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.
Prologue; As the warm season began to change, it became apparent that Prince Deni was going to give birth. 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 Sub Lieutenant Tor, who could reach those in the Capital. As the Prince gave birth, Tor was in contact with Reigning Prince Morg. Andi brought the newest Prince out of the birthing room to show him off, his bright red hair, a family signature. Car screamed, "THERE IS A TWIN!" Andi raced back to the birthing room in time to deliver a second child. That child was marked like his Father, with yellow hair and eyes. Tor was relaying this astonishing event to Prince Morg, never, in their long history, had a Vampire 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 declared a National Holiday and all of the Kingdom of AZ celebrated the birth of the twin heirs!
Chapter 1 – THE TWINS
Prince Deni, Junior Heir to the Kingdom of AZ named his sons Lok and Gorl. The babies distinguished themselves very early, they were powerful mind speakers and all of S'Geo knew it when they were hungry or needed changing!
Their Great Grandfather, Reigning Prince Morg and his party fought the cold time snows to visit these newest additions to the Royal House of AZ. Leaving Prince Borth in command of the government, Prince Morg and Deni's own Father, Prince Gard traveled through the terrible snows of the High Reaches to get to S'Geo.
This was a momentous occasion to all of the Vampire folk, never in their long history had there ever been twin vampire babies! The two Princes and their party arrived at Government House in S'Geo during a great storm, snow was piling up and they would be trapped there for weeks.
Inside the building, all was in festival, the arrival of their Reigning Prince and his Principal Heir added to the on-going celebration of the birth of the twins.
Grandfather Prince Gard was already holding both babies on his lap when Prince Morg entered the room.
Instantly, the babies sensed their Great Grandfather and held out their tiny hands to him.
Their favorite however, besides their Father, was War Leader Jat and they loved to be cuddled by the grizzled old warrior, long a friend and loyal confident of the Royal Family.
The Chieftains of the local native tribes came to pay their respects to Prince Morg and to the newborn Princes. Chief Black Eagle, the senior chieftain among them, looked at the twins and dropped to his knees, saying, "You have come back to us, oh Great Shamans!"
The old man was shaking so badly, he had to be assisted in standing.
He explained to all those watching the events unfold, "Immediately after the Great War of the Ancients, two Powerful Shamans came among our folk. They foretold events that were to take place far in our folk's future. One Shaman had hair the color of the campfire and the other of the color of the mid-day sun. One Shaman had red eyes, while his brother had eyes of yellow gold."
He went over to the twins and laid his hand upon their foreheads, his eyes went wide and the old man began to sob, "Thank you Great Spirit that I was allowed this before I died."
The Chieftain fell to the floor and was pronounced dead!
The other Chieftains ran from the room and shortly, the drums began to boom out a message throughout the land, "Our Shamans have returned."
The Native Folk from all of the Great Plateau of Uta began gathering in S'Geo, their drums never still. The Chieftains held Congress and elected the son of Chief Black Eagle, Red Hawk, as Senior Chieftain.
After the Ceremony of his Elevation to Senior Chieftain, Red Hawk called on Prince Morg, "Your Highness, I must explain what my Father told you. Our legends go back in time, to before the Great War that destroyed so much of our lands. We were a prosperous folk, our lands were fertile and our folk were many. Two Great Shamans came among us and told of hard times to come. They told us how to protect our folk and save our children. They stayed with us many years, many years beyond a man's lifetime. Before they left us, they told of two babies, twin boys, to be born of a different folk in our midst. One would have hair of flame and the other of yellow gold, with eyes to match. In time, these two boys would become our rulers and lead us all to safety and prosperity. They also, would live many years beyond the span allotted to a man and that no man could withhold secrets from them, they would rule wisely and they would lead all folk to a new era of civilization."
Prince Morg replied, "I must think on what you have related to me, but for now, will you accept my rule of these lands and become of my folk, the folk of The Kingdom of AZ?"
Chieftain Red Hawk replied, "Great Prince, gladly would we submit to your rule and ask that you allow the boys, Lok and Gorl to remain with us and that we may teach them of their heritage."
