“The time will rise when research across the years will illuminate that which now lies in the dark. One lifetime, even if devoted to our sky, is not enough for the inquiry of somethine so vast. Only through the birth and death of many will truth come out into the light. There will come a time when our descendants will mock that we did not see things that are so visible to them. Many discoveries are for those still to pass, when memory of us will be scoured from the stone by wind and rain.”
-from Inquiries into the Sky by Bethari Gaisek
The Astronomer, known as Bethari Gaisek in her life, was a polymath from The Radiant Empire, most famous for her inquiries into the night sky, but most respected in academic circles for her extensive writings on practical mathematics. She developed the formulae foundational for the field of kinematics and was the first astronomer to use mathematics to predict the transit of a planet across the sun. She also discovered the existence of a “dark moon”, a satellite body in Ruengoethe’s sky. Unfortunately, in her life she was unable to present her findings under her own name within the Radiant Empire due to her gender. Legends tell of stories of her dressing as a man to attend the conferences of The Radiant Empire’s scientists and empirics while travelling with her brother, and it is traditional in some areas of The Western Continent to celebrate The Astronomer’s feastday with men and women dressing as their opposite.
She used her brother’s connections with Thassal to publish her work, titled Inquiries into the Sky, but casually referred to as “The Pillow Book,” as she hid the vast text underneath her pillow from her parents. The book eventually attracted the attention of Thassali natural philosophers, who sent envoys to The Radiant Empire to seek out the man who wrote the text. Bethari was forced to admit that she wrote the text, and requested leave from the local branch of imperial authority to visit Thassal to have access to the Nonman observatory there.
Unfortunately, the local Radiant Priest would not allow it, and set to bring shame to Bethari for stepping outside the bounds of her gender and social status. Pursuit of natural philosophy is something monopolized upon by the scholar-priests of the Radiant Empire. Some of her work directly contradicted the current beliefs of the scholar-priests, especially her contention of the existence of a third, “dark” moon, seen as directly contradicting some of the texts of The Illumined Wall. She was tortured until she was forced to recant her findings, though famously, after she recanted, she said to the scholar priests, “and yet, it’s there.”
Bethari was sentenced to the pillory after she recanted. Her hair was forcible shaved and she was tied nude to the pillory, where she died after a stone thrown at her cracked her temple and she had a seizure. There, she rose as an Ascendant, in sight of those who condemned her.