"A star is dying!"
When a kor child spies a comet in the sky he sets in motion a series of events that will challenge the entire civilization of his people. As ancient truths are challenged, spectacular secrets buried deep in the past will be unearthed that will shatter the kors' way of life, forever.
Defying categorization, this unique novel by acclaimed author Warren Fahy (FRAGMENT), will bring the reader to a world never before imagined where universal themes play out on an epic stage.
Read THE KOR today.
Little Erg climbed the granite spire, chasing the sun’s tail. Nowhere in the world did the sun remain except here, moving over this rock that pierced the emerald sky. The sun vanished even as his feet touched the still-warm peak. He shouted as he jumped into the air and the last ray set his fur on fire as he glimpsed the sun’s rim below the eastern edge of the world.
When his feet touched the stone it was already cool. Erg wet his black fingers on his pink tongue and smoothed the chocolate fur to each side beneath his obsidian eyes. He had climbed the Cinter, just as he told them. Clapping his hands once in triumph, he surveyed the fading landscape of Tai-Raynee as torches dotted the fields and stars pierced the turquoise sky.
Sitting perfectly still with arms folded on the granite pinnacle, only the kor child could see the strange glow gathering now beyond the southern horizon. He guessed that it was a fire on the side of the world kors never saw. Like a chunk of melting gold, it rose, burning the sky, instead. “Aaah!” he cried, pawing the air. Like a leaping ghost, the fire emerged and moved across the sky, dragging an arching wake, before sinking behind the horizon only minutes after it had emerged.
He leaped down the sheer pinnacle from ledge to ledge in the starlight, shouting at the kors below to warn them. But they were too far below to hear.
When he finally reached the roots of the Cinter, he ran up to the cave.
* * *
In the cave the light was choked, delirious. Incense burned in a circle of niches carved into the back wall, a ring of red coals around the 9,000-year-old Sor, the First, the Prophet, who gazed down at 22 disciples.
The 22 “sors” who resided in the cave gave Truth to the Koroshi. Around them, the shapes of the Immurtai world were painted: curled ferns, green parrots with blue and yellow eggs, flying red hordes of many-legged things, the “giss” roots of all shapes and colors, tastes and textures. And the pearl-white fishes, the red elks, the orange butterflies, the yellow lilies, the kors. All these images had passed away as daylight dimmed in the cave’s mouth. Only the fresco on the ceiling was now visible, an eruption of phosphorescent stones depicting the creation and the apocalypse, each being one and the same brief lie before the Infinite Truth.
The sor Ez admired the skull of Holy Sor and chased the answers in his dark eyes with muted questions. He was never able to follow them deep enough, and he was humbled—such things took patience. Not the patience of one kor, but of all the Koroshi, together through time. At any moment along the way kors could not see Truth, but only imitate it, grace it, strive not to offend it with their own falseness.
Ez’s body was withered, his right thumb missing. Streaks of white fur curved from the inner corners of his ash-gray eyes down the hollows of his cheeks. His lips pressed into a horizontal line divorced from frown or smile as he smelled the pungent smoke of green manthril flowers, rising in straight lines around Sor in the perfect silence.
That was when the tiny kor child burst in on thrashing little legs, waving his arms and shouting, “A star is dying!”
The sors gasped and lifted their arms as the boy’s feet slung a colonnade of layered ash and dust behind him.
When the child saw their faces he was more frightened then when he had entered the cave. But when he turned to turn back, the sors’ tall, muscular attendant, Tor, caught him, and brought him, struggling, to the sors. Tor bowed then and left the cave.
And the boy was held down until peace returned and stillness was restored and Truth was recreated, once again. But the boy shocked them with one last whisper: “My ghost will rise, as big as Forever.”
The sors sat in a circle around the body, silent for a long measure afterwards. Then Ez recited the words of Sor: “The shout lasts no longer on the air than the whisper.” The sor On, who was all white, sighed at Ez’s stubborn need to state the Truth, which was only made less true when uttered by lips.
Not a word was spoken as they used only their left hands, working in a circle long into the night, as though together they formed a natural process, like time or decomposition, until the flesh that offended was burned and swallowed by the Infinite past.
When they were finished, the wind sighed around the mighty Cinter outside the cave, and a few more grains of granite blew from its shoulders onto the fields. They had proven their devotion to the Truth just in time before the lies of the dawn stirred the world, once again.