Subject: Interview with Lilylhazoraitev (Lily)
Choices. It’s all been about choices. Not just today, but ever since I got the call. That call that some beings want and others dread. That call into the service of Queen Deceptra’s Mosha Guard. To obey, absolute, without regard for anything else, her majesty the Queen.
I know. I get it. I’m sure that anyone can see the irony in this. If you are called to obey, what choice do you have? Especially when your race is under contract or perhaps indebted to the one you’ve been called to serve. After all, Queen Deceptra did deliver the Mosha from a war that would have likely killed our entire species. Still, I say there was a choice. Live and serve or abstain and die.
But I won’t mislead you. No need to obscure the truth of my choices. I was happy, eager to join. I did everything I could do to get to the top of the list. To be the best of my tribe. The best of the Mosha, just so that I could get noticed and enter the Mosha trials. I wasn’t blind. I was simply willing, proud even. And those decisions, how I lived my life, how I stepped over and around others who I deemed to be in my way, those choices are the ones that shaped me and brought me to where I am today.
Lighterious Three. A luminous-rich planet, just inside the outer rim of the Chesarn Nebula. Most species wouldn’t be able to stand the constant bright light that the planet’s atmosphere generates day and night. The atmosphere is certainly safe enough, breathable and all. Still, the light, it can blind you if you aren’t careful. But the light doesn’t bother me. Mosha are adaptable. Our abilities allow some of us to adjust our sight as needed. It’s a useful talent when guarding the Queen, or her commanders, in adverse conditions.
My mission here was simply to investigate and observe. The Queen’s orders to Regent Hesh were to send a member of the Mosha Guard to Lighterious Three, search for a specific energy signal, and report back the findings. I volunteered. My choice. Same as always. Stand out, not behind. The trip to Lighterious Three took three days, so I commandeered one of the M27 mech walkers and had the maintenance crew paint it to my liking. The tactical commander, Winwin was her name, didn’t like me taking one of her mechs. She definitely didn’t like me painting it. But that was my privilege and my choice. After all, I am in the Queen’s Mosha Guard. I actually said that to her. Wow, right? Besides, I really can’t stand those Raysha Squad creeps. Let Commander Winwin of Raysha Squad file a complaint. I didn’t care at that time, and now, well, I guess it really doesn’t matter.
When I touched down on Lighterious Three, my objective was clear. Follow my orders. Do the job. Search for the signal. Observe, then get back to the drop site. But something happened my second night on planet. I found the signal. But it wasn’t at all what I had expected. It was, it was calling to me. Not like, by name or anything. More like a song that just grabs you and you can’t let it go. I was still fifty-two clicks away, but it felt like I was standing right beside it. It took me a while, a long while, to realize that the signal wasn’t coming through my communications panel. I hadn’t even realized that I had never turned it on. I didn’t understand. To tell the truth, I kind of thought I was crazy.
The next thing I knew, I was right outside of the temple. Our scans hadn’t even detected a facility of that size on the planet. Our probes never reported a structure like this. Only tent cities spread around the planet. I have no idea how the amazing facility just popped up out of nowhere. But there it was. Ostog Temple. And don’t ask me how I knew the name, cause I don’t know.
I pushed up my visor and then took off my helmet. My eyes quickly adjusted to protect me from the light, turning azure blue. My eyes turn different shades, based on what I need to be protected from. But I like azure blue the best. And to be clear, I look great with azure blue eyes. Anyway, before I knew it, I had driven my mech close enough to encounter a shield that I didn’t even know was there. My scans never picked it up. It’s like all of the technology I had at my disposal was infantile. So, I opened my hatch and climbed out. My mech was parked partially through the shield. As choices go, maybe that one seemed a little sloppy. But it didn’t seem to be an issue at the time. Even so, this was when things got a little strange.
