A Post Atomic Apocalypse Story
Charles W Bird
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This story may not be copied by any means without my express written permission.
Prelude; With the Kingdom at peace, Gard had time to visit all the villages and towns in the Kingdom, showing everyone the new Heir. There was a new bodyguard force for the young Family, headed by Ogre Captain Jat, and included a Human Warrior, Rob and a Vampire Warrior Lopin. For a while, Captain Jat was an object of curiosity and fear, but as time passed and the novelty wore off, he was accepted into the Fraternity of Warriors. That Prince Gard trusted the Ogre Captain to carry his baby son went a long ways in gaining acceptance to him and the other Ogre Warriors. Trust began to build and the peace was kept for many, many generations. The Were of Phix never again became a force, there were so few of them that survived, they kept to themselves and were hardly ever seen again. When the Ogres of the High Reaches began to learn of the Ogre Warriors and their part of the Kingdom's forces, they started to explore avenues of communication with the Kingdom. Very few years passed before there were signed treaties between the Kingdom and the Ogre Tribes of the High Reaches. Each Ogre Tribe wanted their treaty to be negotiated by Prince Gard. The borders of the Kingdom expanded from the Great River Col to the Deserts of Mex and eastward to the dead plains of Tex, where the blue glow of the Before People bombs had poisoned the land.
A second heir was born to Prince Gard and his Family, Prince Deni. Like his older brother, Borth, Deni had the signature fiery red hair.
It was unusual for Vampires to bear more than one young and their grandfather, Reigning Prince Morg was delighted. The Kingdom was at peace and Morg, privately known as Troy among Family Members, was frequently seen rolling on the floor with his grandsons.
Captain Jat, Commander of Prince Gard's Company of Warriors, was an Ogre Warrior and a special friend of the two Young Princes, in the Family, he was called Jat-Jat by the two children. The Captain was a pioneer Ogre, who broke new ground in friendship with the Royal Family and led the way for Ogres to be accepted by their Human and Vampire compatriots.
Ogres were nearly as long lived as the Vampires they were related to and he planned on being with Prince Gard's family for many years to come. He had been present at the birth of both young Princes, something that a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.
They were all watching Prince Borth carefully, he had reached his twentieth year and it was coming time for his molt. The young Prince was beginning to show the classic signs that it was approaching. He was nervous, jittery and jumpy and was having trouble sleeping. Borth's companions, Rob and Lopin stayed close to their friend, ready at a moment's notice to assist him as he entered molt.
The Family molt chamber had been made ready and the entire household was on edge. Molt was the most dangerous time for a vampire and many young vampires did not survive their molt. Only the strongest, both physically and mentally could survive the terrible stresses during their molt.
Finally, Borth announced that it was time and his companions made him ready. He entered the chamber for his 2 month molt and closed the door behind him.
Word flashed through the Capital that the Heir had entered molt!
Borth's two companions took up residence in the adjoining space to wait for him. They immediately heard the awful groans and screams of pain as the young Vampire Prince became an adult.
While they were waiting, Gard authorized Captain Jat to go on home leave as he had not seen his own family in many years.
It was an excited Ogre Captain who returned two weeks later, he went directly to Prince Gard and asked audience immediately.
Captain Jat was a trusted and valued member of the Prince's household, so audience was granted without question. He was carrying a small package, which he handed to Prince Gard, "Lord Prince, my people have discovered a trove of Before People documents and books."
He pointed to the object in the Prince's hand. "We cannot read them, but the pictures show farming machinery and machines to carry heavy loads without having to put them on the backs of men or bullocks."
Gard looked through the book and it indeed showed such machines as Jat described. The printed words were in the archaic, Before People language, but he was able to translate them.
He grew excited when he saw machines to turn the soil for farming and more machines to carry heavy loads behind animals. He asked, "Have you more of these books?"
The Captain replied, "Yes My Lord Prince, there were many in the cache and my people are bringing them to you as we speak. They should be here before darkfall today."
Gard called for Jacob of the Grengo, his most trusted advisor.
When Jacob looked through the book, he became as excited as his Prince. He said, "With one of these machines and a bullock, a farmer could till the soil a day's paces square! The increase in food supply will solve many of our problems. We might be able to eliminate our people's hunger!"
Prince Gard mind-called to his Father and described the gift Captain Jat had brought them.
