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Chapter 17

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Chapter XVII

Visions of the Past

 

That night a large storm rages outside the mountain, rain batters the windows. However, this was nothing compared to the storm that was going on inside Martin’s head at that moment as he tried desperately to fall asleep. Eugene’s final words to him constantly going through his head over and over again, he had heard the words before, but not like this, it was as if Edgar words to him had triggered something in his mind.

“It is a pity that you did not see the light, Mr Wolfrick.” Eugene’s voice said tauntingly. The pressure inside his head was excruciating, he felt sick and had thrown up into a bucket that Vernon had provided a few hours ago but worse than that it made sleep virtually impossible. However, sleep did eventually come and when he was finally able closed his eyes an hour later. He woke up in a place that he had never thought or hoped to see again.

 

Martin Wolfrick walked through the rooms of Wolfrick Manor, as it had been before the attack over two years ago, everything was the same as if it had been reconstructed from his memory of the place. After a few minutes of exploring, he eventually arrived in the dining room where a tall figure was sitting at the table reading a copy of the newspaper, before looking up from his reading and smiled.

“Son, what are you doing back so soon?” Alan Wolfrick said folding up the newspaper, standing up and walking towards him smiling, but also looking curious. Martin mouth opened and closed like a goldfish whilst also noticing that this version of his father had both his legs. “Why aren’t you at school?” Alan asked looking down at his youngest son.

“D… Dad.” Martin said looking up at Alan, his mouth was completely dry, and he didn’t know what else to say.

“Are you alright their sport? You seem a little off.” Alan said, looking curiously down at his youngest son.

“I… I.” Martin sputtered, it was all he could do, that was until a few seconds later when even that ability was taken away from him. As a woman walks into the room and stands next to Alan, a woman who Martin had only ever seen in the few pictures that were doted around the manor. Laura Wolfrick, tall, with the bright green eyes that his older brothers had inherited looked down at him smiling. She puts her hand through Martin’s still brutally short hair.

“What have you done to your hair?” Laura said looking down at Martin, that was enough to send Martin over the edge of his emotions.

“M… Mum?” Martin said, a tear appearing in his eye, he was looking at her he realised for the first time in his life.

“Ah, probably one of his brother’s shaved it. I’ll find out which one did it when they get back, do you know where they are Martin.” Alan asked, answering his wife’s question as he too ruffles what hair Martin had left. At that moment from no-where Eugene speaks. His voice coming unwanted to spoil this moment.
“Isn’t this something you wanted Mr Wolfrick.” The voice of Eugene said, as taunting as ever. As Martin looked around.

“What was that?” Martin said still looking around at the surroundings, trying to figure out where the voice had come from. But the way both his parents looked at him, he apparently sounded completely mad.

“What was what sweetie.” Laura said looking at Martin concerned as if she was addressing someone who was insane and wanting to reassure them that everything was okay.

“That… That voice.” Martin said looking around. Alan looks over at Laura before turning back to Martin. “Didn’t you hear it?” Martin asked, looking at both his parents, there was a part of him that he had just imagined the voice, although the rational and realistic part of him thought that that was unlikely.

“What voice son? I didn’t hear anything.” Alan said also now looking concerned. Before turning around. “Vernon, would you come in here.” Alan said and Vernon, back in his old butler’s uniform, walks through a door that led to the east wing via the kitchens and comes to stand by Alan and Laura. The old butler was without his cane and looked ten years younger, as if he hadn’t seen the action of the past few years.

“Ah. Back so soon Master Martin.” Vernon said, holding a tray with drinks on it in his hands, before putting it down on the table and addressing the youngest Wolfrick.

“What?” Martin said, now seriously questioning his sanity, how in the gods name could this be true, his parents were long dead, and his home was destroyed, his thoughts that this was a dream had been quickly dispelled, as apart from the voice of Eugene, it felt more real than any other dream he had had. As he was thinking this, Alan turned to Vernon.

“Would you please take Martin to his room Vernon. He’s not feeling well.” Alan said looking at Martin concern for his youngest son evident on his face.

“Certainly sir.” Vernon said and gesturing at Martin who knew to start walking away from the present conversation. As he and Vernon walked back down the corridor. Martin turned back around in order to try and get a last look at his mum, but he could no longer see her. Both his parents were out of sight. Back in the present, Vernon walks alongside him, putting a hand on his shoulder, as Eugene speaks once again.

