In a world where humans are the minority and 10 feet tall, green skinned humanoids are the majority, the humans are being forced to leave their villages, making way for large cities for the ever expanding race of their oppressors. With no where to go, the humans wander aimlessly, trying to find safety in a world hostile to their very existence.
It was a wonderful celebration. Everyone in the village of Lubol had turned out for the marriage of Lev Petrov’s oldest daughter, Viktorya to the taylor Sergei Alexandrov. There weren’t very many people because the village was so small, but everyone was having a good time. There were plenty of Mazeltov’s to go around, and the happy couple themselves was seated on the bench of Honor watching the festivities.
The bride, Viktorya, was a classic beauty in the village; long dark hair and pale skin, with smooth lean features and a slender body. Her dress was a sight to behold. Her mother, Anya, had worn it for her wedding years before, and had re-sewn it fit her daughter. It was made out of creamy silk, which was very rare in their village, and had lace and embroidery decorations over the full skirt and long sleeves. The Petrov family might not have been very wealthy, but Anya refused to spare any expense on her eldest daughter.
The groom, Sergei, was the picture of happiness. In his black wedding suit and borrowed top hat, he kept sneaking fond glances at his new wife. His curly dark brown hair had been temporarily tamed by a comb, but nothing could tame the love in his blue eyes. He had never thought that he would actually be able to marry the woman he loved. In the village’s culture, matchmaking and arranged marriages were the norm; people didn’t choose for themselves. But Sergei had chosen, and after much convincing, Lev had allowed him to marry Viktorya.
Others might never be so lucky. Eva, Viktorya’s next younger sister, wandered through the celebrating crowds, wondering if there was a happy marriage in her own future. She had a feeling that her father wouldn’t allow her to follow in her sister’s footsteps; one rebellious daughter was enough. But she could always hope. For a moment she caught sight of the village teacher Dmitri, a student from the far away city of Kerle, and her heart warmed at the sight of his dark, unshaven face. If there were ever someone she would want to marry, be it with or without her father’s permission, it would have been him. She was equally sure that he felt the same about her, though they had never been able to admit their feelings for each other. Especially not since he was just a poor student teaching the village children for meals, and she was just a poor milkman’s second daughter. Her father would want her to marry a wealthy man, since Viktorya did not.
Zhanna, the youngest of Lev’s three daughters, sat next to her mother, quietly humming a merry tune. She had no romantic interests in the village, approved or otherwise, and she liked it that way. She would rather have been at home reading one of her many books, but she was happy to support her elder sister on her special day. Zhanna was old enough to catch the attention of single men around the village, and beautiful enough like her sisters, but she had no inclination to marry. She wanted to go to the city and learn, though she knew that probably wasn’t going to happen in this lifetime. Her place was at home with her family.
A commotion on the outskirts of the village, which was very close to where the party was being held, brought the celebration to a halt as everyone turned to see what was going on. At first they couldn’t see past the butcher’s shop, but then around the building a column of Lahons astride their tall Prodons and human itchoks riding much smaller horses rode into view. The Lahons were tall, much taller than any man could ever be, and sitting on top of the Prodons made them almost as tall as the two story buildings in the village. Their pale green skin set them apart even more from the humans in the village, even though they shared the same basic shape.
The humans that rode with the Lahons were dressed in standard army dress, gray with red lining, and the only thing that could be said about them was they were all a bunch of itchoks, traitors. They rode with the Lahons instead of with their own people.
Once the column stopped in front of the murmuring crowd, one Lahon urged his Prodon forward and pulled open a scroll. Then, in his guttural, rough voice he began reading.
“By order of the High Command, every human must vacate this village by tonight. Anyone not in compliance will be killed.”
The murmuring turned to outraged cries at the Lahon’s words. The Lahon rolled the paper back up and slipped it into a pack on the side of his saddle. Then he looked around at the shifting crowd.
