The small town of Holdfast was nestled on the edge of Exton. A thick smog covered the worn brick buildings of the town, but then again there wasn’t any place in Exton that wasn’t. The soot extended past its borders and deep into the forest next to the town, settling on the ancient tomb stones of the graveyard deep within the forest. The rivers and lakes of the forest were polluted with factory run off as well, tinging the largest lake a deep green. It may not be beautiful, but it was home to dozens of denizens happily serving the Empire.
Mayor Sydney Oswell stood on the balcony overlooking the town’s Main Street. The streets of the town were fairly quiet as many denizens were currently working in the factories. An elderly ghoul in ragged clothing mumbled to himself as he pushed a broom down the street fighting a losing battle against the never ending soot.
Off in the distance a dark grey cloud lurked over the farthest parts of the town. Sydney squinted at it as she stroked her chin. “Odd, it doesn’t feel like rain.”
As the day went on, the grey clouds crept over the town. Fearing rain, the denizens of the town retired early taking cover in their brick hovels. As the candles were extinguished throughout the town, an eerie darkness fell over the town.
The Holders, worn out from a long day of work, were fast asleep and did not hear the rattles of the bones, smell the stench of rotting flesh, or hear glass breaking and wood shattering until it was too late.
A dozen undead hobbled down the street breaking into the first row of houses. Men, women, and children shrieked as the undead broke into their homes taking their loved ones. As suddenly as it began, it ended.
The cries of Holders filled the streets. The town constable came as fast as he could, but the chaos of the Holders in the streets made it impossible to track the undead back through the woods. Slowly the townsfolk made their way back into their homes, sobbing over the loss of their loved ones.
The town was silent with mourning all day. With no lead the townsfolk believed they would never see their friends and loved ones ever again. They mourned together as a community and held a candlelight vigil at dusk, where most of the town folk were gathered under the overcast skies. As dusk waned and night began, the unspeakable happened. A fresh wave of undead traipsed recklessly through the streets looking for their next meal. As one young man mourning the loss of his sister looked up he saw one of the skeletal undead ambulating towards the group. He yelled at warning and panic and chaos washed over the crowd. More undead rushed the vigil, grabbing at Holders trying to escape. A young girl tripped over a broken cobble stone paver and was grabbed by a skeleton and drug away from the crowd. Others were dismembered, beheaded, or beaten as they tried to escape their captors. In a few minutes it was all over.
The remaining town folk gathered around the Mayors estate. They were screaming and pleading for help. The Mayor stood on her balcony pacing back and forth unsure of what to say to the town.
After about 20 minutes the Mayor tilted her head side to side before looking up at the sky. “When is it going to rain, it’s been overcast for days?” She thought. Sydney stopped at the edge of the balcony staring at the forest. She turned towards her weetle adviser “When did the storm clouds set in?” She asked cautiously. The weetle twitched her whiskers and flipped through a thick journal. “Wednesday morning.” She squeaked.
The mayor nodded in understanding. “That’s the first night these disgusted undead broke the sanctity of our town. Those aren’t rain clouds….it’s a haze of some sort.”
The Mayor turned away from her adviser and towards the town. “Everyone, listen up. The undead came to our town following this haze. I am requesting that any Imperial Appointee or Citizen travel to Holdfast to help us investigate and put an end to this plague.” The mayor did not wait for the crowd to react before turning away from the railing towards a door. The weetle contemplated her words before speaking to the Mayor. “But Mayor, by my calculations, the earliest any Imperial Appointee living outside of Exton could get here is tomorrow morning. What should we do tonight?”
Sydney stopped as she reached for the doorknob into the manor. She turned teary eyed to her assistant and said “We pray to the Father, for the strength to survive the night.”