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Chapter 29

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Chapter XXIX

Revealing the Unseen

 

Martin lay in his bed, it had been so long since he had rested properly, both his mind and body ached all over, the previous attempt at seeing the enemy had taken its toll and he hadn’t had the strength to continue, he hadn’t been able to break through the defences that Eugene had put up especially for him. It was starting to annoy him, as this was the one thing that he could do, and if he lost it, then what was the point of him being part of the war effort. He put his head on the pillow trying to force himself to sleep, but no sleep came to him for another hour.

 

At the same time as Martin tried to sleep Charlie had called both Vernon and Codsworth away from their tasks, as the two old men came in followed to her surprise by Doraghek, it had been her hope, at least Charlie had hoped to keep this in house. On the other hand, however, the dwarf had been a good friend to them during their time here, being one of the few to come to their defence when so many of the king’s councillors had wanted to expel them after Eugene’s threat.

“I’ve finished my analyse on Martin’s blood.” Charlie said, inviting them over to the result screen. It was a sample of the boy’s blood alongside one of his brother’s, taken from Nick after he and Dave had returned from their scouting mission.

“What am I looking at here?” Codsworth said, he was no scientist and didn’t have a clue as to why he was here.

“You’re looking at a sample of Martin’s blood. Next to a sample of normal blood.” Charlie said looking nervous.

“Normal blood?” Vernon asked looking at the screen, the word didn’t fill him with confidence for Martin one bit.

“Yes.” Charlie said. “Most blood is made up of four parts, but Martin’s blood has five.” She continued, trying not to show concern on her face. “As does the lad that we’re still holding here.” Charlie finished, that had been an interesting meeting, but the boy had agreed to the blood sample, as if Edgar was spaced out. They had refused point blank to allow the boy to be sent down to the mines, arguing that he was as much of a victim as Martin, only that Eugene had succeeded in controlling him, and insisting that the lad could be helped.

“How?” Doraghek said, his hands resting on the hilt of his long axe. “And why was it not shown when he had those scans when Martin arrived?” The dwarf asked.

“My guess is they were dormant, but I am almost certain that this is what allows him to get his visions.” Charlie replied, feeling as confused as the others looked right at this moment.

“What does this mean for the kid?” Codsworth asked looking serious, he didn’t entirely understand what Charlie was going on about, but he had been around long enough to guess that it wasn’t good.

“I don’t know but something unusual is starting to happen.” Charlie said.

“Unusual?” Vernon said, speaking up on the matter, he didn’t know what exactly what was happening to the youngest Wolfrick, but he could tell that it wasn’t going to be good news at any rate.

“Yes. The other lads… Erm, Mutation for want of a better word is dormant most of the time, as if he has no control over when they activate.” Charlie said, trying her best to dumb down the science bits. “But Martin’s aren’t, he seems to have gained control over it, whatever it is.” Charlie finished. The three in front of her looked for confused than when she had started. However, at that moment the blood shown on the screen started to light up as small electric sparks came of the unknown parts, she had identified for them.

“What the hell?” Vernon said stepping back. Charlie looked around and smiled slightly, as the sample of martin’s blood lit up like and started to give off its energy.

“The kid must be having attempting to enter our enemy’s mind.” Charlie said nervously. She had instructed him to not attempt it again until the tests were complete, but she had found out that the young were not one for patience.

“You’re saying that the lad is trying again.” Doraghek said, he had been present when they had dragged Martin out of his previous attempt, and they had thought the kid was dead before he woke up coughing and spluttering the water out of his lungs.

“Yes.” Charlie said. “This unknown element is effectively fuel to allow his brain to attempt whatever it is that he is able to do.” Charlie finished, she still didn’t understand exactly what was happening, but guessed it was some kind of telepathy.

“Why hasn’t the other lad’s managed to gain control?” Codsworth said, he guessed that Edgar had had the mutation longer so in his mind it stood to reason that he should have gained control of it by now.

