The 1st of May was started in a perfectly ordinary way. People got up, ate breakfast, went about their business. News stations reported on the minor scandals and international affairs; trains ran, well, not on time, but no later than normal; and people going about their daily business. But there was a growing sense of unease.
Most people later described it as a sense of something buzzing in the cavity of the chest, like static. Those of higher magical ability felt it more as a pull - a buzzing, staticky pull from their centre of their chest, up and out and away. The static sensation grew over the course of an hour or so, reminiscent of the interminable weight of clouds before the storm breaks and the heavens open.
At a time roughly placed at five to one, people started reporting strange animal behaviour. Flocks of birds took to the sky and dogs started to howl, while cats hissed and rodents hid. Explainable enough in small numbers, but not when it appeared to be every single animal in the world.
Then, at one o'clock, the heavens opened.
Not in a metaphorical sense. Or at least, not in the sense of the usual metaphor. The very sky itself appeared to crack and splinter, and through the cracks came . . . something. Something bright, only not; bright wasn't the right word, bright was only an approximation - a metaphor, a best guess. Something sharp, something liquid, something that was there and not there and something that was entirely other.
Witches recognised it as being Aether.
The cracked sky lasted for a couple of hours. Planes flying at the time reported that the cracks seemed to be above them, no matter the altitude, while the international space station reported that the Earth looked like it was surrounded by a spider web of light.
Slowly, the Aether began to recede back into the cracks, taking with it the static sensations and leaving the animals calm and the people with only an intense sense of cosmic unease…