Chapter 0:

prelude

Aboard the Winnow


The days following the initial attack had been relentless. Spires of metal and earth had risen from the ground, had taken down square kilometres of sprawling cities in a single night. The surviving smidgens of civilization fared no better: my particular village was reduced to cobble and broken roof tiles, upturned fields and displaced wooden beams. They left everything else in shambles, either through riots or through direct rampages from the beasts themselves. Wyverns were capable of such easy destruction. On the second day, human history had vanished overnight.Bookmark here

What were they here for? Nobody knew. We crowded into the metallic spires, called them sanctuaries and set leaders—but fear of the outside had only created malice within our community. I was a fool to believe that we would act otherwise. The other day, someone called me slurs over a piece of bread.Bookmark here

Then came the off-landers. They came in with their sharply tailored uniforms and their corporately droll airships. Their leader had green skin, and she wore her hair in a net. They spoke our language. They offered succour, nourishments, and a means to fight back against the draconic forces. They provided us with a place to rest. They called it Therius.Bookmark here

It was the third day. I had lost my mother in the resultant chaos, I had to fight with my teeth and nails for food, and these freaks of nature, aliens of a ‘parallel universe’ that was ‘not unlike ours,’ had offered us succour. In pure, seething anger—we rebelled. We chased them out of our sanctuary. I watched the blue flames at the back of their vessel burn as they flew away until they were nothing more than a blink in the night sky.Bookmark here

We would live on our own terms. Only we knew such maddening loss as that day. We would live and see humanity to that glorious tomorrow.Bookmark here

—an excerpt from a diary, retrieved from the body
of a Human within the proximity of the Hive. Bookmark here

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