Prince Morg stood and announced to all present, "This land of Uta shall be part of my Kingdom of AZ and its Capital City shall be S'Geo. I appoint my Grandson, Prince Deni, Governor of Uta, to rule here in my stead. All the Folk of Uta shall have rights as Free Citizens of The Kingdom of AZ, let no person, be he Human, Vampire or Ogre, set aside my decree. I have said this, so shall it be."
So it was that the Territory of Uta became a part of The Kingdom of AZ.
When the warm season returned, Prince Morg and his party returned to AZ and its Capital City, Ora.
Uta was rich in mineral wealth and Governor Prince Deni made sure that all contracts to exploit that wealth would provide benefit the folk of Uta. Miners came from the High Reaches in search of precious metals, which they found in abundance and land coal was already streaming into AZ to feed its forges and growing factories.
Unlike others of their race, the twins grew rapidly, passing the age of 5 winters and then grew further until by the time that they molt, they were over six feet tall.
They did everything together in the manner of twins of any race. If one had a skinned knee, the other was sure to need treatment also. They even finished each other's sentences as they spoke.
They excelled in school, driving their teachers to near distraction. That they were powerful telepaths, everyone had already discovered, but their antics as children frequently had those around them in fear of their own sanity, perhaps even their lives.
A Great Bear awaited an unwary servitor as he brought supper to the table of the Governor, or a Giant Lizard would be hiding in the linen closet for a maid to discover when she went to get clean sheets!
As they became older, their projections became more sophisticated; they had their Father, Prince Deni, half-convinced that Great Grandpapa Prince Morg was sitting to their dining table for supper!
Only when they began to giggle, did their projection waver and they were discovered by their Father!
On the serious side, no one was allowed to threaten or hurt one of their schoolmates. Schoolyard bullies soon learned to stay as far away from the twins as they could get. Not doing anything at the time was no protection, if they detected even thoughts of doing harm to a child there was such terrible retribution that only young boys could dream up.
Hanging upside down, naked in the schoolyard tree was one of their favorite punishments!
They were handsome boys and, as they got older, a number of human girls had to be taken aside and told of the particulars of Vampire Families.
More than one young girl had her hopes and dreams crushed.
As their twentieth year approached, Prince Deni ordered a double molt chamber built for his sons and he waited. Their manner became more nervous and tempers flared, until the morning they both decided that it was time.
Unlike others of their kind, their growth had not stopped at five winters, they had continued and both boys were over six feet tall when they entered the molt chambers. Equally as strange, neither twin had selected any close friends or prospective mates.
The entire period of molt, there were flashes of energy escaping from the chambers, those living in Government House would hear strange sounds and the buildings would shake and tremble as if alive.
A few housekeepers fled in terror, refusing to stay in a house that was haunted.
Prince Deni and his closest retainers gathered at the end of two months, but still the twins did not emerge. War Leader Jat reminded the Prince that his own molt extended longer, so they waited, if not calmly, certainly with a little more patience.
As a third month ended, a great crash of energy escaped from the molt chambers and the door was flung open.
The twins stepped out, both fully 7 feet tall! Lok's hair was still bright red, but there was a nimbus of energy glowing at the ends of each strand.
Likewise, Gorl's hair remained yellow, but his eyes were glowing and sparks could be seen dancing at the corners of his eyes.
Deni was transmitting all they saw to his Father and Grandfather, they all were a little frightened at the powers the twins seemed to emit.
The Twins said together, "Fear us not, we mean you no hurt. You are our folk, to love and protect."
They then asked that food be brought; it took several trips to the kitchens before their hunger was satisfied. They next walked, hand in hand, to their bedroom and slept for the next day and a half. That answered one of the many questions the Family had about the twins.
THE RISE OF THE VAMPIRE TWINS
The twins strode into the great room, where their father, Prince Deni was holding court. He looked up at them and asked, "Have you business before this court?"
The young vampires replied together, "We must go away for a time as we learn of ourselves. We each are one half of the other. We shall go among our Folk of Uta and learn of our heritage. Do no fear for us; we shall be safe in our journeys."
