The typical winter was not what was in store for the Basin of Life. Instead of chill and frost, the temperatures spiked once more as Father Sun again grew large in the sky and bore down upon the world’s inhabitants. It started slow at first: a gentle simmer that soon grew more and more intense. Many worried that it was the sun pride tree’s recent wounds inflicted by the Goldenclaw Wiccans that was the source. Everiine Silvermoon and Crek Ysav’rai, for instance, wondered about such a possibility as they happened upon the tree, and not much later, Fralunah of Serenwilde swore to find a way to heal it. This ‘heat snap’ as all but a herald, as in early Kiani, the sky was scared anew by terrible solar flares that ravaged the land.
Unlike before, Sun did not strike against the cities and communes. Or at least, he did not strike at all of them. His focus was particular – against the crystalline city of Hallifax. Previously, Sun had struck the floating city and his flares scattered throughout the Basin; this was replicated time and time again in Kiani, striking a seemingly arbitrary collection of places: the Tosha Monastery, Oleanvir Valley, the Presidio of the Damned, the Tolborolla Valley, the Scorpion Caverns, and perhaps unbeknownst to many, the Arthar’rt Observatory. Doman Trueflight was the first to consider that Hallifax had become a magnifying glass to the Sun’s rays (to which he subsequently challenged such a possibility, an argument that was soon quelled by Primus Ileein Shevat). The flares were like before, save that they also summoned strange figures known as the Hunters of the Shorn Corona, which were quickly deduced by Dylara Stormcrow as kin to the champions of Night and Moon. The fae of the sun were brought down by a motley sort: Falmiis Shevat, van of Serenwilde, Aithera Pavok, Demartel Shevat, and others. But was most frightening was that these flares did not just summon fae, but also burnt parts of the land until there was nothing left by ash, glass, stone and smoke.
This realization caused some communities to evacuate their homelands. In Tosha, after being assisted by Falmiis and Ino of Hallifax, Master Quettle decided to usher the Toshan Order to temporary safety within the Snow Valley after becoming upset that the Hallifaxians simply treated the fires and fae and not specifically help his brethren. In the Tolborolla Valley, Thul d’Illici spoke with Vaboz Bumble who was too concerned to leave his much beloved bees. After some coaxing, he, and the entirety of the hamlet in Tolborolla too, relocated to New Celest with the help of Thul, Eicia and Eldanien Silmet, Bleuu and Abelor Hartfire, Kagato of New Celest, and Prince Roman Hartfire. Simultaneously, Kailanna n’Kylbar and Sabella D’Cente managed to find the nobility of the Presidio some refuge in the Asylum, though not without some snark and class conflict. In the middle of Kiani did Iora Indara inspire Evgenii Novikei to bring his ‘grams’ Alexei and friend Lars Legrand to New Celest as well, while Eldanien attempted to entreat the kephera of Oleanvir to both come to the city and possibly create a psionic web for its protection.
In Glomdoring, Athree Nightshade, Salome Shee-Slaugh and Dylara attempted to discern a way to stop Sun’s outrage, inviting wisdom from Wise Lady, the Voice of Grandmother Scorpion. Wise Lady was worried about the Caverns and Scorpion, a fear that was only furthered after Glomdoring left the ancient shrine to entreat the insight of the old witch, Rowena Nightshade.
It would be Hallifax that was the Basin’s hero in the end. Author and Ileein Shevat spoke to Fraesic, Sunfar, Keeper of the Matrix about what could be done, leading Ileein to consider the possibility of producing countermeasures. This, coupled with Falmiis and Ino’s irritation at Quettle, lead to a full-fledged meeting of the minds where numerous options were discussed, including growing a sunpride tree in the city. Eventually, Ino suggested generating clouds, and after some deliberation, Ileein took the idea to the Temporal Conclave for a report. Entreating the aid of Malimli Fairquillion and a dozen students from the Centre for Aeromantic Engineering, Hallifax began what was known as Project Eclipse – which created a link between the Matrix and the Plane of Air where the aeromancers of the city wove a barrier of clouds to protect it and the Basin.
Thus far, the barrier has remained stable and no solar assault has commenced since. However, whether or not it will stay that way is uncertain.