The Star Collector

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: The Star Collector

Author: Kayse Thaellian

This tale was written for the 5116 Bardfest at Argent Aspis, which moved Kayse into the FINALS for that year.

The Star Collector by Kayse Thaellian

The backstage curtains part slightly, and Kayse steps out onto the stage. A glimpse of the shadowy backstage is briefly visible before the curtains close behind her.

(Kayse disappears into the darkness of the stage. The sounds of heavy objects being dragged and straining ropes are punctuated by muted footsteps and tense but hushed whispers. The lights slowly dim up to reveal Kayse center stage casting an appraising glance at the audience. High above her is a huge black canvas stretched out to curve over the stage.)

Kayse fondly marvels, "Stars have been a source of wonder and beauty, our eyes always averting to the sky in sheer fascination."

Kayse smiles brightly as the main lights dim, a silver-hued light shines through the black canvas where holes have been cut, mimicking a clear night sky with thousands of stars.

Kayse didactically notes, "Sailors use them to navigate home. For some they are inspiration, others use them as guidance for their paths."

(Kayse turns her gaze upward and admires the "stars" before redirecting her eyes to the audience with a pensive expression on her face.)

Kayse thoughtfully informs, "We recognized that specific patterns could be found in the stars and we began assigning names and shapes to them."

Kayse mysteriously mentions, "But the constellations of Elanthia weren't always present, in fact, they were an accident."

(Kayse flashes a quick grin and retreats towards the darkness of stage left, the stars still brightly twinkling above. A stretching noise of a rope begins to grow louder. Slowly a single violet-blue spotlight fades up displaying Kayse on a swing which is tied to a makeshift tree branch, the trunk of the tree disappearing off stage.)

Kayse amusedly begins, "Like any child her age, Zyelle was filled with childlike wonder and curiosity, which was only encouraged by her father."

(Kayse crosses her ankles over each other, the momentum of the swing still lifting her high in the air.)

Kayse affectionately observes, "Zyelle's favorite activity with her father was stargazing. Late into the evening her father would explain the phenomenon of the stars..."

Kayse recites deeply:

   "Everyone has a star, Zyelle, to help them guide the way.
    You pick the star and it chooses you, it will not lead you astray."
    Kayse smiles widely as she leaps off the swing and lands gracefully.
    "Sometimes the path is rough, or hard, sometimes you'll want to quit.
    But keeping true to the road it lights--to this you must commit."

(Kayse gestures upwards towards the stars as she walks to center stage, the spotlight catching the shiny dupioni silk of her pinafore as it follows her.)

Kayse excitedly wonders, "Zyelle searched the sky wide eyed, there were so many! She inquired to her father how he found his star and he answered..."

Kayse recites deeply:

   "A desperate moment, I once had, my life was on the line.
    Lost in the woods, weak as can be, I was searching for a sign.
    When into the sky, it appeared, the most brilliant light to be,
    It guided me right out of the woods, that star belonged to me."

Kayse bemusedly says, "Zyelle gazed at her father with the utmost disbelief. She was not this naive, even for being six." Kayse flips a pigtail over her shoulder with an air of confidence. "So, she coaxed her father..."

Kayse recites knowingly:

   "If what you say is true, dear father, where is this shining star?
    I casted my gaze around above and have looked both near and far."
    Kayse places her hands on her hips and purses her lips as she continues,
    "All the stars shine the same, no differences to be had,
    Admit at once you're tricking me, by Ronan's grace I won't be had."

Kayse softly responds, "Zyelle's father smiled to himself and without skipping a beat, he replied..."

Kayse recites deeply:

   "Scan your eyes to the northeast, then tilt your head at thirty degrees.
    Avert your gaze now upwards, then pause to feel the night's breeze."
    Kayse turns her head to the northeast corner of the canvas.  The other stars dim except a singular star, which illuminates the stage.
    "My star shines brightly just enough, for me to know it's there.
    All the others dull to mine, for none can quite compare."

Kayse voraciously sighs, "That's when she saw it...her father's star." Kayse smiles to herself as her gaze lifts upwards. "It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen."

Kayse dreamily discloses, "The idea of having one of the greatest creations in all of Elanthia as her own tickled Zyelle, but any attempt to claim one ended up in spectacular failure and frustration."

(Kayse folds her arms in annoyance, her wings follow suit and snap against her body sharply as she stares at the canvas. All the stars fade up to match the luminescence of the single star again.)

Kayse amusedly states, "Her father always responded the same way when she would get frustrated."

Kayse recites deeply:

   "Do not worry, do not fret, the night is never dark.
    There is someone out there waiting for your spark.
    The star will seek you out, for it craves you just as much.
    It will come when least expected, begging for your touch."

Kayse sadly interjects, "But Zyelle's father suddenly became ill. And as all stars eventually do, the light from his eyes faded."

(Kayse's smile retreats from her face as she takes a few steps to her right, the sequins of her ankle-boots sparkling in the spotlight as she delivers the next set of lines.)

Kayse grimly says, "Stricken with grief, Zyelle ran to their star gazing spot, her eyes narrowing as she cursed the stars above."