They turned and walked out of the building holding hands and saying nothing further.
Deni heard from them regularly, they would tell him of their travels and where they were, but would say nothing of what they had learned.
They traveled the far reaches of Uta and crossed the barren sands of Ida Home to reach the land where the River Col was born.
They returned through the wastes of Nev before reaching S'Geo five years later.
They stood before their father, Prince Deni and said, "We are returned Father and we must rule here. We have contacted our Great Grandfather and he comes to install us in leadership of all the Folk of the Great Desert, the Lands of Uta, Ida Home, Nev and Col. These lands we shall lead, joined to the Kingdom of AZ."
The huge Message Drums of the folk of Chief Red Hawk began to sound the message, "COME TO CONGRESS, THE SHAMANS RULE ONCE MORE"
Soon, there were representatives from all the tribes inhabiting the Great Central Desert arriving at Government House.
Deni and Morg watched as the two vampire twins mixed with familiar ease among the Native Folk. Each Chieftain approached the twins and gave oath to their sovereignty.
One Chieftain gave his oath and the twins stood, "YOU LIE" and the Chieftain fell dead at their feet.
Prince Lok was their spokesman, "YOU CANNOT LIE TO US, WE SEE THE INSIDES OF YOUR HEADS, WE KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS. TO LIE IS TO DIE!"
Prince Gorl said, "We shall suspend this congress, you Chieftains shall meet among yourselves and decide if you shall live in our lands or you all shall be expelled from our lands."
"Come to us tomorrow with your decision." He said, as the two brothers strode from the room.
Lok and Gorl turned and left the astonished Chieftains standing there.
The two brothers sat to supper with their father and talked of the places they had seen and the lands through which they had traveled. However, they would not discuss their plans for the future, nor would they speak of the incident that had taken place earlier.
They retired for the night, curled up together in the same bed as they had as small children.
Deni thought to himself, "Are they mates?"
He nearly stumbled when he heard in his mind, "Yes, Papa, we are mated for life."
Deni sat for the rest of the night, alternately worried about his sons and wondering what the future would hold for them.
The next morning, the twins came for breakfast; they hugged their Father and whispered to him, "Do not worry, all is as it should be."
After they had eaten their morning meal, the Chieftains were again assembled in the courtyard. Senior Chieftain Red Hawk had been elected speaker for the group, "Our Lords Prince, we submit to you. In all things, you are our Chieftains."
Each Chieftain, in his turn, came up and placed his head in their hands and gave oath of allegiance and submission.
The brothers then laid out their agenda.
Each Tribe would contribute warriors to a standing Army of Warriors.
Each Tribe would contribute, in accordance with their numbers, to the upkeep of Government House and the Army of Warriors.
Each Tribe was to elect a representative to a Congress that would meet twice a year.
Each Chieftain was to judge his own folk, except for high crimes and capital offenses; those would be sent to Government House for adjudication.
All disputes between the individual tribes would be decided by the Royal Twins.
A far speaker was to be made available at all times as an office of each tribe.
The twins then stood and said, "We have spoken, thus it shall be."
Reigning Prince Morg and his party arrived just after the Congress of Chieftains had departed. He met for two days with Deni and the twins before he publically confirmed Lok and Gorl as Co-Governors of the High Desert.
He then called War Leader Jat to come before him, "War Leader Jat, long have you been a loyal supporter of Our Land and, indeed, of Ourselves. Therefore, be it known here and elsewhere in Our Realm that War Leader Jat, of the Ogre Folk, is named Prince of Our Realm and is to be afforded all the courtesies and privileges of that rank."
"So I have spoken, so shall it be." He said forcefully.
Jat stood there with a pole-axed look on his face, not believing what he had heard. War Leader Jat was popular and well liked by his troops and officers and they immediately began planning a celebration to be held in the barracks that very same night.
Those Warriors who were Ogre were particularly pleased; Jat was the first of their race to be so honored.
As Prince Morg was making preparations to depart, taking Prince Deni with him, the twins asked, "Please Father, remain yet with us. We are new to this and need your guidance.
