In the beginning, the stars were born. They lived short lives and died fiery deaths. From their ashes arose younger stars, less bright but more stable. These phoenixes weren’t alone; they had a retinue of worlds, similarly formed from the ashes of the first generation. And the ashes of the early age came together and birthed Aztlan, the pearl of the cosmos.
– From The Skulkers in the Void, by Amoxtli.
Not every story starts at the beginning. But more on that later.
Martin had given up. After all, this was bound to be the end of his ordeal, eerily similar to his first encounter with the unreasonable and horrifying. Did he fear death? No, not really. The only thing that had kept him from ending it all had been that he loved Grangran, and knew exactly that his death would break her heart. But it was beyond his control now. He only hoped his murderer would make it painless.
Why was Martin so certain that there would be no way out of this situation? Because as long as he could think back, he had been followed by bad luck. But maybe it is best to come back to his present situation, and first describe what had happened to him before.
His childhood had been an ordeal due to his skin condition and the inability of the doctors to help him. The sunlight had burned his skin, which came off in big wads. Sunscreen hadn’t been able to help, and Grangran had been too poor to pay for his treatment, especially once it had become clear that he had some sort of atypical immune system that had the doctors scratching their heads. They had proposed further testing, but nothing within Grangran’s meager means had been enough to alleviate his suffering. All the better that he had never been sick before or after his skin condition, which had stopped once he had reached puberty.
Of course, Martin’s skin condition and poor background, oddball character and interest in the sciences had made him a target for bullying in school. But that had been a mere sidenote in Martins history.
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