This is a very short chapter of my novel ‘Dependance’, in which we travel back to earlier times. Love to hear your comments on it. Please realize the novel is still a WIP so this isn’t perfect.

Hamburg, Germany 1349


They came upon the burning mountains of flesh in the evening night. The smell of death, decay, and mortal wounds had awakened them from slumber. Sartin thought how long it had been since he had experienced these smells in such a civilized area, and couldn’t remember.

A war, he thought, although he had heard no such stirrings in the voices of men. The smell of sickness coming from the fire told him something far worse than war had been set loose. Sartin and Isia had become adept at searching out and finding men involved in the planning of conquests, they had to be, often if not for the foibles of man’s greed, they would have found themselves left with no choice but to hunt openly and risk the wrath of the hunters. They were skilled, older, and usually wiser, but both still feared the ones who had destroyed the rest of their number. The memories of the slaughters were old, but still clear, and the weaponry of man had advanced. They could not attack; they had to stay hidden.

They crept closer until they stood looking up at the heap of burning flesh, their bodies cried out for nourishment but none here remained that would serve. A few of the bodies were still whole, and unburned but the flesh was discolored. Huge sores dotted the skin as well and knots hid beneath. They had seen those once before.

“Isia, it is the Darkness.”

He pulled a body from the pile, and found it the sickness was the same one they fought in the late days of Mesopotamia.

“Sartin, how could it kill so many?”

Sartin did not reply, his eyes were fixed on the city ahead of them.

“We must go Isia, we must go and serve. We must do what we were made for.”

He placed his hand over his heart, to his lips and blew into the sky, a sign of understanding to the Woman who had made them so long ago.

“Wind, fire, mother, show us your way.”

They trekked south toward the city. As they approached, they could hear the cries of loss, pain and impending death that followed this sickness. They had not heard such hopelessness in over five hundred years. They did not relish what they had to do. They did not enjoy pain and suffering, only the elimination of it. Their actions had purpose, but even with their feelings toward modern society and their frustration with the struggle to survive, they had empathy for those who suffered. Even for those who would have dead if given the chance.

As they approached the first of three dwellings that ran in a row, the cries within tore at their hope. Sartin raised his hand and signaled Isia to move to the window. Sartin’s pride brimmed over at the way Isia moved, he was graceful and not a moment of his training had been wasted. Isia dimmed and looked in. Nearly invisible, he watched silently, and unless the dweller looked directly at him, he would not be seen.  He returned after only a few minutes. The sadness in his eyes told Sartin hope was not lost, not yet. Their need had returned. Mother had created them for this, and although they had waited long and long for the day they would be needed again, they thought only of the pain the unfortunate souls had to endure until they could reach them.