The Reigning Prince hurried to see for himself, he became as excited as the rest of them. He was reasonably fluent in the Before People language and, as he flipped the pages, he saw how to construct some of the wonderful machines spoken of in their ancient legends.
Prince Morg called together the finest artisans in the Kingdom and showed them the pictures contained in the books. He said, "We will supply the stelbar, set your forges to work and copy this machine that is called a plow in the Before People language."
Each year the Ogres of Phix had dutifully sent tribute of one hundred bullocks loaded with stelbar. Until now, it was used only to make swords and knives, thus there was a large supply of stelbar stored right there in Ora.
The first attempts at creating a plow from the pictures were disappointing failures, but Prince Morg insisted the artisans continue. Finally a workable plow was produced and when it was pulled by a bullock, as shown in the picture, it turned the soil on the farms along the Ped River at Mam. Gradually, the artisans experimented with different dimensions and shapes until they had the perfect plow. They discovered that different shapes were needed for different types of soils.
One farmer and a bullock could till an unbelievable area of the fertile land and soon, plots covered the river valley with grains and corn and also the white fleshed tubers that a young Prince named Boy had discovered. The abundance of crops assured the folk living nearby that food would be plentiful and the fear of famine was pushed back.
Prince Borth emerged from his molt unharmed and his Grandfather, the Reigning Prince, assigned him the task of overseeing the conversion of the pictures in the newly discovered books into actual machines.
The now adult Vampire Prince was disappointed not to be assigned a Warrior's Task, but he recognized the value of the new machines and set to work turning his Grandfather's orders into reality. Plows and other farming machines became commonplace. Prince Borth was acclaimed by the people as their savior. No longer did their children perish between crops in the field.
The entire Valley of the Ped River, from Mam to Wekin was plowed and planted and the Gil River Valley was filled with productive farms.
The refugees who had been settled in Mam were suddenly farming areas of land never before thought possible. The demand for the new plows had the artisans hammering on their forges from first-light to darkfall every day, every farmer was asking for a new plow.
Gard showed Borth a machine called a wagon whose purpose was for hauling heavy loads of goods without having them fixed upon the backs of bullocks or men. A single bullock could pull the equivalent of several bullock loads and still travel the roads as fast as a man could walk.
Borth selected smiths and woodworkers from among the artisans to recreate what was shown in the pictures. The ancient roadways of the Before People were ideal for the new wagons. Soon, loads of freight began moving between the towns of the Kingdom and a new class of folk began to emerge, Merchants.
The Ogre Folk had a familiarity with bullocks and had large herds of them. It followed that many Ogres became the new merchants and were seen driving their wagons throughout the Kingdom. The Ogre Folk rose to a new respectability, no longer were they confined to be lowly serfs, many were becoming wealthy merchants.
The Ogres of the High Reaches sent their young males to learn the new ways and many were hired by the Merchants to protect their wagons from marauding Were Folk, while others were apprenticed to learn the business of trading. Few returned to their families at High Reaches as they were earning new wealth and skills as traders, merchants and businessmen.
Until this time, there had been little need for exchange of items of value and a few simple, hand made silver coins were all that was needed. Prince Morg foresaw the need for a monetary system to replace simple barter and he assigned his son, Prince Gard to create a new exchange system.
The Ogre Folk of the High Reaches had small mines where they extracted gold and silver for jewelry and decoration. Prince Gard traveled to meet with the Ogre Tribes of the High Reaches with a small detachment of Warriors, commanded by Captain Jat to accompany him.
The Ogre Tribes were, at first, suspicious of the Prince, but Jat and his combined force of Human, Vampire and Ogre Warriors convinced them that Ogres were accepted members of the Kingdom. That Jat commanded the guard force first amazed the Ogres of The High Reaches and then they had to practically sit on their own sons to prevent them from running off to join Jat's Warriors.
The Tribes of the High Reaches were eager to obtain some of the grains being grown in the valleys of the Kingdom and they settled on an exchange of silver for grain. Soon, Warrior Forces were seen escorting wagons of grain up the mountains to the High Reaches and the same wagons with boxes of un-minted raw silver returning.
Gard next went to those who made jewelry and they created a system of punches and dies to convert the silver to coins. Gard hired young men of the Ogre and Human folk to stamp out the coins. He paid them well and was never troubled with theft.
The Vampires and many of the Humans and most Ogres were telepaths, it would have been impossible for anyone to steal from the Kingdom's supply of silver, coins of silver and some of gold that began circulating throughout the Kingdom of AZ and became the medium of transportable wealth.
