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Raphael Lacoste. “In the Mood for Knights”.

The sunset light fades upon the vast Martian plains, and the rhythmic metallic sound of the gong spreading out from the high peaks of the Valley of the Memory, announces the closing of the Great Habitat gigantic doors. It is the hour when the Guardians of the Memory start the retirement inside their chambers, after a long working day in the community orchards, the large halls of Preservation of Time, and the transmission rituals of the Ancient Word.
The little ones follow their guides towards a well-earned resting, while the older ones dismiss the last visitors, before night enfolds them into the placid quietness of its portentous walls of darkness. As they walk away, the devoted pilgrims take the winding path of the descending, barely illuminated by light windows that suddenly start to multiply among the huge towers of the Great Habitat. One more time, the old fortress seems to show them the way in the middle of the shadows. It seems to open a bright fissure into the pit of the impending oblivion and complete uprooting.
They go down and walk away whispering the litany learned and reprised by the Guardians of the Memory through centuries and earlier and forthcoming ages. This is the word that must be preserved, to know where we come from and where we go to. “In the beginning was the Earth… “, states the first word, followed by the names of hundreds of nations and races, of uncountable languages and life forms that inhabited there at the very moment when the first litter was sent to the space, was settled in Mars, until the final silence from the motherplanet. Since then, the duty of the Guardians of the Memory has been preserving the primal bond to the first origin, replicating the teachings and guarding every record treasured, waiting for the primal bond be restored again, or the promise of those who once departed towards the motherplanet can be fulfilled by their longed-for return.
When the sorrows of the day overturn the hope of a fuller life, or the meaning of the existence, among the desolate plains of Mars, seems to stager hopelessly, then the eyes of those who still trust turn towards the heights, up to the silver towers of the Great Habitat that seems to watch over the rhythm of a life more and more hectic down there, where cities grow unstoppable and the old believes fall down with the inevitability of the obsolete. There are few ones, every day less who take the ancestral rocky paths searching for the teaching of the Ancient Word, saving it into their hearts, for their children, for the children of their children, if they ever want to hear it.
There, replicated by the arid cavity of the Valley of the Memory, the old litany becomes a precious pray among those walls where time seems to have stopped in waiting, as the Guardians of the Memory open the large windows facing the skies and aim the giant radars towards distant stars: “Come back, come back Children of the Earth, come back, since the waiting becomes long, and the oblivion eternal…”

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