Chapter 7:

Human III

The Aliens They Summoned

"Felix...? Felix... Felix! Sir Felix, are you there...?" Felix heard a voice. It was a voice he knew very well, as it was the voice of his Lord. What did he want, though? Felix was just guarding his... quarters? No, that wasn't right. The air in front of his Lord's quarters didn't smell like earth. "Where are you? Sir Felix!"Bookmark here

"Here, my Lord," Felix groaned, pushing his body up.Bookmark here

His trusty armor didn't rattle and clank as it usually does. A glance revealed Felix to be naked. What was going on here?Bookmark here

"Where? It's dark..."Bookmark here

Felix looked for his Lord, who was just next to him. His face was buried in the earth. It would've looked funny, if not for the fact that he, too, was naked, and that the earth around him was sticky with red... with blood!Bookmark here

"My Lord! Are you hurt?" Felix asked, forgetting his own shameful state and quickly pulling Lord Viktor out of the earth.Bookmark here

"Hurt...? No, I had a terrible nightmare..." The Lord held his head, shaking it in denial. Then his eyes caught sight of the bloody lake he woke up from, and his hands traveled to his torso to see where the wound was. That was when he discovered the lack of clothes on his body. "What is going on, Sir Felix?"Bookmark here

But Felix was shaking.Bookmark here

Not under the gaze of his Lord, which he'd grown used to since he had been assigned as his personal guard, but because he had a nightmare, too.Bookmark here

"I am sorry to distract, but did your nightmare include turning into a strange beast and attacking innocent civilians?"Bookmark here

"I have no time for silly distractions..." Lord Viktor trailed off, his expression one of shock. "How did you know?"Bookmark here

"I had the same nightmare, my Lord." Felix helped Lord Viktor to his foot, noting that both their shoes were gone. They looked around. "I fear that whatever happened to this place, it might have something to do with that dream of ours. I believe that not all we dreamt was false."Bookmark here

"Is this Valetown?" Lord Viktor asked.Bookmark here

"I believe it was, my Lord. Before the beast came back."Bookmark here

"... In our dream," Lord Viktor started, talking carefully and slow. "There was more than one beast, no? Do you think...?"Bookmark here

He didn't have to finish the question.Bookmark here

Felix dreaded the same thing, as it would mean that a whole horde of these beasts was on the loose and that they would spread in all directions...Bookmark here

"I only wonder how we got here?" Felix mumbled.Bookmark here

Lord Viktor heard him.Bookmark here

"Maybe we were being followed? Maybe the beast came back, and we ran away?"Bookmark here

"Perhaps..." Felix looked at the sky. It was early in the morning, and according to the dream, they had been up until the moon disappeared. Could the dream be trusted? If it was true, why did they sleep an hour at most? What was going on... "Again at a full moon, though," Felix said, facing his Lord. "It could be a pattern."Bookmark here

Lord Viktor nodded.Bookmark here

"Let's write another round of letters. We must ask how the neighboring cities fared... and if they got attacked as we did. Search the debris for parchment and ink! And see if any pigeons survived!"Bookmark here

"My Lord!"Bookmark here

Felix marched away, leaving his Lord. He saw him pick up another stick and grinned at the feeling of deja-vu.Bookmark here

The town was in shambled.Bookmark here

It had never been a rich town, but peaceful and quiet. They held their own against whatever nature had thrown their way, the likes of bears, wolves, snakes, summoned beasts, and storms! They didn't deserve this fate...Bookmark here

Felix eventually found some parchment and ink in the elders' hut, where the formalities of business had proceeded.Bookmark here

He also grabbed some rags for himself and Lord Viktor, to cover their shameful appearances.Bookmark here

When he came back, Lord Viktor was talking with other naked men. He recognized them as guards under the service of Lord Viktor. William the shoemaker was also with them.Bookmark here

This got weirder and weirder.Bookmark here

"My Lord, I found what you asked for. Here, cover yourself."Bookmark here

"Thank you, Felix. Would you believe it? These men also had the same nightmare. I almost forgot that part, but I dreamt about turning into a beast before rushing out for blood... did your dream go similarly?"Bookmark here

"Now that you mention it..."Bookmark here

Felix did remember something like that, though it was only a vague memory. The harder he tried to concentrate on it, the hazier it became.Bookmark here

He knew that dreams rarely stayed with the dreamer, but in this case, he really wanted them to stop fucking with him!Bookmark here

"Anyway, we must warn the people! And King Gordan, again! Once that is finished, we grab whatever works as a weapon and go back to the castle. We may have found a pattern to these beasts' attacks! The full moon. We must get back and prepare ourselves before the next full moon happens! Even if you can't fight, this is not the time to hesitate! If you find an injured man, woman, or child, bring them to me. I'm sorry for the weak ones, but we must judge whether or not they can make it. Quickly!"Bookmark here