Deni looked at his Grandfather, who nodded his head in approval.
Prince Morg said, "It is a wise leader who knows his limitations and asks for assistance."
A DESERT BLOOMS
The twins were in constant motion, traveling throughout their lands. They had schools built and decreed that the children of the tribes were be educated, they purchased seeds and young trees with their own funds and gave them to their folk.
They discovered ancient wells of the Before People and had them cleaned out, so that their folk might have fresh water. Dams were repaired on small streams to impound water for the warm time season.
Where there was good farmland and water, they had small towns and villages built and they encouraged their folk to become farmers.
They also encouraged settlers from the lowlands of AZ to come and settle, bringing much needed skills and knowledge to the area.
At a suggestion of Prince Jat, several groups of Ogre settlers were invited to settle in the Great Central Desert, some were farmers, but most were merchants and tradesmen.
S'Geo was becoming a major center of business and mining. The gold and silver mines were beginning to produce and an important discovery of copper bearing ore was made not far from the capital city.
An Ogre scavenger company bid on reclaiming metals from the Before People city of Vega and yet another set up shop as a foundry to process the reclaimed metals.
A Before People book turned up that described a machine to produce steam from hot water and make it run another machine that would perform useful work. It intrigued the twins and they allotted resources to the idea. It took a number of years but the first successful effort was to pump water from the S'Geo River to a cistern and fountain in the town.
It was hailed as a marvel and folks traveling through the area made a special trip to see the water pulsing out of the pipes and into the cistern basin.
S'Geo became the first community in the Kingdom to provide running water for its folk.
As the farms and the mines began producing, more folk moved to the Central Desert. The Army that the Twins had insisted on, was straining to prevent attacks from Were folk, raiders and rogue Ogres.
When the small community of Moa was attacked, Prince Jat decided he would lead the troops himself and investigate the problem.
A horrified far speaker reported back, "CANNIBALS!" The twins sought counsel from their Father, Prince Deni, who, in turn, notified the Reigning Prince, Morg.
Troops were rushed to S'Geo and placed under the command of Prince Jat.
The cannibals were run to ground and totally destroyed, the rogue ogres were returned to S'Geo for trial and the raiders were enslaved for their lifetimes. Their villages were located and the children removed, the entire adult population remaining was judged guilty and hung.
The children and teens were brought to S'Geo and entered into the school system, with Ogre families taking them in and, in many cases, adopting them as their own.
A teen ogre boy saw Prince Jat in the field, commanding the troops and made up his mind that the Prince was going to become his new daddy. He began his campaign before the troops ever left the destroyed village, he followed Prince Jat everywhere.
He finally attracted Prince Jat's attention and the old warrior began to notice the young ogre. It was not long that he knew the boy's name and he suspected what he was up to.
Jat had never married nor had he taken a woman, he was not sure what he would do with a young Ogre Boy in his household.
When he returned to S'Geo, he sought counsel with Prince Deni.
Deni sought out the boy and spoke with him and he asked him, "Why do you think Prince Jat would be a good father to you?"
The boy sat on the ground before the Prince and replied, "Lord Prince, I want to be the finest Warrior in the Kingdom. Who better to raise me than the finest Warrior there is now?"
When Denis reported back to Jat, the Old Warrior sat down, holding his head in shame, "I should have known."
So it was that Prince Jat adopted a young ogre boy, Nok, and took him into his home and his heart.
Nok was a bright lad and he learned readily in school and at his adopted father's knee. Jat enlisted him as a Junior Trooper and let him train with the Army whenever he was not in school.
When other boys, vampire, human and ogre, learned of Nok's training as a Junior Trooper, they descended upon Jat asking that they also be allowed the same training.
It ended up the Twins established a Junior Trooper Cadet Program in the school. It was exceedingly popular and nearly every boy, regardless of race, became members.
Nok excelled and was soon appointed Cadet Junior Trooper Captain of the school program. Jat was proud of the boy and helped him design a uniform for the Junior Troopers. They began drilling with the Warriors after school and on holidays.
