“All right men! The council has finally decided on a counter-attack against The Order, and we’re the ones who get to track them down. These sons-of-whores have made a very bad mistake, and that is killing our leaders, and letting us know it was them. I want the green soldiers up front, scouting for tracks, and for every time you lead us astray, you will earn a scar. And those of us behind you will know if you’ve messed up, so don’t even think of trying to fool anyone. It’s time to head on out.” shouted the burly man wearing camouflage and face paint. The force was about half of the rookies and veterans that made up the camp. After the short speech, they headed into the forest, the rookies inspecting everything they saw while keeping a pace for the rest of the group. While they focused on the ground immediately in front of them, none of them could have seen the Upierci working on making every clue The Order left behind just obvious enough to be spotted without making it look like it had been planted. There was going to be a massacre that night, and the Upierci would be able to feast once again.
The Upierci scout was watching from the trees, his job was to carefully watch the tensions between the Order and the Danor. Last night, the Order assassinated the men and women who made up the council that ran the Danor of the region. The Order may be highly organized, but their tactics left something to be desired. The Danor may have lost their leaders, but the chaos was superficial. They already had plans in the event that a leader, or all of the leaders, died. The chaos that could have fooled an ordinary outsider was merely how the Danor always were. The Danor already knew who had attacked them; the Order had their signatures that they never forgot to leave. As the men and women of the Danor went to work starting their process of figuring out how to respond to the attack, the Upierci scout scrambled off to his tribe’s castle, nestled in the trees near the swamp that was attacked yesterday. The planning of the Upierci was never as long-winded as the Danor and never as ritualistic as the Order of the Silent Flame, because their reason for fighting was for food. Besides, the two groups were always incredibly easy to predict, despite all of the voting the Danor did, they always had a preference to counter attack. And the Order always attacked at night, always choosing the offensive, believing that the world needed to be purified for the arrival of the supposed god of fire and silence. Hopefully, the other scout did his job correctly and spotted the entrance to the underground lair of the Order. The last scout that failed when he fell asleep ended up being part of dinner the next night.
The massive cathedral was filled with black-robed men and women whose faces were hidden by their hoods. The cathedral was built inside of a cavern, and the cave that led to it was easily hidden by the heavy vegetation in the forest outside. Inside of the cathedral, a single file line of robed individuals were being led down the center. There was no sound; no singing that would be expected in a normal church. When the single file line gathered in a row on a platform in front of everybody, those on the platform removed their hoods, revealing the faces of mere teenagers. They were all fourteen years of age, and this was their rite of passage. One single man, wearing the same garbs as the rest of the men and women in the silent cathedral, took a spike that had been resting in a simple, unadorned bowl filled with fire and coals. The tip was a glowing red, and the spike itself was approximately two feet long and heavily engraved with hieroglyphs. The man walked up to each young adult, and in a ritual-like fashion, he raised the spike, and the teen would lift their head to look straight at the massive, adorned ceiling, open their mouths, and the man would carefully place the spike down their throats. Many of the young adults doubled over once the spike had been removed, and began coughing up blood, but none of them screamed. They had prepared for this moment their whole lives, by study, and by other rituals of fire. Once the ceremony came to a close, those that had their throats scalded received their eye patches, and their daggers. The hieroglyphs on the spike had read: “Silence is our shield, fire is our sword. Spoken words betray.”
They were called the Order of the Silent Flame. They waited for all of the Danor to fall asleep, or pass out in a few cases. With the new moon in the sky and the fires put out, it was so dark that one would be unable to see more than a few inches in front of their face. As such, even if the patrols were awake, they would have been unable to see the black cloaked figures moving slowly through the camp. The figures all wore what appeared at first to be black eye patches, and they all carried long, silver daggers with strange inscriptions on them. After carefully stepping around the numerous explosive traps that infested the camp, they walked silently into the variously sized tents and stood over the men and women lying in the beds. One thing that these men and women had in common was that they made up the loosely organized council of that particular grouping of the Danor. Once all of the cloaked figures were in place, the stood in place for a second, and then a small flash of light shone under the eye patches they wore. Immediately afterward the figures raised their daggers in unison, and brought them down onto the necks of their targets, all of this happening without a single sound happening, even the blood that dripped fell onto soft blankets noiselessly. And just like that, after silencing their targets, they disappeared as if they were nothing but specters.
Sorry to stall a bit on the Zombie story. When I can get past a small block, I will make sure to put up the next part.
