They existed before nightmares were given a designation. They waited on the fringe of our thoughts, in the peripheral of our vision, for the opportunity to strike...to feed. They were born of the pure essences of evil, shadow, and the most basic of human emotions; so strong that they took control of the possessor. We are their forefathers. We are their birthright, and they seek to take it back from us piece of torn flesh by piece of torn flesh!
At first, few recognized their existence, but as horrible deed after horrible deed came to light, some could no longer deny the truth. The first record exists upon a cave wall deep within the Wyoming wilderness. Archeologists thought it indicated a Native American god, but Those Who Know recognized it for what it was, and the name was given to the werewolf. Other records have since been found supporting the theory that these creatures of the night have existed for as long as we have been sentient. Vampires, spirits of the dead, the undead, lycanthropes, changelings, fell monsters those in more civilized circles call legends...they all exist.
The Clarion Call
With recognition came fear, and with fear, there arose a need for protection. Medieval society called them dragons and sent knights to relieve the countryside of their foul presence. Yet the more enlightened our cultures became, the less scholars admitted to the existence of such nightmares. Those who did were sought out and killed as heretics, or servants of the Devil, and so knowledge concerning how to protect mankind from their dreadful Children of the Night was all but lost to the ignorance of science and theology. The very abhorrent deeds that had first called attention to the Shadows were lain at the feet of the criminal elements in society; mass killings, brutal attacks, and disappearances were credited to the mafia, yakuza, gangs, and other corrupt and immoral human organizations, and though some most definitely were their work, the nightmares learned to disguise their evil within Man's and remain nothing more than a whisper on the winds. But there were a few of the old knights left--blood of the Heroes of Old who had received their knowledge by word of mouth throughout the ages...passed down from generation to generation. Seeing these evil beings roaming the earth unchecked, unchallenged, drew these champions together. And the call went out through the streets and alleys of ancient cities, catching the attention of kindred spirits with the same natural calling to fight and slay the unnatural. From these a council was born to see that the education was continued. To avoid persecution, the council remained secret and masked, with no one member knowing the true identities of the others, with successors of that honor being kept within the bloodlines. This council, known only as The Scholars, spread the methods for killing these nightmares through clandestine paths. Where the Past had mobs, knights, and luck as the only protection against the fell creatures of shadows, the Scholars built an underground army of Hunters.
Modern day society is no less ignorant of the threat that looms in their peripheral as they were a couple hundred years ago, despite the efforts of the Scholars. Talk show hosts discount the existence of monsters, psychologists lock hunters away in asylums as delusional, and the law persists that all criminal behavior is carried out by living, breathing low-lifes. And yet hunters persist, even succeed (if they're careful), bringing mankind a little further from the darkness with each hunt. The monsters arenít the only dangers that hunters face. There are some hunters who have come to know of the unnatural evil afflicting the world on their own, or those who leave The Scholarís influence to operate as lone wolves. There is even in-fighting amongst the council as hunters vie for power and influence.
Within this select circle of mortals, the advantages of modern science aids in their successes: the Internet allows for information to be more readily accessible right underneath the noses of the very critics who seek to discount the horrible existence of these creatures. Guns make the killing of monsters easier, and cell phones, computers, and vehicles makes each hunter that much more effective. Pray for their success, or take the mantle upon your own shoulders...in which case, we'll pray for your success. Because failure means that we--man, woman, and child--are some fell beast's next meal.
May the Scholars lead us to the light, and may the bodies of the hunters we are forced to climb over be few.
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