The population of the Near
Grows by one every year.
Oceans of sky, mountains of bone,
Take care, children,
Not to find yourself alone
Three days before Christmas, Aurora wakes up in a strange bed in a meadow, beneath a sky that looks like an ocean. She doesn’t know where she is, only that she fell asleep in her bed and woke up somewhere else.
A bobcat named Yule and a wolf named Woe appear nearby, and they offer to take her to their king and queen. They don’t seem trustworthy, but what other choice does she have? Along the way, Aurora learns that she’s a jundhela, a weaver of windows that offer a view of what’s happening back in her world. Yule and Woe insist that she ignore them and move on.
When they finally arrive at Lonesome Castle, Aurora discovers a battlefield of steam-powered robot soldiers fighting. The king and queen each want Aurora to join their side.
Aurora’s only hope is to find a boy named Dusk and convince him to help. One way or another, she must find her way home.