Then Imagine another droplet. And another. And another. Imagine the droplets falling here and there, like a gentle rain of ink. Pitter patter onto the surface of the water. See how the water in the bowl turns from clear to dark. See how the ink coils and twists as it spreads out. A few more drops, carefully placed, and the water is black. Reflective. You can see your face in it much easier now.
Imagine the bowl of water is the night sky. Clouds of black ink spreading across it, gently erasing the stars. An upturned bowl of polished obsidian, lit only by the moon that drifts above the pale clouds.
The poet might look up at that empty sky, pining for the stars. The philosopher might look up and catch their breath at a sudden moment of crushing loneliness.
The burglar looks up, smiling, knowing that less stars means less light means their job is easier.The militiawoman behind him smiles as well, unlimbering her truncheon, knowing that the glow of his little thieves' palmstone is significantly easier to spot when the night is darkest.
Shortly after the end of the Autumn Equinox, the stars start going out all over the Empire.
The Empty Skies phenomenon started around a year ago, and through 380YE it has slowly swallowed the stars over Skarsind, Holberg, Necropolis, Bregasland, Segura, Sermersuaq, Volodmartz, Karsk, Miekarova, and the Barrens.
Now, it has spread to cover all Imperial territories as well as the former Imperial territories of Liathaven and the Mournwold, and the non-Imperial territory of Brocéliande. During the day all is well; the skies appear entirely normal. At night, however, the skies are empty of stars; only the moon is visible. Only the sky within a mile of Anvil appears to be exempt. There, the night sky appears unchanged. No easy explanation for this element has been found.
Needless to say, this is causing quite a bit of excitement among Imperial astronomancers. The stars are still there, their magic can still be felt... they just can't be seen from anywhere in the Empire except the small circle over Anvil.
This eerie phenomenon is accompanied by a powerful shroud that makes large-scale divination and scrying extremely difficult. Rituals such as Eyes of the Sun and Moon, Eye of the High Places, and Dreams in the Witch House in particular are being impeded. A simple detect magic performed by anyone in the Empire can sense the presence of the shroud which permeates each territory even when the sun is high in the sky. Imperial magicians from one end of the Empire to the other agree that the shroud is a Night effect of magnitude forty-one, meaning any attempt to scry one of the territories affected must likewise be at least magnitude forty-one or no information can be discovered.
While the stars are still visible outside the Empire, the presence of the shrouds will still make it very difficult for anyone - foreign magician and eternal alike - to scry on the affected territories.
The serpent is more crafty
More importantly, every naga in the Empire experiences the following roleplaying effect; their natural urge toward subtlety and secretiveness is greatly strengthened. Naga in general relish being mysterious and secretive, but while experiencing this potent roleplaying effect they may need to make a significant effort of will to answer direct questions or be honest about their intentions.
The effect applies to all the territories of the Empire, to Liathaven, to the Barrens, to Broceliande, and to the Mournwold.
The Augurs of the Opalescent Gloaming
One of the side effects of the appearance of the shrouds across the Empire has been a burst of action from a circle of Winterfolk called the Augurs of the Opalescent Gloaming. Based in Hahnmark, in White Owl Hall on the icy shores of the Lake Kronevann, the Augurs are an old circle of magicians comprising practitioners of all of the main traditions of Wintermark magic. Their first action has been to provide the Imperial Seer with two gifts; the permanent ownership of a magical mask known as the Hawk's Demeanour, and a promise to donate two doses of Waters of the Shimmering Shore. The latter will aid Imperial magicians in overcoming magical concealments and confusions on all scales - from the powerful shrouds affecting the territories to the smaller and more subtle shrouds that sometimes hide magic items or magical auras.
The spokesperson for the Augurs of the Opalescent Gloaming, an icewalker called Siwar the Sharp, has expressed a hope that the Seer will be able to use these gifts in service to the Empire and the conclave. It remains to be seen if the coven has any further agenda beyond aiding the Imperial Seer.