I climbed, or I jumped down from the cockpit of the M27. As I landed on the ground, standing right in front of me was a warrior in a suit of armor. Then, before I could blink, the warrior was gone. And don’t ask me how I know this, but that warrior’s name was Yakhan. It’s not like we were introduced or anything. Like I said, there one second, gone the next. And that’s not all. After that split second, I knew what I was here to retrieve. And yes, I know that retrieval was not mentioned in my orders.
Kshth Adrckon. The dragon bow. That was the name of the warrior’s weapon, Yakhan’s weapon. And it was still calling to me. I think that Yakhan wanted me to retrieve it. But I also think that Yakhan was somehow giving me a choice. Light or dark. Not a choice for what I would do once I retrieved it, but a choice that would lead to being able to retrieve it, or not. It was as if, in that split second, Yakhan had managed to have a very long conversation with me. Choose the path of light or the path of dark and then proceed.
Even though I understood the words in some child-like way, I really have to say that I don’t think I fully comprehended the message. I assumed it meant: follow Queen Deceptra and support her as she conquered the rest of the Chesarn Nebula, or leave the Mosha Guard and face her wrath. I’m pretty sure that plays into it somehow, but not entirely. After thinking about it for a while now, I realize that it was more straightforward than that. Change my heart, try doing good, and helping beings not as fortunate as me. Try not to make everything about me and try concentrating on others instead. And the warrior’s bow wasn’t something that would be a prize. It was something that Yakhan was entrusting me with. A gift, but more than a gift. If that makes sense.
And in that split second, I made that choice, and the light entered into me. Into my very being, my soul. Suddenly, I could hear the song getting louder. I started running toward the sound. Up the stairs, turning and turning again. Running through passageways. Climbing and climbing until I saw it. Bright light coming from a beautiful and ancient-looking door. I stopped in front of it, the song, so clear. I reached out my hand and pushed the door open. Even with my azure eyes, the door’s light was almost overwhelming. Still, I could see. There, in the middle of the room, the pitch-black room, floating in the air, was the Kshth Adrckon.
A bow with no arrows. It was shaped, beautifully crafted, in the likeness of a dragon. Its eyes were red jewels. It had four wings, the center two attached to the top of the bow’s string. The bowstring was red and reached down to the dragon’s tail. Silver, red, and black were the colors of the dragon. And it was ancient. It had seen battle. And when I touched the handle, it was as if we had been reunited at long last. I know, I know. Like I said, I had never seen it or anything like it for that matter. Still, I was connected to it. It was more than familiar. It was as if I had been in each of those battles with it. I know that probably sounds strange. But it had somehow become a part of me. That was when I heard them, or maybe the bow warned me about them. M27 mechs, an entire platoon of them. And once again, I was faced with a choice.
I made my way back to the temple only to see three mechs parked behind mine. In the distance, I could hear more on the way. Winwin’s personal mech was the closest. What were they doing here? Did they track me? Of course they did. I was definitely long overdue to report to command. Time to make a choice. Winwin would certainly demand that I hand over the weapon and surrender to be taken into custody. After all, I had violated my orders, Regent Hesh’s orders. Well, no need to sugarcoat it, I violated Queen Deceptra’s orders. And knowing Winwin’s reputation, she would push me until I fought, simply so that we could do battle. She lived for battle. So, should I choose to put the weapon down and surrender? Or would I choose to go with the dropship that just appeared and opened fire on Raysha Squad?
I didn’t know who was in the dropship. The only insignia I could make out was the symbol of the Watch, the all-seeing eye. I didn’t know much about them, but everyone knew that they were bad news. The question was, what in the world were they doing here. And from the little I did know, I didn’t think that the Watch and Queen Deceptra’s forces were a war. I thought they were aligned somehow. If Zeta 6 was on that ship, things were about to get a lot worse. But that begged the question, why were they helping me? Why were they shooting at Raysha Squad and not at me?
