It all disappeared: the grey walls of the provincial inn, Handel’s noisy marketplace you could see over from the window, everything. Silent, velvety darkness swallowed the world. It was full of stars, distant and near, yellow and blue, scattered like sparkling diamonds upon the velvet or condensed in nebulae far, far away. There was no motion. There was no sound. Distant, alien worlds looked upon Kangassk with tranquil indifference; there was no way to tell which one of them was the sun of Omnis and no way to get back...
His awe turned to terror at the thought. Kangassk floated in the void, helpless and alone. There was no up and down, no left and right, no air to breathe, no ground to stand on. He couldn’t cry. He couldn’t tell how much time had passed. He could only tell the time didn’t stand still for the distant stars sparkled, living their own lives countless light-years away...
Desperate for anything real and homelike, Kangassk grabbed his soothstone. The glassy pebble was warm to the touch and sparkled, reflecting the stars. It gave him the feeling of safety, became his zero reference point, his pivot in the void, his beacon in the darkness. With a sigh of relief, Kangassk closed his eyes.
He felt the changes then: a cool breeze bringing sounds and smells of a pine forest; he heard the birds sing and grass rustle; he felt the earth under his feet
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