It was the night after my father’s funeral, there was a light in the sky followed by a big boom, it sounded like it was near and I could not tell where, maybe it was far-ish. I felt a sense of curiousity, but not enough to venture into the darkest part of the gloom on that particular night.

Why now? Morning waits. We took the new Rover out, and could find nothing. Then later I heard someone found something, it fell from the sky and made a big hole. They said it was full of treasure, so now we are all watching the skies.

Sure enough, another, and another. Then it was quiet. The one I found (everyone is busy with finds, so this one was all for me) was hot to touch, so I made a camp around it and pretended to be resting when they came by to ask about whatever.

Once it cooled I opened it up, that was the next morning after. It was full of little odd boxes. I have never seen anything like it.

There was water, but it smelled bad. I almost threw it out, but decided to wait. You can only throw something out once, but you might be able to find its value later.

There were crackers, lots of boxes of crackers. A box of pictures. Looks like a nice place there. Not as nice as here. It appears to be burnt and fatigued. Some of it looked pretty bad, not all of it. There was a strange hat, and some gloves. There was a box full of scientific junk, it looked like parts. I found some birthday party stuff. I did not open most of the boxes, I decided to wait, and see if the itching would stop. When I put on the gloves, all hell broke loose on my hands. That is when I stopped opening boxes. I broke camp and loaded the Rover and took it all on back to the ranch.

I heard that most of the things that fall out of the sky, and there are more every day, are full of stuff like rotten food, and broken scientific gear, or pieces of some kind of machines. Are these gifts from above? It is probably a trick or a trap. I keep my finds secreted out in the barn, not in the house. My hands still have red marks, I keep washing them.

Now I have a second package from the stars, this time filled with odd equipment. From the diagram I think it is intended to be for filtering water. Why would anyone want to filter water? Around here water is all sweet and clear. In the first package there are some pictures that show a place with poisoned water, this is frightening. It must be a lie.

Most of my time I am trying to keep up with the needs of the ranch. This is our busy season (that is our perpetual joke, it is always our busy season!) there will be another new group from the central market visiting soon. We are getting ready. Market time comes each week, and there is much to do to prepare our goods.

After the group left we went back into the wilderness and brought back seven more gifts from the sky. The Rover is not built to carry so many of these things. I am just storing them in one of the bigger outbuildings. What is going on here? These gifts are certainly welcome, but there are questions about where they come from and what they are for. Are we obliged somehow because we retain them? Someone, somewhere is doing this. What will come next? This is surely a trick.

Most of the contents, now that I have had some time to look at these things, are old food in clear supple packages. The contents are disgusting, some smell nice and some appear to be almost edible, but the packages are most interesting. I wonder what they are made of? Now I am collecting the packages and the contents go into our compost.

I tried eating a bit, as it sort of smelled pleasant, and some of it was indeed delightful. But that seems inappropriate, to be eating something unknown that has fallen from the sky. One of the gifts from the sky was larger than the rest, and I have been harvesting the mysterious but highly useful clear supple pouches.

Word is, others who have gathered these gifts from the sky have been poisoned by decayed matter found inside. We have been advised to avoid contact with these objects.

Now my barn has 37 gifts from the sky, most of them are hidden away under the drying asphodel. I have found a use for the clear pouches, they are quite valuable. At the market I have told the story that they came from far away (which is true) from a caravan (which is not true) and that I might be able to get more, which pleases these friends. I have to conceal the origin of these clear pouches, but they are quite popular in my little market group across the hills. Usually I am struggling to bring cheese and fruits from the ranch, but this pouch business is opening up new possibilities. I know I must go slow, even though gathering the pouches is easy.

In the past two years the gifts from the sky have been coming in greater numbers. My pouch business has had some set-backs. I must take care to conceal from where they come from, but the demand is great. The pouches are quite useful for gardeners and ranchers like myself. I have three barns now, almost too full of gifts from the sky to manage. I keep a little asphodel covering on them, but nobody has ever bothered to look in there. We have three Rovers now, and are increasing our agricultural projects.
I have been eating more of the contents of the pouches, some are rather tastey and I have developed a fondness for certain ones.

