Celebrate the greater mysteries.
Queen Mara Sov of the Reef walks the wall tonight, faintly lit by the City's celebrations. This high up, the wind pulls at her cape, beckoning her farther along.
The streets below throng with celebrants. The Awoken among them—Earthborn, Reefborn, Lightbearers—all gleam twilight in Mara's mind.
The celebrations tonight are for the City; Mara has no wish to make herself a place in them. Instead, she walks alone and thinks to her first Night of Ascents.
It had trickled upwards to Mara from her people; a folk holiday that eventually turned into an institution. It took decades to settle into its current form: a journey through the dark on the anniversary of the Awoken exodus from the Distributary.
On that first night, Sjur had blown in like a breeze, banging the door open, equipped as always with sturdy boots and her longbow, ready to bully her queen outdoors. She had led Mara by the hand, laughing, and laughing Mara had let her.
As they walked, Sjur's were the strides of a tall woman used to outdoor work. Mara had the pace of a leader who primarily focused on cognitive action. The difference often slipped Sjur's mind.
"Slow down," Mara had said, as they neared the gates of the Watchtower.
"I could carry you."
"Don't," Mara retorted—too hastily, not stern enough to put off a woman like Sjur Eido.
Mara hurried through the gate before she could be picked up, Sjur lunging after her shouting, "But my queen, my heart's calling is to serve you!"
The night continued on as they walked the asteroids side by side through space's endless night, reliving memories of that first journey to the Reef: escaping the missiles that followed them through the wormhole. The giddy adrenaline and cool calculation needed to make it to their new home.
Despite the cold of the thin air, Sjur radiated warmth—enormous, laughing, alive. It was Sjur's hand on hers that Mara remembered most in later years. One moment tugging Mara towards a climb; the next, supporting Mara through a gully like the most courtly of knights.
For many years, it was Sjur at her side during the Night of Ascents. Other years Uldren, eager to show Mara some new vista, some ancient treasures along the way. Twice Riven, inspecting their masterwork together on long walks through the Dreaming City.
In the Reef and the Dreaming City, Mara's people celebrate together. Remember their history. Enact it, making it new, returning it to life.
Now, she watches over the Awoken below, celebrating another holiday in a City with traditions of its own.
And Mara walks alone, between the City and the dark outside.