“A party, how interesting,” he said. “Too bad we must ruin it.” He waved a long fingered hand at the column, and more than a dozen Lahons and all but one human dismounted. Then, before the people could understand what was going on, they began kicking at the pile of wedding gifts, breaking chairs and windows, and pushing the villagers around.
Everyone began screaming and chaos quickly ensued. Most of the people disappeared, hurrying into whatever building was nearest. The newly weds watched in horror as their special day, and their new and only possessions were torn apart of broken. Anya stood and ran as fast as her heavy set body could carry her to find her husband, leaving Zhanna to fend for herself.
Eva searched frantically through the chaotic crowds for Dmitri and was seized upon roughly by a human itchok, who began dragging her to his horse. She screamed, struggling to escape his tight grip, and Dmitri was suddenly at her side, smacking the itchok with a piece of wood he’d picked up. The man released Eva, stumbling and collapsing to the muddy ground. Dmitri took Eva by the hand and began leading her away to safety, but another itchok attacked, cracking a glass bottle over his head. Dmitri went down immediately, unmoving, and Eva screamed again, crouching by his side and trying to wake him up.
Zhanna tried to keep out of everyone’s way, tried to find her parents. A sharp piece of glass thrown by a Lahon sliced through her arm and she cried out. Before she could scramble to a hiding spot she’d spotted, a man in gray grabbed her roughly and shook her so hard her head began spinning wildly. She tried to break free, but he held on, a laughing grin on his traitorous face.
Another gray clad man stepped up and Zhanna thought that she was finished. But the young man balled up his fist and punched the man holding her, allowing her to drop to the ground. He then crouched over her protectively, shielding her from more glass being thrown through the air.
“Enough!” A Lahon shouted from his horse, bringing everything to a halt. The Lahons and itchoks calmly turned away from the people and remounted their rides, then the entire column left the village in ruins.
Cries of the wounded and distressed took to the air as the people tried to collect themselves. Viktorya and Sergei clung to each other, their perfect day lying in ruins around them. Eva cried into Dmitri’s barely moving chest, and Zhanna remained huddled underneath the remaining gray clad man, sobbing into her skirts.
Lev, with a heavy heart, grabbed the only intact chair and stood on top so that he could see everyone. It was to his great relief that he could see his wife and two eldest daughters were safe, but his youngest was harder to find, and his blood began to boil when he found her curled underneath an itchok who had remained. But he had other things to take care of first.
After thanking everyone for coming to the wedding and for all the gifts, he urged everyone to hurry home and begin packing. If they had to leave, they would have to pack quickly and leave a lot behind.
As everyone trickled away from the scene of destruction, Lev climbed back down from the chair and went in search of his family. He sent Anya home ahead of him to start the packing process, and talked with Viktorya and Sergei quickly. After a quick discussion, they had decided that they would head for the sea, where Sergei’s family was staying. Lev was disappointed that they wouldn’t stay with him and the rest of his family, but he knew that they would be safe by the sea, if they ever reached it.
Eva he found with the village teacher’s head in her lap as she rocked back and forth. He could tell that she had been crying, but he didn’t ask why. She mentioned that, since she was the apprentice to the village doctor, she would travel with Dmitri to make sure he would be okay. Lev tried to convince her otherwise, but she was determined.
He found Zhanna talking tearfully with the itchok. He had roared, yanking the young man away from his youngest daughter, and yelled at him to stay away. Zhanna had tried to protest, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He dragged Zhanna away and walked her all the way home. He may not have been able to keep his two older daughters with the family, but Zhanna had no choice but to stay with the family. She was only fifteen, after all. Old enough to marry sure, but Lev didn’t want to lose her in the same day he’d lost his other daughters.
Lev decided, with Anya’s help, that they would travel with the rest of the village for a little while before breaking off and heading for Anya’s brother’s home down south.
So the entire village packed their few possessions and by night fall when the Lahon’s returned, there was nothing but a ghost town left.