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Last Flight of the Admiral Stalkforth 9

“Those lights— what are they?” Grefa asked.

“Lampflowers of course, didn’t your briefing cover them?”

“No, it didn’t...”

He went to one of the orbs and inspected it. It was in fact the bulb in the toroid of a massive flower. Except for the one suspended above the clearing, each grew naturally on the perimeter of the village.

He turned and saw the Admiral sitting with the others. He held an odd instrument and plucked at it experimentally.

“Is that an autolute?” Grefa asked, returning to the Admiral's side.

“Indeed, the favored instrument of the Giant. Everyone in this group has one.”

Before any more could be said, a man appeared in the center of the gathering and raised his arms. The villagers immediately fell silent. The man turned and faced the side where the Admiral and Grefa sat.

“The Giant gave us life,” he began, his voice calm yet audible. “She opened her sole eye, and from it flew the Lantern Hawks. They built this world for her enjoyment, for it is all she gazes upon. While the rest of the Universe languishes in twilight, we live under her scrutiny, her infernal vigilance. And it is only because of her first and only creation, the Lantern Hawks, that we are able to exist in her gaze.”

The man then turned to the other half of the gathering.

“The Yellow Hearth gave us life. The Universe is the sum of all the tools forged therein, plucked from its fire by the Lantern Hawks and laid out on the cloth of space of the Creator’s work table. Evermore she watches over her works, maintaining their place in the scheme of all things. Though the Hearth is now cold and dead, its offspring will smolder for all time with the residue of its energy.”

Now he looked to the glowing Lampflower suspended above.

“It is irrelevant which belief is true, for in both, it was the Lantern Haws that ultimately gave this world life. Without them, we would all die in darkness.”

His arms fell to his sides and he was silent.