The majority of the boys, human and ogre and a few vampire lads rushed to join the Cadets, three Cadet Companies were established and overall command awarded to Senior Cadet Captain Nok.
The program was so successful, Prince Morg ordered it established throughout the kingdom.
Just before the cold time season descended upon S'Geo, reports came in from a far speaker in S'Lak that cannibals and ghouls were moving into the Before People ruins. Jat immediately dispatched two companies of Warriors to combat the fiends.
Three days later, they discovered that the two companies had been waylaid enroute and they were fighting for their lives!
He immediately dispatched the remainder of the force to their rescue and to engage the cannibals threatening S'Lak. That left one company of Warriors to protect the Capital.
Nok said, "Father, let the Cadets fill in."
Jat really had no choice as he could not leave the Capital undefended, so he ordered the three Cadet Companies called up. Nok took command of the Cadet Forces and distributed his men around the town, posting far speakers in each post.
The attack came three nights later when the fiends came slashing down on the Perimeter Posts manned by the Cadets. Nok called out all his reserves and pulled the regular Warriors with him, they raced to the perimeter, swords drawn and flaming torches in their hands.
One of the few things cannibals or ghouls feared was fire. Nok had remembered his Father telling him of fighting off the cannibals and ghouls in his own youth, with flaming branches.
By morning, the streets and paths were strewn with dead and dying cannibals and ghouls. Sadly, there were also Warriors and Cadets among the dead.
Cadet Captain Nok was in a rage as he gathered his staff and went about the town collecting his wounded and finishing off any cannibal or ghouls still living.
As soon as he had seen his Cadet Warriors taken care of by the medics, he led a solemn crew to collect their own dead. He set the drums to calling the dirge as they collected the dead bodies of their classmates. There were thirty bodies of thirty dead boys brought to the courtyard before Government House.
They laid them in neat rows, each with The Red Banner of the Central Desert Territory draped across their stiffening bodies.
Prince Jat and The Royal Twins stood at attention as Nok read off their names, one by one.
Nok stood before that awful accumulation of bodies and spoke, "THEY WERE WARRIORS, EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM. THEY DIED PROTECTING THIS TOWN FROM AN AWFUL FATE AT THE HANDS OF THE SPAWN FROM HELL. I CANNOT CALL THEM BACK TO ME; I CANNOT SEND THEM HOME TO THEIR MOTHERS AND FATHERS. THEY ARE GONE FROM US AND I CANNOT HELP THEM. I SAY THIS TO YOU WHO ARE LEFT, THEY SHALL BE AVENGED. THEY SHALL NOT HAVE DIED FOR NOTHING. LISTEN WELL, THOSE OF YOU WHO KILLED MY FRIENDS, WE COME FOR YOU. MAKE YOUR PEACE WITH WHATEVER GODS YOU FOLLOW, FOR YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO MEET THEM. I SHALL NOT REST, WE SHALL NOT REST UNTIL OUR BROTHERS ARE AVENGED." He detailed groups of Cadets and adult Warriors to bury their honored dead as he went to the parents of every dead boy and wept with them.
He was white faced and wrung out when Jat found him.
Jat picked the grieving boy up and carried him to bed. Jat sat with his son all the rest of the night, consoling him. The next morning, Jat ordered that the remaining Warriors and Cadet Warriors be combined in two companies under the overall command of Cadet Captain Nok.
Nok posted sentries around the town, challenging any and all who would enter or leave their town. Younger boys and boys who had not joined the Cadets stepped forward and asked to join. Old Warriors, long retired came forward and joined the Cadets in protecting their town.
Reinforcements finally arrived from Ora and were placed under the command of Cadet Captain Nok.
The warm time season arrived at last and Nok was ready to hit the campaign trail, he gathered his forces, leaving enough force to protect the town and they headed off in pursuit of those who had attacked them.
Tribal Warriors from every village came out to join them, placing themselves under Nok's command. They were a thousand Warriors strong as they approached S'Lak, they worked every trail, every road separating cannibals and ghouls into body parts and vile stains on the soil.
