The Destroyer by MarkHirst ()
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Kleneptra, I thought I had bid farewell to you months ago when our grandmother told me you were lost to us.
I remember the tears and the nights alone, the grieving of our mother and the heartfelt support of my clan sisters. I heard that your ship had ceased sending its regular message drones from Hycaron, and was told that the Enemy now held control over that world.
I questioned why we could not go there, to honour you at least and help you make that final journey beyond the veil. Grandmother Kyraenia was insistent that our hand was not to be revealed, and that in good time, we could observe our rituals and customs.
I realise now that she was wrong, that Kyraenia's counsel was that of fear and weakness. What damage this strategy of appeasement and avoidance has cost us is incalculable. I know that it cost you your life, and in a manner grotesque and barbaric. If we had followed the way of the Gathering of Ravens, we might have gone to Hycaron II and you would be alive today.
The communique from the Enemy was sent to us as we jumped into the star system of Candor. It was luck perhaps that we choose to go there first, for with our drives, we could easily have gone to Gateway to join our forces in a single jump.
The voice was human, but the mind that controlled it was made of the dark viscous evil that we encountered on Illaria. It extorted us to turn back and stay away from the battle that was to come. This is proof that some of the controlling minds have already taken a foothold on Candor, and it is only a matter of time before they wreak havoc there too.
We sent our reply and made ready to jump again, this time to Gateway where we would wait for the Enemy to appear.
The Enemy contacted us again.
Nobody said a word as the images were shown on our main screen. I saw you surrounded by humans and fending off their attacks. I was shocked because you looked so unwell and listless, but saw that you gave a good account of yourself against your enemies. I saw that the human that felled you however was warped and corrupted, like animated flesh controlled from afar. We were stunned when your shields failed. Why didn't you cycle your shields, why weren't they at full strength?
What followed was a travesty, a monstrous crime, and many wept openly. The voice warned us again to turn back and retreat to our borders, but those tears turned to anger. It took all my self-control to reply. I told the Enemy that we were not the Songbirds that he was talking to, but the Gathering of Ravens, and there would be no retreat, and no surrender.
I wanted to cry for you Kleneptra, but a raging storm fills my heart. I look down on Candor and see these worthless human collaborators as vermin. We came to help them over the centuries in our quest to find a cure for ourselves, giving much and receiving little in return. I remember your kindness and concern for them over many years. I was once in love with a human man but it was nothing but tragedy. Though I survived the pregnancy, Kyraenia took my daughter from me and cast her into the darkness.
This crime against you is an abomination and unforgivable. I swear by the Dark Sister herself that it will be avenged. I will not hear of this plan to simply destroy the Enemy when we know that the darkness is below us in the hearts of humans. The Enemy will simply hide and bide its time waiting for our resolve to fail. Nothing will stop this infection unless I destroy both the agent and its host.
I will go to Gateway and cut out this evil once and for all. Where once the Lazloi were revered as bringers of wonder, now we will be feared as harbingers of destruction. I swear this oath by the blood that weeps from my hand, I will not stop Kleneptra; I will not stop until we are reunited again.
My path to you will be strewn by the dead and entire worlds afire.
-- Alisandra ny Hybritta ny Kyraenia hept Zilaerion
Image Comments (15)
Ran out of room again on comments !! Source images created in Poser 6 using custom shaders, further manipulation and final composition in Photoshop and Illustrator CS2. V3 figure with Cybersuit from Xurge3D and Sapphire Fox hair from DAZ. Thanks for looking, comments appreciated.
Very nice work. I like the minimalist cover and am particularly fond of your logo. I also like those circles in the background -- they remind me of Havok's power blasts from the X-men comics... or ripples in a pond. I agree that your toon shading is really impressive -- no one seems to do white as well as you do (and you've inspired me to start playing more with the hair textures to improve my black & white renders). If I were to pick a very tiny thing to suggest as an improvement, it would be to lose those two tiny black lines down at her groin. They just don't seem to belong there amidst all that subtle shading. Of course, I'm nitpicking again; I really like the cover as it fits into your entire body of work so far. Well done!