Join Date: Oct 2006
A Disturbing Menace
A Disturbing Menace
It wouldn’t be the first time Bowen had faced unwitting odds and certainly would not be the last; however, there was something unsettling about the task at hand. For two weeks, the people of Leth Nurae had sought the answer to the mysterious disappearances of the townsfolk.
The trouble had all started with the fall harvest, which was normally a time of rejoicing. Farmers that had spent many months tending to their fields were reaping the rewards of their toil. While the men worked the fields, gathering their bounty, the women and children would be preparing for the fall festival. This was to be a joyous time where the commoners would indulge in the richness the land had provided. Many games and contests would take place and if only for three days, people could set aside the daily hard work, before preparing for winter.
Initially, it appeared to Ely Farthon’s wife that he had gone chasing after a sheep that managed to get out of the pen; however, it was obvious that when he did not return, there was something amiss. Many of the locals arrived and searched the fields, surrounding woods and the river where he spent so much time fishing. No trace was found and nothing appeared out of place, except for the strange disturbance of the ground on the far west end of his fields.
Within days, fear had set in to the community as no less than five others had disappeared in a similar fashion, each time the only conspicuous sign being the mound of disturbed dirt in the fields, which resembled a large ant mound.
Upon hearing of the vanishings and mystifying mounds of earth being the only synonymous thing in common, Bowen set out to each site to investigate and try to discredit his worst fears. He was one of the very few to witness and report on the undead siege of old Targonor, under command of his departed lifelong friend, King Horus Targonor-Furth.
“There could be no mistaking the signs”, he had mumbled under his breath while examining one of the mounds. This was undeniably the work of the undead. While not the undead themselves, but the giant subterranean ants they employ to do their dirty work. He recalled during the siege how the disproportionately large ants burrowed underneath the cities’ walls, creating tunnels which allowed legions of the undead to circumvent even the most well thought-out defenses.
It appeared that each man had been taken while working his respective field and yet there was no evidence or sign of them. No screams had been heard, nor was there any blood or body parts left behind. It was as if the ants, if that was in fact the cause, had tunneled directly from underneath where each had stood and sucked them into the bowels of the earth.
The local authorities had set into place a watch comprised of members of the local militia and volunteers to overlook the rich farmlands and workers as they completed their harvesting of the fields. Regardless, this was not enough to satisfy Bowen Leothen that there was not a deeper meaning to the disappearances.
During an open meeting, held on the first day of when the harvest would have normally taken place, Bowen took the opportunity to relay his thoughts on the attacks. Although not in a position of authority and somewhat of an outsider, he commanded a hefty amount of respect from the commoners and upper-class alike. While he did look every bit of his forty-seven years, he had the presence and physical stature of a man ten years younger.
Jarvis Donley, the mayor of Leth Nurae said pointedly, “And why do you think there is anything especially sinister behind these attacks Bowen?”
Not even assure of his own gut feeling, Bowen replied,” I do not know anymore than you yourself know Jarvis, but I find it incredulous that we have never seen such attacks here until recent. The only time I have ever seen this species of ant, they were being driven by the undead menace which wiped out half of a continent.”
Jarvis, sounding as if he were more interested in quelling fear than finding cause spoke in a somewhat condescending tone, “Which was over ten years ago, the undead scourge has been defeated and pushed back. There is no undead threat in our region, not even a single sighting.”
“I hope you are correct, but I would still think it prudent to mount some patrols and check the surrounding hills and woods. I realize we are short in manpower, but would ask anyone able, to accompany me.” Bowen said.
Seeming to understanding his point, Jarvis ceded, “Better safe than sorry I suppose. I would appreciate your leading a scouting party and report your findings as soon as possible.”
Once the meeting had concluded and the crowd started to thin, there were a few stragglers that appeared to be staying behind, hopefully to assist in the search, Bowen thought to himself.
To be continued…