Most of it goes into the compost pit, we are going to have a huge accumulation for adding to the soil in years to come. Our natural and traditional way is to use everything, that is the way of the farmer, and these unusual clear sturdy containers are probably going to be quite popular at gift season. I have found a market for the scientific equipment, everyone there knows that they come from the sky, but they are willing to downplay the secret in order to have an increasing supply. I wonder what they are doing with all that odd equipment, such strange parts and pieces.

Last night an unusually large gift from the sky arrived, when we opened it there were skeletons. It was horrible, such strange creatures. Clearly they had a hard ending to their lives. We do not know what to do with this. Giving these long dead things a burial seems appropriate, but nobody wants to touch them, it could be that they died of some kind of contaigen. Nobody wants any of that. We could make a fire. It must be hidden.

It has been five more years since the first skeleton-filled ships started arriving. We have a system for disposing of these ghastly things. Now there is a Super-Rover that comes through the fields, all we have to do is send for it. They usually burn it right where it has landed, leaving blackened metal and ashes. We can always do something with the metal. The whole thing is quite disturbing.

Why are these things falling on us now?

The asphodel harvest this year has been very good, we have built two new barns to dry it in. The rain has been off and on, heavier than usual but the days are hot. This also allows me to hide a few more of the gifts from the sky, not all of them are full of skeletons, they are often full of interesting surprises that are useful. I now have a taste for a type of cracker which turns up in many of the smaller sky gift vessels.

So, that is the end of the manuscript that I put away almost twenty years ago. A lot has happened since then. The first vessel that landed with a living being was not reported to the public, and soon afterwards my wife Nya came to me, frightened and needing shelter. I had no idea who she was, she had no way to communicate with me except for her eyes. We married two years later and she blended into the normal life in our ranch community. We learned each other’s languages and formed a home.

The first newcomers were frightened and harmless. Pitiful in fact. They brought new technology that we had never dreamed about, but when they first stepped out onto our land they were small in number and helpless, so we provided shelter and nourishment. They were so grateful and humble. We had no idea of what was to come. None of them knew how to walk, but they have legs for it, like anyone here does. They need to learn how to locomote themselves, it is easy to spot the newcomers, they look like us but they have a peculiar gait.

I eventually established considerable wealth from harvesting the gifts from the sky, which was a discouraged commerce, but easy to join into. The volume of these objects falling from the sky was unfathomable. I would head out on the Rover and gather any I discovered, I did not go to much trouble to hunt for them, these gifts were plentiful.

With my wife and her insight into the ways of these new objects, we formed a commerce in exotic foodstuffs, new technologies, tools and garments (these garments were always offensive to my skin but could be adapted with proper safekeeping measures) and of course, the clear pouches that I began my first hidden enterprise with.

The first real horror, besides the skeleton-filled vessels, was when enough of the newcomers gathered and attempted to absorb authority over we who had always been here. They were welcome to join us in learning our ways and making a living as we do, but their abuse of our resources and habit of dominating our established order was intolerable. When there were a few of them, they were submissive and humble, but now that they gather in larger numbers they seem furtive and keep to themselves more. Who are these strangers among us now? We have always shown them kindness but they appear to have a dark side behind their facade courtesy.

Yesterday some neighboring kids came to me and told me that they had followed my wife to a cave on the ranch, and I surprised them by telling them that if they followed her inside she would be likely to eat them. They were expecting me to be outraged at her odd behavior, which is evidently how they thought about her presence. Now I have to have a discussion with her, what is she doing in the cave? Every day she is busy working on the ranch, we do different things, but we have never done anything with the cave. I actually had forgotten it was there, when I was a child we used to wonder about what is in there, but it is so dark we never got very far. It seems quiet and wet as I remember, so we naturally avoided it.

I am not particularly concerned about this, right now the main thing is the problem with the newcomers who are a growing population. At first there were so few, my wife was alone when she came here and we met. Then there were these wretched survivors, begging for mercy and trying to adjust to life without zero gravity. I guess they just floated around up there. Now they appear to have to learn to walk, something they have no preparation for. There were a few scattered around, then there were a few more, and now there are more than I have ever seen.

