Story - Solar System
They called them ‘Hotanathii’. In the Old Tongue it meant ‘God’s Spine’, for that’s what the mountains looked like to those men of old, but in time it had come to be used to talk of something still, unchanging, eternal.
Hotanathii were the stars sprinkled on the night sky, and the constellations they drew. The sun was hotanathii too, and the course of the river, and the ice on top of the mountains. A couple’s love was hotanathii, and the tombstones of the ancestors as well.
Tymokh watched the mountains emerge from the chill of the dawn, huddled in his robes, sitting cross-legged at the center of the village. A bonfire had roared the night before not ten feet from where he sat, but any warmth had long been extinguished. Fire was nothing but a spark, doomed to fade. “He was not so different. We are not Hotanathii, brother fire. The universe just doesn’t like us enough”. Men’s light was just as fickle; it could burn so bright it pierced the eyes, and pale away in the same breath.
Ah, but he knew now, he knew how to trick the universe. He could dim away, so be it! The spark in Elysse’s belly was his own, he had passed it on and it would shine. The stars would have to acknowledge it, the sun would warm it, and the mountains would welcome it to the world.
Long after Tymokh would leave, his child would sit there, under the same sky, before the mountains called God’s Spine.
That, too, was Hotanathii.