“The astrals are their mortality. They carry it in every facet of their life – their cultures, their ideologies, their very name, even. It seems unusual to you or I, for whom death is an accepted fact of life, an ever-present force in the world, but consider how different our world is from that which the astrals were born into, a world of only Constants, Celestials, Fiends, Lords of Change. What relationship would you form with death if it affected you and you alone? For the immortals, the astrals’ only notable quality was that they could die. In their view, they were defined by it. And so the astrals defined themselves by it, also. What choice did they have?”“The First Mortals”, author listed only as ‘I’
With The Setting Sun’s Rays Upon My Face watched as her friend died. Watched As One With The World Around Me gasp his last breath, condense to a point of singular energy, and detonate in starlight. The process seemed infinite, the moment stretching out to the ends of time itself, before her vision was filled with a blinding white light. Long aeons of memories flashed before her eyes – their first meeting, the War Amongst the Stars, their ascent to the Citadel. Their betrayal by La’ran and the others.
They had slain him, and they did not even know his name.
They did not know how he had wished to die, they did not know who he was, and yet they had done what others had only dreamt of, taken in by the vor’sular’s foul lies. They knew nothing of what they had done, they knew nothing of the dreams that would now be left forever unfulfilled, they knew nothing of the life they had extinguished.
The energy washed over her prison, everything As One With The World Around Me was and had been within reach of her, yet unreachable. With The Setting Sun’s Rays Upon My Face battered her golden arms against the cage, desperately trying to reach her friend, to be present in the moment of his death and carry his essence on, to grant him some measure of the immortality their people were denied, but it was futile. She rested one palm against the barrier, the energy of his passing looking to flow over her fingertips and yet feeling nothing. The light began to fade, As One With The World Around Me disappearing before her eyes as if he had never existed.
She surveyed her friend’s murderers, a single tear drifting down her gilded face. She sensed a pride in them. Pride that they had cut her friend down before his time, slain him without provocation, on only the word of a traitor. She watched those still standing turn their attention to her, felt their ire land upon her shoulders, oblivious to the significance of what they had wrought. It was a transaction to them, it seemed.
Setting Sun’s Rays felt warmth on her skin. Fearfully, she turned her gaze heavenwards, seeing the tendrils of rising sunlight drift in through the open ceiling, felt the light on her face as she had many times before. And yet as she watched the rays ripple along the walls, saw them play upon Arbor’s leaves, she knew this time was different.
She knew she would see her friend soon.