The West Gate by MarkHirst ()
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Two adventurers arrived at the village today, tired and saddle sore from a long ride.
Strangers are always treated with respect, but we have learned that suspicion is also a healthy trait. Children ran with them as they took their horse to water, while the adults led them to the centre of the settlement. The elders welcomed them to a generous dinner of bread, cheese and salted meat. As they dined, the visitors told us of their pilgrimage to the ruins and relics of the Great War.
The strangers had been to the location of a great machine known as the Hall of the Spirits, a vast blue spacecraft lying on a hillside some five hundred kilometres south. Braving the dangers of bandits and monsters, they had followed the stories and legends of other remains to our village. Our settlement was the only other major relic of the White Witches they were aware of.
All these stories were listened to in silence and reverence, the children sitting open mouthed at their feet. Around the hut stood the adults, fascinated by the stories but also eager for news of the outside world. I attended in disguise, knowing that my white hair and ancestry might cause awkward questions.
The travellers asked if there were any stories of ghosts or visions associated with the craft, but were greeted with smiles and laughter. There are no zealots here, explained the elders. In all the years that humans have been aware of this craft, it has only reacted once to their presence. Years ago, beams and lines of force met an attack by a religious mob on the west-facing door. It was a response that was total in its lethality.
The elders took the strangers to see the west gate. Two stylised female figures, some eighteen metres high stood either side of a great column. It was a structure designed to elicit awe from any who looked upon it. At the base of the column was a large door with a smaller representation of the same female figure. This would have been where the White Witches entered their vessel. Looking up at the top of the craft, there was a plain door and a guardrail. Did the White Witches stand there to look out across alien landscapes?
The strangers asked if anyone had tried to scale the side of the ship with ladders or ropes. The elders shook their heads and led them closer to the hull, close enough to almost touch the blue skin of the ship. A few centimetres above the alien metal was a faint veil of shimmering light almost invisible to the eye. One of the elders held out a stick and gently stroked the curtain. A pool of light erupted at the contact point. An angry buzzing filled the air that made everyone step back. The elders explained that when it rained at night, the drops caused a storm of lights to dance over the surface of the ship. It was a light display visible from the distant hills.
The zealots worship gods that hide in the shadows and the sky. It is evident the White Witches are a far greater power than these madmen's inventions. While the zealots only understand bigotry and destruction, White Witch handiwork has endured for hundreds of years. These wondrous craft are the products of imaginative and curious minds. They were made by a people eager to understand the universe, to take their knowledge and extend their hand to protect and explore its wonders.
-- Selena Mary O'Hallahan
-- Khandoore, centuries after the fall
Original space craft model created in Cinema 4D R13 Visualise. Scene rendered in Vue 8 Complete.
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