Despite the failure of the mission, the Danor group still celebrated vigorously, brawling, copulating, eating, drinking, anything that made them feel alive. One would have mistaken them for being perfectly careless. What a person outside of the group would have missed is the large number of mines, and tripwires set up to keep strangers from invading. The childhood of the Danor is usually filled with close calls as the parents teach the children how to notice small things, like twigs and stones that are out of place, for that is where the deadly traps are always hidden. The assault on the group’s encampment by the Upierci was a lure, one that the Danor swallowed because they are a prideful people. It was their downfall, but because they rarely had casualties on their own soil, they had a habit of taking a blood for blood view on attacks on their home. Of course, although they had been trained since childhood to look for clues on land, another old nemesis was sending their probes to search underground for weak points.
The large, grand table, set to seat more than fifty people, was being prepared. The smell of the meats put onto the table was mouthwatering, and everything was set up as if it had come out of a medieval castle. The reality of the situation was much darker, as the people sitting at the table, patiently waiting for the others, all had teeth filed to points, and the meat that was being served was human. The eating utensils were crafted from bone, the tablecloth made of human skin, and the lamps lit with the fat leftover from the bodies. Once everybody had been seated, one of the children, his teeth sharpened as well, began reaching for the food set before him, until his mother gently slapped his hand. “What have you done to earn this food? You know that the men who hunted down those whom we eat get the first bites. They are the ones who truly deserve this feast, but they share it with us out of the kindness of their hearts. One day, when you are a true warrior, you will be allowed to have the first taste of that which you hunt.” his mother whispered to him. Once the hunters who had captured the militants had their choices of food, the rest of the tribe proceeded to eat in silence.
Here is a story that I decided to start for no particular reason other than to help guard against my writer’s blocks. Hopefully you find it entertaining, if a bit violent.
“The Upierci tribe seems to have set up shop in a swamp nearby. We’re going to have to use floaters to take out their cover. Let’s just hope that we can take them by surprise. Tell the rookies that they better keep their eyes up, but to keep a watch on the ground too, who knows what these psychos have planned.” said the burly man in a camouflage uniform. The man listening at attention made an about-face and marched toward the covered truck, full of men and explosives. After talking quietly to another big guy in uniform, the guy shouted out to the men in the truck: “Okay you dolts, we are going after the Upierci maniacs who decided it would be fun to attack one of our bases. Now, while I know you all have been told how these creeps operate, I don’t trust you to pay attention, so I am going to keep things simple for you. Keep your eyes up, look for anything odd, and if you don’t like how it looks, fire an explosive arrow at it. Do not bother with grenades, unless you’re planning on getting in a splash fight with these guys. We’re going to be using the floaters instead. Keep an eye on the water as well, these guys will rip your head off and eat your eyes out before you can say ‘hello’. One more thing, before I send you morons to your doom, keep radio silence until I say so, our likelihood of surviving is better when they don’t know we’re coming.” After the man finished his speech, the young men and women in the vehicle began file out, all carrying metal bows with quivers full of exceptionally wide arrows, and they all had odd looking objects hanging from their belts that looked like wooden squares with black domes in the center. They kept as silent as they waded through the swamp, every other soldier was looking up, and the rest were looking down at the water. Despite the care they took, none of them noticed the alligator slowly moving behind them. Suddenly, the alligator following the platoon attacked one of the people in the back, dragging them down into the muck. Several other soldiers reacted, pulling out short swords and jumping on the reptile that attacked. It was then that the men in the trees pounced, landing on the people sneaking around the swamp. They were wearing strange suites that changed color, like a chameleon’s skin. Their teeth were filed down to sharp points, and they were all pale and bald. However, the most obvious thing about them were their weapons, large claws on their hands, each of them knives a foot long each, and they were wearing similar ones on their feet, the claws about half as long. As they landed on the people, they savagely tore them apart, slicing at them with their claws and biting into the necks of their prey. The panicky new recruits began trying to blow themselves up, throwing their “floaters” in every direction, and shooting their arrows into the trees above. Before anything was able to explode, the strange men from the trees quickly jumped away, leaving the rookies to their fates. Then, the two large men leading the platoon pulled out their explosive bows and began firing at the strange figures. They managed to strike down three of them, and when the arrows exploded, the blasts took down two more. “Fall back!” shouted out one of the leaders, and the remaining soldiers began running back to their vehicles, but as they got close, a net, hidden in the water, captured a number of them and shot up into the trees. The rest got to the trucks, and drove off. The Upierci won the day, and they would feast that night. After all, they Upierci were more than just fierce warriors, they were also cannibals.