“My guess from everything that Martin has told me, is that Eugene never managed to finish the process, like he did with the other kids. Eugene seemed to have some control over the others but never had the time to do so to Martin due to the raid on the prison.” Charlie said, that was only a theory at the moment, but it was the only one that made the slightest bit of sense. “Effectively, at this moment. Martin is a car without any brakes, his powers are not limited in any way, and they will continue to grow.” Charlie finished.

“Right.” Codsworth said, but before he could counter with the obvious point, Vernon beat him to it.

“What damage is this doing to his brain thought?” Vernon asked. “I mean, yes brakes slow you down, but they also stop you from killing yourself.” The old butler finished.

“That is the problem. I don’t know, without doing a complete neurological brain scan. But that could kill him.” Charlie concluded, she knew what some would advise her to do that, but the odds of survival were known to be next to none on that procedure. The four stood in silence at these final words, all thinking about what had been said. Vernon thought that if Martin kept the way he was doing he would kill himself.

“I’ll go and see young Martin, see if I can convince him to stop, at least for a day or so.” Vernon said, he didn’t know whether or not rest would help, but he was damned if he wasn’t going to try.

 

Martin stood in front of a tall mountain cliff face, next to him, the grey cloaked figure of Igradust, his white hair and beard not moving despite the strong winds, he had returned to his previous elderly man form for this encounter and made no mention of his younger persona that he had adopted during the previous meeting.

“Here is where you must come lad, just as your father did before you, all be it for different reasons.” Igradust said.

“Why?” Martin said looking confused, it was a pretty place, but other than that he saw nothing special about it.

“Because the enemy knows of your attempts to see their plans, only here, a place purified by the elemental gems can you hope to regain access to their thoughts.” Igradust said calmly looking down at the small boy standing next to him. The old man placed his hand onto Martin’s forehead, pinpointing the location inside the boy’s head. “I will be waiting for you here.” Igradust said before disappearing into thin air.

“Wait.” Martin said, he wanted more, he wanted to be told exactly what to do, and he was fed up with all this mystic bullshit that people had been feeding him. But the vision ended, and he found himself sitting up in his bed with Nick staring at him looking concerned. Alongside him stood Vernon also concerned.

“What happened?” Nick asked, genuinely interested in what his younger brother had seen, he had been asked to wait outside his little brother’s room whilst Vernon went to meet with Charlie, but now the old butler was back, he was free to go. But instead, he remained, concerned for his little brother’s safety.

“I don’t know.” Martin said massaging his head, there was something new in the back of his mind, it was a compass, or so he thought, directing him to the place in his dream.

“You need to stop Martin.” Vernon said, concerned after hearing what Charlie had had to say on the matter. “Give yourself a few days’ rest.” He finished sitting down on a chair, the walk from the medical centre to the quarters had exhausted the old butler, an ominous sign, but he judged it to be simple old age.

“I can’t. I’m the only one who can do this.” Martin replied, trying to make Vernon understand. Whilst there were times when he wished that he didn’t have this curse, it was the hand he had been dealt. Vernon’s words, not his, albeit not exactly directed at him.

“You need rest Martin; the gods alone know what these abilities to see into Eugene’s mind are doing to yours.” Vernon said. Martin looked stubbornly at the old butler but was unable to budge him so eventually he relented.

“Fine.” Martin said sulkily, but he had the formations of a plan in his head, a plan that would almost certainly get him, and anyone else that helped him into an enormous amount of trouble.

 

The following morning Martin left the quarters before any of the others were up, he was going to head to wherever the place he had been shown the previous night before anyone realised, he was gone. Once at the main gates he mounted his horse and looked around, it was crowed, as to be expected with the mountain readying for war, but he hoped to just appear as one face in the crowd going out for a scouting expedition. He hoped that Nick would be able to delay the group from following, his older brother agreeing, albeit reluctantly to his plan. But before he could head out of the gates, Olly, Russel and Jeanie rode out to meet him.

“What are you doing here.” Martin said looking at his three friends, they looked tired, but ready for a long journey.

“Your brother told us to be here, said you were going to try and do something stupid.” Russel said looking at Martin.

“You can’t stop me.” Martin said but before he could continue Jeanie interrupted him.

