𝐀𝐂𝐓 𝐈;

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⠀⠀⠀⠀THE NIGHT THEY WERE BORN, TWO STARS HAD DIED.

⠀⠀⠀⠀THE ASTRONOMERS WATCHED THE STARLIGHT FLICKERING, AS IF IT WERE GASPING FOR ITS FINAL BREATH. AND THEN IT WAS GONE; SWALLOWED BY THE DARKNESS, CANDLELIGHT BLOWN BY THE WIND. IN THE EARLY HOURS OF MORN, THE SULTAN CALLED FOR HIS MOST TRUSTED VIZIERS. 'WHAT SAY YOU, VIZIER AHMET, WHAT OF MY CHILDREN'S HEALTH? AND YOU, VIZIER BILAL? YOUR WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE ARE VAST.'

⠀⠀⠀⠀AMONGST THEMSELVES THEY MURMURED, WITH THOUGHTFUL NODS THEY CONCURRED. AND BEFORE THE SULTAN THEY PROCLAIMED, 'THE NIGHT OF THEIR BIRTH, YOUR MAJESTY, TWO STARS HAVE PERISHED; MYRA IN THE WHALE CONSTELLATION, AND AZHA IN THE RIVER CONSTELLATION. YOUR SON'S EYES BLAZE GOLDEN AND YOUR DAUGHTER'S ARE MOLTEN BRONZE, ERGO YOURS ARE CHILDREN OF THE HEAVENS; THE VERY STARS REBORN ANEW. MAY THEIR LIVES BE LONG AND FORTUNATE, AND MAY THE FATES BLESS THEIR YEARS.'

⠀⠀⠀⠀THEIR WORDS DRIFTED BEYOND THE EMBELLISHED WOODEN SCREEN, REACHED THE HASEKI SULTAN'S EARS AS SHE CRADLED HER DAUGHTER AND SON IN HER ARMS. THOUGH SHADOW SHROUDED THEIR FRAMES, THE NEWBORNS' SKIN LUMINESCED, AS IF THEIR BONES BORE A FERVENT FLAME. 'AZHA AND MIRAH,' SHE WHISPERED, AFFECTION BRIMMING IN HER GAZE. 'CHILDREN OF LIGHT, NAMESAKES OF THE FALLEN STARS. MAY YOUR LIVES BE LONG AND FORTUNATE, MAY THE FATES BLESS YOUR YEARS.'

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