Author: Katya Hernández
Publication date: April 22nd 2023
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Young Adult
A fate traced by the stars…
Fifteen-year-old Etar can see the future in the stars—a rare skill even among magicians. But while other Starseers before him have become the stuff of legend, Etar has never predicted anything more exciting than the weather. Orphaned at age five and living under his uncle’s disapproving gaze, he yearns to prove his worth.
Disaster strikes when, in defiance of his uncle’s orders, Etar breaks into the Starseeing Dome—an ancient structure built to potentiate the powers of Starseers. Aided by the Dome, the stars send Etar a vision of ironclad warships destroying Skalland, the tiny island he calls home.
Hunted by a bloodthirsty admiral who seeks to enslave his newly awakened powers, Etar will have to fight to protect his friends while grappling with his past, his out-of-control magic, and a budding friendship turning into something more.
Hundreds of times in the ten years he’d lived under his uncle’s care, Etar had gone out to the lighthouse at night to try his magic. But this forbidden room had always been in the back of his mind, tickling his curiosity, making him wonder what it would be like to follow in the footsteps of all the great Starseers named in his book.
But in coming here, a truth both painful and mind-boggling revealed itself. He had grown up believing it was he who lacked power when in fact, it was the setting that was all wrong.
Standing in the middle of the starmirror—as his book called the pool at the center of every starseeing chamber—he was stripped so completely of his reality that he wasn’t sure anymore what flesh was. He tried to scream, an impossible feat without lungs, and everything around him became darkness poked through with starlight. No beginning. No end.
He fell upwards, and as he shot through the endless night, he noticed with alarming lucidity that he was being pulled into a disc of burning red light. A star, surely, but he had never seen one up this close. He’d never noticed the torrents of fire whirling and exploding on their surfaces.
The star soon eclipsed his view, and a high-pitched sound pierced maddeningly through his core. There were words in there. He could distantly recognize the cadences of spoken language, but to his understanding, it was all terrifying gibberish. He recoiled from the turbulent sea of red light. He knew the message the star was trying to convey was important, but Etar didn’t want to hear its discombobulating yammering anymore.
As the star pulled him in with unfathomable force, he tried to scream again, and this time his breathless efforts shattered the trap of his subconscious like a crystal wall. He was in the Dome again, a fact he only registered because water sloshed around his feet, and Jossan’s voice was coming from somewhere near his face.
“… wake. Please, wake up!”
Etar shook all over. He couldn’t draw enough breath to speak. But most concerning of all, he couldn’t see. The ghost of the star dominated his visual field. He dug the heels of his hands desperately into his eye sockets and screamed when the light persisted behind his tightly shut lids.
“Etar, please, tell me what’s wrong,” Jossan said, holding Etar’s shoulders firmly between her hands.
It took several minutes for him to recover some composure. Every time he’d gone up among the stars, he returned with a pleasant sensation of having just woken from a good night’s sleep. Now, he couldn’t stop crying, he was blind, and his head felt like someone was trying to rip it open with a cleaver. “I can’t see,” he whispered, his voice breaking. His body faltered.
“Fuck,” Jossan said under her breath, her voice shrill. “Hang in there.” She hauled him up over her shoulder and started going somewhere. Etar could guess the rise and fall of the stairs, but after they hit the hallway, it was impossible to know where they were. All he could hear was Jossan’s frantic, whimpering breath and some of her men asking her questions she clearly couldn’t answer.
And slowly, as they moved along the castle hallways, Etar’s consciousness slipped out of his grasp.
about the author
Katya is a writer, illustrator, and graphic designer who lives with her partner, two cats, and two dogs in sunny El Salvador.
Her cats are her harshest critics, but she loves them all the same.
When she’s not writing or drawing the fantasy worlds that live in her head, she’s cosplaying as the creepiest monsters from all her favorite horror movies.