Even the name, “Aeterno Vocatus” sounded creepy. Four pairs of tiny eyes widened, silently urging him to continue. In his best ethereal voice, the old man continued.
“Long ago, long before the colonies banded together to form our great nation and became the United States-before the Europeans discovered there was an America and even before the common folk realized the Earth wasn’t flat. Since the ancient times, there have always been brave men willing to stand up for freedom, risking their lives to win independence from tyranny and battling darkness to bring forth the light. One particular group of men did just that; they called themselves The Brotherhood of Eternal Glory. Their mission was rid the world of darkness and evil. They fought against oppression and, sometimes, against the devil’s minions.”
“What’s a minion?” Maddie gasped; her deep brown eyes grew wider.
“It’s a follower,” Zack hissed. “Now keep quiet!”
“Yes,” her Grandfather continued. ‘A follower: a man, woman, or in some cases even a demon, willing to do whatever the devil commanded but I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to start the story before the brotherhood gave themselves a name. Back then, it started with just four Captains leading their men into battle. Time and time again when the four captains led the charge, they were successful. It was not always so when the four were separated but together they were unbeatable. Their orders were to vanquish…Madeline, vanquish means destroy… a neighboring village that had been overrun by evil warlords. The warlords had used black magic to enslave the villagers. They made live sacrifices of those who refused to do the warlords’ bidding. Our heroes, the young captains; Demetrios, Eleon, Linus, and Praxis, led their men bravely to what seemed to be their impending doom. The men serving under the brave captains trembled with fear. Realizing that the morale of their troops was suffering, Demetrios pulled them all together and gave a speech so stirring, so eloquent, that right then and there, each of the soldiers pledged their lives to completing the mission.”
The old man paused and took a sip of his coffee. His grandchildren sat with baited breath, yearning for more.
“Did they die, Grandpa?” Nathan gasped. “Did they get sacrificed then turn into zombies?”
Chuckling, he assured the boy that no one turned into a zombie. Disappointment flickered across young Nathan’s face but not for long.
“But there are things worse than zombies that one could become,” Grandpa replied in a sinister voice. Again, he had the children’s undivided attention and they settled in for more. “Now, where was I?”
“The soldiers pledged their lives to complete the mission,” Ethan replied eagerly.
“That they did, Ethan. Those men realized that the fate of their nation, perhaps even the entire world depended on their success. If they failed, the warlords would grow stronger and their evil would spread. Village after village, country after country would fall into darkness and despair unless the four captains and their soldiers were victorious. In a voice that thundered like Zeus atop Mount Olympus, Demetrios called to his brothers in arms and vowed that if they succeeded he would not stop with this one mission, his pledge would continue until his death! If God smiled on their campaign and granted them favor, he vowed to continue fighting the good fight until God called him from this world. His men were so moved that they all agreed, pledging their lives to the same fate….all but one.”
“Hey!” Their mother shouted from the other room, “is everyone’s homework finished?”
The children had been focusing so intently on the story, they jumped, startled by their mother’s interruption. Their faces said what their mouths had not; they still had homework to complete.
“C’mon, get your butts in gear and get that homework finished,” their grandfather ordered, shooing them off. “No pouting, the story can wait. Your schoolwork is more important.”
The children scattered to collect their books and assignments, playfully marching to the old man’s cry of, “Hut, two, three, four”. With the children gone, he eased back into his recliner, sighing, and reached for the remote. A moment later his wife joined him, perched on the arm of his chair, smiling.
“What were you telling those kids? Erica is having a heck of a time getting them to settle down. You’ve got them all wound up.” She teased, playfully wagging her finger at her husband. “If they have nightmares tonight, you’re in trouble mister!”