Falling from the sky is an amazing thing, but they seem to think that they are here to tell us how to do things from now on. From beggar to master, that is unacceptable. I consider it laughable in order to calm my anger.

What is Nya doing in the caves? I respect her privacy. I do not want to go in there, nor do I want to spy on her. I have enough to do with my prosperous ranch. We have a new herd of juvenile manatees, as well as the usual varieties of fowl populations to manage. Plus my secret harvesting of the continuous gifts from the sky. We are forbidden to do the later, for reasons of implied obligation to the unknown, but nobody really cares. The vessels filled with newcomers keep arriving, they are big enough in numbers to be a problem for the agricultural authorities (we are simple folk but these regulatory means serve us well), there are lots of spent vessels crashing into the wastelands, reportedly far from our homes.

The growing problem is the newcomers. They seem to have an attitude, and consider this place to be theirs. We are a peaceful people, busy with our agriculture and commerce. A few ragged newcomers from the sky landing here and there are no problem, we can take them in and make them whole, they can live here among us and find welcome enough. It is annoying to see the look on their face as they gather and begin their strange practices in their own arrogant communities. Nya is afraid of them and advises me to take steps to contain the presence these annoying newcomers, she said I should organize the other ranches and the bigger settlements, ancient and distant as they are. I just laugh and appreciate all she does for the ranch. I am lucky she came along. She has wisdom about the nature of the gifts from the sky.

We now have a system of almost two hundred barns, filled with gifts from the sky which are cloaked by the asphodel that has been our primary source of income as far back as anyone can remember. My parents had done well with this form of agricultural crop, and their parents before them, and great grandparents, on back for thousands of years. Nya and I have no children, so I wonder what will become of this place after I am gone.

We have been asked to accept a small community of newcomers on the ranch. Nya is horrified and refuses to allow them inside or near to any of our buildings, especially the barns. I have agreed to allow a new building to be constructed at the farthest corner of the ranch, Nya can abide with that, but she is not happy about it. We must make them agree to conduct their own business and not to interfere with the ranch enterprise. That seems reasonable to me, I have a location in mind for the new building to be placed. It is a good distance away from our daily area of activities.

The first three inhabitants of the new building I provided were humble, they took turns sending one of the trio to our home to assist us with the harvest. The journey from their building to where we live takes about three hours. I would often wonder what the two were doing out there, the one that would visit was meek and vulnerable, hungry and puzzled at the new surroundings.

Agriculture is not their natural vocation. Nya always refused to have anything to do with any of them, she would prefer not reveal her presence to them. I took pity on them, one at a time, at first. As their numbers grew the routine solo visitor ceased bothering us and only came to us for help to manage their emergencies. Once there was an accident, not explained – no questions were asked about it, and medical attention was rendered by my staff, but mostly the distant newcomers preferred to take care of their own problems.

The main thing was getting them used to gravity, they had spent their lives floating about in the chambers of the great vessels they travelled here inside of. They never said what they were doing here, only that it was their destiny to start a new life and to do the best they could at making their new world a better place. They never did explain exactly what that meant. A better place than what?

Why are they here? Had they escaped pursuit, and would there be vengeance brought to them, chased from above? Are they cast away from their origin? Are they defective and banished? Are they brigands seeking respite? We are patient and tolerant, we need to show them our ways and they can join us if they truly feel it is to be their destiny here.

Nya has always refused to have anything to do with them, and many times she had warnings about associating with them or allowing them to have exclusive access to anything beyond their remote area. We had no way of watching them, no time to see what they were doing. We should have, now we know.

I was using the Rover to return one of the wounded visitors, who appeared one night, terrified of something, I am not sure what. One of his own kind? He did not wish to return but Nya insisted that he could never enter our home, she suspected that he was sent as a distraction, to assess our activities.

