Undead Hunter Lore
Sunset's coming. An hour, maybe twoâ€¦ and then darkness.
No point in digging any more. This churchyard looked promising, but then I suppose it was meant to. You heard me, break off your search! Once the sun sets, he'll come looking for us. I'd hoped to catch him napping, but he's too clever for that. All we can do now is be ready. Call your men. We'll make our stand here, atop this hill.
Hey, where are you going? I said we'll make our stand here. Afraid of the dark, are you? One little Vampyre enough to unman you? Trust me, I've seen far worse. You sought me out, to help with your little problem, remember? I'm an Undead Hunter, and I've been harvesting corpsedust for twenty years now. You can go home and board up your windows if you wish, but every night while you're hiding he's feasting, and raising more dead to follow him. You'll get weaker, and he'll get stronger. Inside a month he'll have a moldering army to besiege you with, and his troops will never get tired. By then it'll be too late. I know what I'm talking about. Ever fought a stinking Zombie, only to find that you recognized it? Ever had to hack up the corpses of your neighbors, your loved ones, or your own from a few lives back? Pray you never have to.
Alright, here's the plan. You four, gather all the wood you can. We're going to kindle a bonfire here, atop the hill. You - set yourself to making torches. We'll need at least four for each of us. Fire is our friend tonight - it's one of the few things that's guaranteed to hurt our deceased friends, and it will keep back the darkness. Don't expect the Vampyre to show himself until late. He's more like to send his horde against us first, just the thing to wear us out. They'll be walking dead mostly, with skeletons thrown in for spice. Not too rough, but always be careful: you'll get winded. They won't.
You, young one. It's your job to keep the bonfire burning, no matter what happens. Now you there, take this axe. It'll be your job, once a dead man's down, to take his head off, quick as you can. It's a good sharp axe, it should do well. Just tell yourself you're chopping firewood. And you, you look quick. Hereâ€¦ take this. Keep a torch in each hand. Once the fight begins, you're to follow Woodcutter here. Once he has his Zombie chopped, you set your torch to it. If the two of you do your job well, we'll only have to fight each Zombie once. The rest of you, you'll be doing the nasty work with me. Pair up, always fight shoulder to shoulder with another man, and never turn your back from the bonfire. Now, every man should have a blade. Use that on the fleshy ones. Aim for the legs or the neck, try to knock them down, immobilize them. For the skeletons, keep a mace at your belt, or within reach.
Once they start coming, you'll have to be ready for them. Fear is their greatest weapon. There's no shame if you vomit when the stench hits you, and their rotten faces can be hard to get used to. Keep your wits about you and the fire to your back, and you'll survive. They'll fall pretty quickly, once you learn how to anticipate them. Be careful - once you hack through a dozen Zombies, it's easy to just run from one to the next. They'll lure you out that way, don't fall for it! If you leave the circle of firelight, you're doomed. If a man should fall, leave him there. Don't turn your back to the dark to drag him away, and above all be ready for him to get up. When he does, he's just another Zombie. Take him quick, or he'll take you. Should you meet a Wraith, or something without a body, call me. My truncheon's made of wierwood, touched by a saint. I also know a few invocations they don't teach at seminary. The same goes for our Vampyre. Once Mister Dead joins us, leave him to me. I know a few tricks that do for their kind every time. Now, if there are two Vampyres, then we might be in trouble.
Nothing to do now but wait. I remember the days just after the Turning, when nobody knew the working of the Trees, and every man slain rose as foul undead. There were legions of them back then, stumbling through the night, eating everyone they could find. That's when my kind found our calling. We learned how to kill the dead, and started taking back the night. Once folk turned to the Trees and escaped death, we thought our fight was over. We were wrong. Throughout all the Ten Kingdoms, whole churchyards are rising by moonlight. Some say that there's a Darkness beyond the Void that the souls of the dead fly to, and that it devours them. Others think it's a mind, pure, cold and evil, that thirsts for the vigor of life. Some even think that the Dark is alive, like a Beast, and that since the Turning its hunger for fresh souls has been denied. We've come to know the Shadow, and we've seen that it's reaching into our World, touching the dead, filling them with hate and will and unnatural life. Where it comes form I don't know, but there's more undead in the World now than ever before. Darkness is coming. We've tried to tell the Bishops, but they're too busy proving that the World hasn't ended. Who knows - maybe it has.
But that's none of our concern now. Dusk has fallen. They'll be coming soon. Light your torches, keep them burning, and stay sharp, all of you. If you do what I tell you, you might just see the daylight.