“If we wanted to, we could, but we’re not. We’re going to help you.” Jeanie said, and Olly nodded, even though he looked slightly nervous.

“Your brother said you’d go whether or not you had permission to do so. He thought it was best that you have at least some protection.” Russel said and Martin smiled, he had been prepared to make the journey alone, but only now did he realise how stupid that idea was.

“Where are we going then… Sparky?” Olly said. He had felt ashamed when he had refused to go with Martin to the sanctuary but was now more determined to rectify that lack of action.

“I don’t know exactly.” Martin said smiling at his friends looks of apprehension, knowing how it sounded. “But I’ve got like a way-point inside my head.” Martin finished, he knew how crazy it sounded, but it was a lot better than, a crazy man showed me in a dream.

“We’ll follow you then.” Jeanie said, Martin smiled at her and proceeded to lead. With the sun rising as the four young explorers out into the landscape.

 

“You did what?” Vernon asked at Nick, almost shouting in rage. Next to him stood Codsworth and Dave who had returned from his hunt the previous night.

“I helped my little brother.” Nick said, he wasn’t ashamed, he knew it was the right thing to have done. Even if Vernon didn’t.

“Where did you send him?” Vernon asked trying and failing to regain control of his temper.

“I didn’t send him anywhere. He didn’t tell me where he was going, only than that he had to go.” Nick said. It had been a long morning stalling Vernon to give his little brother enough of a head start and hoping to the gods that his friends would’ve been waiting for him as to join him on this mission of his. Not that it would matter, no doubt Dave would find him soon enough and bring him back. As if on cue Vernon did turn to Dave who had a completely neutral look on his face.

“How long before you can find him?” Vernon asked, Dave did not immediately answer he seemed to be doing some very quick think judging by the look on his face.

“That depends on where there heading, a few days probably.” Dave finally answered, his face was neutral, but he knew that even if he could locate Martin, getting him to return was going to be almost impossible, if what Nick had told them was true.

“Damn!” Vernon shouted, at which point Jimmy returned.

“Well, no-ones seen his friends since this morning.” Jimmy said. Nick gave a sigh of relief at this and silently thanked the gods for small favours. “A guard on sentry watch saw the four of them heading south-east before sunrise though.” Jimmy finished. Sitting down on one of the chairs, of all the things to have happened this could possibly be the worst.

“What’s south-east of here?” Codsworth asked, he didn’t sound angry, more tired. Wondering to himself how many times there would be that he would have to go searching for Martin.

“Nothing.” Dave said. “Only a few villages and we don’t know if there still occupied or not.” He finished, surprised that he had not been immediately been ordered to go after the four. Vernon paced for a few moments before turning back to Dave.

“Find them.” Vernon said before retiring to his own room and Dave nodded, heading towards the door, followed by Nick. By the time Dave reached the main gates Nick had managed to catch up with his older brother.

“Wait.” Nick said as Dave turned around at the sound.

“You’re not coming on this mission little bro.” Dave said mounting his horse.

“It’s not that. It’s just, it’s just it’s going to be difficult to bring Martin back. He seemed pretty determined to head out to wherever he’s heading to.” Nick said, breathing heavily. Before remembering. “I just did what you did for da.” Nick finished, hoping that he had not just crossed a line in the attempt to appeal to Dave’s rebellious streak.

“I told Vernon that I’ll find him and that’s what I going to do.” Dave said and without another word he rode out of the gates, heading in the direction the sentry had seen Martin and friends heading earlier in the day.

 

Evening had come by the time that; Martin, Olly, Russel and Jeanie approach a small town on top of a nearby hill.

“What is this place?” Russel said looking concerned, he was still unsure as to their reason for being here exactly.

“Our camp for this evening. Don’t worry it’s empty.” Martin said, to casually for the others liking.

“How do you know that?” Jeanie asked looking at the small boy, she like Russel was also nervous about this trip that they had agreed to come along.

“I just… Do.” Martin said, he knew it was a weird answer, but it was the best he had. “I just know things now. Things I didn’t even know last night.” He finishes and begins the assent up the hill.