The first thing I saw was that the single lonely building we had built them was now surrounded by a vast village of small odd structures, and the numbers of these newcomers were probably near a hundred or more. This was not expected, according to the terms we had discussed with the first trio, who seemed to indicate that they would be alone and would make their own way.

I made the visitor who had interrupted our routines to get out of the Rover and to return to the new settlement. He did not want to go, so I simply left him and turned around to speed back to my domicile, with much unfinished work to accomplish before the new herd of manatees were ready for market day. Later I wondered, do they brutalize their own kind?

The next time I had to deal with the newcomers, they were making increasingly loud noises, some kind of ceremonial function or celebration, very disruptive. They frightened the entire area, my ranch was not anywhere near the center of their presence but their sounds reached further into the surrounding areas. Then a new development, I discovered signs that there had been regular surveliance groups visiting our periphery, never making themselves known but leaving signs of sustained observation of our activities. This was upsetting to Nya, who again vowed to drive them away. Now their numbers are so large, I don’t see how we could accomplish this, besides it is nearly harvest season, which is followed by the winter and the long cold season.

We did nothing to oppose this disturbance, only waited for the winter to keep them close to their own sources of warmth. We had much work to do, this was a very prosperous time at the ranch. We should have been more aware of what the newcomers were doing.

One day in the following summer we returned from market to find that our ranch had been overtaken by these newcomers. They were not present, but our buildings were damaged, doors forced and blatantly left open, most of the gifts from the sky had been taken, and several of the barns had signs of attempted arson. This caused Nya to become quiet and withdrawn. Later I found that she had retreated to her hidden cave, which is where we eventually found shelter during the violent period that followed.

The ranch was lost in the next months, burned to the ground, and all our animals had been taken or just killed and left to decay on the ground. The only thing that remained were the fields of asphodel, which flourished without our attention, as they have eternally. My attempts to negotiate with the newcomers was futile, they had no interest in my concerns or requests for respect. We could only watch from hidden places as they proceeded with some kind of ritual decemation of our property and they soon established their own buildings, those strange villages of their own design.

I made my way back to the market, to see what the other ranchers had to say about this new development, but there was no sign of the old market community, the tables stood empty and lost. Chairs were broken and scattered. I remained there for a few days to see if anyone would return. I left in darkness to maintain a sense of safety. That is when I found my home in ashes and strangers, all of them newcomers, living where my buildings had once stood. Our staff was nowhere to be found, and we never saw any of them again.

Nya and I lived in the cave for a long time, listening to the sounds of the newcomers doing their victory dances and shouts of triumph. We ventured out during the darkest hours of the night to see what they were doing, but they had destroyed so much, finding the way in the dark was difficult, and we suspected that they probably had their own defense fortifications.

We waited. Because of Nya’s foresight, the cave had a small supply of gifts from the sky resources, as well as natural water and a sense of security. It was very dark, but we had our lamps which we carefully kept hidden as much as possible. We were able to find more food by venturing back to our original vast agricultural fields, discovering unclaimed gifts from the sky. The newcomers had no use for our abundant agricultural resources, which worked out well for us.

Nya showed me how to find mental peace in the darkness, and to cleanse my thoughts of pain and confusion. We grew stronger, but we remained hidden. Eventually we began to explore the area, always under cover of darkness. I found the mounds of waste near the old barn locations. This was confounding to me, all the resources available, and they simply abandoned materials in piles. Our compost pits that we use to cultivate our gardens were always so small in size, and we always kept them active. The mounds are abandoned but left in sight. A brutal form of storage.

We pulled from the waste mounds many useful things which we used to benefit our own lives. Always found nearer and nearer to the newcomer settlements, the mounds of abandoned materials grew. I found a collection of the old Rovers, they had not bothered to learn to repair any of them, and left it all to decay in the weather. I worked on fixing one, all I needed were some salvaged parts, which I found nearby, and soon I had my own Rover, which I hid deep in the caves.

