:: previous – SkyGrim
Just tell the truth. Confidence is key.
I am confident. A confident truth teller.
“Ma’am?” Dayen taps on my office door. “Three-minute warning.”
Rose hops from her chair and rushes over for the last strokes of mascara. She’s always the dutiful assistant.
“Perfect,” she says, examining my eyes close. “You’re all set, Win.”
I fix a wrinkle on my dress and stare at the door.
I’m thankful Dayen will accompany me today. I can’t thank father enough for assigning his deputy advisor to me in his absence. Without Dayen’s extensive knowledge of the crown, I’d fail in this position.
Just remember, confidence is key.
. . .
The crown briefing room is dead silent when I approach the podium.
“Good morning everyone.”
“Good morning,” the press echoes.
Their voices combine with the sound of shutter clicks while still red lights on cameras remind me we’re being broadcast in everyone’s homes and places of business.
I flip through my binder of agenda items and scan the sea of journalists sitting before me in neat rows with wide eye desperation. All starving for information like beasts before a fresh carcass.
“Thank you for being here today. Just a few things at the top before I get to your questions.
As you all know, King Resolut is following in the footsteps of his forefathers as he continues his first official tour of Earth. The Crown is excited to report that our King and expedition team are currently rockhounding in the southwest region of the old United States, which is still quite dry, surprisingly. So far, King Resolut has found a Clovis point, Peridot gemstones, and a slew of various pottery and paintings. When the King returns, all artifacts retrieved will be entered in the Aeterna Archives at Black Mountain Library, which will be a very exciting time. More to come regarding that ceremony. We look forward to the King’s next update and wish him and his team safe travels ahead. Now… moving on to matters of the sky.”
“Yesterday, at three in the afternoon, an atmospheric phenomena event in the form of two connected glass bulbs resembling an hourglass appeared in the skies of Ghost. In hours, the atmospheric event stretched across the sky to here in Concordance, or as we lovingly call the District. From there, it made its way over the lands of Summer Thorn, Fortune, Black Mountain, and Synestia. Overnight, the atmospheric event decreased in size but currently remains over Black Mountain in a fixed, horizontal position.
In the cloudier areas of Black Mountain, only half of the atmospheric event, or glass bulb rather, can be seen with the naked eye. However, we are happy to report there is no visible sand inside. So, perhaps our time isn’t up yet.”
The press chuckles.
“Stale jokes aside, our most senior data and research scientists from the fields of astronomy and meteorology continue to monitor and analyze this atmospheric event. I am happy to report their initial findings suggest this event does not, let me emphasize, does not pose a risk at this time. We are in this together and appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to gather any new shareable information and get that out to you. With that, I’ll take your questions.”
I look around and point to a woman in a pink dress with short, jade-colored hair.
She rises from her front-row seat, taking a microphone from a male intern.
“Yes, thank you, Lavender Greene, Summer Thorn Press. Winter, is the King aware of this monstrosity in the sky? Will he cancel his tour of Earth?”
“Appreciate the question. King Resolut is aware and is assessing the continuing flow of information from the many highly intelligent senior data and research scientists actively monitoring and analyzing the event. After careful consideration and given the fact that this event does not pose a risk, the King will continue his tour of Earth as planned. Like all of you, we are learning as we go and will keep everyone updated as much as possible.”
“If I may, one more question…” I nod. “Violent thunderstorms were reported in all six lands shortly after the hourglass appeared. These thunderstorms were most remarkable in Black Mountain, where many residents are saying they heard what sounded like a mountain split open. Also, the Black Mountain Department of Health has seen an unusual number of reported earaches and temporary hearing loss. Is there any connection between the hourglass and the thunderstorms, considering their timing?”
“Right now, research suggests there is no connection between this atmospheric event and the thunderstorms. The Crown extends sympathies and best wishes for a fast recovery to those suffering. You are all in our prayers.”
I point to a silver-black haired man in a dark gray suit hovering by the outside of the middle row.
“Thanks Winter. Gabriel Bones, Ghost News. Considering the size and odd symbolism of this hourglass atmospheric event, how can the Crown confidently assess there is no risk? What if this monstrosity does turn into something that ends up causing damage, or worse?”
“The Crown understands the size and appearance of this event can be considered intimidating. However, initial findings suggest we can equate this to other things that appear in the sky, like an aurora, for example, or a rainbow. This event is not an actual object with the potential for debris and or property damage—”
“How do you know?” He interrupts. “What makes the Crown so certain?”
“As I said a moment ago to your colleague, this atmospheric event does not pose a risk at this time—”
“At this time?”
“Gabriel, our most senior data and research scientists, our most brilliant minds are actively monitoring this atmospheric event, actively analyzing it, and we are evaluating and making prudent decisions based on how potential risks will be handled. But from that, I won’t entertain hypotheticals or be able to go into any more specifics—”
“Where’s Khiana Grim?!” a female voice shouts out of nowhere.
I scan the room for the person who said that.
No one sticks out.
“Page twenty-six.” Dayen says in my earpiece.
“Decorum, please.” I remind the room as I flip through my binder to page twenty-six. “One moment…”