“This could be yours, should you want it.” The voice of Eugene said. At which Martin once again looked around for the source of the voice which got the attention of the old butler.

“Did you hear that Vernon?” Martin asked hopefully, thinking that because he knew that Vernon was alive, he might have been able to hear the sound, however he was sorely mistaken.

“Did I hear what, Master Martin?” Vernon asked smiling down at him, like his mum had before.

“I heard someone… Never mind.” Martin said sighing, his hopes for some answers dashed.

As the two reach his room which took less time than Martin remembered it had ever taken him, Vernon holds open the door as Martin walks through it, turning around to see Vernon standing in the hallway.

“Try to get some rest young sir. Help clear your mind.” Vernon said smiling before closing the door and leaving. Martin walks over to his bed as behind him Eugene emerges out of thin air. Martin turns around and takes a few steps back.

“Vernon… Dad.” Martin said as he stepped back, hoping against hope that the old butler at least couldn’t have gone that far. Eugene only smiled his taunting smile at this call for help before speaking.

“There’s nobody here Mr Wolfrick. Just us two.” Eugene said his lip curled up in his false smile. “I mean you know harm.” Eugene continued, but before he could carry on Martin interrupted, which at least had the effect of seemingly displeasing the man.

“Liar.” Martin said, stopping his retreat and standing his ground for the first time when it came to the half corpse in front of him. As Eugene continued glides towards Martin, his hands raised in mock surrender he shook his head and spoke on.

“I speak the truth. I mean you no harm. I am here to merely show you what could be.” Eugene said his lips still curled, when Martin didn’t say anything, he took his cue to continue. “Peace restored, your life returned back to the way it was and your family whole again. Isn’t that something you’d like.” Eugene said his long bony hand outstretched. Martin says nothing as Eugene continues. “This is all possible. All I ask for in return. Is information. Eugen finishes, his smirk returning.

“And if I refuse.” Martin said, whilst the half corpse seemed to be in offering the world to him, he would never accept it. At this answer, Eugene recalls his hand and tilts his head slightly as the room around them fades away.

It was replaced by a scene of total destruction. Everything was burning, the sky and rivers were on fire, the road I made up of corpses, as Martin and Eugene stand on an outcrop observing the destroyed landscape.

“Then this is the only future you will have.” Eugene said advancing once again on Martin. Who scrunches up his face in concentration.

“This isn’t real.” Martin said to himself, this tactic had worked in his old nightmares before all of this had happened, and he now hoped that it worked now. Eugene only laughs before continuing on in his chant.

“It will be. If you fail to comply. My master is generous to those who serve him willingly Mr Wolfrick and see the light.” Eugene said. “And terrible to those who defy him.” He finishes as he continues his advance.

“This isn’t real!!” Martin screams. Closing his eyes and waking up back inside his room at Normanguard, sweating bullets and breathing heavily. He looked around his room, it was almost dawn, judging by the pinkish light coming in through the window. He felt his head, but it was no longer aching. He lay back down in his bed, but did not close his eyes, choosing to stay awake until morning in case the, whatever it was returned to him.

 

That morning Martin relays the previous night’s events. As Codsworth, Barca, Vernon, Charlie, Dave and Nick listen closely, ranging from interest in Dave and Nick’s case, who were eager to just hear about their home once again, to outright disbelief in the case of Barca. As Martin finishes his tale, unsure of how many he was able to convince, Codsworth raises his eyebrows.

“So, let me get this straight you had a dream about…” Codsworth starts before Martin interrupts him, he knew that people would think he was mad, but he didn’t care, as he knew that he was right. It hadn’t been a dream.

“It wasn’t a dream, it was real. I know it was.” Martin said, desperation in his voice, he knew it was going to be hard to convince the rest of the group about what had occurred the previous night.

“Flashbacks are common with PTSD Martin.” Charlie said looking concerned, but this again was dismissed by Martin who shook his head in frustration.

“It wasn’t a flashback either.” Martin said with the same desperation. “I was there. I saw Dad and… And.” Martin said stuttering at this as he remembered who else had been present. At Barca started up.

