Decline and Fall

Decline and Fall

Narrative

Like most of humanity, I had always thought of the Lazloi as some kind of freak all female culture, a race from which men had been completely eradicated. It was our journey to their home world that taught me the truth of their decline and fall.

I'd never seen a male Lazloi until we met Alisandra Zilaerion and the crew of her ship, Storm Crow of the Dark Sister. The solitary male's title was that of pilot, although it was largely a ceremonial one because of ill health. When I was allowed into the flight room of the cruiser, I would usually see him sat next to the assistant pilot who took actual responsibility for the ships course. I tried to speak to him once but discovered he only spoke Lazloi. His companion was willing to translate, but he seemed irritated and tired by the experience.

Although I saw him in the corridors moving slowly to and from his quarters, it was the pilot seat where I saw him most. He was usually asleep or resting his eyes, performing occasional flight manoeuvres but little else. Even the most senior Lazloi would help him to and from his seat, and his fellow crew seemed happy to cater for all his needs. When I asked one of the Lazloi why he sat on the bridge and did so little, she became angry and quite upset.

"You humans take your old and lock them away, denying them the dignity of self worth or achievement. You tell them that their time is over and then wonder why they crumble and waste away. His body might be old and frail, but the mind is alert and keen. How else can we revere him but to give him the respect he deserves? In his short span he will have given life to many Lazloi, and their lives will extend far beyond his own. It is a gift we can never repay."

After that incident, I avoided the bridge and spent more time in the stateroom with Siandyha. She hadn't been very talkative since the meeting with her mother, and after the parting of our ways at Illaria had barely left the room. We passed the time playing games or reading, or using the holographic displays to follow our course into the galactic rift where the Lazloi home world lay. A young Lazloi I had befriended would come by occasionally, so I asked her about the old man on the bridge. She told me that he was one of the last male Lazloi to be born, and as such was honoured amongst the Lazloi. Over the past thousand years or so, the male Lazloi had become weak and short lived, each generation worse and less numerous than the last. It had begun slowly at first, but the decline had accelerated quickly. Now in the last couple of hundred years, the deterioration had been precipitous. Female Lazloi with lifetimes measured at a thousand years or more were watching their men folk come and go like the seasons. She told us with a tear in her eye that the Lazloi had a new name for their offspring; Elkyndloi na Mor, the girl children alone. No male Lazloi had been born alive in the last forty years.

One early morning shouting and crying awaked us, so we dressed quickly and opened the door to see a commotion in the corridor. A group of Lazloi were moving towards the bridge. They were talking urgently amongst themselves, and we could see that many were upset. We followed them to the bridge were it seemed most of the crew had congregated. The Commander was speaking and there were tears in her eyes. The Lazloi around us bowed their heads and held hands, while others sat down and wept. In a corner, a Lazloi became hysterical and had to be taken away. We stood there excluded and bewildered until a Lazloi deigned to translate, telling us that the male Lazloi had died from old age.

He was only forty-two, and one of the longest lived of his generation. There was no laughter or smiles after that, and my new friend didn't visit us for days.

-- Tara Alessia, aboard the Lazloi cruiser, Storm Crow of the Dark Sister

Description

V4 figures with SD and DAZ Casual Wear. DAZ M3 figures.

Scene assembly, prop modelling and final rendering in Cinema 4D R11.5. Post processed in Photoshop CS2

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Updated: 23 October 2010

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