Sveta tried to shift the nervousness she felt at calling the others together. As the youngest member of the cabal by, she was always conscious that her wisdom lacked a quality that age would bring. But the news she bore was so extraordinary - so dire - that the others needed to hear it as soon as possible. She cleared her throat to get everyone's attention before speaking.
"The red star is definitely drawing closer. I've checked and rechecked the measurements with Ognjen's telescope three times now. I've even tried completely re-calibrating the device - the results are the same each time. It will hit the Empire - and soon. It will strike... somewhere in Miekarova."
The room fell silent for a moment, and then immediately filled with the buzz of voices as every member of the cabal began to talk at once. Wise Ognjen, whose telescope she had borrowed held up his hands for silence. Once he had the room's attention he asked Sambor, the Night Witch to confirm the findings.
"I cannot be certain where the star will fall, but fall it certainly will. But... nothing I have discovered contradicts what little Sveta has said."
Ognjen nodded his head sagely, considering the witch's words for a moment. "Very well, I think it would be best if you continue to borrow the Urizen Day Lens, Sveta, and continue your studies. Perhaps as the thing draws closer you can discover where in Miekarova it will land. But remember to heed my warnings - do not use the lens to view the star itself - all the news suggest that that is very dangerous."
Sveta started at Ognjen trying to make sense of his calm. She shook herself and tried to find the words to convey the scale of the problem "This star is huge - vast - when it falls... the impact will be... devastating - surely we must do something! We must work some magic - something powerful enough to avert this catastrophe!" Someone was chuckling - Sambor - of course it was Sambor - it was always him.
"A wonderful idea young Sveta, very appealing. We can all be heroes I'm sure. Just two small problems. One... the star is going to fall in Miekarova so any magic would have to be done there - not here in Karsk. And secondly..." Sambor stopped and smiled in a way that made Sveta painfully aware that she was going to get another of his patronizing lectures. "... secondly... the star is going to fall in Miekarova - not here in Karsk - and that makes it their problem... not ours."
"But wherever this star falls it will devastate the entire region! Hundreds - maybe thousands of people could die."
Sambor begin to heckle her again but Ognjen silenced him with a gesture. "Child there is always something wrong with the world... Some war, some disaster, some famine. But there are lots of very capable cabals in Miekarova, Sveta, someone will do something - they always do - and it will be fine. Our job here is to look after the vales of Moresvah, not to go solving the problems of the world."
And with that, the matter was over and they moved on to more other discussions - a curse had been found on the cows that grazed on the Malinov lands and there was a suggestion that a sinister volhov may be behind it. Apparently one of the herd had born a calf with two heads...
Towards the end of last year, astronomancers from several observatories in Urizen, Varushka, and the Brass Coast reported sighting a new star. With the assistance of Camillius of Endsmeet, a group of respected scholars from the Observatory of the Blazing Mirror in Iteri constructed a device they were confident would allow them to get a closer look at the star
By all accounts, things did not go well. There are many confused reports of events but rumours say that the spire has fallen and the all the magicians there are now dead, allegedly as a direct result of their attempts to get a closer look at the ominous red star. Meanwhile, the star continues to grow. Where once it was a pinprick of barely visible light, it began to shine as brightly as any other star.
The star is not visible in all parts of the Empire; that alone suggests that powerful magic is at work here. It can be seen in the northern sky over Sermersuaq, Hercynia; in Wickmoor and Sandling in Weirwater; in Northspires and Bruckland in Hahnmark; and over the whole of Varushka. It is even clearly visible in Skarsind - although it is the only thing other than the moon that is visible in the skies over the homeland of the Imperial Orcs. The sky there remains as empty of stars as it was before the Spring Equinox.
Even in places where it can be seen, however, it is low to the northern horizon, seeming to dance just above the peaks of the great mountains that separate the northern Empire from the lands of the Thule. With a month to go before the Summer Solstice, reports from the north say that it is still easily hidden behind an upraised thumb. It has "only" grown to the size of an apple-pip. Still, this is sufficient to spread its baleful red glow across a quarter of the northern horizon, brighter even than the rainbow lights that dance in the night sky in the coldest winters.
