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The starry knight doesn't talk much, if he talks at all.

Some of the servants swear up and down that they've heard him, though each tells a different story.

"His tongue is forked and he hisses the language of snakes."
"He only talks in grunts and growls, like a dog."
"His voice is that of a child, but speaks like an adult."

And so on.

Usually, he's found at the side of the prince, who speaks to him with an ease and humor absent in his dealings with others. Though he smiles and nods, the knight never replies. Always silent, quietly courteous, but what good is a mute advisor? people wondered. What's the point of a wizard who can't speak his spells?

He had to be a wizard, for all that his highness called him a knight. His black-blue robes mimicked the night and were embroidered with white stars, and his eyes were a strange shade of orange-- the color of the black-haired foreigners from across the sea where magic was as common as water.

Then a neighbor's war to the east borrowed their soldiers, a fact not missed by the pirate lord. He attacked at night on his white-washed ships, his cannons breaking down the walls and towers, his men storming the docks.

The court looked on from the tall tower balcony as the city below was besieged. It was only then that the prince and knight exchanged silent, solemn looks, and the wizard-knight stepped forward. He stood on the very edge of the wall and with a dramatic flourish tore the stitching of a star on his robe.

Then the sky filled with fire, and the stars came down.

It couldn't really have been stars, people said later. Real stars are enormous. Real stars are as big as the world. But all the same, the stars came down on the heads of the enemy, immolating their ships in the water, and then continued to burn them under the water.

When the sky and sea darkened again, and the screams of dying men finally ceased, there was nothing left of the attacking pirates but waterlogged driftwood. Even the corpses had been burned, then sent to the bottom of the sea.

Nobody questions the silent knight's place anymore, and the whispers that follow him through the palace are no longer those of derision, but of fear.

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