With the increased food supply, the Human and Ogre population began to increase and families became larger with more children, causing a still greater demand for food. The land around the towns of Flo and Buck were fertile and water was plentiful. Farms sprung up in both areas as well as the land along the Ped River south of Mam.
Accompanying the increased supplies of grains, the demand for bread multiplied and some enterprising Ogres built ovens near Ora. Each day they distributed freshly baked breads in exchange for silver coins. The coinage trickled down, grain growers received some of the coins for their wheat and the farmers, in their turn, purchased items they required with the coins.
A Human and two Ogres experimented with stone grinding machines they had seen in the before people books until they perfected a round stone wheel on an arm, driven by a bullock to grind the grain into flour.
The three formed the first company in the Kingdom, Cat Mills, so named from the first letter in each of the owners' names, Cal, Andi and Ton.
Other machines shown in the books were less successful because they simply did not have the technology or the skills to recreate them.
TROUBLE RAISES ITS UGLY HEAD
They received word from the Ogres of Phix that the Were Folk and the Ghouls had formed an alliance. The Ghouls and Cannibals were the same thing and were universally feared and hated by Humans, Vampires and Ogres alike. The Ogres of Phix asked Prince Morg to protect them.
Both Morg and Gard felt it was time for Prince Borth to test his mettle, they called the Young Prince into conference and assigned four companies of Warriors to be under his command. He was to choose officers and leaders from among them and drill the troops for an engagement against the Weres and Cannibals.
He was also to establish a Royal Fort at Mes and take command of the region. Prince Morg told him specifically that the Weres and Cannibals were NOT to survive the encounter.
Borth was delighted at being given the task and set about immediately in organizing his command. He selected two Ogre Captains, a Vampire Captain and a Human Captain to command his companies. Each Captain was to select his own sergeants and corporals and be ready to march in one moon's span.
At the next new moon, all had been selected and supply wagons loaded. The force marched from Ora with the new Prince Commander at its head. As they passed through Flo on their way to Mes, word spread that the Junior Heir was coming and the villagers crowded the roadside to see the Prince and marvel at his warriors.
Their mouths hung open, the Prince had appointed Ogre Officers! Young Ogre boys were drooling in envy.
The Folk of Mes were nervous about the reported alliance between the Were Folk and the Ghouls and were happy that a Royal Prince Commanding was coming to protect them. The Folk of Mes knew and respected Borth's Father, Prince Gard, so they expected nothing less from Prince Borth.
Borth had devised a banner for his troop, three figures standing erect with swords upraised on a field of red. The three figures represented the Vampire Folk, the Human Folk and the Ogre Folk in union upon the Royal Red. In time, it came to represent all the Warriors of the Kingdom of AZ.
They marched into the Town of Mes to the cheers of its inhabitants and took possession of a large building from the time of the Before People, right on the Town Square. It had no cave beneath it to harbor Were Folk and its walls were of sturdy stone and mortar. He caused new timber doors to be installed on each ground level doorway and a guard station was assigned at each door.
Engraved on the stone above the main doorway was the word BANK, it had no meaning to them specifically, so they affixed their banner directly over it. It had several stories and all the lower window openings were barred with thick stel bars. He had wood shutters installed to keep any rain from entering the building, making it more comfortable for the warriors stationed and living inside the new fortress.
Within a week, Prince Borth and his Warrior Force were at home in the building. They had clean, dry living quarters and a mess as good, or better than they had in their own homes.
Prince Borth began assigning patrols throughout the Town of Mes and surrounding small villages. Each Patrol included at least one Distance Telepath and the Patrols were required to check in each quarter day. After the first several Patrol Leaders had been reduced to the ranks, Prince Borth got his reports in a timely fashion.
He established Precinct Stations, each commanded by a Sub Lieutenant with a small force of Warriors for rapid response in the event of local trouble.
Prince Borth had an annoying habit of visiting the Precinct Stations at odd hours and unannounced. The Sub Lieutenants took to stationing lookouts on the roof to watch for his arrival.
Borth had his men collect baskets of yellowstone, and stored them in the building next to their new Fortress, along with supplies of spears and swords. He ordered dry rations and barrels of fresh water stored inside the fortress and the water in the barrels changed out every five day period.
