was an important event in Lilitic history. Following the extinction of the Ksreskézai by the Hogedep, the slokdtabasa of Tévopío and surrounding lands were left in a state of leaderless confusion and with no experience in self-governance. For two months they toiled at the Dashro Basin Starport, a military installation, to get off the planet and start a new life before the arrival of the Hogedepi fleet and the instability of the Ksreskéza brane could threaten their very existence.
In the course of these events, they forged a nation, the Lilitina
, which would constitute the cultural identity of their entire species, the egrekelai, for the next millennium. Today, although much of the history and details of these events have been lost in the sands of time, the egrekelai are still known as lilitai
in honour of the brave women who gave their lives to rescue their people.
The Vendashro is a well-studied event; it constitutes the first twelve chapters of Faltúbilis, Ítossífa!
, the national epic of the Lilitina, and is the primary subject matter of almost all plays, art, and stories produced by the Lilitai from c. 23948 ksepo to c. 85 lilpo. In Faltúbilis, Ítossífa
, Sarthía's first and best-known epic poem, the events of the Vendashro itself are somewhat mythologized, with an entirely fictitious Hogedep sorcerer named Alpolo (Lilitika for "hateful man") instigating the catastrophe by coaxing the malevolent Ksreskézaian emotional spirits into mutiny.
The events themselves, however, are entirely real, and Sarthía also wrote an entirely factual account of the events as they happened, which is presented here along with various other perspectives, quotations, and examples of differing perspectives from the annals of early Lilitic lore. The actual text of Sarthía's account was in Sotaní Oksírapho, but is presented here in English translation for easy consumption.
Sarthíaní Denlekíasa il Chentwidhildta-la il Tetúebeshekía il Lilitina-stasa
(Sarthía's Writings of the Chronicle of the Genesis of the Lilitai People)
For millennia, the Masters called us their servants. We were much more to them than that. In a thousand years, perhaps, they would have understood what. But today, we learned that time would never come.
I am Regsabta the Merciful, servant of the noble house Tshúkoto. Like my mother before me, I served the Oksine as a people. I recorded and wrote their stories of gods and wars, of adventures and romance, and I was proud to know that my work went to the support of the men and women who gave the great Ksreskézaian Empire its famous prowess. But on this day, I do not know what I feel.
This morning the skies filled with a shimmering cloud of reddish death. Like the ripples on a pound it descended, bringing our masters to gruesome demise within minutes. In the houses, in the offices, in the fields, in the bunkers, all of them passed on, without exception. We do not know why our guardians were taken from us. Now, we are alone.
There was once a time when we did not serve the Masters. My mother before me once spoke of this time, when our people travelled the planes and stars like any other. From the pit of my stomach, I know this must be true. We are not of Ksreskézo; our food must be specially grown for us and lacks all the vitality and variety of Ksreskézaian dishes, and the sunlight burns our skin without reprieve or exception.
She said once also that our tails, horns, and wings are unnatural; relics of other animals brought from a home so distant that it did not exist even in memory when they became parts of us. This I am somewhat less certain of; as any reporter would, I expect that a certain level of detail in any claim of such age must be myth. But on this day, whether or not any of this is true, no sadness for its loss is significant.
The gods have abandoned us, gone with our Masters to live within the Last Dream. The lively dragons who once nurtured us, gave us meaning, and filled our lives with mirth have taken with them all the colour from our lives; all that remains now is the dismal grey of the fading material. Few of us can carry on with the will to live knowing our masters await us in the Dream. For the rest, it is enough to know we shall be closer and free of this insolvent agony—no matter how shunned we may be for performing our own murders.
I have trouble not believing these arguments, but something drives me to hope for greater. My sister, Ekhonveréa, has already given in. But on this day, I had not the loyalty to follow her.
The Masters had no use for the concept of a census of our people, so I can only guess that, yesterday, there were twelve thousand of us here on the Tévopío highlands; today I fear there are no more than twelve hundred. We walk through the streets of the metropoles that seemed so immortally vital, and cry for our sisters, our Masters, and our Masters' friends.
