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About Digital Art / Hobbyist Member Daniel James WMale/United Kingdom Recent Activity
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Eli ducked, narrowly avoiding the volley of gunfire raining down on him from the high ground. The old-world weapon roared with an overwhelming power that pierced the air around them. The ground around him danced, shooting upwards from the force of the projectiles penetrating it. Barely visible vapour trails scattered through the air linking Eli to the sacred weapon held by his target. Thoughts began to take him; thoughts of the penalty for killing a Priest-of-the-Old-World; thoughts of the consequences for abusing Old-World relics. But there was one thought that stuck in his mind, a thought about Jennifer.

With a loud ‘ooo’ sound Jennifer rose up, her mind ignorant to her surroundings; completely focused on the shape of her lips as they hug the noise escaping from her chest. She slid her body to the left as if carried by a sudden gust of wind, and extended her staff upwards. She paused momentarily as the fire place in front of her glowed with just an ember keeping it lit. While lowering her staff back to the ground she raised her ritual knife in the air. The brilliant black blade shimmered from the glow of the ember; its golden hilt shined invitingly while the sharp black edge reminded its onlooker of its purpose. She paused again, savouring the moment, and then slowly slit her wrist. She positioned the staff so that the point was just above the fireplace and let her dark blue blood drip down the staff and onto the awaiting ember. As the first drop met the ember, life sprang into the fire; it roared with an ominous power, and light filled the room once again. The fire settled to a respectable pace, content now that its authority had been established. Jennifer stood lifeless; like a statue she remained still, arm reaching out to the fire for guidance. The fire acknowledged her plea, and granted her the guidance only a Priest-of-the-Old-World can call upon. The fire began to smoke, filling the ritual tent with a bright white cloud. The smoke covered every inch of the room in a shroud as motion began to return to Jennifer. Still dazed from the ritual, she looked around, unable to see in front of her through the white smoke. She began to walk, slowly, keeping her eyes open for whatever was waiting for her in the veil of smoke. Motion caught her eye; she saw the outline of two figures struggling against one another, she saw bright flashes like lightning illuminating the smoke. She ran towards the figures obstructed by the white shroud, pushing through it as if it were a crowd of people impeding her progress. The two figures began to look increasingly familiar, causing her to hasten; the flashes became more frequent, the roar of thunder filled the air as she closed the gap between them. As the final flash lit up the smoke with a brilliant yellow and the last roar pierced Jennifer’s ears, she saw the bullet break Eli’s flesh and a trail of vapour lead to her mentor’s arm.

Jennifer was always more religious, more traditional, more in touch with the Old Gods; she was the better ritualist, she memorised all the old scriptures, she was even accepted as Shiloh’s understudy. Eli always resented his sister for this. He felt it was her way of trying to get in the limelight, he knew she was Jealous of her older brother for being born under Orion’s Guard. There was always a lot of pressure on Eli for being Orion-Born, for those born when the artificial moon Prometheus aligned perfectly in the centre of Orion’s belt were said to be chosen by the Old-World Gods, they were special, they were few and they always became Priests. Eli shunned the life of priesthood; pilgrimages to the ruins of Old-World cities, studying Old-World technology but being forbidden to use it, seeking help through prayer on every small grievance of life in the tribe. Shiloh always said to Eli that he lacked faith, but Eli didn’t just lack faith, he hated it. He cursed the Old-World Gods for making him Orion’s Guard and he cursed Shiloh.
“Basamai!” Eli shouted towards his aggressor. But Shiloh didn’t listen, his mind too far gone for insults he turned his back to gaze up at the clear blue sky.
“And in their transcendence life was born anew, through hand came grip, through mind came fire and through their guidance came faith” Shiloh was struggling to voice the last of the words through his own laughter; it was a weary, squeaking laugh that came about only through being a priest into one’s late years. Eli clenched in pain as he removed the projectile from his wound and inspected the damage. A quizzical look came to his face as he realised the bullet had only penetrated his outer flesh; he ran his finger over his now exposed breast-plate, the bone felt numb to the touch, but coarse and rigid like steel. Old-World weapons had been studied extensively, he thought to himself, but no one had ever fired one, and certainly not at another person. He remembered what he learned in school about the almighty power the Old-Gods commanded through their various weapons, and how the power was so great it would obliterate anyone who was shot by one; yet the ancient weapon couldn’t even pierce the medial bone in his chest. He shook the thought from his head and sprang to his feet into a crouched position, just peering his head above the broken pillar he used for cover. Noticing Shiloh’s inattention, he moved round to the broken steel staircase, keeping low and quiet, he climbed up; his footsteps were completely inaudible over the sound of Shiloh’s eccentric shouting.
“Then came the age when the present became the Old, when the Old threw down their tools and left behind their knowledge to become divine”
It was a line from The Scripture, the holy-book the priests taught from; Eli crept closer.
“Basa! It’s all Basa! That’s not what really happened!  You went up there didn’t you?!” As he finished shouting he fired the weapon into the air as if trying to hit a thousand tiny targets too far to see. He was getting more fanatical in his ranting, and Eli’s patience was wearing thin.
“And so the divine passed from this world, save their grace, their mercy, their judgement, and travelled to the divine realm” He continued to shoot into the air as he spoke through gritted teeth. Eli slowly unsheathed his tribal-knife.
“You see boy? They didn’t transcend!” Shiloh turned as he spoke, facing Eli, who lunged the dagger into his chest; “They left” said Shiloh, through a broken voice. Eli embraced the old man, with one hand holding the dagger and the other gently holding the back of Shiloh’s head; he bowed his own in respect as he quickly removed the dagger. Shiloh may have been mad and in violation of tribal law, but he was still a well-respected man and a friend to many.