Wagons of weapons and supplies began arriving from the Capital and Borth had a semaphore constructed on the roof of the Fort. The position of the red arm on the semaphore informed the citizens as well as the Warriors of the threat level, merely by glancing upwards. It could be seen everywhere in Mes and also in most of the surrounding villages.
All was quiet for several weeks, until a child was abducted on his way home from school. Prince Borth ordered the semaphore arm raised straight up and he immediately doubled the patrols throughout Mes and the surrounding villages.
Baskets of yellowstone were brought out of storage and placed prominently around the Fort, where they could be seen. He began casting his mind around the area the where the child had disappeared, inspecting every possible hiding place.
He sensed movement beneath a large building and he asked, "By what name did the missing child go by, especially what nickname did his friends call him by".
The child was an Ogre boy of 9 winters and the boy's Grandfather told Prince Borth that his grandson's friends called him Zet.
Borth began mentally sweeping the area with his mind, whispering the name, "Zet". From the cave beneath the building where he had detected movement, came a reply from a frightened child, "Me Zet here".
That was all the angry Young Prince needed. He had his Warriors smash openings into the cave and place the baskets of yellowstone in the openings.
He stood beside the baskets with a lighted torch flaming in his hands as he sent, "Send out the child unhurt or I will light this yellowstone!"
"DO IT NOW!"
A small Ogre boy, stripped naked, came running out of the opening and threw himself into Borth's arms, crying and shaking in fright.
Prince Borth held the frightened child and soothed him as the child soaked Borth's shirt with his tears. Borth sent, "LEAVE THIS PLACE. IF YOU STILL REMAIN HERE AT DARKFALL YOU ALL SHALL DIE!"
He backed away from the opening and carried the shivering boy to his family. The Ogre grandfather of the child knelt before Prince Borth and said, "I am Gol, Chieftain of the Mes Ogres. To you, Prince Borth, I submit myself and all my folk as loyal subjects forever more to you and your house."
Chieftain Gol was as good as his word, the next day Ogre Warriors began a campaign against the Were Folk and Ghouls, driving them from the town. Within a week, there was not a single Were or Ghoul left alive in Mes. The young Ogre Princeling became a firm friend to Prince Borth and a supporter of the Kingdom of Az.
It was to be the last confrontation between the Kingdom of AZ and Were Folk and Ghouls, a peace that lasted until the Kingdom began extending its borders to the north and west.
Borth remained the Military Governor of Mes for five years. In that time, schools were established in every locality within the town and surrounding villages. Businesses were encouraged and small factories were established in the manufacture of goods and consumer products.
Borth came home on leave when his brother, Prince Deni entered molt. He stood vigil beside Deni's Companions, Car and Andi, waiting for Deni to emerge. Two months passed and Deni had yet to exit the molt chamber, the Family was getting worried, yet they could sense Deni within the chamber. They all sensed something of great moment was about to take place.
Two more weeks passed and then yet another week was ending when they felt the much awaited surge of energy. Out of the chamber emerged a being unlike anything anyone had ever seen!
It was Deni, there was no question of that, but his red hair had turned golden and his eyes glowed a subdued yellow color, rather than the red of all Vampires before him. He stood head and shoulders above their Grandfather, although up until that time, Prince Morg was the tallest Vampire known.
Borth was dumbstruck; he looked up at his brother and asked, "What are you?"
They discovered that Deni was not only daylight tolerant; it had no effect upon him at all. He was also powerful telepath and levitator. He could move large objects by the power of his mind alone and he could paralyze humans, ogres and presumably other vampires with his mind, a gift known only in legends of their kind.
Borth hugged his brother and said, "We had begun to worry, you were late emerging."
Deni replied, "I am sorry my brother, but there was something I needed to do before I came home."
It was sometime before they discovered what that "something was". Not a single Were or Ghoul remained alive in the entire Kingdom! They had all mysteriously died in their sleep.
Borth returned to his post in Mes, taking his brother, Deni, with him as his adjutant. With Deni's assistance, they expanded the borders of the Mes territory to include the abandoned town of Phix, which was now, totally uninhabited.
They contracted with the newly formed Mes Miners Company to recover the stelbar from the ancient's buildings in Phix. The demand for plows and other machines was depleting the stock of the metal and the operation of the forges was soon to be curtailed.
Mes Miners was an Ogre owned and operated company and they employed both Humans and Ogres to reclaim the metal. There was a continuous line of wagons hauling stelbar to the forges just outside the Capital Town of Ora. The forests of High Reaches were being depleted to make charcoal to heat the forges.