Every divination points to the same thing - the star is falling - and it is going to strike the Empire - almost certainly somewhere in Miekarova. If it lands in an important region the destruction and loss of life is likely to be appalling.
The nameless red star has detached itself from the Wanderer. It remains reasonably static in the night sky now (it is not visible during the day... not yet at least). It continues to exert a baleful influence on the Empire - and if it does crash to the ground then it will devastate the region it hits.
Magic and the Nameless Red Star
Whatever region of Miekarova is hit by the comet will be utterly devastated. Most resources that are hit will be destroyed - and if there are any significant settlements there then many people will die. However, regardless of where it hits, the comet is likely to rain destruction across a wide area as it breaks up. As a result every resource in the territory that is currently improved beyond level one will permanently lose a level from the destruction caused by the comet.
At present it is not known what region in Miekarova will suffer, though that is likely to become clearer as the star draws closer. The magic of Day, and Night can both be used to attempt helpful divinations. Several individuals have already attempted to use Signs and Portents in the hope of learning more - although they will not be drawn on the specifics of what they have seen, generally shunning the company of those who attempt to push them for more information.
As the star draws closer, then it may come within range of ritual magic before it falls to earth. Influencing the movement of the star would fall within the purview of Autumn magic - assuming it is possible to a powerful enough ritual could be accomplished. If it is anything like those stars that fall in the Summer months, falling to earth is a function of its essential nature and no force of magic can gainsay that quality.
Regardless, rituals to divine its path or potentially shift that path do not exist in Imperial Lore. In the absence of a ritual text, Imperial magicians must fall back on more spontaneous magics. Any ritual to affect the star would almost certainly have to be performed in Miekarova - or at the Anvil regio.
The Influence of the Nameless Red Star
As before, if your character suffers from any sort of mental or emotional ailment, they may choose to have that condition intensify during the coming event. Any lineaged character may also wish to review the section on the wiki regarding roleplaying their lineage, with particular regard to the final bullet point on "descent into madness".
Other Celestial Phenomena
The Absent Phoenix
The astronomantic constellation of the Phoenix has continued to fade. It is now almost impossible for Imperial scholars of the stars to see the constellation in the night sky. Oh, the stars are still present of course - but even when they are looking straight at them, or comparing the night sky to an astronomantic diagram, the constellation itself is impossible to make out.
It is extremely hard to explain what the Phoenix constellation represents. Every Imperial character is under the effect of a peculiar roleplaying effect: it is extremely difficult to remember or express the meaning or importance of the Phoenix, or to evoke its power in magic, without relying on a source of spiritual strength.
Among the mundane population, it has reached the point where some have forgotten that there ever was a constellation called "the Phoenix", or that the magical law that it embodied ("things learn") was part of astronomantic lore.
The Empty Skies
By day, nothing appears different; but by night, nothing can be seen in the sky save the moon, the clouds, and (in Skarsind) the crimson star. Magicians are at a loss to explain what is happening; the Empire is familiar with the Penumbral Veil of course - but that ritual warps the skies, it does not empty them. The eerie, empty skies exert an unsettling influence over those who spend too much time studying them.
Furthermore, any character of the naga lineage who has spent extensive time in any of these five territories over the last season will find that their natural urge towards subtlety and secretiveness is greatly strengthened. Naga in general relish being mysterious and secretive, but those who have spent an extended period beneath the inky black skies of the League city or the new homelands of the Imperial Orcs may actually need to make a significant effort of will to answer direct questions or be honest about their intentions.
The red star continues to grow bigger, and the phenomenon of the empty skies continues to spread. By contrast, the fading of the Phoenix constellation has been reversed and it is now once again plainly visible in the sky. You can learn more about these events here.