Prologue I (Annihilation)
The people moved around the small village, doing the same things their people had done for thousands of years. With primitive tools, they scraped hides, bore holes in bone beads, strung necklaces, pounded grain, and did the many other tasks needed to live. There were only a few dozen of them altogether – their skin a reddish brown, ebony hair worn long, and eyes so dark one could not tell where the pupil was. All bore tattoos that identified their people at a glance, even on the children older than three years.
The were a primitive tribe, living isolated far from the outside world. Their lifestyles, customs, and behaviors had changed very little over the course of time. Few were even capable of reaching the region they called home, much less actually finding them. To the outside world, they were a legend, myth, even – as no one had ever seen one. Not all believed they even existed. Some doubted they ever had.
But there were always some who not only believed, but they knew. They came, sometimes, seeking guidance, blessing, or to communicate with the Goddess. While there were many beloved children of the Goddess, these were her most loved. Her cherished few. Those who had always remained pure and untainted by the outside world. The pure ones. But there were many children of the Goddess, and thus they did not only see others of their own kind. Vampires, witches, and others sought them out, and they, the ever faithful, turned none away unless the Goddess deemed they do such.
As such, the approach of others was not alarming to the pack at large. These were a peaceful people; no one had dared to attempt to cause them harm. But one small girl, only aged about six, had been led away from the village by a baby rabbit, which she eventually caught up to in order to pet it and feel the softness of it’s fur. When the strangers came, she began to walk back, but the sound of alarm from one of her kin caused her to duck into a bush close enough to see what was going on without revealing herself.
These were people of light skin and rounded eyes, not unlike others she had seen before, but these were not here to speak to the goddess. As her innocent eyes watched, the men attacked the tribe and began killing them all. One by one, every member of her tribe fell. The Chief, his wife, her parents, her aunts and uncles, the other children… everyone. But not always right away. Some of them were… abused, even the young.
Yet she remained completely still, mute, not daring to shed a tear, lest they smell any change in the air. Controlling oneself was something they learned from birth. Those instincts kept her in place as the men were poking around their meager possessions and speaking amongst themselves. They seemed frustrated, as if they had expected to find something that wasn’t here, leaving her confused as to their motives. Since she could not understand their language, she could not grasp what they were saying.
Just as they seemed ready to leave, a familiar scent hit her, then they were upon these evil doers, the vampires and witches who often came to speak with the Elders. She recognized several, but not all. They unleashed fury upon the pale men with round eyes, killing them even more brutally than they had killed her people. When it was over, they descended on the bodies of her people, attempting to save any they could. She heard some weeping, seeing them bent over the bodies and mourning their deaths in the way of outsiders. They seemed distraught, finding none alive. But one vampire looked at the dead with confusion, then an expression she couldn’t identify. He began to speak to the group, which soon caused many to begin to search around.
Had they realized she was missing? Then she heard it. Someone called her name.
She debated her options as she remained silent and still. Should she reveal herself? What would these do to her with there being no one else? Could she trust any of them?
While she debated, she missed the sound of footsteps until it was too late. A soft female voice spoke from above and behind her.
“Oh, Alyssa, sweet child,” the woman said before crouching down and reaching out to her. “You saw everything, didn’t you, poor dear?”
Alyssa said nothing, simply blinking at her before tilting her head to the side.
“Come, child. We must get you somewhere safe. You can’t stay here anymore. Do you understand?”
As the woman spoke in her language, Alyssa understood every word. But she remained mute, only nodding her head once to answer her question. Alyssa turned and walked out of the bushes to go see her parents, but the lady scooped her up and she was soon taken away. She did not protest or fight, just looking back with those dark eyes at the field of slaughter the were leaving behind.