One of the books that had been found, spoke about natural coal to be found in the ground of the ancient land of Uta and their father, Prince Gard, suggested they explore the possibility of obtaining this land coal to fuel the forges.
Prince Borth dispatched his brother, Deni and a force of 200 Warriors to search out this legend. All they knew was that it was north of the tiny High Reaches Community of Flag.
Prince Deni gathered his forces and studied the few books that described land coal, what it looked like and its properties. As soon as the cold season in High Reaches ended, they started off in search of land coal.
They crossed the River Col upstream from its Great Gorge and found themselves in rolling hills of sand and rock. Deni had a sample of a tiny piece of land coal and after studying it closely, he let his mind roam the barrens of Uta. He found small pockets of the black stone like substance but no large deposits.
Traveling further north, he tried again and discovered deposits of two kinds of land coal, some that was very hard and some that was crumbly and soft. He consulted with his older brother, Borth and his Father, Prince Gard. They both felt the harder form would work better and it would be less difficult to handle and transport.
They found seams of the hard substance in canyons near an abandoned town of S'Geo. They had 20 wagons with bullocks with them and Deni set his Warriors to scratching out the hard, black stone from the canyon walls. It was dirty work and the Warriors came back to camp each evening covered in black, gritty dust that defied all but hot water and plentiful soap to get their bodies and clothing clean.
They discovered some very primitive groups of brown skinned Humans living nearby, but they were very elusive and refused any contact with any of their party, Vampire, Human or Ogre.
Deni put some of the black stone in their campfire one evening, it burned very hot and it could not be put out, they had to let it burn down to a grey ash.
When the wagons were filled, they began the long trek back home. They took a slightly different route on their return and found additional sources of the black stone closer to High Reaches.
It was almost cold time again, the nights were frigid and ice lay on the surface of the water as they passed through High Reaches. The Ogre Tribes of High Reaches hosted them for a few days before they continued on their journey and they arrived in Ora right at the cold season solstice celebrations.
After the holiday, the metal workers experimented with the land coal in their forges and pronounced it to be as good, or better, than charcoal. With the new fuel, productivity of the furnaces and forges increased, making forged stel products more plentiful.
Deni had been careful to make maps of where they had found deposits of land coal and he gave them to his Grandfather, Reigning Prince Morg. After discussing it with his advisors, Prince Morg auctioned off the maps that Deni had drawn and charged those that would harvest the black stone a small fee per wagon load.
This would bring in a steady amount of silver coin that could be used to pay the Warriors. For the first time in memory, the Warriors received a stipend they could send home to their families. Always before, they had been paid in food and it was difficult to get that food back for their children to eat.
Prince Morg listened intently to Deni's report of their explorations especially his description of the brown skinned native people he had observed. According to what he had seen, they all appeared to be Humans and were quite primitive.
Prince Morg did not feel that they were a danger to them but he did feel that it would be to their advantage to secure the territory where the black stone was to be found as their own. Accordingly, he appointed Prince Deni as the Governor of the High Reaches Mining District and detailed five companies of Warriors to accompany him.
One company was to serve as his personal guard and the other four would be Territorial Warriors. It would not be long that they discovered that number of Warriors was woefully inadequate.
Prince Morg promoted Captain Jat to War Leader and gave him overall military command of the new territory. The grizzled old Ogre Warrior was stunned at his appointment, but it was cause for celebration among the Ogre Warriors, it was further proof to them that they were accepted as full citizens of the Kingdom of AZ.
War Leader Jat, however, already knew that they were accepted, after all, he had been an intimate part of the Royal Family since before the Princes were even born! He was one of the few outside the circle of Vampires who had actually seen Vampire Babies being born and he knew how they were conceived!
He also knew what few others outside the highest circles of the Vampires knew, that Vampires and Ogres were closely related and they shared a common ancestry. That they were closer than cousins, they were almost brothers!
As the cold time loosened its hold on the High Reaches, Prince Deni and War Leader Jat gathered their supplies together and formed a wagon train. Just after the warm season equinox, they began their trek to the north. The wagons were heavily laden and the going was slow, even the marching Warriors could outpace the wagons if they were not careful.
When they reached the town of Flag on the northern border of the Kingdom, Deni hired twenty High Reaches Ogre miners, promising them a bonus for every land coal wagon filled for transport back to the Forges of Ora.
