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Touch the Sun, Gently

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One-thousand, nine hundred and fifty-five years ago

Artorius Clearwater knocked gently on the door to Florian's bedroom.
"Come in!" her voice rang from within. Artorius opened the door with one hand, a sheaf of papers held in the other, and saw Florian sitting in her bed, hair tousled.
He stepped into the room. "I'm sorry to bother you, Florian, but in my observations of the sun this morning, I noticed something... strange, to say the least."
"Oh?" Florian said, perhaps a touch too disinterested.
"Yes," Artorius said, approaching her bedside, "You see, the number of sunspots present on its surface today is abnormally high. In addition, their shape isn’t like anything I've ever seen before. I've taken the liberty of making a few sketches." He spread them out in front of her to let her see his work. "Here," he said, pointing to one, "you can see what look like lipstick marks. But that's not the strangest thing." He indicated another page, "These ones almost look like... bite marks?"
He glanced at Florian, who looked somewhere between shocked and guilty, eyebrows raised. Artorius noticed that they seemed to be singed.
"I don't know anything about this," she said hastily. "It's probably just a weird coincidence."
"But Florian-" he protested,
"Nope." she interrupted him, rising quickly from her bed and putting on a robe. Artorius noticed that her index and middle fingers were bright red. Was that a sunburn? "I just remembered I have somewhere to be. I'll see you later." She strode quickly from the room, leaving Artorius alone, a bemused expression on his face as he watched her go.


One-thousand, nine hundred and fifty-four years ago

Mirage left the bathroom stall and went to wash her hands. She walked up beside Florian, who seemed to be fixing up her makeup. She turned on the faucet.
"You know," she mused "this day has felt weirdly short. I know it's winter and all, but isn't it getting dark just a bit too early? It almost seemed like sun was rushing towards the horizon when I looked out the window a few minutes ago."
Florian leaned back from the mirror, holding a tube of deep red lipstick labeled SPF 60, and smacked her lips.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."


Two years, nine months ago

As Florian exited the carriage, she was met by a somewhat worried-looking Kevin. She walked towards him, one eyebrow raised.
Kevin spoke, "I'm sorry to bother you with this so soon after your return from the deep mines, my lady, but something appears to be wrong with the sun."
Florian's eyebrows shot up. "Wrong? What do you mean?"
Kevin paused for a moment. "Well, these past few days especially have been unseasonably warm. Some of the trees that were dropping their leaves have started sprouting new buds, and the shaved-ice cart in town opened up after previously saying they were closed for the season. On top of that, People have been complaining about the brightness of the glare reflecting off the Silverback Mountains. It's all very strange."
Florian let out a sigh of relief. She had seen this before.
"Don't worry, she gets like this when it's been a while. She's just antsy."
Kevin looked confused. "A while since what, my lady?"
Florian looked at him, put on finger to her lips, and winked. "You know."


One month ago

"-then I said, 'no, I meant my telescope lens is twelve inches!'" Kevin finished, and the circle burst out laughing.
"You know," Ford said, sitting on the floor with one hand holding a nearly-empty wine glass, and the other around Kevin's shoulders, "I don't think I ever told you what I ended up calling my fighting style."
"What is it? Telescope-smasher?" Kevin asked teasingly.
"Hey, I never broke any of the telescopes at the observatory! I was very careful." Ford retorted.
"Okay, okay, let's hear what it is." Kevin said.
"It's so stupid," Ford giggled, "I called it... Starpuncher."
The group erupted with laughter once again, and Florian sputtered out "Wait, wait!"
Ford looked at her, still laughing, and she continued,
"You can't... you can't punch a star. You’ll get burned. You have to be gentle, you have to... get her to lower her defenses, and then you can go to town.”
Ford blinked. "What?"
Florian paused, seeming to realize what she had just said. "What?"



There is a custom that has formed among the servants of Castle Silverholm. As soon as one sees a bright light shining out from under the door to Florian von Argent’s chambers, they alert all servants who are nearby. Word quickly spreads throughout the castle: Lady Florian is not to be disturbed.
Some nights, the light is visible from the town. A teenager once called the castle "the lighthouse," for the bright light that occasionally shone from its tallest tower at night. This name spread among the more irreverent people of Schoeneberg, though none would dare utter it within earshot of anyone in the employ of the Argent family.
No one outside of Florian's inner circle is quite sure what goes on during those nights. Many of the servants think she's working on some extra-secret project with Wayland, preparing some additional line of defense after the attack from the Anguish. Others believe she's conducting some sort of magic ritual. There's no way that hair colour is natural, right?
It's a good thing the servants know to stay away from her room. If any of them got too close, they might be able to hear Amatyne's muffled moans through the door.