During the first winter after the newcomers ruined my home, I found a stray juvenile newcomer, frightened and wounded. Nya surprised me by taking pity on her, and we taught it our language, which grew from a blend of Nya’s old language and my own, with some new contributions from Zamo. Zamo was near death when we found him, near one of the huge mounds of waste materials. He rejected his kind, or was driven out of the newcomer tribe, and we welcomed him. We have enough resources to be comfortable in the cave. Nya tolerates his presence, but she secretly advised me to anticipate that he is actually a spy of some sort, here to observe and report on us to his kind.

Zamo tells us that the newcomers will continue to arrive, many of the vessels are filled with dead bodies, but there are some who survive and they travel from their now gigantic ships to the surface of our land, to find their new home. I suspect they abandon their traveling vessels, exactly as they do the mounds of waste materials here on our land. The hardest part of their arrival is learning to walk, many of the survivors are lame and require mechanical assistance to move about. Most of the young survivors adapt to surface locomotion and are eager to explore what they call their “New Earth.” They use the name “Chosen Ones” to refer to themselves.

Nya remains in the cave, Zamo and I take the Rover at night to see what goes on further away from the ranch. We get pretty far, but find no evidence of the world I knew before all this happened. We stay through the daylight hours, sleeping in an abandoned building, and decide to follow the main road to what I remember to be the largest settlement I used to know of. We only travel at night, keeping an eye out for any surprises.

Zamo was killed four days later when we were stopped by some soldiers, it all happened pretty quickly. Zamo was driving the Rover and I was resting in the rear of the vehicle, I did not hear everything, but there was shouting and then an explosion. I managed to hide nearby. Once the warriors left I went back into the smoking remains of the Rover and found parts of Zamo’s remains, which I gathered and honored as best I could. I stayed in the area to see what would happen, nothing did. I decided to see if I could make my way back to my ranch.

I was very careful, always using the darkness to my advantage, and watching for any signs of trouble. We had traveled fairly far to get where we were now, so it took me a few days to find my way back, which did not end my difficulties. When I got to the cave, there was no sign of Nya, but I was glad to be in a familiar location. It did not appear to be disturbed, and my bed was intact, so I gave myself over to sleep and to see what would happen next.

I sat in the darkness and thought about when I first met Zamo, he said he was rejected by the newcomers because of his interest in my ranch and the ways of the original residents of this property. We took him in because he had no other choices, and though he regretted leaving his people and their familiar ways, he was attracted to our ways and how we had been living here for countless centuries. This cave for example, once was an ancient residential resource. Deep in the secret darkness Nya had created a strange room with a central table and a hidden area. She never did explain what it was for. She had many secrets, which I respected.

Zamo told us about the common beliefs of the newcomers, they call themselves the Chosen Ones, and had left a failed planet to find their way here and to create a new way of life. Zamo was from that perspective but he was not sure of the foundation, coming from a strange place to find a new start for a transplated culture.

I come from a culture that has never required or pursued a sense of revenge for being treated unfairly. I do feel that my way of life has unique properties that allow for sustained survival, rather than exploiting resources and discarding excess. We have no waste piles, we have small compost pits. Everything we have has a purpose and we always create a natural balance.

There is no gain without cost. When I first met Nemo we spoke different languages and could not communicate with each other, except for sign language and pantomime. In the years that followed, he told Nya and I about growing up on the vessel he came from, called E42. There he was one of the children raised by other children, watched over by elderly shadows that rarely interacted with them. He was happy, floating about with the other children, in charge of the younger ones and tormented by the older ones, with the shadow elders acting as referees when necessary. Eventually they were left alone and the shadow elders were never seen again, but nothing was said among them about this.

The short time we had with Nemo he told us much about the ways of the newcomers, which is what I call them. The Chosen Ones were of no interest to Nya, who usually avoided such conversations. Nemo was eager to tell me about his people and I was eager to listen.

Nya probably spent most of her time laboring in the distant groves and fields, she had various agricultural projects underway, always watching out for the noisy newcomers who seemed to be rather caught up in their celebrations and social activities. They had a system of watchmen who maintained a peripheral guard, but we were unaware of any spies or exploratory forces. They kept to themselves all of the time, as is their custom. How odd they would watch inward, keeping an eye on each other and not have any interest in the outer surroundings. We would become aware of them when they typically got caught up in their passions and thus were able to keep clear of them. It is always easy to tell where they are. I think they had no idea we were here, and had no interest in their Zamo.

