Revisiting Starfire – The History of the Stars
The first scene in Starfire is one of the places in the novel that was re-written the most. I had a lot of information to convey about Rathe and the world he inhabited all while trying to set the tone for things to come. The original opening line of this scene was a highly clichéd “A storm was brewing.” Not exactly attention grabbing, eh? But it was a good reminder to me that I wanted this opening scene to begin laying the foundation for so many things yet to come.
A big piece of writing advice is to start your story off in the action! Grab your readers by the throat and don’t let them go! I didn’t really follow that advice. Instead I wanted to start planting questions in the reader’s mind. Make them as curious about the world as they were about who this strange Yanguch named Rathe was.
Apart from all the craziness of an alien storm with exploding plants, I wanted to plant the seed of the Saurians being something of a cursed race by touching on Rathe & Rakjear’s reaction to the stars. As we learn later in the novel, the Saurians were once far more technologically advanced than they are during the events of the novel. But what was it that caused their collapse in technology? What was the wrath of the stars and the Dread?
I won’t go into much detail about these events just yet, but you may be able to piece together some of the clues based on the hints in Starfire and the glossary in the back of the book. Suffice it to say that this was the Saurian Flood and Tower of Babel rolled into one catastrophic event.
A little less than two thousand aboyoch (Saurian years) prior to the events of Starfire, the Ularis Empire had colonized two of Saurias moons, and as a whole had embraced the teachings of Surka and began the search for Shenkai, what they believed was the true home of the Saurians. At the same time the other two great powers of the time, the First Hearian Dynasty and the Karn Empire had made their own forays into space and a war broke out as they fought over the moons and their resources.
The Ularis though did not fight the war to hold onto territory, but to buy time, for they believed they had found the way to Shenkai and their pilgrimage there was soon at hand. In their arrogance, the Ularis pushed too far and Vor Tol Ko threw the Saurians down from the stars in the event that became known as the Wrath of the Stars. He also instilled in them a deep fear of technology and the heavens, what they now call the Dread, and this ushered in the time of Chaos. The Ularis Empire vanished, and for hundreds of aboyoch the Saurians lived in terror of the technology they had created and the stars they had strived to reach.
Over time, the Dread diminished and Saurians began reclaiming their past. Empires were re-founded and secrets best left buried by time were uncovered. By Rathe’s time, the Dread had become more of a discomfort, except for when encountering technology directly related to space travel (as seen a few times during Starfire). And perhaps soon, their arrogance will return and they will once more begin looking at the stars not in fear, but in hunger. For Surka still whispers the promise of Shenkai, and the faithful spread the word of a pilgrimage to be led by the new Hand of Surka.