With uneasy footing, Shiloh stepped backwards, struggling to maintain his standing, before falling and landing on an Old-World device, his body lay draped over a large console which began to animate. A long thin metallic stick separated from the console and floated upward until it was horizontal just above the device; another stick folded outwards from it until it was pointing straight up forming a neat, ninety degree angle. The console on which Shiloh lay had small indents beginning to poke out from it like tiny creatures inside were trying to escape, forming neat rows; some were larger than others but they all had further indents on top forming symbols. A pedestal lay at the foot of the device, formed of a cone facing upwards and another facing the floor suspended above it with a thin layer of nothing between them. The pedestal began to emit a gentle light from the top. The light illuminated a thin cloud of dust which looked to be completely frozen in place instead of floating freely. With slow movements Shiloh took a small cube from his medicine bag, and gently placed it in the light. The cube was suspended in the light, lifeless, as if anchored to the ground. A thin layer of glass generated as if from nowhere forming a large rectangular screen between the two metallic sticks. Instantly, the cube split into many small rectangles and took the rough shape of a tree with no leaves; the tiny rectangles remained still with a small amount of space between them, their job now complete. As they did so, colour took the screen, then sound, then movement, followed by the shape of a red-haired woman.

“Corporal Sasha Kova, Military Cell, ID one- one- seven- three. Sending to seventy-four Armistice Square, New London” She had a calm voice that made those hearing it feel like it was being spoken only to them; her movements were purposeful and focussed and she commanded the absolute attention of her listeners. “We’ve made it beyond Earth’s orbit with only minor damage to the hull, nothing we can’t repair on the road, everything’s going well and we’re on course for Frontier. It’s going to be a long journey but it won’t be too long before we get migration up and running and you and the children join us.” Her voice changed, becoming soft and anxious. “Eli…tell the children; if they miss me…tell them to look for Orion’s Belt.”

Eli’s hearts sank; the second beginning to beat from the sudden rush of anxiety. An Old-World God, speaking his name. He had read in The Old-Scriptures of people claiming to have been spoken to, but he thought it was simple delusions of priests during their pilgrimages. A flood of questions began to take his mind; why him? What’s at Orion’s Belt? What’s the Frontier? He stood lifeless for several minutes as the sound of whispers grew louder, turning to find a sea of hundreds of people watching him, whispering to one another, with all eyes on him. Eli and the crowd watched each other in amazement until a single figure stepped forward; it was Jennifer.  She rushed over to Shiloh’s body and put her hand behind his head while inspecting the large wound on his chest. Shiloh looked over to Eli with his last remaining strength, and spoke his final words, “And so the divine passed from this world, save their grace, their mercy, their judgement, and travelled…” he looked up at the evening sky, the first of the night’s stars just visible in the sea of blue and pointed in the direction of the brightest, “…to the stars”. The last three words were not spoken like that of an old man on his death bed; they were spoken with purpose, passion and awe.

Jennifer sat cradling her mentor, his life now nothing but a memory, his actions now only consequences and his responsibility now hers, for through his death Jennifer becomes a Priest-of-the-Old-World; Jennifer’s grieving was cut short on that realisation. The Old-Gods had just communicated with them for the first time in thousands of years, with hundreds of witnesses, and it was her job to interpret their will and guide the people’s faith. A sudden overwhelming sense of responsibility rushed through her body; even without looking she knew all eyes were on her, seeking guidance through all the confusion. Jennifer rose up and contemplated Kova’s message; she thought of all other possible meanings almost instantly, trying to avoid the obvious, for it was the most obvious meaning she least wanted to hear. The Old-God who called herself Kova had chosen Eli.

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DanJamesW
Daniel James W
Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United Kingdom
I'm just a guy who decided to take up a new hobby. I've always been a fan of digital art, particularly concept art and photo-realism or just anything imaginative. If you stop by be sure to check out my gallery, it's a work-in-progress.
-Daniel James W

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Comments


:iconderbz:
derbz Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012
Cheers for the watch James, much appreciated, welcome to DA as well
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:iconanchaing:
Anchaing Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
Thanks for the fav :)
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:iconjademacalla:
jademacalla Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2012
Thanks very much for the Watch! :salute:
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