Another Lost Legacy
rating: +4+x

September 13th, 2112
Siberia

"We were lied to.
Not just lied to, but the truth was hidden from us. The truth was destroyed, imprisoned, filed away.
Now, that truth is coming back to destroy us."

"My great-grandfather said that to my great-grandmother when they had to leave for Sanctuary in the Time of Destruction. He lived in a city called Toccio, in the near south, a land called Djaban. He's the reason why I'm still alive. The reason why I still breathe, and why my children -you- still breathe."

"My great-grandfather, a man of legend, worked for a big group called the Esseepis, back when the world still made sense. He was an Empti-ef, a warrior who worked day and night to capture the Stranges that have already destroyed our world. But during that time, the world wasn't the one we live on now. Before, the Esseepis, as well as another group called the Gock, prevented these things from corrupting our world. They failed."

"When the Stranges broke out of the big buildings owned by the Esseepis, my great-grandfather was the only one who survived the destruction of the place he worked in, which released a great many more things into the world."

"During the Time of Destruction, when all Stranges had broken out of both the Esseepis' and the Gock's control, my great-grandfather led 501 other people into the snowy bastion we call Sanctuary. He fended off the darkness of the creatures, keeping the light out to scare them away."

"Now that I have covered our Clan's history, let me tell you of the two dueling powers of the past,"

"The Gock seeked to destroy all Stranges, whether they were good or bad. They unleashed the things that ushered in the Time of Destruction, and would regularly feud with the Esseepis for Stranges."

"The Esseepis, meanwhile, seeked to peacefully study all Stranges. Instead of destroying every evidence of the Strange truth like the Gock, the Esseepis imprisoned them, hiding the truth from the rest of humanity."

"Neither of these powers were good or bad. They both did equally bad things. The Gock created the start of the Time of Destruction, while the Esseepis unknowingly unleashed the creatures that sped it up and ensured the end."

Dylan opens his mouth again to speak, but is interrupted by the sound of screaming from outside the door. His eyes widen, and he rushes to the door, pressing his ear to the cold wood.

"Father?" Garry said, standing up from his chair to follow his father.

Dylan pressed his finger to his lips, signalling his son to stop talking. He was pale, and already droplets of sweat were running down his face, despite the fact that it was still in the middle of winter.

Come here, Dylan mouthed, beckoning his son to rush to his side.

"What is it, Father?" Garry said, the tone of his voice lowering to a barely audible whisper, just like the constant breeze of the wind. But Dylan could hear it nonetheless. Spending his entire life in the cold environment of the Sanctuary, learning to hunt and survive had kept his hearing intact.

Attack. Dylan removed the rifle slung around his shoulder and gave it to his son. It was the last of its kind that the Clan had, and was purely ceremonial. It had lost its use during the generation of Dylan's grandfather, when the storage room housing all of the Clan's ammunition was blown up by an encounter with a Searwinger, a humanoid bird made out of fire. "Keep this safe," Dylan whispered to his son, drawing the axe at his hip. "I'll be right back."

Slowly, Dylan opened the door, holding the sword in his left hand.

Strange attacks have been on the rise since we arrived at Sanctuary, Dylan thought as he journeyed down the corridor. He could hear the sound of the door slowly being shut behind him, ensuring the safety of his son. Ancestors damn it, why did it have to be now, on the most sacred of days?

He turned a corner, making sure to check the corridor ahead of him. He could hear the blood thumping in his ears, reminding him of his mission. Keep Garry alive, he thought. Keep Garry alive.

Just beyond the corner, a creature was hunched over a dead man. Dylan estimated it to be around 3 meters tall, with long gangly arms and a vaguely humanoid head.

Never seen this before, Dylan thought, getting ready to take the creature by surprise.

He emerged out into the hallway, getting ready to sprint and quickly take the creature down. He gripped the handle of the axe tightly, grasping it with both hands. Keep Garry alive, he repeated to himself. Keep him alive.

Dylan stood up, and started running on the concrete floor. His feet lightly pit-pattered on the ground, barely making any noise. When he was about 5 meters away from the creature, its tiny, humanlike ears perked up, but it was already too late.

Dylan raised the axe, neatly severing the creature's neck in half. Blood spurted in all directions from the creature's decapitated stump as it fell down on the dead man's body.

Dylan wiped the sweat from his forehead and returned the axe to its sheathe. Keep Garry alive, he thought to himself again. Keep Garry alive.

He ran back to the room where he last left Garry, knocking lightly with three taps.

Slowly, the door opened, and Dylan could see Garry's baby blue eyes, a trait he inherited from his mother, peek out from the gap.