No one understood the Ksreskézai as well as we did. But now they have gone, and taken with them their strange, ethereal gods of emotion. No passion remains amongst us, only sorrow. Our numbers shall surely dwindled to nothing if no new conviction to survive finds us.
A week of misery and wandering has elapsed. The most determined of us, those who had been coordinators and secretaries and lack the long perspective necessary to surrender, have gathered our tiny numbers in the centre of the capitol. It is difficult for most of us to engage in the present when the streets all around us are littered with food-vendors' advertisements proclaiming upcoming discounts—which have now passed without a breath. It has not helped that we were, until recently, running low on our own nutrient.
In the early morning light, the city seems as it could awaken at any moment, and briefly, we find ourselves writhing in anticipation—yet for twelve days now, it has not.
At first we feared most that we would all starve. The Masters attained their empire through millennia of hard work, and they were not trusting enough to give us access to the gardens in which our food was grown. But like most things in their society, as I have been uniquely privileged to learn as editor of the Tévopío Standard, they always depended on us at some point. One of our number, Haplenía of the house Korakto, worked as a nurse aide for one of the factory-farms on the outskirts of the city. She had spent her life under the claw of a miser, and like a small minority of our number (although a somewhat larger number than I had assumed), had always yearned to escape to the mountains. It was through this motivation that she had learned the secrets to cultivating the strange plants within our nutrient broth.
Weeks later I realised that this simple act of survivalism was our first movement as a species towards independence. First, by gathering, we showed that we could come together to solve problems in the absence of an Oksinení manazekíe, and second we discovered the plants of the garden itself: alien, shrivelled bulbs and stalks that looked nothing like us or any of the other things in our environment... and yet they were more like us than any of it. They tasted strangely agreeable; much different from the paste we actually ate—that our Masters reduced them to. I will not draw the obvious metaphor.
Alas, much knowledge of how to cultivate and grow them has been lost; the nurse, Haplenía could only tell us so much. It is hard to be sure we will be able to feed our entire population from this small garden; the reserve supply of prepared nutrient broth is beyond our access. We may yet starve, despite this discovery.
For the first few days after that, we continued to think of ourselves as subjects of the Ksreskézai. We maintained each of their social customs; the most technically-minded amongst us, Gleméa of the house Haidtúo, and Deztra of the house Salnúkzo, sought out the communications array at the Institute for Empire and tried to reach the other worlds of the Ksreskézai. Not even our feeble attempts to reach the main battle fleet, along the Hogedep border, were successful.
There was talk among a few that if perhaps our Masters were simply gone, then naturally we were the best-suited to replace them as the head of the Empire and its remaining possessions throughout the universe. We were not Oksete, but surely we were of the Ksreskézino. For a day or so, as a culture, we tried on this fashion, issuing names and titles to one another on no merit other than our gut instincts. Then, this scheme imploded; we knew deep in our souls that the very thought was trespassing on our Masters' graves. The notion became taboo. To the Ksreskézaian Empire, we could only ever be slokdtabasa.
And yet we organized ourselves as if we were something more than servants. Out of necessity, we elected leaders and dispute-resolvers, and appointed experts in the various domains critical to our survival. Exactly why we bothered, none of us really knew.
The oldest among us speak of stories carried down to them by their grandmothers. At first I did not believe the bulk rumours I heard, that we were indeed not meant to be on this planet, but such resistance no longer abides the unfolding of events. They say that the oldest of our people were nomads, and had a goddess named Glotsnereklía. They called her the suffering mother. No doubt she walks with us now, bemoaning the death of the Oksine just as we do.
Today, many of us feel useless. Our talents and our diligence is in excess supply, supporting our group only requires perhaps two dozen-dozen hands. The rest can but sit and wonder how they might contribute, though now several have approached me, curious as to what I am writing. I may yet have some pupils.
Trouble has arisen. The group still working in the communications tower happened upon what appears to be an open radio channel, used by traders in the nearby planes. The Hogedep are coming to Ksreskéza.
