396 Late 3rd Quarter
There were five of them. A man by the fire chewed on a tiny bit of jerky he’d saved. Their rations were running low. The men were growing hungry. Three sat by a small fire talking quietly, one paced back and forth around the camp, the last was standing near the waters edge. He stood there, looking out towards the foreign city. But, he did not see it. He did not see the marvel he once had. He didn’t notice as the candles and laterals lit from within the cliff and the three levels of circular windows began to reflect their light onto the water. Like little suns they rippled, even after the sun retreated behind the mountains.
The sun retreated to the west, beyond the horizon as it did everyday. The man with eyes fixed on the settlement carved high into the cliffs, saw only blood. He wanted to leave. He wanted to follow the sun home. He saw there was nothing to be won here, only more lives to be lost.
The city was like nothing his people had encountered. It was unable to be breached. He stood there frozen, not by the bite of the changing season, but by the depth of his thoughts. He tried to push the gruesome images out of his head and focus on what he could do to survive the coming night, they were getting worse.
The suns light faded and darkness and stars filled the sky. The men by the fire chatted with their hushed voices, speculating about what they had saw earlier that day. They all wondered what could have been responsible for the gruesome slaughter of their comrades.
Esperantian night raiders, one had suggested. Another thought it might be wild animals, a large pack of wolves or a mountain loins. The third man by the fire suggested monsters. The two wiser men kept their thoughts to themselves, they dreaded what was to come.
Claiming it monsters was more a joke at first, but after being witness to the savage aftermath of one of the attacks, monsters seemed to be more probably then men. They weren’t random animal attacks. One would have to be a complete rock head to think so. These were not random. They were targeted attacks, tactical and brutal in nature. They all knew it was them, the Esperantians, they just didn’t know what they were dealing with. All they knew was the dread that came with it, the thought they would be next.
The lone man by the water had an idea and put it into action without hesitation. He marched over to the little fire and kicked it apart. Sending the burning sticks flying and the three men cursing. He didn’t care as one of them shoved him away. He was not going to draw whatever responsible for the attacks to his camp like moths to a lantern.
‘Dam it Dyeden! What you do that for!? It’s bloody freezing out here.’ One of the men said as he tried to salvage what he could of the flame.
Saving their lives, he hoped. There were hundreds of camps, spread too thin, unable to support one anther, all calling dangerous attention to themselves with the flicker of their fires.
The young man was held back easily enough by a larger man as the other two worked on the fire. One tossed glowing sticks back into the pit while the other blow on them. The flames snapped back into being.
‘Do you want to die? Do you want to end up torn to peaces like Grason!? Or disappear like Dehm?’ Dyeden spat painfully. His friends names tore at his throat. The loss was too fresh. He turned and paced away. Silently he moved into the darkness to shed the tears that built in his eyes. He didn’t want them to see, but they all knew why he had stepped away.
The squad leader watched his man bicker for a time. He watched the fire recover and start flicker more strongly as he thought. After his mind was made he moved to the side of the fire. To give his orders.
‘Snuff that.’ He said to the younger men.
‘What?’ One of them looked up at him, unsure of what he thought he heard.
‘Put the fire out.’ He said clearly with authority and strength.
There was no argument made and so the men sat in the cold darkness as the night progressed. In silence save for the sounds of the oceans waves lapping the shore and the tree branches gently swaying and dropping their leaves into the crisp breeze. They sat in the silent darkness until the light of the full moon became the focus of the night sky. They were no longer in darkness the moon lit the camp and the world shimmered a blue silver. It wasn’t long after when the silence was shattered, wolves howled in the distance. Grown men were never more afraid. The first attack had begun. It progressed in a similar way to the nights before. They started with sounds to alert one anther. Then turned to sound of alarm, cries for help. Horrible sounds of fear, sounds of bravery melting into desperation then torture… A distant camp across the river erupted in the toxic sound, a sound that crushes your hopes and leaves your morel damaged.
The silence came again. It was full of dread, yet in some way relief. The attack, the threat was far from them. The men hoped in silence, hoped they didn’t know the unfortunate victims. They waited for another camp to cry out, they didn’t need to wait long. A blood curdling cry came from the coast an unexpected direction. The camp was on their side of the river. Shivers crawled up their spines as they realized their had to be more then one group attacking this night.
Before the screams of the men died another camp across the river was struck and their distant cries mingled with the others. Then a forth camp went off in a third direction. Screams from up river could be heard most clearly. Names we called and cried.
‘Argh! Hel-ph!’ The voice muffled by distance died in the breeze.
‘Flayer!! Aaaarrrr!’ A voice answered before dropping off with the other.
The five men by the ashes fidgeted nervously with their weapons in hand. Their backs against one another their eyes and ears searching the forest for any signs of movement. And, thats how they spent their night. Listening to the screams of their brothers and friends meeting violent ends. They stood in the cold with more tension, stress, and fear then they ever imagined it possible to feel. Their eyes torching them with glimpses of moving shadows. Their ears hearing phantom footsteps too soft to be made out over their breath. They waited, fearing to be the next camp to contribute to the orchestra of brutality. For endless hours the screams persisted from all directions until the crack of dawn.
The men were exhausted as the light silenced the horrid sounds of men being torn apart by whatever faceless entity it was. They collapsed to the ground with dark bags under their eyes. They looked ill, but they were more then ill. They were tormented and scared and would be for years to come. They would dream of those screams and image the monsters coming for them. Some would recover in time, others were forever tormented.
Hey Guys! I hope you liked this full moon addition!. I have some good news! I’ve already been able to complete a number of 2000 word days!!! And, I believe I should be able to do it for 120 days Straight! That is the plan anyways – To get three 1st drafts completed in 4 months, 240,000 words 😀
I recently bought myself a calendar for 2020. (A old friend of mine created it with pictures he took) I will track my progress on it with special stickers for every day I get my 2000 words. It will be glorious!
I also found another great writing resource. It is a youtube playlist featuring over 12 hours of writing classes with the one and only Brandon Sanderson! I am so pumped I found this! I’ll add it to the Writing Resources soon.
One last thing, I would like to promote some really cool merchandise on my website. At this moment I will not be affiliated with anyone. Meaning I will not be making any money helping to sell their stuff. I just want to promote some artistic friends that remind me of the Esperantians from my story and some other interesting online stores to buy things that are in some way related to the themes my world is built around.
Thanks for reading! Hit the Follow button and enter your email to get the monthly Moon Blog! Show your support! Until next moon, Stay safe, Stay Human.