"Father?" He whispered, fear etched into every single syllable.

"I'm here." Dylan answered, whispering back. "I killed the creature."

Garry emerged from behind the door, the rifle slung over his shoulder. "I'm glad," the boy said, smiling to his father. "Are there any more?"

"None, as far as I could see. I couldn't hear or see anything else."

"Good." Garry said, walking out into the hallway. "Have you seen anyone else, Father?"

"No," Dylan said, walking down the hallway, sword drawn. "They might have all went to the temple, held off the monsters there. It's Sanctuary Day, after all."

"I don't think they are, Father."

Dylan stopped immediately, turning around. "What?"

"We would've heard them fighting or talking. The temple is only a few dozen meters from here."

Realization dawned on Dylan's face. "No," he said, looking at his son. "They wouldn't get wiped out like that. Not on Sanctuary Day."

"I-" Garry stopped himself, hunching his shoulders. "I hope you are right, Father."

"I am right." Dylan said, trying hard to sound sure of himself. "Just see."

They journeyed further down the hallway. An uneasy silence permeated the halls, only interrupted by the soft steps of Dylan and Garry's winter boots.

Please don't let them be dead, Dylan thought, his hands shaking with dread. What if they were? he thought. What will Garry and I do then?

They came to the large wooden doors that led into the room that was the Temple of the Ancestors. Dylan grasped the doorknob with his right hand and opened.

A loud, collective sucking sound greeted Dylan as he opened the door.

A dozen meters away, at the foot of the wooden statues depicting the 501 ancestors, lay the dead bodies of hundreds of people. And on top of those people were more than half a thousand creatures like the one Dylan had killed earlier, all feasting on the bodies of the dead. Blood painted the walls and the floors, along with a less viscous, pinkish liquid.

Terror overcame Dylan, keeping him rooted to the spot as he watched helplessly as the creatures feasted on those that were once his people. The Clan that his ancestors had worked so hard to build. Gone in a blink of an eye.

Behind him, Garry let out a strangled squeak.

Then, like clockwork, the creatures all turned to look at Dylan. They stood up to their full 3 meter height, and with synchronization unheard of in the areas surrounding the Sanctuary, they screamed.

It seemed to deafen Dylan for good, stunning him and sending him to the ground. He could feel blood rushing down his ears as the creatures screamed, walking towards the pair.

Then, they stopped, their humanlike mouths all closing at the same time.

They started to run, their unnatural, gangly arms going forward and backward as they ran at the speed of no creature they had ever seen before.

They were on Dylan in seconds, sinking their teeth into varying parts of his body, eliciting a loud scream from the chief of the Clan that he himself could not hear.

"Run Garry!" He shouted. One creature crawled from on top of the stack of his brethren and bit into Dylan's face, eliciting another painful scream from him.

Garry had no reason to stand there and watch his father get eaten right before his eyes. His mind surrendered control to his body, and he started to run, terrified like nothing he had ever felt. Garry heard more steps from behind him, and he knew that the creatures had started to give chase. He could imagine the picture of his father getting torn apart by the creatures, their bloody teeth digging into his skin and tearing flesh from bone.

He was too terrified to cry. He was too terrified to look back. He was too terrified to do anything but run.

He came across a corridor which he knew led out of the building. A door stood beside him which housed the living quarters, though he would have to wait for the creatures to pass by if he did.

Garry could already hear the frenzied steps of the creatures behind him. If he wanted to survive, he needed to make a decision.

Garry threw open the doors to the living quarters, shutting it behind the creatures running behind him.

Garry knew that the creatures would follow him in soon. He scrambled under the nearest convenient bed, his small frame snugly fitting into the tiny gap between the frame and the floor.

Two seconds passed.

With a loud bang, the creatures flooded in through the doorway, fanning out across the space of the room. Their gruesome, blood-covered feet, a mix of human and chicken, made Garry instinctively withdraw deeper into the darkness that was his safe haven.

Garry was alone in his thoughts. He kept praying to the ancestors for guidance and safety, repeating the old prayers his father had taught him over and over again.

Dear ancestors, Garry thought, his eyes clamped tightly shut, guide us in the face of death, keep us safe in the face of danger, so that we may emerge unhurt from this threat.

Like a miracle, the creatures hadn't noticed him. Some of them were already starting to walk out of the room, their uncanny gait unlike the running postures that they had adopted only half a minute before.

When the last of the creatures walked out the room, Garry carefully rose up.

Then the rifle strapped to his back hit the bedframe, the metallic noise echoing down the halls.

Garry did not need to hear the creatures' loud screams to know that he was dead.

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