No doubt they intend to exploit the deaths of our Masters, and squat over our empire like the gluttonous serpents described in official news wires. The idea of becoming their subjects terrifies us to the point of nausea; the tales of what has happened to our kind (and others) in their captivity are unprintably horrific. As much as we all hate the thought of abandoning this home, we cannot hope to withstand a military force which once required all of our Masters' might to keep at bay. At once we must flee.
In that regard, at least, luck favours us. There are several technicians and other workers here who once worked at the Dashro Basin facility. With their expertise, we might yet escape in some of the vehicles still on the ground.
Convincing the others that danger is coming is not hard—but ironically that it must be avoided is another thing altogether. So few of us are used to having choice in our fates that it is little wonder some still stare to the sky until they think the moons and stars will run their lives.
But the infectious drive of our Masters' gods is gone now; whatever tenuous grasp they held on the world has been ceded to the interminable hunger of the demons of despair and uncertainty that so threaten to consume us. It is a simple matter of survival that we must find a path entirely our own. I shall present this thought to the leader of our group this night.
Gleméa agreed. Unfortunately, she noted, there are few left who can see past the fog before us. No mere harsh reality can fan my sisters' winds.
Ripples have begun appearing in the night sky. They are faint, but unfamiliar. Another disturbance. Another deviation.
Gleméa believes that the ripples are evidence of something called a brane cascade, a fantastic-sounding natural disaster capable of destroying an entire plane and all within it. She said the Ksreskézai accidentally once created such a thing early in their study of interplanar transit, thereby severing the Empire from much of the universe. If this is truly so, I fear we may not get the chance to worry legitimately about the Hogedepi approach. We shall be out of time much sooner.
If we can induce all of our sisters to labour in the halls beneath Dashro, and not simply contemplate fate as they have been doing, we might have a chance. The Ksreskézaian Nation was motivated by the Empire, and while we have no such thing and cannot hope to, that same concept of unity may yet liberate us from death's queue.
In the middle of the night, our number grew by one. Not by a newborn, however—by a woman more ancient than any of us have ever seen. Her name is Moiléa Tévopía, and she brings with her fantastic claims of responsibility as an advisor to the king! I almost could not believe it, but her knowledge has already proven ineffable. With her, Gleméa and I have discussed our plans—and many of her suggestions are startlingly wise.
Perhaps with this new legitimacy, tomorrow will go better than expected.
Sisters, hear me. I have studied our situation and our fate; I have read the ink that lies before us, and I know where our winds must carry us. For generations, our people have lived here on Ksreskézo, the homeland of our Masters and protectors. We have been a docile, staid species. No organism has become so inept in our Masters' absence as us; not on the plains beyond Dashro, nor on any other world or moon they tamed.
It should not be this way. Millennia ago, our ancestors travelled the stars under their own power. They lived, died, and thrived in space, free and excited by what lay before them. Such a thing was possible because they were not anchored as we have been; no memory of a cold hearth impaired the gusts of their winds. They lived, as we once did, in the present. Today is our time to return to that life, to write our own fates once more with the same ink of determination that made the Ksreskézaian pen so great a force. We must cease being lost pets and maids, and start living for ourselves, as a people.
In a week's time there shall be nothing left of our Masters' memory, unless we act now. The Hogedepi Armada in full, and the decay of the very fabric of Ksreskéza are both imminent. Both are set to destroy us. Our only hope—your only hope, my only hope—is to leave. The group at Dashro must succeed, and in time, to escape both fates, an impossible task unless all of our number work alongside them. Anyone who does not help is condemning herself—and all of our souls. This must not fail.
Sisters, yesterday we may have been slokdtabasa, but today we are no slaves. It is time for us to become our own people. Let us gift the universe with our talents as the Ksreskézai bred us to. Let us pump our own bellows and make the planets of distant stars sing of us.
