Friday, January 31, 2014

Page a Day: One Hundred Fifty Two

            It was the same dumb thing he always said.  
            But I had him this time. “Bastards,” I replied. “You did it. I figured it out. Three winds brought the Profusion down. That's what everyone says, anyway, on Thaeron and on Earth. Only no one ever knew what it meant. Until now.” 

            I held up my hand, raised my fingers one by one.  "But black, that’s the nightwind, or the khrall, or both. And white, that’s the Swarm. They hid or deactivated or whatever, but now they’re back.” I put up the third. “And gold,” I said. “That’s you. The last ones. You and all your kin. You finished us off. You put pay to the Profusion, and all our glory days. And it wasn’t even about us. It was about them. The khrall.”

            This, too, will take some explanation. The thing about the Niskivim is that they bend the rules. They walk through walls. They hang suspended in mid-air. They survive in open vacuum.  They have flexible relationships with both space and time. But they’re not the only creatures that can do that. There are also the khrall, as they have been called when they descended upon Thaeron and Centauris and upon the Earth. And they do not come to annoy us with philosophical conversation.  

I’ve seen the khrall, Elmy. And I never want to see anything like them ever again. They’re demons come to life, waking nightmares among the ranks. I know you’ve heard the rumors whenever a sortie went bad or it got frantic at the bottom of the wall. No one ever really saw them because they were too fast. But I did, the day we saved Cibolla, because they passed by me on the way to destroying thousands of my men. 

They’re huge, tall, more than three meters. Head like an animal’s skull, like a bull’s, curved horns. Broad shoulders, thinner torso like a man’s. Wings spread five, six meters, that are both there and not. Oversized thighs, like a goat’s. Black skin all over, but red, too - like fire for their veins. So maybe that isn’t skin they have, just muscle. And arms that turned into swords halfway down, curving each direction. They spin, they dance in battle like the Niskivim, they deliver death. Profusionist armor does not save you. And then they disappear.  

            Just like the Niskivim. It didn’t take too much to figure it out.

            “There is another war,” I said. “Always has been. You followed the khrall here once, to this region of space. To kill them. But you failed. And now you've followed them back.”

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