In a few generations, they ended up calling it the Queen’s Quilt, when they remembered what it was, what it had, once upon a time, been, and who had created it.
A few generations after that, they remembered nothing but that the stars had been gods once, and not how the latter had become the former, or why, or by whose hand.
And a few more generations past that, they remembered only the names, and thought their ancestors had been fanciful. Qat, who created the world. Quaoar, the force behind Qat. Orion, the hunter. Ursa, the mother bear. How shiny and creative were our ancestors, how credulous, to believe such absurd things.
A few generations beyond that, they learned what had really happened. But that is beyond the scope of our story.
The Queen had a problem.
The world was not young, not by any means, although history would pretend that this was a Dark time, a muddy and deadly time. Certainly, humanity had already risen and fallen more times than anyone was allowed to recount, than anyone could recount, if they spent their entire life counting.
And while Europe, or much of it, sat in muddy unhappiness, on a few special places, people had risen to amazing prominence, to brilliance and strength and magic unknown elsewhere in the sloppy world.
Risen enough, indeed, that when they visited other places they were hailed as gods.
And they were bored.
They were creating islands now, and a small mesa in what would at some point be named North America. And they were creating animals, and people, because they were bored, and then hunting them. They had conquered sickness (Again, although they did not know they were not the first). They had conquered old age (again). Boredom, however, they had not yet beaten.
And they were creating, on top of everything else, wars. And that was where the Queen had a problem. The others who had become enlightened would tolerate making islands. They would tolerate playing at Gods. But they would not, in the end, tolerate bringing down the muddy people, the ones who didn’t have the high hand this time around.
It was considered cheating, in the long, long game of enlightenment.
So the Queen pulled together all her best minds, and all her troublemakers. She drew the lines on the ceiling of her observatory, and she pointed. “There, you, Qat. Take one hundred men, and this ship I have built for you. Light up the sky for me, Qat.” And he went, out to the sky. “There, Quaoar, out there. Take one hundred men, and find me something brilliant.” And it went, out into the sky. “There, Orion. Go and find me something new to hunt.” And he went, out into the sky.
They called it her quilt, for the lines of stitching drawn on her observatory: not just those three, but all who were difficult. The lines where they left, and then, the lines where they landed, like patches in the sky.
What happened to Orion, they did not know, save that the sky exploded with his sign, and he never came back. Quaoar went further and further, and never came back, save to send a message that he had found the brilliance.
Nothing at all was heard of Qat, not for generations and generations, not until the Queen had been forgotten entirely.
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