Lost are the old ways, the treaties once sacred. Man now braves the lands he once promised to not dare tread again. Caravans cross to save a day’s extra travel putting themselves in great peril. The old one remember, try to warn the youth that it is best to not tempt the fates. The old ones know, things that once haunted them as children now called fables to the people in power. Offerings forgotten at the altar of peace, but the other side did not forget, they watch and wait. Being as still as the trees as the wagons pass, allowing the false security to grow. Old soulless creatures hungering for flesh, thirsting for the blood that runs hot in the veins of the passersby.
The carriage bound with the ladies for the far off land readies, the old mage warns the giggling women of the danger that looms. Waving him off they board laughing at the old madman. Closing the door not knowing they have sealed their own fate. Brave escorts ride high and proud on their steeds, armor glinting in the sunlight. Through the gates they pass.
That evening they enter the woods, the old markers still stand. A rebellious young warrior kicks over the stones, scattering them across the road. A moment later his horse stumbles over one and fall. His body instantly crushed against the tree, blood runs to the ground as a cold chill like a woods exhaling flows over the rest of the troop. Horses startle and prance, as if a battle was upon them. A laughter run along the trees as the men draw their swords.
From behind a tree steps the figure of a man, young and handsome. All eyes fall on him as he walks purposefully to the commander.
“State you name!” the man bellows at the stranger
“Is a name necessary? Has it been so long that you have forgotten the price of intruding on these lands?”
“I will not ask you again. Who are you?”
“I am but a humble servant of my master. He requests I bring your tribute for safe passage.”
“Boy we need pay no tribute to any man.”
“Good for my master is no man; he is a god amongst you sheep.”
The commander looks toward his archer. “I have had enough of this, shoot him down and we will precede.”
The archer readied his bow; the fletching glistened in the moon light. In a flash the youth caught it and threw it back striking the archer in the chest. The fletching now the only thing showing as they turn from white to crimson the shaft protruding from his back. A moment later the ground greeted his falling body.
“Now if you will, hand over the tribute and you may pass with no more injury to your party.”
The commander shocked by what he saw lowered his sword as his hand trembled. He mind raced as the words of the old people came back. Demons and worse prowled the lands taking what they wanted till a wise king made a truce many years past. Was this ruddy youth one of them or just very lucky. Yes that must be it, a group of bandits readied to ambush them. His courage rallied as he lifted his sword. A sharp kick to his horse’s flanks as the rest of the men followed suit.
A moment later they all were on the ground. It was like the shadows had come to life and leapt from the trees. Screams of men and horses and blood flew. Helmets torn off as the throats were torn open. The women watched in horror from the coach and the best men fell like wheat to the mowers blade. Horses were not spared wither as they were food for the things as well.
A huge creature walked toward the carriage, one of the ladies let out a scream and tried to jump out the window. A moment later her body fell back inside, headless and flopping around like a fish on the dock. The huge creature chewing her head, some of her hair still could be seen hanging out of its mouth. A moment later they were moving, the creature pulling the carriage into the woods. They stopped for a moment and the door opened. The youth opened the door and tossed out the corpse and climbed in. The huge hand lifted the lifeless body a moment later the crunching sound of bone being ground as they began moving once again.
The three women clung tight to one another as they look at the piercing blue eyes that say across from them. His skin white as marble in the great hall, his emotionless face revealed nothing as they traveled. Not a word spoken as he sat there, watching them, he had no weapon but from what they had seen there was no need for one. Finally they came to the opening of a cave. Wordlessly he got out and waited.
“Oh my mistake I forgot you need to be told things. Please get out and come this way” he said
The women emerged and looked. Shadows moved around them like they were alive. They knew the name but hoped they were wrong. Men could not call them by what they called themselves, but they were knows as shades. They followed him was the darkness behind them grew, engulfing the carriage. There was no escape.
Down the path they went till it opened to a great hall. A creature sat there waiting, eyes glowing green as he peered at them. The women instantly felt their knees got weak.
“That one, she will serve us tonight. The others will be for my delight.”
A moment later a beast appeared and ripped the garment from the one selected. She screamed and tried to cover herself but it was no use as roots in the floor wrapped around her.
She was secured as the leader got off his thrown. The other ladies were held in place as he approached.
“If you try to run you will receive far worse that what is about to befall her.” he said. “Now my dear son would you like an arm or leg?”
The youth looked as the bound woman as he salivated. It had been so long since fresh man flesh was in the great hall. Soon the shades would befall the world again but first they would enjoy and appetizer. A scream echoed off the wall as the arm was torn from her body. The blood that spurted out never hit the ground. It was absorbed in the shadows that now danced in a feeding frenzy around the dying woman.
Come and see who else is being wicked at