Sighing seas of blackness lost drew the Shoal of the Starmaster closer to the Abyss. His Journeymen were now each of three across the Ranks, and so the course was hampered still. Onwards pressed the harried crews, their faithful hearts glowing for blissful atonement. But the Metal Demons crossed the horizon soon, their molten hearts brimming for chaos.


From The Odyssey of the Resounding Sea, a Jaevisk Epic discovered in hundreds of parts, engraved upon the bodies of thousands of solidified Cen-Dith, fused to the hulls of scores of ruined Warships. The debris field corresponds with Jaevisk records of an encounter with the Flagship of Aphestan.




Aboard the Jaevisk Warship, its name in English akin to The Cursed Jump, Mryra Yln had served as a Journeyman for thirty-eight cycles of the Core. His role on the Jump meant that he spent most of his time either with his three Brothers, or on his own. In this succubus of a galaxy, feeding as it was upon the galaxy from which the Jaevisk had journeyed, it was apt that those who oversaw the odyssey of their race were dependent upon each other for their very survival. Journeymen were not trained or educated in their role, but were born with their ability to navigate the Lines. They absorbed the harmony of the Sentience with every breath in every waking moment; and even as they slept, the Lines whispered in their ears, assuring them of their significance in the Resounding Sea even as they taunted Journeymen with their fate. For only through their dreams could their future find them.

Yln had dreams of a different nature, aspirations of plotting a course to their home galaxy and returning his people to the world of Kiranis. It was said that the ancient gods of the Jaevisk Society lived on that mystical planet, but Yln had seen so much in this galaxy that the concept of gods had become somewhat skewed. The Elders referred to their great enemies as Station Masters, but it was an enigmatic term for a number of reasons. Firstly, they appeared to be both hunting and evading the subordinate species of only one of these creatures, whom the Elders called Aphestan, and no Jaevisk with whom Yln had ever spoken knew of any other. Secondly, there was no apparent reason for their mission, for ancient Jaevisk lore bore no reference to these Station Masters. And thirdly, the name of these enigmas suggested that a route was being monitored or protected, but no Jaevisk knew anything of either the existence or nature of such a route.

There had been reports of engagement with the vessel of Aphestan, but they had no sooner been transmitted than contact had been lost. Incomplete images and corrupted readings had been received by fleets too far away to come to the aid of their outmatched brothers, and the Lines would pulse with the loss of every Journeyman whose heart was returned to the Core. Yln experienced these deaths as if flesh-hooks were teasing his muscular frame, promising him an infinitely slow and painful journey across the Resounding Sea before finding rest in the Core. And now, as he hooked himself into his restframe to enjoy some blissful respite from the endless war, he felt the irony of the alignment between sleep and death. For only by his dreams was a border raised between these brethren realms.

With the last of the sleep-hooks connected to the piercings at his ankles, hips and shoulders, he was drawn upwards to hang from the ceiling. His head hung back and he felt his breathing slow and his heartrate diminish as his eyes fixed upon the circular porthole of his cell. But something suddenly slammed against it from outside and his inbound slumber was unceremoniously diverted. Hanging from the ceiling with his great heart pounding, Mryra Yln stared at the four black eyes watching him. They were set in a square positioned within a rectangular head, and they were unblinking. Perhaps this had been one of Yln’s kills, one of the many he had dismembered when last The Cursed Jump had been boarded by the enemy. But it was impossible to say, for these Cen-Dith – vanguard of the Station Master Aphestan, its form as yet undefined – all looked exactly the same. These formidable soldiers of a mysterious god were made of metal, with six semi-autonomous appendages centred in some way upon a head section, the one now glaring at Yln through his cell window.

Yln held its glare for some time, as his heart slowed down and he relaxed again. The great cold of space kept these prisoners of war from reforming, and they had been broken apart and spread randomly around the hull of the Warship like a vast display of trophies. It would take a long time for them to solidify, and experience what the Jaevisk presumed was their equivalent of death, so the Warship was protected by a shield of living Cen-Dith warriors, whose bodies always held up for some time against the onslaught of their kin.

Content in this ironic protection from the greatest enemy the Jaevisk had ever known, Yln drifted off to sleep in his restframe. His home was a fleet of two hundred Warships sailing the Resounding Sea in an alien galaxy, with living Cen-Dith fused to their hulls. The captive aliens watched the blackness for any sign of rescue…their arms flailing…their eyes unblinking…



© Ronald A. Geobey 2018

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