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An astronomer’s young assistant saw it first; a faint light in the night sky, where no light had been before. He tracked its erratic movements for a while before reporting it to his master.

Puzzled, the astronomer recorded the details of the strange new star, watching in awe as it grew more luminous before his very eyes.

Concerned, he went to court and begged an audience with the King. By this time, the light could be seen with the naked eye.

“An omen,” whispered the courtiers. “They say such a light is seen before great disasters.”

The King listened gravely and announced his decision to the court.

“Such an omen cannot be ignored,” he said. “The gods must be appeased.”

The astronomer and his assistant were duly executed, but it didn’t stop the light. Within a few days, the King, his court and the entire city, were nothing but dust.

© Kari Fay