stars is of naught but academic interest however. Stars are stars are stars, whether they are also manifestations of some Power or other is of little importance. It is probably important to note that stars and constellations are usually not identified with any known gods. The Gods in the world of the White City are pretty much accounted for - The Lady of Blood and Wine isn't in the sky, she's over there getting drunk.
The Fixed Stars
There are a host of stars in the heavens, these are but a few.
- The South Star: This is the Constant Star, the one that mariners and travellers use to make sure they are going the right way. It is commonly considered to hang above the Breathing Isle.
- The North Star: By contrast the North Star, like most things of the North, is strange and inconstant. It is, however, always visible in dreams, so long as the night sky can be seen, and is considered invaluable to those wishing to travel the dreamscape.
- The Fading Star: The faintest star in all the heavens, the Fading Star is, unsurprisingly enough, associated with the passing and ending of things.
- The Star of The First Light: This star first rises above the horizon around the end of winter, and hence is associated with new beginnings and the coming of times of rebirth.
- The Merciless Star: Associated strongly with one of the more dangerous aspects of the Light, the Merciless Star is an auspicious star to be born under, if you're into constant trial.
The Wandering Stars
This list, by contrast, is exhaustive. Note that while the names given to these stars are often anthropomorphic, it does not necessarily imply anything about their nature.
- The Merchant of Providence: Represents fair fortune at a harsh price.
- The King of the River: Represents delusion, confusion and clinging to the past when it has ceased to matter.
- The Shrouded Lady: Represents mystery, magic and ruin brought about by folly.
- The Dead Knight: Represents self sacrifice or, looked at another way, pointless sacrifice. Sometimes it means disaster, sometimes glory, often both.
- The Watcher in the Garden: Represents hidden danger or hidden help. The unknown and the unseen.
- The Queen of the Lilies: Represents joy after hardship, the air after storms.
- The Harlequin: Represents everything and nothing at once. A wild card, an element of chaos in the mix.
Again, there are several more constellations, and traditions vary. These are the most common "star signs".
- The Hosts Arrayed: Apparently named for an army of some long forgotten war. This constellation is associated with overwhelming odds and obstacles, or with overwhelming force, depending on who you think the army belongs to really.
- The Hunt: Has all of the obvious associations one would expect for a constellation called "the Hunt". Determination and frenetic activity.
- The Red Tower: The Red Tower was, apparently, betrayed to its destruction in the days of antiquity by somebody who may or may not have been the Rattle-Prince in disguise. This constellation is, needless to say, considered inauspicious.
- The Tryst: Who the stars of the Tryst represent is anybody's guess, but it was certainly a forbidden love of some kind. Stories suggest that they were two gods, a man and a dragon, or simply some people in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is, of course, associated with clandestine activity, secrecy and romance. A large number of Ashen-Blooded are born under this sign.
- The Coronation: This sign is, of course, associated with rulership, but its precise meaning depends very much on the position of the wandering stars at the time. It signifies the coming of a power, for good or ill.
- The Smith: A nice simple one. It represents things being made, forged and strengthened.
- The Parting of the Ways: Considered a counterpart to either the Smith or the Tryst, the Parting of the Ways is about things coming to an end, drifting apart and just plain breaking.
- The Sword: Represents choices. Or, more precisely, the decisions behind those choices. The Sword represents the possibility of the same means being used for many different ends.
- The Wheel: Can represent fortune, torment, chaos or progress. Stars are funny like that.
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This page last updated: 3rd February 2004
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