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(a) Fall

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It was not so strange for stars to fall.

Stars were destined to dwell in the sky. But eternity is so often boring. And when the world below flourishes and grows and moves with a thousand various gears, all so intricate and neat and bursting brief, there is temptation. A want as sweet as untasted honey and fruit and wine and skin against skin.

Most stars could not stand the shifting, dying world below and withered away however - for even the warped time of Faery was not the halls of the stars. Yet the halls of the sky were, so very often, closed and timeless. Even though some danced too close to the world, and even though some could no longer hold tight to their sisters in the sky, the stars did all they could to keep each other from falling.

Fear* - known then as Pallis, the youngest of the stars to come bursting forth - was already bored with the slow shifting endlessness. Gazing down each day at the world as it spun and whirled, as it creaked and clattered, he felt a burning wholly separate from the starfire of his body. He would race across the sky following lives of mortals he favored. He would dance as the faeries danced. He would croon and leap at the joys of the world and weep with sorrow at its sadness.

For many eons, such was enough for Pallis, and for many eons his attentions went unnoticed. But the stars watched all, not just the worlds, and soon eyes turned to him as he raced and danced and leapt, and the stars turned to flickering frowns and watched more. They saw his excitement and endless passion, and they grew worried. It had been eons. Surely, he must have tired of the worlds below; there was eternity to contemplate.

The stars took Pallis and sequestered him away. Though he yelped and wept, they would not let him from the blinding room where he was imprisoned. His body shone in the sky, but none who gazed upon it were content. He was kept for decades upon centuries upon more in a room made of white fire and thorns, but never once did he cease his search for an escape.

Every moment of every day of every year, he pressed and pulled and begged the room to open. For when it did, he would flee and fly as swiftly as he could to the world below, and if his body were to waste away then so be it - at least the cruelty of the stars would no more be laid upon him.

And it was that he found the one weakness, the one place without starfire or thorn and stuck one finger - then a hand - then another - in and yanked the room apart. The halls of the stars pounded with alarms as his feet pounded across them, and he dodged each bright hand that attempted to latch onto him and pull him back into the prison. He ran farther and farther until the sky stretched narrow and he jumped, unafraid, knowing the fall was before him, the world was before him -

- as was another star. Mircea was quiet, uncaring for the long-planned conspiracies of the other stars, but that day was not a quiet day, nor one kind to one so quiet. Mircea would no longer be the slow drifting star in the sky he had been, for Pallis had already jumped, eagerly hurtling downward. Mircea could see, but not move from the path, and the two collided with such a force that the hall of the sky ripped and the world below shook.

Mircea fell with that same speed, and faster and faster they fell, entwined, Mircea giving off such great light that Pallis had to shield his eyes and his own light became dimmer and dimmer until he was a shadow, a dark tail to Mircea's falling star, until finally the two fell into what was once a forest, their fire and force sending every tree to flame and dust, entwined and awakening no longer as stars but boys.

And so -

two stars fell in the West.