Author: NYCitygurl Title: The Red Star Fandom: The Sundering by Jacqueline Carey Characters: Satoris Timeframe: Beginning of the duology Summary: A red star appears in the sky, and Satoris has to decide whether to trust its warning. Notes: Written for the trope challenge. Mine was 'Not Evil, Just Misunderstood' The Red Star Once upon a time, the Seven Shaped the world to their will. They created the six races of Urulat. They formed the gentle harbors and deep seas; they made the forests and the mountains. They created the sun and the moon, and the thousands of stars in the sky. They dwelled in this land in accord with each other and their creations. Before the Fourth Age. Before the Sundering. Satoris Third-Born, whose gift of the quickening he had given to Men, refused three times to withdraw his power at the request of Haomane Lord-of-Thought, eldest of the Shapers, who sought to place his immortal Ellylon above the race of Men. In his rage, Haomane drew the others to his side. Oronin Last-Born, with the power of death, seized Godslayer, the shard of the Eye on the Brow of God, and stabbed Satoris, giving him an eternally bleeding wound of ichor. Satoris called upon the dragons, and they fought Haomane’s Allies. And thus began the Shapers’ War. In the end, Haomane split the earth, with six Shapers across a vast ocean and Satoris the Banewreaker, Satoris the Bringer-of-Doom, on the other. Reviled by Men and Ellylon alike, torn from his gift, he waited in his Fortress of Darkhaven. Waited for his brother’s next move. A thousand years later, he still waited. Satoris limped to the window to stare at the stars the Shapers had created. What irony, he thought for the millionth time, that he who had fought for Men had been cast away by them. Darkhaven had become his refuge. Built by the Fjeltroll, who had long been his allies, it was Satoris’ home, and the home of those who followed him. It was a sanctuary for the lost and abandoned of the world who had no other to take them in. Satoris had taken them, with love; were they not just what the Shapers had created? Satoris had looked at the stars from this room every night for a thousand years, and for a thousand years they had looked the same. Until now. There, not too far from the horizon, gleamed a red star. Satoris felt a keening in his throat, a cry of pain as he recognized the star for what it was: a warning. A warning from his sister Arahila the Fair, whom Satoris had loved well. Arahila, who had created the race of Men and asked Satoris to place his gift upon them—the gift that had led to the Shapers’ War and the Sundering, Arahila, who had urged Haomane for mercy, gave him this red star to warn him that war was coming. After a thousand years, it was time to act. Satoris sent a call to his Three, his most loyal followers: Tanaros Kingslayer, who led the army; Vorax, once a lord among Men; and Ushahin Dreamspinner, the Seer. But as he waited for them, he kept his eyes on the faint red star on the horizon. His final proof of Arahila’s love for him. She had chosen Haomane over him, and she would not work against him even now, but she still warned Satoris. It was enough. It would have to be, for it was all he had. Satoris looked back at the star. It seemed like such a simple thing: one of many stars in the night sky. Unusual, for its color, but still just a star. Still just a warning. But, he knew, this was the thing about warnings: They were sent between allies. Would Arahila, after all these years, be his ally in the war to come? Had her long exile with Haomane changed her feelings for their eldest brother? Satoris knew better than to count on it, but he still couldn’t help the flicker of hope that burned in his heart. That small little flame could get him through the nights and years—if there were years—ahead. Or it could be his doom. He knew that, too. He had seen it in the race of Men—the race Arahila had created. He had seen hearts torn apart from loss of hope and lack of love. So it was with his Three, cast out and betrayed by those they were loyal to. Perhaps that was what Satoris had seen in them a thousand years ago: For all that he was part of a god, their stories were not so different. They called him Banewrecker. They called him Satoris Bringer-of-Doom. But names were misleading and history written by the winner. His choice had indeed led to the Sundering of the world, but he had not forced the choice or the divide. That had been his brother, who was even to this day revered by all. Satoris had trusted once, and it had led to his half-life, this near-doom. And in the end, despite Arahila’s love, she had sided with Haomane when forced to choose. How could Satoris trust that she held even the slightest sympathy for him after all these years? But then, how could he not? For what else could the red star portend? For the moment, Satoris chose to trust his sister. He didn’t, he decided, have any other choice.