“And who lad?” Barca said still unsure whether to believe the kid but interested, nonetheless.

“And Mum.” Martin said. This set of a change of events. Dave drops the cup he was holding which crashes on the ground and breaks apart and Nick’s mouth falls open. Vernon raises his eyebrow as well, a sign that he too was shocked.

“That… That is interesting” Vernon said stroking his small grey beard. He was now certainly more interested in the kid’s tale.

“You saw m-mum?” Dave asked, his voice cracking and stuttering as Martin nods his head in answer.

“It wasn’t even like them in the past. They were there in the present day, they commented on my hair and everything.” Martin said, more trying to convince himself than anyone else, he knew how crazy it sounded but if he stopped believing it himself, he would have no hope of convincing the others.

“And what did Eugene want?” Vernon asked, wanting to get back on topic. The news that Eugene was visiting the lad in his dreams was something that he had never heard of happening ever before.

“He wanted information.” Martin responded, that was all he could come up with.

“Information on what?” Codsworth asked immediately concerned for the groups safety and wondering if the kid had given it to him.

“Jack. I guess. That’s what he wanted last time anyway. Back at the p-p-place.” Martin said scratching his head trying to remember all of the vision whilst also trying to avoid mention of the prison. As the group sit in silence for a few moments, with the only sound being Dave’s hand shake slightly against the chair.

“Nick, would you mind taking your brother back to his room.” Vernon said, as he massaged his forehead with his hand. Nick nodded and the two youngest Wolfrick’s left the room and head down the hallway. Once Codsworth was certain that they were out of earshot he begins to speak.

“Do you believe him Vernon?” Codsworth asked, genuinely asking for the old butler’s opinion on the matter, the man had known Martin for the longest and the best out of all of them with the possible exception of his brothers. Vernon hesitates for a moment thinking over the question.

“Yes. Yes, I do.” Vernon said after some hesitating. The lad had always been different, his relationship with echo aside, and he had always known stuff that he was never supposed to know. He knew that magic was no longer the force that it used to have been in the world, but it was not out of the question that the lad had gained some abilities, that had then been enhanced accidently with the torture he had endured at the prison. Barca however, appeared to have a different opinion on the matter.

“You were listening to him right.” Barca said his eyebrows raised. He had heard some wacky stuff in his time, most of it in the past few years. But this topped them all in terms of craziness.

“Indeed, I was.” Vernon responded a hint of anger rising in his voice.

“Is it even possible?” Charlie asked, speaking so that Vernon could have a chance to calm down a bit. She, however, honestly didn’t know what to think on the matter at hand. Whilst what Martin had described had never been heard of before. That was no longer a basis for what could or couldn’t happen nowadays.

“Normally I’d say no.” Codsworth said, also hearing the anger in Vernon’s voice and wanting to check it before it got out of hand. “But the gods alone know what Eugene did to Matin whilst he was in his custody.” Codsworth finished.

“The gods and Martin himself.” Dave added and Codsworth nodded. “Plus, if Martin was lying how would he know what mum looked like?” Dave asked the room at large, with Vernon immediately running with this idea.

“It’s a fair point Barca. Laura dies just days after Martin was born. There is no way he’d know what she looked like.” Vernon said, the anger from his voice now gone. There had been pictures of Laura, but would that be enough for the kid to visualise her in his mind alone, he doubted it, meaning that there had to be another force at play. Barca looks at the rest of the group for a few more moments, before speaking again.

“Fine let’s add it to the list of shit that shouldn’t be possible, but now is. And that’s a big fucking list.” Barca said, adding the last part as an afterthought. Before leaving the room.

“Charlie. Would you mind making something to help Martin sleep for this evening?” Vernon said feeling exhausted himself despite the early time of day.

“Sure.” Charlie said and followed Barca out of the room. As Codsworth also departs, leaving Dave and Vernon alone, a tear running down Dave’s face.

“You alright lad?” Vernon said. He couldn’t say he blamed Dave for his reaction. He had been close to Laura and Vernon knew it and, unlike Nick and Martin. Dave was old enough to remember her.

“I’m fine.” Dave said picking up the remains of the cup he had been holding. “It’s just… I didn’t… I didn’t expect to hear about mum is all.” He finished as he wiped the tear from his face.