Back and forth across the Before People city they fought, giving no quarter, nor accepting any attempts to surrender.
For the Rogue Ogres, he ordered them hung from the nearest tree, their bodies to remain until they rotted apart. The rest were slain on the spot and left as a warning to those who would make war on the folk of S'Geo.
When the troops returned victorious, Jat went looking for his son, he found him knelt down in the graveyard, praying.
Jat lowered his old body down beside his son and laid his arm across his shoulder. "My son, you are a man now, you have taken a man's load and done a man's job. Welcome Home, War Leader Nok!"
At a young age, War Leader Nok assumed command of the Territorial Armed Forces; he visited every outpost, soliciting recommendations on how to improve.
He drove his warriors as he drove himself. He knew the enemy would pounce on any weakness. The young humans, ogres and vampires flocked to his banner and he soon had six companies of Warriors under his command plus another three companies of new Cadets. The older Warriors, he assigned as mentors and instructors.
Whenever a new Warrior or Cadet complained, he took them out to the graveyard and told them to explain to the dead, why they didn't need to train harder.
He would take two Companies, one of seasoned Warriors and one a Cadet Company and take a tours of all the villages in a sector of the Territory. After a few sector commanders had been reduced to the ranks, he was unable to surprise any of his troops, one sector Commander went so far as to station far speakers in tall trees to watch for his coming. Nok didn't mind, if they were watching for him, they would also detect approaching Were folk or cannibals, even the night moving ghouls could be detected.
Human and Ogre folk living outside the borders of the Territory were emigrating to be inside the shield of Warriors.
The greatest period of danger was during harvest at the end of the warm time season. He put every available Warrior in the field and he drove them and himself unmercifully to keep his Folk safe.
Even small incursions were met with such devastating force, no invader survived to tell of it. So tightly did War Leader Nok close the borders to those who would harm his Folk, the entire warm time and harvest season went without a single attack on the civilian population.
Reigning Prince Morg came for an inspection and was mightily pleased with what he observed. Prince Jat told the Ruler that it was all War Leader Nok's doing, other than a little advice, he, Jat, had done nothing to defend the Territory.
It was all Nok's doing and through his efforts, all attacks had been repulsed.
A CIVILIZATION BLOOMS
War Leader Nok's efforts brought peace to all within the borders of the Territory and settlers were encouraged to emigrate. Prince Jat made a tour of the more settled lands of the Kingdom, speaking to groups of Humans, Ogres and Vampires about the opportunities and farmland available in the Territory, promising aid and land to those who would come.
The Ogre Folk, long discriminated against for their warlike actions and association with the Were Folk, were ripe for a new beginning. Whole villages packed up and followed the Ogre Prince as he returned to S'Geo.
The emigrants were amazed at what they found in S'Geo, an Ogre as a highly respected Prince of the Kingdom and another, a young Ogre Warrior as Territorial War Leader!
Even more surprises were in store for them, they were met by two Royal Princes welcoming them to S'Geo, speaking with each one of them and promising assistance in getting started in a new life.
Some broke down and cried when they watched the Army drill its Warriors, human, ogre and vampire Warriors all working together, commanded by officers chosen for their skills, not their race!
More surprises met them; they were free to chose where they were to live, what occupation they wished to enter and what schools their children would be allowed to attend.
Nok set the Cadet Warriors to mingle with the newcomers, particularly their children, telling them of life in the Territory.
Like all boys throughout the ages, games soon began to appear, the newcomer parents were astounded as they watched a bis game develop on the parade ground and boys of all races came to join the teams.
Mothers stood with their daughters as girls from S'Geo invited them into their homes and shared their playthings with them.
When the newcomer children began schooling, the boys were invited to join the Cadet Warriors and a Girls organization was created, The Girls' Auxiliary. The girls trained in hospital care of the warriors wounded in battle, any girl from any of the races was asked to join.
What most of them did not know, it was War Leader Nok who was insisting on this integration of the races. It was a time of new beginning, the re-colonization of the Territory was underway with a new and vibrant culture, taking what was good from all the races and combining it into a way of life for everyone.