Kayse recites scornfully:

   "Where are you when I need you?" Zyelle spit at the sky.
    "I have done all I can to search, but still I get no reply."
    Kayse turns her head to the canvas, anger filling her eyes as she continues,
    "This is where you lead my father, deep into a grave?
    How can I be so kind now? Am I supposed to be this brave?"

Kayse angrily curses, "Zyelle flashed her tear filled eyes to the northeast. Her father's star was still shining bright. Her quivering lip slowly morphed into an upturned smirk as she made a realization."

Kayse recites spitefully:

   "If you won't come out to find me, I will seek you out instead!
    In fact, I'll steal my father's star, for this grief I must now shed.
    I will keep it in my pocket and close to my heart to shine.
    Maybe no one should have their stars--should they all be mine?"

Kayse ominously says, "A wicked smile crossed Zyelle's lips. She had a plan."

Kayse removes a pronged mossbark stick with a dark leather band from in her velvet pouch.

(Kayse pulls at the leather band of the stick with a single finger allowing it to stretch taut from the resistance.)

Kayse concernedly explains, "It took weeks and a lot of practice, but Zyelle with the help of her slingshot, began shooting down the stars."

Kayse lightly informs, "After knocking down a star, she would scoop it up and drop it into her pouch."

(Kayse removes a stone from her pinafore and fires into the canvas creating a loud smack! The stars slowly fade out in different patterns, until there is just blackness in the canvas. The distant sound of the stone hitting wood is heard backstage as the stone falls to the floor.)

Kayse tiredly says, "Exhausted and lost, Zyelle admired her work." Kayse gazes at the sky with a haughty expression painting her features before continuing gravely, "They were all gone."

Kayse smiles wickedly as she taps the side of her pouch sending white diamond dust up into the air, the violet-blue spotlight dancing off of it in iridescent shimmers.

Kayse suddenly remarks, "Then something caught the corner of her eye."

(Kayse quickly looks up at the canvas and to the southern corner, a single star brightly shines.)

Kayse annoyedly says, "Beyond the tree line just out of reach was a single star."

Kayse narrows her eyes.

Kayse icily says, "Zyelle knew she would have to travel further to finish her task, so with anger and destruction in her heart, she followed the star."

Kayse concernedly explains, "It wasn't until days had gone by that Zyelle realized she was lost."

Kayse recites perplexedly:

   "What direction did I come from?  Was it from the West?
    I've traveled far and wide and I really need some rest."
    Kayse looks around in confusion before her gaze is drawn to the southern star.  Her expression darkens as she seethes,
    "But then I remember my goal and what I'm trying to accomplish.
    I will seek out that last star, for it I must abolish."

Kayse says, "Zyelle finally made it in reach of the single star. Grabbing a stone from the ground, she loaded her slingshot and carefully took aim."

(Kayse pulls back the band of the sling and aims for the star in the canvas, her expression softens as she slightly lowers her arms in hesitation.)

Kayse fondly reveal, "Over the hill and diagonal from the star was a familiar wood chateau. The star had brought her home."

Kayse smiles warmly at the audience and adoringly informs, "Zyelle had found her star."

Kayse regretfully says, "What had she done? Her selfishness had robbed everyone else of their star: a way home...a muse...guidance."

Kayse frantically asks, "It took weeks to gather all the stars, how could she quickly correct her mistake?"

Kayse perplexedly adds, "A look of confusion crossed her face as she realized she had no idea where each star went."

(Kayse reaches into her pouch and pulls out a tiny ball. Taking precision and time to aim she shoots it into the canvas which smacks loudly and bursts into a cloud of white diamond dust. The stage is covered in a sparkly haze and as it dissipates it reveals four stars in a square shape conveying the constellation of "The Paladin.")

(Kayse frantically reaches into the pouch, spilling some dust onto the stage and over her shoes. She haphazardly takes aim and fires. *SPLAT*.)

Kayse smiles coyly at the audience as the dust settles to show tightly clustered stars in the canvas forming "The Handmaidens."

Kayse quickly says, "Zyelle kept shooting groups of stars into the sky with rapid fluidity." Kayse coughs lightly as the glittering dust settles, clearing her throat she notes, "some continuing to take shape as "The Jackal", "The Guardian" and "The Dragonfly."

Kayse tenderly says, "Then all that was left was her father's star. Kissing it lightly she turned to the northeast and launched it back into the sky."

Kayse put a pronged mossbark stick with a dark leather band in her velvet pouch.

Kayse smiles softly as she walks over to stage left, the spotlight following her as she takes a seat on the swing.

Kayse thoughtfully confesses, "The stars of Elanthia were never quite the same and the sporadic placement created the heavens above as we know them."

(Kayse grips the ropes of the swing and leans back and forth to create momentum.)

Kayse proudly enthuses, "As for Zyelle, she had found her star and was able to walk down the path it guided her."

(Kayse continues swinging as the spotlight disappears, leaving only the silver lights in the canvas twinkling.)

Kayse recites reflectively:

   "Do not worry, do not fret, the night is never dark.
    There is someone out there waiting for your spark."
    Kayse appears center stage, her silhouette illuminated by the silver light.
    "The star will seek you out, for it craves you just as much.
    It will come when least expected, begging for your touch."

Kayse smiles widely as she grabs the hem of her pinafore and curtsies.