The Regrettable War Of Cshona (a fragment).

Excerpted from Mivif’l documents discovered at Landing Area Cshona 1 [457b], and translated from the Sta’axi dialect of Nomenclature Nine, the highest speech of the ruling Monazatur race of Cshona’s World (Epsilon A-25482d), scene of the Regrettable War (may God, in His infinite grace, forgive us).

The silver spheres came on the fifth day of Sahl’mud (note 1), in the year of Thin Bow (note 2); they came in multitudes and changed our world, and our people, forever.

My name is Tlun (note 3), of the Mivif’l (note 4), son and heir of T’hun, called teacher.  It was I who first reported the incursion upon our land, I who alerted the council, I who will die in shame and (unable to translate), never having (closest translation – fathered) a (closest translation – descendent/rival) to honour my name.

It is said now that they meant no harm.  The lands to the north of Jintrahl (note 5) were, to them, barren, inhospitable and of no apparent use to us – or to whatever other species they imagined lived here.  They chose to land there for those reasons, little realising that they were (closest translation – sacred birthing grounds), the lands we call (unable to translate).  The fire in the sky sent our young scattering to their mother’s pouches, our religious leaders proclaimed that Bah’mett (note 6) had come, and the men called themselves to arms.

The soil and rock of Cshona’s (notes 7, 8 & 11) birth wilderness was pitted with the alien spheres.  The careful movement of a (unable to translate)’s worth of Her breath upon the sand, the gentle heave of Her breast upon Her covering of earth, was destroyed in a matter of moments.  Indeed, it seemed as if Bah’mett had come as we had feared all our lives, and our fathers before us, since the time of (unable to translate).

The hallowed dust of (closest translation – sacred birthing grounds) was still in the air as we approached, and already I was marked as the (closest translation – false prophet/practical joker) who had brought disaster upon the Mivif’l.  I knew that a message had passed from the Tu’mahl (note 9) back to the council and that my (closest translation – wife/minion) would be imprisoned by the time of my return.  It was my duty to the Children to (closest translation – bargain with/herd) these creatures before more damage was done to the grounds.

The first sphere had hit the ground by the Matayril (note 10) road; the lower half was slightly larger than the top, and the heat of it had baked the soil of Her (closest translation – flesh) to rock.  It was entirely silver in colour, and reflective, casting our images back at us and causing the Tu’mahl to proclaim loudly the Words Of Cshona’s First Admonishment to Bah’mett At Sahl’undre (note 11).

Furthering my (closest translation – damnation/excommunication), I was the first to see the invaders as they revealed themselves to us.  The silvering at the top of the sphere fell back and became clear, as if a (closest translation – chalice) of (closest translation – mercury) was draining into a (unable to translate).

Revealed then to me, and to the Tu’mahl behind me, was a creature such as we could never have imagined – the aliens we now know as the (closest translation – space rabbis). 

While the Monazatur (note 12) have made great scientific studies of the invaders (many of these against the rules of their kind), it is significant here that my impressions are recorded if I am soon to be (unable to translate) and returned to the embrace of Cshona.

Where the (closest translation – skin) of The First And Last Children of Cshona is smoothest (unable to translate), the creature has a pitted and pliable covering like the dried sap of the C’loola (note 13) tree, and this was folding hideously as it moved, crouched over in the tiny space available to it (of course, we later discovered that the creatures could bend their limbs at points they called ‘joints’, and the witnessing of this unnatural movement would cause revulsion in me from then to now).  It was by the grace of Cshona that the (closest translation – space rabbis) felt shame enough at their appearance that they covered themselves with woven material similar to that used for our (closest translation – communal tents/shrouds) and which they call ‘clothing’.

From the head and face of the creature extruded thin threads which fell in profusion about their upper bodies.  This was not made of (closest translation – silica) but of dead cells similar to those which made up their strange and unusual (closest translation – biology).  It was horribly fascinating, if repugnant, to behold, and I (closest translation – prayed/bargained) to Cshona to sustain me.

It is then, to my (closest translation – shame/fear of enslavement) that at the moment of our first contact, I failed the Children.  The top of the sphere slid back and the (closest translation – space rabbi) unfolded itself to its full height, opening up like a (unable to translate) before me.  It then revealed a (closest translation – orifice/birth canal) in its head and made the air vibrate around it at frequencies unheard before on our world.  May Cshona (closest translation – forgive/refuse to ignore) me.

I fled, in horror and fear, and the War Of The (unable to translate) was begun.

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Andrew Cheverton
Andrew Cheverton is currently the writer of the western comic West (drawn by Tim Keable) and the science fiction comic The End (drawn by FH Navarro), and the writer - and soon-to-be illustrator - of horror comic The Whale House. Thank you for reading.
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