Then something in me told me to use the bow. I didn’t understand at first, but it was the bow. I mean, it wasn’t talking to me. Not out loud, at least. But it was definitely telling me to use it. To raise it, point it at the battle, and pull the bowstring. Now, I know what you’re thinking. No arrows. Or maybe you are thinking, bow against mechs and a ship. Well, for a split second, I thought both of those things. It’s not like I’ve never been in a fight before. It’s what I was born to do. Anyway, I did it. I raised it, pointed it, and pulled back on the bowstring. Then, a giant arrow made of intense light formed in front of me. I released the string, and the arrow flew. It split into multiple arrows of light, passed straight through the shield that my mech was parked in, and ripped through the dropship, Winwin’s mechs, and the mechs that were arriving behind them. I thought I saw one of the explosions in the distance trigger a little early. I guess one of the M27 mechs got a shot off or something.
What just happened, I thought. Then, as the field of battle turned to silence, she appeared. And yes, she couldn’t just show up in a normal way. She stepped out of a portal made of light. But that probably doesn’t sound strange to you. Regardless, I didn’t feel any danger, and the bow wasn’t warning me about anything. In fact, it, well, I was at peace.
“My name is Shyah,” she said.
“I know who you are. You are required reading for Deceptra’s Legion, Raysha Squad, and the Mosha Guard. You are one of the War Commanders. Former servant of the Destroyer, and an enemy of Queen Deceptra,” I replied. It was at that moment that I realized that I hadn’t called Queen Deceptra, my Queen. I don’t know of Shyah noticed it. If she did, she didn’t say anything. She did, however, nod.
So, I asked her why she was here. “It’s nice to meet you, Commander Shyah. My name is Lilylhazoraitev. Most just call me Lily. Are you here to try to take this away from me?”
She smiled and said, “No, Lily. I am not. I have been entrusted with Yakhan’s hammer and Yakhan’s shield. You have awakened Kshth Adrckon, Yakhan’s bow. And she has entrusted you with its safety. I am here to offer you a safe place. To allow you time to understand what has just taken place.”
“How did you know I was here?” I said. I asked it, but I really didn’t care about the answer. I was just stalling. I didn’t know why. I guess I just wasn’t really ready to leave yet. She said something about her team noticing the spike of energy that blah blah blah. I don’t know, I wasn’t really listening. In my defense, a lot had just taken place. Did I mention that I took down a full squad of mechs and a dropship with one light arrow?
“You okay? You didn’t hear a thing I said, did you?” Shyah said. “It’s okay. I understand. The same thing happened to me when I first met Yakhan. She has a way of changing your life.”
“Agreed,” I said. “Look, I’ll be honest with you. I need a minute to think. Something is telling me that I can’t leave yet. There’s one more thing to do, or maybe—”
“Or maybe what?” Shyah asked.
But then I think she felt it too. We both turned and looked. Someone was walking toward us. Toward the temple, I should say. After all, they wouldn’t be able to get through the shield. At least that’s what I thought at the time. It was another female. Not too tall. Slender and fit. Dressed in silver and carrying a sword. I started to raise the bow but realized that it wasn’t asking me to. I mean, I guess I could have if I wanted to. The bow wasn’t stopping me, but it also wasn’t telling me to use it. So, I chose not to.
Shyah was frozen. Like she had seen a ghost or something. “You okay?” I asked.
She didn’t answer at first. That was when I realized that her eyes weren’t real. They were artificial. I hadn’t realized it until that moment, but the light wasn’t bothering her at all. Her artificial eyes must be able to refine or process the light in a different way. Similar to the way I did. Another moment passed, and then she said, “I, I can’t believe it.”
I wanted to ask what it was she couldn’t believe, but I figured if she wanted me to know, she’d just tell me. As it turned out, she didn’t have to. I finally realized who was walking toward us as the woman walked right through the shield. And the tears rolling down Shyah’s face confirmed it.
[END OF MISSION BRIEFING]
Tools used to create this week’s render:
- DAZ 3D Studio
- NVIDIA Iray
- Adobe Photoshop