Day 70. 45 pages, 16,941 words.
The Destarion’s story had begun tens of thousands of years ago, after the Worm had come to The Centre and had, ultimately, been expelled. The Category 9 Convoy Defence Platforms protected the Pinian Brotherhood’s many peoples, shepherding them as they made their way back to the homes from which they had been evicted during the invasion.
Most people, if they thought about it at all, believed the problems had started with her first famous defeat, long after the post-Worm resettlement, at the Shooga blockade in the time of the Lapgod Witch-hunts. Desperate, vengeful agents of the Imp had, it was whispered, boarded the platform and sealed her, visited unspeakable deeds upon her crew, and then left her adrift with thirty million gruesomely posed carcasses arranged on her decks.
After that, there had been the war with the Darkings. Well, one of many.
She had been assumed lost, destroyed in the Battle of Destilak’s Throne, but was later found and salvaged. Her crew, including a covert military unit known as the Hands of Madness, were never found. Three hundred thousand specialists in infiltration and demolition, every last one of them a monster in his, her, its own right – gone without a trace.
Then there had been the war with the Damoraks – again, one of many. She hadn’t fought – not officially, treaty forbade it – but had carried refugees and the injured. She had been overrun by the Foemen, agents of the Darkings who had fed upon her eighty-seven million helpless passengers, as was their nature. Those passengers, however, had been laced with a pan-virus the likes of which would not be seen again until the Slumsville Wind. A pan-virus called Vehemence.
The resultant near-genocide among the Darking worshipper base had earned her one of her many, many nicknames: Dar Suda, the mythical rider of Pestilence.
There were so many atrocities in the Destarion’s past, so many horrors among her accomplishments marching back through the millennia, so many nightmares folded into her galleries and decks. It was impossible for tacticians or historians or even immortals to point at any one of them and declare it the defining massacre, the act of war that had shaped the platform’s personality and her twisted relationship with the urverse around her.
But the truth was, it had started before any of those calamities. It had started with the Vorontessa, and the race she had failed. It had started when her sisters had cast her out in disgust, a shepherd with confused tears standing in her eyes and the blood of lambs drooling from her chin, and had departed on their grand adventure without her shadow darkening their path.
It had started with the Bookwyrm.
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark.