It was said by some that the demons would leave, that they had come to the village in a time of frenzy and agony, as the Roman Militia had visited a week prior, but after the militia had left and the Prefect came down the road, his chin bobbing, his porcine legs barely able to contain his voluptuous mass, the villagers knew that the demons were likely permanent.
The village had grown as a small farming community, with no coast in sight there was no fishing to be had, but the residents were able to make a meager profit off their wares and retain the excess. It was said that the village was too secluded, in a small grove behind immeasurable woods in a mountain valley, but the residents were happy and the days were always sunny and bright. The mountains were tall, strong things, covered with shrubs and paths to various locales. The residents remained in their thatched huts and assumed that sometime the village might become a bustling city, filled with music and strange people from foreign lands, and there was talk of the leader of the village, Baostung, being made chief of the surrounding five villages. Within a century, the villagers reasoned, they could have a small empire on their hands.
The days carried on, however, and the nights became longer. From the woods surrounding the village could be heard inhuman noises and ghostly lights, spectral apparitions and cold voices. And on the mountains the greenery died and the animals fell silent. When the sun rose, it was a ghastly pale red, and the moon was always obscured behind an eerie violet mist which came down over the rocky crags of the promontory and then descended down into the valley, shrouding all candles and covering all lamps. It was reported by scouts from neighboring villages that the sun was as it had been, and the same went for the night skies, where the stars sparkled like jewels in the heavens. But the citizens of the village grew fearful because they knew that if they were to possess their lands they would need to band together and do something about the evil forces which crept slowly down upon them.
All roads were watched, as were the homes, by a ragtag group of volunteer peacekeepers who reported little and saw nothing. The violet mist was eerie, many recalled, unnatural and dangerous to breathe, and it smelled like ghastly filth.
Now from the scouts came rumors of a majestic and proud city hundreds of miles off, one which put their puny little village to shame and had no such occurrences. The residents of the village stood their ground, brave, with one spire clenched, claiming that they would not move to that sparkling city where despots writhed in rooms of marble and aqueducts carried cool glistening spring water to every faucet. The villagers had a culture and a right to their property. And the scouts would leave with nary but one family, who were jeered by the steadfast inhabitants of the village, who secretly envied them. Merchants now strayed far away from this abysmal place, and the task of growing and keeping food was made a chief priority until such time as the apparitions could be settled.
To this end and to the end of reducing the acreage in which the beasts could hide, pristine woodland was cut and replaced with ugly large farming patches which spread over the valley like a virus. They were brown and produced no crops, not a single one, and what would grow in the soil withered and died, as if to mourn the loss of the great pines which once stood. The people were now limited to what they had to begin with, a few scant acres in the village and surrounding area. At least, they thought, the beasts could no longer hide in the quiet woods, for there were no woods to be had- but this proved false, as the spectres could as easily hide within the violet mist as any glade, and when cornered they would scamper up into the mountainsides where they would not be seen again. They were ghastly things, came the reports to the leader, Baostung. Some walked upright on two spindly legs like men, others were beasts of a fuzzy nature who resembled a canine but had peculiar attributes such as horns. Baostung listened and considered each proposition with care. The people put their faith in him and his wisdom, he had led them for forty years and wasn’t leaving soon. A benevolent leader, he knew the troubles of the people, who came down with strange pus-seeping sores and fits of hysteria. Some he attributed to the lack of food. Others he attributed to the violet mist, which was foul and stunk of unspeakable agony. Mills were placed at four points to turn and dispel the sickly odor.
It was said by the people that the village was doomed, that they should leave the valley, climb the rocky mountains and brave untold roads and streams until they came to the glistening city. But the elders advised against this, as the mist had a cause as did the apparitions, and in time the truth would come to light. Baostung remained vigilant against these hidden dangers, and warned the people against wandering late in the evening or early in the morning on the empty and desolate abandoned farming plains, where invisible terrors with sharp teeth and claws lurked.
From the scouts, whose number dwindled weekly, came rumors of a massive army seen fifty miles away, clad in silver and gold, that they came from the city and their footsteps, like thunder, could be heard from the top of the wall. Reports of spears, javelins, and chariots confused the residents, who knew not what such things were. Feelings were mixed. One faction wholeheartedly supported the army as they assumed the army would assist in slaying the demons, while a rival faction felt that with the arrival of the army dear Baostung would be usurped and the culture of the village would cease, that in Baostung’s place some frenzied puppet would lead the villagers to doom. The army neared, cutting aside swaths of foliage and building massive bridges across rivers. They marched in an orderly eternal line, never slowing, never stopping except to make camp or eat small rations. They neared the village.
On the last night the demons could be seen around the village, their eyes glowing and their white teeth sharp as razors. The villagers lit torches and stood steadfast with blades drawn, while the women and children remained inside behind locked doors. The village was lit, a blaze in the night, while in the darkness unseen things crouched. The things seemed to know of the arrival of the army, of the impending doom of the villagers, and so pointed and made frightful laughing noises. The moon came out for the first time in a year, and shone down upon the valley so all the beasts could be laid bare in their ugly grotesque forms. For miles over the dismal flats were things of all shapes, massive stony creatures and wolflike droves, swarms of bitter deformed rodents and spindly men who stood on stalks. Though presented with this, the villagers stood their ground and rallied an attack which ranged one mile in width. Though their numbers were few, they ran into battle hoping to at least kill some of the beasts.
From up the mountains could be seen thousands more torches and joyous trumpets. The army had arrived, and a glorious thing they were too, with rank and number and shields of gold. Their boots were patterned with foreign Gods of old, and tapestry hung from their shoulders. With them they brought many weapons and cascaded singing down the wall, and then finally joined the villagers, and cut off head upon head upon head. Blood was spilled and death was wrought, and the army pushed deep into the fray and with their skilled metalwork were impervious to the teeth and claws. Even the demons, it was found, could bleed and die, and shrieks of carnage were let loose from their abominable mouths. When all was said and done the village was cut in half, the army was cut by a third, and the field, lit by a perpetual yellow sun, showed no sign of the slayed beasts. The villagers took this as an omen, though good or bad they knew not.
Baostung was found slain in his cottage. Many of the women and children who boarded and locked the windows remained, but a few monstrosities had been able to creep their way through gates or holes, and Baostung, being old and unfit to fight, had been one of the latter victims. Bloody he lay, with an enigmatic look on his face, and the peculiar thing, which was passed around for decades after, was that he was pierced through with a blade, and none of the demons had been seen with the weapons of men.
“Hello there,” said the chief officer, extending a false hand of friendship. “We of the Roman Empire claim Germania for our own. Please expect a prefect in a few days.”