A Warning

This a warning to one and all.

We have fled this place, our ancestral seat since the separation of the five families, and gone north.

If you have any sense in you, you will flee as well.

If you are reading this, son of my father’s brother, I implore you to abandon this place. There will be no harvest. We are no longer here to greet you and will never be again. The land here is still good, the woods and fields bountiful. But this land has fallen and it is no place for man anymore.

Above all I must implore you not to enter the camp near our settlement. Like the fever that comes once a generation and destroys every third child, they came in on a warm, wet wind. They greeted us in the fields, observing no niceties and approaching us directly. We barely managed to cloak our revulsion and address them.

How to describe them…

These men, if they are men, dressed in skins that had been improperly tanned and stank with the heat. They did not lower their voices in respect but shouted and gestured in a manner most threatening. Their speech was like the barking of dogs. We could tell they wanted something from us, from the state of them we guessed it was food. I had the others fetch a small parcel from our store. They seemed grateful and gestured for us to follow, but we waved them away.

They left, but they came back with things. They meant them as gifts, I assumed, as payment for the food. If you had seen them you would have thought them magic. They caught the light like water, yet held their shape. But when one broke it cut sharper than a knife edge. You may still see them if you rummage through the trash heap.

They returned the next day, gesturing for more food. We gave them slightly less, hoping to discourage them from staying. This time they were more insistent that we follow, going so far as to grab the arms of a few men. We assumed they had been without the company of civilized men for some time and overlooked the infraction.

Their camp was as backwards as they. They slept in cloth tents that would give no protection from beasts or rain, and they did not bury their food for safekeeping. Their wives, their poor hideous wives, were bound by so many layers of cloth we saw no way they could be effective helpmeets. The whole camp stank with their bodies.

They entreated us to dine with them and and we agreed. Their food was horrendous, they scorched it on the open flames instead of the coals. When they saw the difficulty we had in eating, some of them laughed. Others were offended. They encouraged us to drink their beverage of choice, a vile brew that tasted of poison. I am sure it was a poison; most of us spat it out immediately to the amusement of our hosts. Those that didn’t were violently ill the next day.

We refused their hospitality from then on.

The intruders no longer hung on our mercies but made themselves known. Our men often ran into their snares, cruel things that gaped like the jaws of an animal, losing toes. The intruders trampled through our fields and over our seedlings. They washed in our spring instead of the lake so the water was not good to drink anymore. And they killed. And ate. They ate indiscriminately of the beasts, even those with foul meat. They did not save but wasted flesh,throwing it just outside their camps as if to invite wolves.

Our breaking point came after weeks of painfully slow gains in communication. They had been hinting at something they wished to share with us. They kept using the words for “sun” and “Birth.”

At last their true nature came out when they invited me into the tent of their own leader. He wore odd, thick clothing that only served to trap the heat and called himself father, though I doubt they were only one family. The leader of the camp described to me a ceremony that froze my blood as I stood.

I will repeat his words for your here, so that you will know why we fled, and that you may flee in turn.

He spoke of a ritual they undertook every seven days, wherein they took in a young man deemed blessed by the leader. They ate of his flesh and drank of his blood and spoke of it not with shame and fear, as those stranded by cold will when they must eat their bretheren, they spoke as if sharing a gift with us. They pointed repeatedly to their alter, which my horrified eyes realized looked more like a skinning rack than anything sacred.

I managed to still my heart enough that they could not see my fear. I gathered my family that night and we packed up to flee.

All this was terrible yet, but if you could have seen them! White! White as any demon, and their flesh burned red in the sun as if they were not meant to walk in daylight.

We will go north and pray that nothing follows us.


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