A civilisation inside a self-sustaining Dyson Sphere regresses to bronze-age technological levels, unaware of what they are living inside

Ezard could feel the wind thrum through the deep passages, the cooling breeze bringing with it faint sounds like those of the many blacksmiths in the above place where the day star shone brightly and eternally. He clutched at his thin tunic and plunged deeper into the darkness.

He had been born on the leedays, when the days grew warm and the crops ready for harvest. The people celebrated, coming from the lands that wrapped beyond the star to celebrate the newborns and rejoice.

In those special days, Ezard had been born later, the days slipping towards the foedays. The crowds who had come to celebrate the babs had ebbed and vanished, returning to the lands with their new charges safely shucked within their arms. Ezard was born to an empty hall in a desolate chamber with not a soul in sight beyond the nurses. Late to the world.

For eleven leemonths did Ezard stay in the chambers. He gave help but not birth, assistance but never a womb. He grew and worked and learnt. He had no family, no soil to till nor grain to reap. He fixed the old mason’s table, learning carpentry. He planned the rations, learning mathematics. He helped those who could not be helped, learning humility.

For eleven cycles of the leemonths did Ezard stay in the chambers, until ‘Smith Mezick came to him. The old man wore only a grey tunic. He found Ezard, buried beneath wood shavings and shook the boy clean, inspected arms and legs and gums and mind. He tutted and clucked, drew his teeth back and wheezed. Always wheezing.

And then the ‘Smith left. Gone.

For the second time in his short life, Ezard had been abandoned. Found wanting. The nurses consoled him, but the boy retreated within. He picked at wood with his blade, not carving. He picked at his food with fork, not eating.

And then one morning Ezard left. Gone.

He stole into the dark passages where he knew the ‘Smiths lived. He followed the sounds of machinery until he found the hall of the ‘Smiths. Mezick was there, waiting for him, sat at the head of a table with feast prepared. Knives and jigs and saws and scroll after scroll of parchment covered in the most intricate of patterns. Ezard’s hunger was insatiable.

“Why? How?” the young boy cried out, when his arms became laden with knowledge.

“There is time enough for the how, young one.”

“Then why? Why pick me?” Ezard frowned. “Why leave me?”

“Ah.” The ‘Smith toyed idly with a drill, watching the weighted wheel spin freely. “Every generation requires a young mind. But such a mind can not be collected and coddled. It must be found.

“I have watched you young one. Watched as you grew and learnt. And when I saw in you the makings of a ‘Smith I had but one final task.”


“A ‘Smith must hold dear one truth above all; the curiosity to explore. You followed me here young one, to learn why. Are you ready to begin?”

Ezard smoothed the parchments out on the long table, skimming through until he held up a single piece, the surface moving and warping to show a bird made of metal and clear stone.

“I want to make this!” he cried.

Prompt originally posted by Cymoril_Melnibone on reddit and received 13 upvotes.

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