Russel and Jeanie look at each other concerned, but along with Olly, who hadn’t spoken up during this small conversation follow their friend up the hill.

 

The small group reached the entrance of the town as the sun was falling below the hill, the town as Martin had said was completely abandoned, the windows and doors to the structures boarded up and no sign of life anywhere to be found. As they ride down what had been a small high street Martin noticed that something else wasn’t right, there was bird sound anywhere to be heard, Jeanie had also noticed this fact

“I don’t like it. It’s too quiet.” Jeanie said, looking around, she knew that the north-men who lived close to the mountain had already arrived at the mountain ready for the war, but even so, this place was just spooky. The four tie up their horses inside a building that they guessed had been used for storage and make for the nearest house before prying the boards from the doorway with some difficultly, only achieving it due to the strength of Olly and Russel.

Fifteen minutes later the group had got a small fire lit in the centre of the room, they had tried and failed to light one on the grate, but it had been too wet, so they had settled to bring in some branches and old bits of paper lying around the town streets for fuel and were sitting around it.

“So, tell us Sparky, why are we here?” Olly asked sitting up against a nearby wall, he wanted details on that count, they were owed that at the very least.

“All I know is that I’ve got this location in my head that I’ve been told to go to.” Martin said, he knew how it sounded. He looked up to see Olly looking at him with an expression that said that he thought his friend was slowly losing his mind. ‘Maybe he was.’ Martin thought judging the look that Olly had given him.

“By who?” Russel said, latching onto part of Martin’s answer. “Who told you?” He finished, that seemed the most important part to him. From everything that Martin had told them about these episodes especially the first, the enemy were more than capable of playing tricks on his friend by showing false faces.

“I don’t know, he came into my head during one of my visions. All I know is that Eugene didn’t want me to be in contact with him.” Martin said scratching his forehead. “And if this person is working against that monster, then surely it’s a good thing. Right?” Martin finished and genuinely looking for reassurance that he was doing the right thing here.

“I guess.” Russel said shrugging. “Unless this man has his own ulterior motives.” Russel concluded thinking, he didn’t know what to think in all honesty, he knew that Martin would not willingly lead them into something dangerous, but he couldn’t shake the nagging doubt that his friend was being used by whoever this stranger was.

“Fire’s dying.” Jeanie said and took of a few of the sticks from the rudimentary firepit they had made, and the fire got brighter again, before Jeanie turned back to Martin. “Well, let’s hope that this vision will pay off.” She said before sitting back up against the wall.

“It will.” Martin said, with a lot more hope than he felt, now that he was thinking about it, he was starting to doubt himself. ‘What if he was wrong and being used by a force eviller that Eugene.’ Martin thought to himself, but he pushed that out of his mind, Igradust may be a little different, but that didn’t make him evil after all.

 

Later on, Jeanie was on the first watch of the night, she had Martin’s gun on the ground next to her, across the room, Olly and Russel slept a few meters apart from one another. Martin was asleep next to her, his head resting on her shoulder. The fire had long since gone out and a harsh wind had started outside the door, rattling the boards on the empty windows. She was about to go and wake Russel up to take over the watch. When a sound from outside causes Jeanie to stand up, pointing the gun at the doorway, which inadvertently causes Martin’s head to crash into the ground.

“Ow.” Martin said, rubbing the side of his head but Jeanie hushes him and slowly advances to the dark doorway, where a dark figure stands illuminated only by the lighting that crossed the dark sky behind him.

“I’d advise you to lower your gun, missy.” Brutus’ deep rasping voice said. “It won’t do you any good against me.” Brutus said bowing his head to enter the room. Brutus raises his head into the light, his shaggy hair windswept and a tired look on his face. Next to him, looking like a small child in comparison, stands Dave, his grim face looking directly at Martin who sighs deeply knowing that his little adventure was now well and truly over.

“Well little brother.” Dave said looking down at Martin. “I’m surprised that you made it this far, you must be fifty miles away from the mountain now.” Dave continues looking into the room, wondering how his little brother had chosen such a poor spot to rest up. But he puts that to one side and walks up to his youngest brother and kneels in front of him. Martin looks at Dave trying to look a lot braver than he actually was.

