The Zmei

In the realm of Wallachia, stretching all the way into the dense, secular forests of the north, they tell stories about a formidable presence. Known as the Faceless Ones or the Faceless Akinji, these brutal marauders are the stuff of nightmares, feared for their merciless raids and their penchant for abducting innocent maidens.

Referred to as the Zmei, a name with roots deep in Moldavian old legends, their true origins are shrouded in mystery, as enigmatic as the curse rumored to have driven them to the fringes of the land. Their mere mention sends shivers down the spines of peasants and slaves, prompting prayers and gestures for protection.

Several descriptions from first-hand accounts paint them as savage and unrelenting. Their faces, concealed behind dark cloths or sinister masks, leave only their piercing eyes visible. Their garb is a patchwork of stolen or scavenged pieces from fallen victims, creating a menacing, mismatched appearance. The chieftains among them adorn themselves with leather, fashioned to resemble snake-like scales, a nod to their revered god: The Serpent. This singular devotion feeds the local belief that they are indeed hellspawn, a notion reinforced only by their guttural roars in an ancient tongue during their ruthless pillaging.

It seems that it was only a matter of time until the paths of these cursed creatures would cross with those of the crimson-haired wanderer.

Daniel Alexandrescu

Romanian indie author currently based in Cyprus. Freelance content writer and ghostwriter. Co-founder of CVLTARTES Magazine.

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