01/22/2023 Snippet, GHOSTS ON AN ALIEN WIND.



The Fane was even more wonderful, at ground level. Oft’s confidence aside, I wasn’t sure if Iluvitarians worshiped in the same way as the inhabitants of this planet did; but if they were, they had found a worthy faith to follow. The closer to the Fane we walked, the more welcome I felt. Everything felt soothing, like there were analgesics and mood-levelers in the air — but when I scanned the local atmosphere on my phon, everything came back negative. We were just walking through a place built with love, reverence, and joy — and by a people who understood all three things intimately.

That was why the Fane was also steeped in a melancholy so deep, I found tears welling up, unbidden — but I found myself not being afraid of them, for a change. Everybody knows that you have to try not to cry when you’re in the Tomb Worlds. If you start, when will you stop? How can you stop? Yet, there were times for weeping, and this was one of them.

Because they were all gone, you see. The architects and artists who had conceived of the Fane, the builders who gave the dream of it a physical form, even the custodial workers and retail staff that must have maintained the grounds and seen to the pilgrims — they were now dust, horribly murdered centuries before I was born, and we never even learned their names.