"Yes, my Lord!" the men said, scrambling away.Bookmark here

Felix saw them throw an envious glare at the rags he had found.Bookmark here

"Sir Felix, you must help me. We have some letters to write!"Bookmark here

"Gladly, my Lord!"Bookmark here

They wrote many letters, as many as they could with the parchment at hand. Some pigeons had survived the attack, though not enough to send out a message to every town in the vicinity.Bookmark here

Lord Viktor settled on the most important locations and stuffed the other letters in a pouch he found on the ground somewhere.Bookmark here

They met up with the other men after that, most of the townspeople badly wounded or in states of unprecedented brutality.Bookmark here

Lord Viktor ordered most of them dead, as they couldn't look after them.Bookmark here

It was a sad day.Bookmark here

Strangely, there were a few dozen people from the castle here, all with the same nightmare to tell. Felix didn't know what to make of this.Bookmark here

What if they were the beasts...Bookmark here

No, he couldn't think like that.Bookmark here

That was a nightmare in reaction to the terrors of the beasts returning!Bookmark here

Nothing more, yes!Bookmark here

They rode out as soon as they could. Some horses had been left mostly untouched, with only a few bites to show.Bookmark here

The rest was to make it back on foot, which would take them some days if they traveled swiftly. Lord Viktor, Felix, and some other guards, as well as William the Shoemaker, rode through the day and into the night and arrived before the moon fully rose.Bookmark here

Strange voices assaulted their minds during the night and every movement in the undergrowth seemed like a new threat or another beast.Bookmark here

It had been a traumatic experience for all of them.Bookmark here

When they arrived, they found the castle in a bad state. All the doors were destroyed, new holes had been created in the castle walls, and no one was left...Bookmark here

How many beasts came here last night?Bookmark here

Felix couldn't tell.Bookmark here

He didn't dare to speculate.Bookmark here

Lord Viktor and he went up to the Lord's tower, to see where his family had gone... but none were there. His wails echoed across the castle and through the woods, and Felix left him alone.Bookmark here

There was a lot to do...Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Over the following week, they finally received answers from the cities around them. Even those who mocked Lord Viktor previously apologized, telling their own stories.Bookmark here

"They go mostly the same, my Lord. Depending on the location, one to a dozen beasts suddenly appeared when the full moon rose, appearing seemingly out of nowhere. They then continued to attack everyone around them, biting each victim at least once... if met with a stronger opponent, they killed them and moved on. We saw the same pattern here, didn't we, my Lord? It is unsettling to think that none of these cities seem to have slain a single beast..."Bookmark here

A heavy silence pressured them like a weighty blanket.Bookmark here

Felix's body shivered at the thought of even the large cities standing no chance.Bookmark here

"Was there no success at all?" Lord Viktor asked, leaning over the table with the map in his secret room. "How far did they spread?"Bookmark here

"The farthest we've heard from is Molan, 200 miles from here."Bookmark here

"Molan..." Lord Viktor moved a few figures across the map. "Isn't that where we sent Derrek, Goran, and the Parker-brothers?"Bookmark here

"Indeed, my Lord," Felix confirmed, narrowing his eyes.Bookmark here

"I hope they're alright."Bookmark here

"I hope so, too, my Lord."Bookmark here

Lord Viktor went back to pondering over the map, but Felix thought back on Molan. They had sent six people there, and they reported six confirmed beasts trashing everything.Bookmark here

They had sent two dozen people to the largest merchant city around, Hafenmarkt, but they had been overrun by over twenty beasts...Bookmark here

"Anything else, Felix?"Bookmark here

It was the tone Lord Viktor used when he wanted to be left alone.Bookmark here

"Just one, my Lord. Cities close to our castle reported a second wave of beasts arriving through the night, the farther away, the later they came. When the moon went down, the beasts just disappeared, as if they had never been there."Bookmark here

"Hmm... any word from the king?"Bookmark here

"None, my Lord."Bookmark here

Lord Viktor narrowed his eyes.Bookmark here

"What did the Lords decide?"Bookmark here

"They believe that the beasts live in our woods, and as such... they plan to burn it to the ground."Bookmark here

"That is not good," Lord Viktor mumbled.Bookmark here

"No, my Lord. Not good at all."Bookmark here

The conversation was finished, so Felix left. He knew better than to his Lord's pondering when he got like that.Bookmark here

He didn't smile since his family disappeared.Bookmark here

Not once...Bookmark here

Though, to be honest, Felix didn't feel like smiling, either.Bookmark here

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