And let us be called the "Lilitasa": the scorned, the clever, the loving, the passionate, the wingèd. This was the first name for our kind given to us by our ancestors when we were tamed and shaped as we have been. Then as now it is a bleak title, one that bespeaks of the accursèd. I am sure all of you can find some fleck of natural order in this choice.
But as we have always known, in our households and offices, titles are but a formality. It is the willingness to work that defines who is truly essential. Today, we are all essential. Today we must work with the finest diligence to save ourselves. Only then can we win a chance to save our memories.
And with those words, the Lilitina were forged.
May we never cease to be ourselves.
Every single one of our number reported for work duty that afternoon, myself included. We shall be free from these caves—and this dead rock I still foolishly call home—in only ten days.
The typical Ksreskézaian ship is a noble, bulky craft carved from intricate metalwork when it is first made. The vehicle's aesthetics borrow heavily from several of the most fearsome predators on this planet, and are intended as displays of prowess over the subjugated peoples of the Empire. In truth, however—and this is something I learned from Gleméa only today, so be kind—they are antiquated by the rest of the universe's standards. The Hogedep and the Tletketti can out-manoeuvre, out-gun and out-tank the Ksreskézaian flagships, and it has been only through superior numbers and tactics that the Empire's borders have remained where they stand, in pockets of space far from our doorsteps.
What a chilly wind it is to hear that our Masters lied not just to us, but to their own! Moiléa confirmed what I had dreaded repeatedly at the Standard—that the inconsistencies in the front-line reports came from hasty attempts to hide just how close the battle-lines sometimes were. This is not to say the Empire ever lacked vastness, merely that the borders were not equidistant from our capitol world. (Or so it is claimed.)
The three of us are already agreed that our new culture—for that is the truth of what we now endeavour to create, Moiléa revealed—shall not abide those who seed such deceit. I wonder how many fools in my position have claimed the same and seen their gardens overrun with weeds regardless.
Preparations are proceeding swiftly. In total we have secured twenty-four viable craft, including a battleship, two carrier ships, and two massive colony transports. Our initial plans called for only a handful of ships, but Moilea was quick to convince us of the need for redundancy, armaments, and room to grow. It is of no use for us to depart without long-term capacity. There are more than enough food stores here in the gardens, now that Moiléa has granted us access to them, to give us years of rations. Hopefully this shall be enough time for her to teach us the art of our own gardening, and to find a new homeworld on which to practice.
All of us now hope that finding a new place shall simply be a matter of locating another former possession of the Empire, though we know it may not be so easy. It is our hope that some will see us as siblings; other victims of the iron claw. To the end of facilitating such things we shall be filling our holds with riches and raw materials, too; hopefully there will be other buyers along the way.
Only a day left until we launch into the yawning black sky above.
|Lilitic Name||Ksreskézaian Name||Role||Class||Launch Population||Destroyed||Notes|
|Alepona||Salo||living quarters||colony transport||273||–||3000 pop. cap.|
|Mota||Yorlamo||living quarters||colony transport||195||–||2500 pop. cap.|
|Zelúkwía||Tévopo||primary defence||battleship||78||3274.11 iky||also seat of gov't, badly damaged during Globkhro in 2 lilpo|
|Naití Akoa||Wemno||secondary defence||carrier ship||69||–||hosted heavy scouts|
|Tshokipa||Korakto||secondary defence||carrier ship||58||–||hosted stealth reconn.|
|Shistothía||Phatago||living quarters||cargo ship||57||–||500 pop. cap.|
|Haplina||Blebhío||gardens||cargo ship||49||–||mostly fruits and vegetables|
|Rokéa||Ghúkho||gardens||cargo ship||47||–||mostly grains|
|Sagevíha||engineering, maintenance||industrial transport||39||–|
|Zalla||Elkzo||medical, pedagogical||prison ship||26||–||environmentally isolated compartments|
|Atshapola||light cruiser||24||2 lilpo||destroyed at opening of Battle of Globkhro|
|Vúzéa||heavy scout||20||2 lilpo||destroyed near end of Battle of Globkhro|