In addition to our hidden agricultural projects we had several manatee that we kept, mostly for the dairy production. The manatee ponds were conspicuous but of no interest to the newcomers. The water farm was obvious to us but evidently this had no purpose or interest to the Chosen Ones. We had plenty, in our secret world, and were grateful that our “neighbors” were busy with their own affairs. Still, it was difficult to think that all we had known was now lost, were there others who remained from the old days? The market was such a busy and happy place, is that gone forever? To discover the answer to this is why Zamo and I set out on the Rover.

After returning alone I spent the next week, or maybe it was ten days, waiting for Nya, of her no sign could I find. I lay hiding in the asphodel fields for endless hours, looking up into the blue above, the white star-like flowers reaching up to the sky, like looking up from a field of white or yellow torches, their tall spires like a flame of stars. It is so peaceful in the field, looking up at the sky. Our ancestors once made their huts of asphodel stalks. We mostly use it for animal feed. In the spring we eat the tender shoots, and for the harvest festival we take the roots, boiled and mixed with potato or grains to be made into a bread. During this endless waiting I considered what I would do if I was alone now. What if she was never seen again? She has in the past been gone for a few days, but rarely, and consistently offered no explanation. I was always too busy with the ranch to allow much time for concern.

During these times of change, and having just lost Zamo, I harbored no expectation of stability ahead.

One morning Nya returned, and she was glad to find me in the cave. She has since carried on her manatee work and the gardens, hidden in the wilderness. We are discussing what to do next, with the two of us in our secret place, and the growing population of newcomers. It is only a matter of time before we make some mistake or are otherwise discovered and slaughtered. I know that Nya is actually a newcomer herself, but we do not talk about that. She has many secrets, and never talks about her past. I do all the talking about my past, and she is content to listen, I am content to talk, and remember, and long for the old days of prosperity and free commerce at the marketplace. I loved the marketplace with its seasons of harvest and our own quiet celebrations.

The story Nya eventually tells me has chilled me to my bones. She has made contact with other people who have been displaced by the newcomers. They are making plans. I do not wish to discuss this with anyone, this is so far from what I know, from what my life is.

What has fallen from the sky? What has accumulated? Is this how we will end, torn from our past and forgotten by the newcomers?

We gather in a burnt field, next to the river Lethe that feeds the manatee ponds on the ranch. There are more of us than I had imagined. One group has used the materials they found in one of the packages that fell from the sky to make a new kind of killing machine. What does this mean, using their own tools against them to push them back? What will it take to allow us to take back our land, our way of life?

I listen to everyone talking, I am sick. The meetings go on and on, there is a team that watches for any of the newcomers, which we can still find easily by listening for their noisy presences.

On the night that we moved, I was terrified. But it all went so easily, all the plans we had came together, and it was all over in a week. We have left most of their buildings, as monuments and to learn what we can about their ways. Mostly we are not familiar with destruction, so the shapes remain, haunting our views now. They had a communication system that we had no knowledge of, but now that they are all extinguished, we can only learn from their remains.

It feels good to have the ranch back, I have a new team. They do not like Nya, they brazenly call her The Chosen One to spite her, but she does not respond to their taunts. Now we build a new series of barns, a new house, and proceed with fixing the old fields, the ponds are bigger than before. We have a good life ahead.

That is what we planned. We got quite a bit done. We should have removed all of the buildings that the newcomers left. We did remove the waste piles, they were gigantic, and it took a long time, but we cleared it all away and made good use of the materials we found there. We swear that there will be no more of such destructive practices, we have cleared the land of the newcomers and knew that we are strong now. We can build and grow on our own traditional way. That was our plan.

Then came the next group of newcomers. Nya says that these are the worst, the ones that came first were the peaceful explorers, and from now on there will be what she calls the Prison Ships. These newcomers are not going to pretend to be explorers, they have come now to again take away what is ours, what we have just won back.

