“According to Duke Northstorm,” Kevin began, “several nights ago when the stars spun round in Heaven like a tornado, you were tending your flock in a lowland meadow of Sky. His Grace cannot explain what happened next in the meadow, since he wasn’t actually there when the celestial chaos ended. But when it did end, all the celestial bodies—save one—returned to their proper places in Heaven. A mantle of charred and broken debris was scattered across the meadow. And you ran from the meadow back to your village in fear. 

“The only evidence anything untoward happened in the meadow—according to His Grace,” Kevin emphasized, “—are these boxes of debris that the Duke so neatly gathered and categorized for me to make sense of. Well, I’ll tell you a secret,” Galwynn whispered conspiratorially, “these boxes make no sense to me at all. In fact, I think that they were deliberately gathered and categorized to conceal the truth. What I think I need to make sense of the whole lot, is the story of an eyewitness to the events of that chaotic night.”

Peter reared back with smile that stretched from ear to ear, and hooted, “What you’re saying, if I hear you right, sir, is that you want me to tell you my story about what happened that night? And if my story happens to contradict His Grace’s, and makes him look a knave? Well, serves him right! Although he won’t take too kindly to a peasant like me if he hears about what I have to say.”

“Hear about it?” Aaron scoffed. “How would he hear about it? We’re all old friends here; friends who have just broken bread together, and are sitting back nattering. We wouldn’t say a word to His Grace, would we, Master Galwynn?”

“Not a word,” Kevin agreed, with a devilish grin.

Galwynn thought Peter still looked a bit reticent. That would not do. Master Galwynn rummaged deep in one of the voluminous pockets of his tunic and pulled out a small quartz sphere with jagged, white crazing running through its center. He casually rolled the crystal ball across his fingertips, and from hand to hand. Peter’s eyes could not help following the glittering crystal ball as it seemed to float over Master Galwynn’s fingertips. It was…enchanting.

“Now, friend Peter,” said Galwynn in a voice as soothing as a lullaby, “tell me, if you will, everything that you saw that night. Omit no detail. Tell me what happened, in the order that it happened. Include whatever noteworthy thoughts, impressions, or even gut feelings you had at the time. Have no doubt, you will be able to remember it all.” 

When Peter’s breathing slowed to a rhythmic shush, the Master of Enlightenment slipped the crystal ball back into his voluminous pocket. Then he sank back in his chair, made himself comfortable, and peaked his fingertips beneath his nose. Finally, he let his eyelids close halfway, then slowed his own breathing as he had done for Peter, and prepared to listen attentively to the shepherd’s story.

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