War Leader Jat was more than a passable telepath himself and he and Prince Deni made an excellent Management Team. They were able to converse with each other and pass commands between the head of the column and the rear.
They were forced to construct barges to cross the River Col in an area of calm water upstream from the Great Gorge. No Before People bridges spanning the huge river had survived, although, there were ruins where bridges had once spanned the Great River.
They decided to make the ancient village of S'Geo their Territorial Capital. It was in a protected area and had plentiful water and areas of good farmland to grow their food crops. The abundant grasslands supported a multitude of game animals and promised good grazing for cattle and bullocks.
It was planned that two convoys of twenty ore wagons a year of the land coal would be sent to Ora. The return trips would bring food stuffs and goods they could not produce in S'Geo.
There were a few ruins of stone buildings in S'Geo, but none could serve as a Territorial Headquarters, so, while most of the miners went on to open up the seams of land coal, some remained in S'Geo to quarry stone for a headquarters and other government buildings.
Just before the cold equinox, the twenty wagons were filled with land coal and the teamsters, with a company of Warriors under the command of Captain Pol, an Ogre Warrior, newly made Captain, was dispatched to Ora.
It was planned that they would return the following warm time with a cargo of foodstuffs and manufactured goods that would not be available in S'Geo for some time.
Before the snows hit, Government House was completed as well as barracks for the Warriors and dormitories for the miners. While S'Geo was well protected, the snows on the surrounding mountain passes effectively isolated them until the next warm time. Food was plentiful and fresh meat was to be had from the abundant game animals nearby.
As they were celebrating the Cold Time mid Solstice Holiday, a delegation of the brown skinned native Folk came to the door of Government House. The natives spoke in a broken dialect of the Before People and only with Prince Deni's telepathic abilities, were they able to communicate.
The visitors were a Chieftain of several small family tribes that lived in the area and his Folk. They were all Human and had no knowledge of Vampires or Ogre Folk. They did, however, have legends of shape shifters and night spirits, making Deni suspect that there were some Were Folk and Ghouls somewhere around.
He warned War Leader Jat to keep sentries posted and alert at all times.
The Chieftain hemmed and hawed until he finally got down to the purpose of their visit. He told them that his Folk were on the verge of starvation. Their food supplies had run out and the snows were too deep for them to hunt. Their knowledge of farm techniques was almost non-existent and their hunting weapons were very primitive. They were hunter-gatherers and grew only a few crops of corn, beans and squashes.
Deni asked, "How many of your folk are there?"
The old Chieftain held up both hands and flashed them five times, Deni assumed that meant there were a total of fifty surviving natives.
He queried his advisors mentally and then the Chieftain lowered his hand to indicate small folk, children? He flashed both his hands twice. Deni assumed he meant twenty of his folk were children.
Even had the Chieftain not mentioned the children, Deni would have helped them. As it was, he told the Chieftain to bring their folk to Government House immediately and they would find a way to feed and shelter them.
They decided to put them up in the Teamster's Quarters, as the Teamsters were in Ora at that time. Between the small dormitory and the bullock barns, all the natives could be housed. Their food supplies were good and, with the hunters bringing in extra meat, food would be sufficient to last the cold times.
When the natives arrived back at Government house, there were, indeed, about twenty small children and young teens and all of them showed signs of malnutrition and starvation.
One of the older teens looked at Prince Deni then he whispered in his Father's ear. His Father was the Senior Chieftain and he asked, "Are you of the folk of our ancestors' legends? Are you of the Whampiri Folk?" Deni scanned the Chieftain's mind and found no fear, only curiosity.
Deni replied, "Indeed we are descended from those folk. I am the Junior Prince and Grandson of our Reigning Prince Ruler, Prince Morg. We call ourselves Vampire now it is a corruption of the Before People word, Whampiri. We will guard you and your folk and you will be as safe as ourselves. As you get to know us better, speak with my Warriors, they are of three different folk, Human as yourselves, Vampire and Ogre. We live in peace with each other and we are rebuilding the civilization lost to us so many years ago. It will be a better civilization, one where we all are safe and at peace with ourselves and each other."
He concluded, "Be at peace, you are among brothers here."
The Chieftain thought for a few minutes and then replied, "Many years ago, shortly after the great war of the ancients, the shamans among us foretold of your coming. The shamans are now gone, but their legends remain."
He continued, "We will live with you Prince and be of your folk."
He gathered all his folk and they knelt before Prince Deni, promising to follow his laws and be of his folk.