They came from above, they saw the old buildings, the ones that we should have burned down, and they knew just where to land.

They had an awareness of our settlement and knew just where to strike. They did not know about the cave, but they did know the barns and the newly rebuilt house. We had dismantled the killing machine, so we could not have struck back.

We have taken new steps to further hide the cave entrance, planted trees and hidden the path there by creating a pond, which is shallow and useless for anything but stinking. It does that well. The fields provide respite from the odor of the new pond, so we do not have to remain hidden within all the time. We have the wilderness to ourselves, so far.

The newest people from the sky are much more brutal, there are no more celebrations. These new versions of the newcomers are warriors. They soon have burned down our new barns and house, and they are living in the buildings left behind by the ones who came before them. Again, they are busy with their own ways, but we remain alert to their movements. They have vehicles, and have solved their problems with walking under the influence of gravity by use of automation. They never did learn to walk properly after spending their lives floating in what Nya calls their E-ships. She walks perfectly, she does not appear to be one of the newcomers, but she does know much about them. These new creatures are much more troublesome, that is a poor term, they are clearly deadly to us.

Nya calls them centaurs, from an old legend she brought with her. The centaurs have four legs, but to not walk so much as glide on hidden wheels or an invisible cushion which extends from the bottom of each member. I do not quite grasp all of the nuances of the legends she knows. We can always hear these new four legged machine-animal creatures that have come from the sky, they are not quiet in their surface locomotion. They also tend to travel in groups and watch each other, never looking beyond to their surroundings. They have built a new system of transportation which connects them with distant settlements of other centaur warriors.

We have tried to gather again. I dream of rallying another time by the river Lethe, in the old field which is no longer appearing as burnt of course. Much has been lost, after our phyyric victory we did not rejoice but we did eagerly build back what we had lost, and now we have lost it all again. It is a source of much frustration, to hide in the cave again. Now it is just the two of us, surrounded by a world of angry monsters that came from the sky. I forget that Nya is also from the sky.

We found a new mound of refuse, I had forgotten how offensive those places are. The smell travels. The sight is repulsive, the waste is intolerable to me. Even though our cave is hidden behind a stinking pond, we can smell the mound sometimes. The pond has a living smell, things decay but they are part of the cycle and eventually they become only bones. The mounds are forever repulsive in every way.

The other unpleasant aspect I had forgotten, in the years since we first removed the newcomers, is the noise they make. These new centaur machine-beings are not as persistant with the chanting and exhuberance, but they frequently discharge their weapons, for no evident purpose. This operation of destruction is quicker than the technologies we are familiar with, also much louder and more frightening.

We are terrified of these creatures and take ultimate care to be hidden from them, there have been some close escapes. Like the earlier newcomers, the centaurs tend to stick to themselves are not interested in the world around them, so there are no patrols or explorering parties. Nya and I appear much like the non-machine version of the people from the sky, except for the clothing. We can probably gather some appropriate disguises from the waste mounds. It would be good to appear more like these murderers and less like their prey.

Their numbers continue to grow, now the village they have made where the ranch buildings once were are spreading further into the fields. The settlement we gave them first, in the distance, has grown as well. I think they are planning on creating a continuous connecting corador lined with new smaller villages. This seems far fetched, but the foundation is clear. Every mile or so there is a cluster of empty frames, ready to be developed into new small villages.

Now they have drained our ponds, which were fed by the river Lethe, and our manatee herds have been slaughtered. We were careful to keep them hidden and spread out along the shoreline and wetlands. When they drained the water that was the end of our ranch. Once, we had have a system of water-barns for them, and the operation was very prosperous. All that was before the people from the sky came.

Now we live hidden in a cave, fearful of being destroyed like the other ranches have been over the years. Now our work is clear, before we are destroyed we must create a monument to what we had before the newcomers came from the sky and took it all for themselves. We must create a message that is timeless and will tell our story. We must find a way to outlast the invasion and destruction caused by the warriors who have come to take all of what is ours for themselves.