The Temple by MarkHirst ()
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The adventurers were called Mikaela and Niall. Their stories of adventure in the wilds of central Khandoore were a mixture of both wonder and horror. All of us understood only too well, the hazards of travelling in the open, away from the protection of fortified towns and villages. Not enough that the warped creatures roamed freely, savage humans were just as dangerous. Sitting around a warm fire on the second night of their stay, they told us more of their mission; to find and catalogue the sites of valuable resources and technology on the continent. Their particular interest was of any rumours leading to relics of the White Witches, who they also called the Lazloi.
I asked them what had started this quest, which drew their attention to me for the first time. I could feel their eyes studying me intently, and I realised I may have made a grave error. Many have remarked on my appearance, which is quite human but also perfect in many ways. I have never been ill, and have always been much stronger and taller for my age. I am seldom tired and my senses are perfectly tuned. No injury or wound has ever left a mark or scar. All these could be explained or concealed, except for my white hair and grey eyes, which are the mark of the Lazloi in the judgement of many. I am the half-human daughter of a mother I never knew, and her legacy lives on in me.
I saw nothing but friendship and wonder in their eyes however, as Niall told me of his first encounter with a Lazloi artefact in the east of the continent. While everyone knew of the Hall of Spirits, this downed craft was unknown and hidden in the forests. Niall had been part of a guard contingent attacked and largely destroyed by mutated wolves. Desperate, hungry and without a mount, Niall had blundered into the woods, expecting at any time to fall to another band of scavengers. Having no stars to guide him, he wandered deeper and deeper into the forest. He might have become completely lost were it not for a flickering light that appeared before him. It had danced and flitted around him before drawing him in a new direction, a long and confusing journey that had ended in a small glade.
There in the clearing was a large metallic structure, bathed in the ghostly light of a stormy sky. How long it had been there, Niall could only guess. What he did not doubt was its origins. The pale blue metal and the craft's red motif were the signature of the white haired matriarchs, my ancestors who had brought disaster to us all.
Judging by the trees that had grown around it, it could not have been there less than a hundred years. Despite the grinding cold and attack by trees driving their branches and trunks into its sides, the noble blue metal of the craft had ignored these forces of nature with complete and utter indifference. In the end, only one force had overtaken the craft. The immense weight of the unnatural and dense metal had caused the craft to sink into the soft ground till it reached bedrock.
The dancing light appeared once more, this time leading him to the front of the craft and a stash of berries, water and a freshly slain deer. It did not appear again, but the strength Niall had gained allowed him to find his way back to civilisation. While he still could not guess the purpose of his salvation, he resolved to find other places like the hallowed spot that had saved his life. Finding a willing companion in Mikaela, he had wandered far in his search for more of the Lazloi and their works. One day, he had promised himself, I will return there.
I could see in his face as he watched me, that his quest had taken a welcome and unexpected turn.
-- Selena Mary O'Hallahan
-- Khandoore, centuries after the fall
M3 figure in Wildenlander outfit. XFrog plants arranged using SurfaceSpread addin. Spacecraft is an original model.
Rendered in Cinema 4D R13.
Thanks for looking, comments appreciated.