Prince Deni relayed what was happening to his Grandfather, who told him to accept their oath and make them part of the Kingdom of AZ.
Prince Deni stood and said, "My Ruler and Grandfather, Reigning Prince Morg bids you welcome and makes you part of his Folk."
The Chieftain smiled at Deni and said, "We also have legends of far speakers, you are of that kind too?"
Deni said that he was and bid them sit down and partake of the food being put out on the table.
For the first time in a very long time, the Native Folk had sufficient to eat and the children's hunger pangs were stilled.
The Warriors had put logs in the great fireplace and the room became pleasantly warm. Soon, the smaller children were beginning to droop. The warm room and full tummies, both, were a sure recipe for nodding heads.
Deni sat in his chair and motioned for the littlest among them to come to him. He hefted them upon his lap and they curled up and slept.
One little boy reached up and fingered Deni's fangs before sleep caught up to him, a great smile came upon his face as his eyes closed.
Deni sat there content, he sent to his companions, "We must prepare the birthing bed, I yearn for sons of my own!"
The gestation time for a Vampire is greater than that of Humans. The birth cycle is an annual cycle from conception to birth. The coldtime solstice of the next year would see Junior Prince Deni giving birth to his own son.
The native folk proved to be good housemates, the women were clean and neat, they kept the entire building dirt and dust free, the bedsheets and linens were washed and ironed regularly and the Warriors' dirty clothing was demanded of them, to be returned freshly washed and ironed.
The Warriors showed the native hunters better ways to hunt and gave them iron tipped spears to bring down big game.
Unusual seasonings and flavors began showing up in their meals and the joyful sounds of happy children at play was heard everywhere.
The natives were familiar with where the largest seams of the black stone were to be found, and, as the weather warmed, they showed the miners where they were.
When the teamsters returned with the wagons, there was sufficient land coal already mined to more than fill the wagons for an immediate return trip. Those who had purchased mining concessions from the Central Government made ready to begin their operations.
They had hardly unloaded the goods they brought from Ora before the wagons were ready to make the long haul back, loaded with land coal.
The teamsters had brought seed and young fruit trees and those were soon planted, rows of corn and a field of barley had sprouted before the wagons left, loaded to the tops of their sideboards with the precious fuel.
The mining concessions built additional buildings and a small village was established adjacent to the Territorial Government Compound. Small traders arrived with goods to trade with the local native Folk and several additional tribes came to live nearby.
The land coal mines were thriving, as the supply of land coal increased, so also did its use expand and there was a nearly continuous stream of wagon traffic going in both directions during the warm season.
The small village of S'Geo grew in size and importance. The land was fertile and the gentle valleys were ideal for farming. Corn, grains and melons, along with various tree fruits were grown. Much of it was exported to Flag and other villages of the High Reaches.
Prince Deni remained as Territorial Governor for four years more, and he refined his gifts during that time. He was fast becoming the most powerful Vampire living, perhaps ever! He could stun a person from further away than a man could see. There was no mind that was not open to his powers and he could cause terrible destruction to physical objects within his sight.
As the warm season began to change, it became apparent that Prince Deni was going to give birth. His normally slender body had filled out and he had trouble walking long distances.
Shortly before the cold season solstice, his companions, Car and Andi rushed him to bed and made preparations to deliver a Vampire Child.
War Leader Jat sought out a far speaker from among the Vampire Warriors of his command, he found Lieutenant Tor, who could reach those in the Capital.
As the Prince gave birth, Tor was in contact with Reigning Prince Morg, who was anxiously awaiting word of the birth of his Great Grandson.
Andi brought the newest Prince out of the birthing room to show him off, his bright red hair was a family signature.
Car screamed, "THERE IS A TWIN!"
Andi raced back to the birthing room in time to help deliver a second child. That child was marked like his Human Father, with yellow hair and eyes.
Tor was relaying this event to Prince Morg, never, in their long history was it known that a Vampire had given birth to twins!
The news spread like wildfire in the Capital and, despite the cold time weather, Prince Morg started making arrangements to travel to S'Geo!
Like all Vampire Fathers, Prince Deni was up and around shortly after giving birth, he held his two sons as he transmitted their likeness to his Family back in Ora. Prince Morg and all who could receive Prince Deni's mind were aware of the new Father Prince's great pride in his two new sons.
Prince Morg declared a National Holiday and all of the Kingdom of AZ celebrated the birth of the twin heirs!