The lumbering horde

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    • The lumbering horde

      6th September,

      They are known as the lumbering horde, a monstrous collection of what was once men, that now has turned towards darker goals. We had heard they roamed the lands to the north of our small town but had so far not encountered them. It was the early days of fall and the harvest had just begun. Hildegard von Knapp was taking in wheat with the other villagers to be stored in the granary, in the center of town, safe behind our palisade.. when she saw a wall of towering, plate-clad men approach from the east. Hildegard let out a scream that alerted the villagers to the oncoming danger and started running towards safety, behind the palisade. The rest of the villagers working the fields soon caught on to what was happening and started running as well. The towns chief of guard, old Michael, starting ringing the bells of the watch tower to alert anyone who was not already running. When everyone was inside, the gates were shut and barred. The guardsmen watched over the palisade from their towers as the foreign men slowly closed in on the town.. though not hurrying, they seemed to be ambling towards the city in an uneven, slow pace. As they neared the town, still under the watchful eyes of the town guard, they spread out to form a perfect circle around the town. No attempt was made to establish contact from either side, each awaiting the others response.

      7th September,

      This morning, an attempt was made to establish contact with the ominous horde standing practically on our doorstep. A .. volunteer was chosen among the ranks of the town guard and sent out with a measured, yet harsh, letter from the mayor demanding the reason for this interruption of the harvest as well as a warning as to what would happen to them should they not heed the warnings inside of Imperial counterattack. The town guard was let out on a ladder, to avoid having to open the gate. He had been instructed to approach what looked like a palanquin, sitting on the ground just opposed the town gates. Hesistantly, he started to walk in the direction of the palanquin, cautious for any attempt at putting an arrow through him from a distance. Eventually, he reached the palanquin, and what he saw there made him gag and retch. Inside the palanquin was a huge creature. A man, easily two meters tall and by the looks of it almost as wide, lay there in a stinking pile of swollen flesh, feces and rotten food. "You.. have.. something.. for.. me..?" the creature said in a slow, dark voice. The guard tried to gather his courage and said: "I have here a letter from the honorable mayor of this town, Konrad von der Brinke, asking your purpose for being here and warning you that any attack on this town will be met by harsh retribution by Imperial troops.". The thing in the palanquin started to laugh, a hideous gargling, deep sound, that rocked the guards bones. "We have... no intention.. of attacking... your... miserable.. flyspeck of a town.. ha.. ha.. ha..." he bellowed. "Then why are you here?" responded the town guard. "We.. are here.. to wait... We have... all.. the time... in the.. world..." the thing replied. The guard wasn't sure what to reply to this but he felt not much more could be gained from the conversation so he started his return to the safety of the walls. "Tell your... mayor.. we have.. no interest... in negotiating.." the thing cried after him.

      9th September,

      They are as an immobile wall. They are still standing there, in a perfect circle around our town... metal-clad pieces of stone for all we can see.. We have attempted to send out scouts carrying letters requesting help from the surrounding cities and towns but they all met the same fate. They do not move, not until the last moment when our scouts reach their immobile stance do they respond, with horrible violence. We have lost two scouts this way as they are struck by these giants' great weapons nearly cleaving their horses in half. The harvest still lies on the fields outside, they haven't touched it, but we dare not try to collect any of it for fear of an attack. We still have enough in the granary to last us a month or so if we ration the food enough. By then, the empire will surely have noted was has befallen us and send aid.

      23rd September,

      No sign of help. These monsters have still not moved an inch except for when they murder someone trying to sneak past them in the night. Do they sleep? Do they even eat? None of this makes any sense! We are becoming desperate, the food is almost running out. Disease has started to spread in town, things we have never seen before, pustules have broken out among a fair few and the more learned of the men say it is no normal disease. I can only deduce this is some dark plague, cast upon us from the sieging forces outside.

      3rd October,

      The food in the granary has run out... I have some still stocked in a private chamber of my cellars but I can't share it with anyone, I must survive this to be able to tell the Emperor of what happened here! After all.. I'm the mayor! What would happen to a town without a mayor? Ha..

      5th October,

      They have begun to eat the dead, I have locked myself within my house for I dare not move on the streets outside for fear of being struck by this horrible plague. Or one of the villagers... I'm sure they've noticed I'm not as emaciated as the rest of them. They can be damned for all I care! I intend to survive this ordeal!

      7th October,

      They attemped to smash my door in last night... good thing I reinforced the door and my windows after that rock was thrown through one of my windows last spring! They can never enter... they can all die... It matters little...

      13th October,

      My secret supply has run out.. It has been quiet for a few days now, not even the slightest banging on the door. I must venture out to try to find something to eat. I climb one of the watch towers and look out upon the fields... and there they still stand.. ever waiting. They are not in any rush it seems... I might as well meet my fate and open the gates, at least then I can find out what they really want...

      .. Excerpt from the Journals of Konrad von der Brinke, Mayor of Bernwald, a small town to the west of Volskagrad.

      As the mayor approached the palanquin, the foul stench of them hit his nose and he vomited. Insistant on getting to the bottom of this mess, he continued. The thing in the palanquin motioned with his hand towards the troops on either side of him to move and they all started slowly marching in towards the town. "It is.. over then.." the thing wheezed. "What is over? Who are you creatures?" the Mayor cried back in response. "We are.. the lumbering.. horde.. the chosen.. of Nukuja.." "Nukuja?" replied the mayor more slowly, trying to understand what was going on. "Yes... Nukuja.. the sleeper.. the revealer.." the thing explained slowly. "Though you... might seek.. the blessings... of.. Vanadra.. Savar.. or even.. Akaan.. to be... sure..." the thing grinned wildly. "Will you let me live, to rebuild my town?" the mayor pleaded. "You may... do... as you... wish... though.. your Empire.. may not.. look upon... you.. as fondly... as they... might have.. before.. perhaps.. you wish... to stake... out a... path for... yourself.. in this... world?.. Ambition.. is a... tool.. for those... who wish... to climb.. the ladder... of the.. ranks.. of the... dark gods... Though... I.. will not... accept you... among my... ranks... there are... those that... might..."
    • Thrymfjord wrote:

      Kdownunder wrote:

      Hmmm nuk(k)uja is sleeper in finish.
      That's interesting! Do the names of any of the other Dark Gods mean anything in finnish?
      Rest of the names for the favours aren't close to finish. Do the gods have some names or is it just those favours?
    • Kovlovsky wrote:

      So this is a horde of lumberjacks?

      Ok, sorry I'm leaving at once! :P

      Joke appart, very nice story! I love how this is written in the form of a journal. I like how selfish and convinced of his own importance he is. Your story fits very well with your avatar. It is Edgar Allan Poe, isn't it?
      They are lumberjacks and they're okay, they sleep all night and they work all day.. what?

      Thank you! Yes it's good old Edgar Allan indeed.

      I wanted the mayor to be very human in that regard, and show how narrow the barrier is between the ones who are in the service of the empire and those who are in the service of the dark gods.