Fortunes change quickly in uncertain times.

For years, my heritage was an asset. I was the great-granddaughter of Clan Mother Kyraenia, the leader of Clan Zilaerion and chief amongst the faction known as the Aeryloi. The Aeryloi or Songbirds held political dominance amongst our kind, treading an uneasy path of isolationism and some would say, appeasement with those around us. It was not a position my aunt Alisandra subscribed to, who openly defied Kyraenia by joining the Rafnloi or Ravens, the faction that advocated action and the extension of our powers.

My mother Kleneptra was the weaker of the two sisters. Whereas Alisandra would speak her mind and rage angrily at the mistakes she saw, Kleneptra would protest quietly, before acquiescing to the demands and orders made by Kyraenia and her kind. I was lucky, as there was a great distance between me and the overbearing Kyraenia. I was able to enjoy the prestige of my name, but was free from her meddling and control. Only when my mother died and Alisandra was exiled, did Kyraenia turn her attentions to me.

It was too late by then, for I had already allied myself with the Gathering of Ravens, despite the Zilaerion name that I bore. For years, it was my actions and my loyalty that protected me from the political strife that raged throughout our civilisation.

That changed when Kyraenia was discovered talking to our Enemy.

The message telling me to flee came just in time. I stared dumbfounded at the decrypted text appearing on my hand computer, warning me that Clan loyalties were re-asserting themselves. It is an oft quoted rule of our kind that Sister does not harm Sister, but I learned that even ancient traditions such as those are starting to break.

I rushed to my ship even as the news of Kyraenia's betrayal spread amongst the crew. I was almost caught as I entered the airlock but a swift punch and a kick won me my freedom. As my ship streaked upwards out the gas giant's atmosphere, orders to return filled the cockpit, orders that were full of assurances but with an edge that said they were untrustworthy.

The weapon strike from the frigate was swift and uncompromising. In a single blow, many of my ships systems became disabled, the most important of which was the hyperdrive and life support. I had a choice, to surrender to the frigate that had just tried to kill me, or make all speed back to Candor on the last reserves of my air.

I gasped on the last few litres of air, as the ship found an abandoned spot some hundred kilometres from Candor City, a housing complex in an area long emptied by the Dust and the warped life forms it had created. Hidden by the high walls of an old dormitory building, the ship audibly sighed as one system after another shutdown into silence; its only defence against further detection, and the beginning of a long period of self-repair.

I stumbled about the now silent craft, discovering that the two simulacra that had assisted me these last nine years had been left behind. The only sign of life now was a faintly illuminated section at the back of the ship, a small pod where I discovered the still sleeping form of the human; the male known as Joshua.

-- Sylenia hept Zilaerion, in the bad lands of Candor


SP3 figure in the Xurge Cyber Suit, with a customised texture. Noemie Hair.

Runabout is an original model created in Hexagon 1.21, while the background buildings come from the Stonemason City Courtyard set.

Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 6 Pro Studio. Post processed in Photoshop CS2

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Updated: 08 February 2009

© Mark Hirst, 2000 - 2018