Many stories have been passed down to us over the years. The White Witches are portrayed as both enemies and saviours of our kind, so you will find little agreement in the towns and villages of Northern Khandoore about their role in our downfall. It is said they destroyed the bridges between the stars, to prevent a great infection from spreading from world to world. We have seen the disease and the damage it wrought. Cities emptied of their inhabitants, disfigured and mutated into hosts for an unseen enemy. The stories say that when the dust first came it was contained, that the White Witches had succeeded in preventing its spread. What they didn't know was that it was sleeping.
Knowing now what the dust can do to wildlife, it seems a miracle that humanity survived that terrible awakening. Millions must have died as legions of mutated creatures, both animal and human, wreaked a bloody war on anything that didn't conform. In a matter of weeks everything was destroyed. Survivors died of cold and starvation, water became poison, and the crops were laid waste. Only those living away from the main cities or people already used to living from the land had a chance. They were my ancestors.
Life was hard at first. Our forefathers scavenged what they could from the rotting corpse of civilisation, but even those resources became exhausted. There were not enough people to extract the fuel, repair the generators or make the complex mechanisms of a modern society. We still have some of the paper books and the most hardy of machines, but our culture has become pre-industrial for most. The greatest loss of all though is our rationality.
I am lucky; my father is a teacher and a scholar. For him, the pursuit and preservation of knowledge is a noble goal. It is a gift he has given to me. Unfortunately, there are those for whom knowledge and understanding is the enemy. Their currency is superstition and the supernatural. These zealots inhabit a world controlled by chance and the baleful retribution of vengeful gods. They are men who worship higher powers whose prejudices and hatred are strangely allied to their own. Not satisfied that their work impedes our efforts to survive, they impose their creed with violence and death.
That is why my father sent me north.
I was heart broken at first. I never knew my mother, so my father was my only family and companion. He told me it was for my safety, but I still did not want to go. It was only after a series of murders by the zealots that I relented.
I thought he might send me to friends in a nearby town, but instead found myself travelling to a place that has become almost legendary. In the far north where the ground is rarely frost free, is a small hamlet nestling the sides of an abandoned White Witch spacecraft. While the rough cabins and huts have come and gone, the pale blue ship has lain there for centuries; a casualty perhaps of the Great War.
In the past the zealots tried to attack it, but it retaliated in its own way. Quiet now for many years, the site is a safe haven and a focus of pilgrimage. When the winter snows fall, the ship provides shelter from the driving winds, it's metal unmarked by the passing years.
The villagers were wary of me at first, but most took my appearance as a good sign and the fulfilment of prophesy. So I was welcomed with open arms, and set about teaching the children what my father had taught me.
Looking down on my new home, brushing my white hair in the light of the morning sun, I wonder if my mother lies sleeping within those blue walls.
-- Selena Mary O'Hallahan
-- Khandoore, centuries after the fall
An original space craft model created in Cinema 4D R13 Visualise.
Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 8 Complete. Post processed in Photoshop CS2