“Neither did I lad. Neither did I.” Vernon said thinking to himself, what he knew was that the Wolfrick brothers would need to be on their guard, as he doubted that they would be able to resist the temptation of having their parents in particular Laura returned to them again. He was brought out of his thoughts when Codsworth returns to the room and address Vernon.
“I want Martin to join Nick for basic training tomorrow, Vernon. I think it’s time he learns to defend himself.” Codsworth said, as the kid had been unable to protect himself when the wolf had come at him, but also for other reasons and Vernon nods, he to thought it was high time for the boy to learn to defend himself, especially now.

 

The following day, outside the mountain, Charlie, Nick and Martin stood outside in the valley below the great doors. Charlie had wanted to go out into the nearby woods to train, but Martin seemed unable to move inside the treeline. ‘Lads still scared.’ Charlie thought to herself, but she didn’t blame him one bit for that, with what Martin had been through, she doubted if the lad would ever get over that fear. So, they instead to positions directly in front of the old gates. A set of double steel doors that had caved in when part of the mountain had collapsed onto them.

“Fire.” Charlie said, as Nick and Martin fired their guns at a nearby rock. Nick hit it dead on, Martin missed. Martin sighed and took aim again, but before he could fire the gun once more, a voice calls out from behind them.

“Not bad for a first attempt.” Doraghek said. The dwarf prince limped up to the small group, his large axe in his hand and looking at the target.

“Doraghek, of so soon.” Charlie said, the dwarf having been ordered to patrol the hills, after Edgar the king had sent out as many patrols as he could afford to, in an attempt to locate other spies. The one they had already was currently residing in the interrogation cell, where he was frequently questioned for information, not that he gave them much.

“Surprised to see you out here, aren’t you usually in the forest.” Doraghek asked, as he turned towards the trees in the near distance, it had been a surprise when he had heard gunfire in the trees and had called a squad of troops to investigate the noise. He reckoned that they had scared Nick half to death when they came charging through the trees where he had been practicing.

“The lad wanted to train in the open.” Charlie said looking at Martin, who quickly looked at the ground in embarrassment. Resting his hands on the hilt of his axe Doraghek looked at Martin.

“The last time I went into the woods with a gun. I didn’t come out.” Martin said looking at the ground looking ashamed, trying to justify his fear.

“Don’t worry about it lad.” Doraghek said smiling at Martin. “You’ll get your courage back sooner or later.” The dwarf said before heading off towards the forest himself.

 

A few weeks later in the same spot Nick and Martin were still training under the stern gaze of Charlie who watched the pair firing almost every day now. They were both getting to an acceptable level of marksmanship now. But when Martin misses a target and drops the gun on the ground by accident, Nick chuckles before Vernon, who had come out to witness the days practice spoke up.

“And were you a marksman at eight, Nick?” Vernon said looking stern, before turning back to Martin. “Keep practicing Martin… Go on.” Martin picks up the gun and takes aim and fires. Hitting the target dead centre and Martin turns back to Vernon and Charlie in surprise.

“I… I did it.” Martin said looking surprised that he had managed it, he had been hitting the target, but not dead centre.

“Good.” Charlie said smiling slightly at the boy’s surprise at his accomplishment. “Now do it again.” She finished returning to form, as Martin raises the gun and takes aim. But before he could fire, there was the sound of low growl from a clump of rocks about thirty meters away, causing both Nick and Martin to lower their guns and look over and for Charlie to raise her own. Knowing that whatever was behind those rocks was most unlikely to be friendly.

There is a brief pause before a mountain wolf, five feet long, leaps from behind the rocks and charges towards the small group, its two rows of teeth bared. Charlie takes a shot which hits its thick hide and does nothing other than to anger the beast, which continues to snarl and charge towards the group.

As the wolf gets within leaping range of Nick who happened to be the closest at the time, a shot rings out from a small hill to the left of the group, and the wolf collapses to the ground dead. The bullet having pierced the weak spot on its neck. Nick slowly walks up to it and nudges the beast with his foot to check if it was really dead, and the beast remains limp and unresponsive.

Vernon and Charlie, however, were more concerned with the gunman, and both look towards where the sound came from. A tall, hooded figure stands on top of the nearby hill, their gun was still raised, as whoever it was continued to look down at the small group below.

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