Nine generations of sky-gazers have been recording their observations in the star journals of the Kronhus observatory. They’re presently anticipating the return of the Voltin comet, which sails across the northern sky every 83 to 84 years.
At the direction of the Council of Adepts, astronomers have been spreading word of the coming comet, hoping to forestall talk of omens and prophecy and magic. They learned, to their surprise and dismay, that storyspinners were already telling tales.
Most of these stories are fanciful tales in which the comet is variously cast as a portent of disaster or victory or undying romance. After a brief attempt to suppress this storytelling, the adepts took a different approach: They hired storyspinners to tell tales about Kronhus.
These stories, most of which are embroidered versions of scandals and rivalries among astronomers past and present, have the ring of authenticity and the appeal of gossip. The astronomers might not be happy about their loss of dignity and mystique, but these tales managed to bring the people of Kronhus observatory–and by extension, their understanding of the Voltin comet–into everyday life.
The adepts would consider this effort a success, but for one thing: Ellamir, a popular storysinger, has been telling tales of new comet–Voltin’s Daughter, a small, pink comet that traces the path of the great comet. It will come, she says, in the depths of winter, when the moon is new and the Northern Lights burn like green fire. Ellamir’s reputation as a Seer, combined with the specificity of her prediction, worries the adepts, who feel that the authority of Science will be seriously undermined if she is proven correct.
The astronomers of Kronhus are busily (and quietly) consulting their records and searching copies of ancient Veldooni tomes, but so far they have found nothing to definitively prove or disprove Ellamir’s claim. There’s an obscure reference to a small pink comet that crossed the sky several days after Voltin’s comet, but this occurred over 700 years ago and was, as far as they can tell, a singular event.
As word of Ellamir’s prophecy spreads, the questions directed at the astronomers and adepts are becoming more numerous, louder, and increasingly uncomfortable. The astronomers of Kronhus are still privately weighing the risks and merits of taking a position on Voltin’s Daughter, and arguing about what that position should be.