The day that had been whispered about and feared for thousands of years had arrived. Today was the Day of No Wind.
Jayvin first noticed it when he was in the fields scything wheat that morning. The golden brown stalks, normally dancing recklessly in even a light breeze, stood stark still as though the life had been drained from their stems. The whole world seemed to stop in front of him.
“Jay!” someone was screaming off in the distance. “Jay! It’s happened!”
Jayvin put the scythe over his shoulder. He didn’t dare drop it. The sound of rushed footsteps and brushing wheat came closer, and Jayvin could see stalks waving as Weslyl moved toward him. His friend burst through the brushes in front of him, panting, panic in his eyes. He held a handful of grass.
“Jayvin,” he said, breathing hard, “look!” He held the handful of grass in front of his face and let it go. Every blade dropped to the ground like a handful of pebbles.
He had no idea why Weslyl was bothering to show him this – there were thousands of examples standing around him in the field – but he nodded and clasped a hand on his friends shoulder. Weslyl was always a bit prone to excitement.
“I know, Wes” said Jayvin, squeezing his friend’s shoulder. “Let’s go to the temple and consult the Brothers. Everyone will be there waiting for their orders.”
The hoard was coming, if the prophecy had any merit at all. Creatures of Maghlan would soon be pouring out of the sky, seeking living flesh to consume and build their empire. The wind kept them away, it was said, but now that the wind was gone, the Brotherhood was their only chance of survival. They started running, the scythe bouncing on Jayvin’s shoulder with every step.
The temple stood on the shores of Lake Galyrin, its three tall dark spires contrasting with the pure waters and white clouds set behind it. It looked like a three-talon claw coming out of the ground, eager to grasp at something. But Jayvin knew it wasn’t intended to be pretty – it was intended to be a fortress. Nobody was outside. Jayvin’s field was far from the edge of town, so it would make sense that he and Weslyl would be the last to arrive. Hopefully they hadn’t barred the door to prepare for battle.
They arrived panting at the doorway. Weslyl grasped both of his knees and bent over, his portly frame accustomed to administration rather than physical labor. Jayvin patted him on the back and chanced a look around him. The wind had indeed stopped – the entire world around him was completely motionless. Trees, grass, bushes. No birds flew in the sky. Not even the crows.
Jayvin put his hand on the door and pushed inwards. Weslyl filed in behind him. It was dark inside, lit only by a few torches on the walls. He closed the door behind him. It took a few moments before his eyes adjusted to the darkness, but when they did he wished he had been blinded instead.
Strewn about the massive entryway of the temple were the bodies of everyone in the village. He recognized a few faces that he could make out through the mess. Weslyl bent over beside him to empty his stomach, but he barely noticed. Thousands of tiny red circles glowed brightly throughout the room, shadowing faces inside cowls and robes that Jayvin knew he had seen many, many times before.
“Welcome,” said a voice from somewhere in that horrible sea of red eyes. “Welcome to the Brotherhood of the Maghlan.”
Jayvin dropped his scythe.
"The Day of No Wind"
Copyright: © 2011 Joseph Zieja
Joseph Zieja is the author of several fantasy and science fiction novels and short stories. He lives and works in Germany as a member of the US Armed Forces, but he's originally from New Jersey - so despite what you say about him, he'll keep writing until you say "uncle".