The first of our probes jumped into system yesterday, its plaintive cry announcing the arrival of the enemy at Hycaron II. It confirms what was feared for many years, that an ancient gate lay hidden there.
Like water ripples radiating from a falling stone, a wave of fear and darkness now spreads across the Candor district. As the enemy jumps from system to system, the dormant dust is activating and begins to control and consume its hosts. Fortunately, only Illaria was thoroughly contaminated, while other worlds have only received dust through physical contact and sabotage. Nevertheless, each world in its turn will experience horrors and civil breakdown as the mutations begin.
The darkness spreads with one objective in mind, to make its way out of the Candor district and into the main body of stars. Only my aunt and a breakaway group of ships stand in its way at the Gateway system. Those of us who subscribe to the Gathering of Ravens pray that she is successful.
I pray also because fifty standard years ago my aunt went to Hycaron II seeking the gate and found nothing. At the time, she moved amongst the lesser humans and fell in love with a human man. She conceived a halfling child, an event both miraculous and shameful to our clan.
That accursed world killed my mother, and I fear that my great-grandmother was responsible. She was too timid and afraid, and did not commit the forces necessary to deal with the menace that has crossed the divide.
On our chill home world, another conflict looms. The Ravens have defied our ruling council by committing forces to the fight. There is talk of civil war, sister against sister, the dissolution of an authority that has served us for thousands of years.
These troubled times leave little time or attention for a grieving youngster. When I asked Kyraenia for help to find my mother's body, she fixed me with a scornful frown.
"My grand-daughters have been a disappointment to me, what possible interest could I have in their off-spring?"
"Your mother was weak and soft, your aunt, arrogant and headstrong. I have no time for a child with that heritage."
I have to admit that in spite of myself, I cried, angry at her words. Her laugh was hollow and brittle. "How weak is the daughter of Kleneptra, the clan of Zilaerion is truly spent! The inheritors of my line are a weeping child and a monstrous hybrid that lives in defiance of the ancient code."
"Take a ship and pursue what ever mission you wish. If you fail it will be of no consequence. We are living in the end of times."
I try and shrug off the despair that pervades our house. I have a runabout and my friend Arborella at my side to help me. We head towards the Candor district and the coming conflict, knowing that by the time we arrive, there will be nothing but chaos.
-- Sylenia ny Kleneptra ny Hybritta hept Zilaerion
SP3 figures with the Xurge cybersuit outfit. Wildcat and Erin hair from DAZ3D. Space craft is an original model created in Hexagon 1.21
Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 6 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2