“You want me to go back, don’t you?” Martin said, taking his eyes of Dave and looking at the ground.

“Yes.” Dave said nodding, lifting Martins head up and smiling at him. “But I know that you won’t listen to me, and if you do, you’ll leave again at some point in the future.” Dave said looking grave before standing up.

“So, lad.” Brutus said, his head bowed due to the low height of the ceiling. “What do you need?” The wear-bear asked looking down at the young boy almost directly below him.

“What?” Martin said looking first at Brutus, then at his older brother, who smiles down at him. Of all the things he had expected this was not one of them.

“We’re here to help you little bro.” Dave said looking around at the sorry state of their accommodation. “Where are we going?” Dave asked, turning back to Martin, he knew that it wouldn’t be a simple or easy, but knew that it was the right thing to do.

“I… Don’t know.” Martin said looking sheepishly at his older brother as Brutus sighs. “I know it’s not much to go.” Martin finished, he guessed that the pair had hoped for better, and this was confirmed when Brutus spoke up.

“That’s nothing to go on.” Brutus said, his voice raspy due to the long trip.

“I know, but I’ve got like a way point in my head and… You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” Martin said sighing in exasperation.

“Yes. I do.” Dave said smiling. “Just like dad. But he knew what he was doing. So…” Dave said nodding hoping that he was not making a mistake, whilst he knew he had been right about his father, that hadn’t stopped people from treating him like he was as crazy. He remembered in particular how Vernon had treated him for simply agreeing to help in the matter. But now was different, and he hoped the old butler would see it that way when they eventually returned.

 

Two weeks had passed since Martin had and his friends had left the mountain and winter was once again fast approaching.

“This is it.” Martin said dismounting from his horse and staring up at the cliffside, a determined look on his face.

“How’d you know?” Dave asked also dismounting and looking at his youngest brother with trepidation as the others dismount and look around at the surroundings.

“I just do.” Martin said walking up to the cliff face and examining it closely, it was identical to his dream, a wall of stone rising up into the sky almost blocking the horizon in front of him.

“What are those?” The harsh voice of Brutus said, and Dave looked around to see the grizzled man pointing at a pile of metal a few feet from the mountain face. Dave walked over and examined it. At first glance it looked simply like scrap that someone had left, however as Dave continued to examine the heap of metal, that was until the pile moved slightly causing him to jump back in alarm.

“What the?” Dave said as the pile of metal slowly moved about despite there being no wind. Jeanie walked over; her own gun raised. She leant in before noticing black marking on the metal.

“There’s some kind of number on it.” Jeanie said getting closure to examine the markings, they were extremely faded, but she could just make it out. “It says M12-45.” Jeanie said reading the faint black print on a piece of the metal. Dave walked closure as did Martin who now they knew what they were looking at could see half a dozen other faint black markings in the pile, all M12 but with different numbers afterwards.

“Wait a minute.” Dave said, before moving the pile around until it had been separated out more to reveal that it was seven older models of Dmitri’s bots. Their paint work eroded away but otherwise completely recognisable to the two Wolfrick brothers.

“What are they?” Olly said looking down at the old robots, unlike his friend, he was completely clueless as to what these things were.

“Bots.” Dave said looking down at the robots which lay now motionless on the grown in front of them. “And if we can get them working, a valuable asset.” Dave finished kneeling down and flicking a switch on the side of one of the bots. Nothing whatsoever happened, the robots remained where they lay.

“Must be out of power.” Russel said leaning over to stare down at the motionless robots, it looked like they had been here for some time. Despite this, Martin walked up to the bots and laid his hand down onto one of them, and the bot lights came on and it stood up looking around.

“Martin Wolfrick, friend.” The bots said it’s voice slightly broken, but still recognisable, as it then laid its eyes on Dave. “David Wolfrick, friend.” The bot said again before turning to Jeanie a slight pause, then. “Unknown, enemy detected.” The bot said before raising its metal arm and taking aim before Martin steps in between the robot and the others.

“No. They’re friends.” Martin said looking up at the robot who looks down at the small boy standing below itself before it lowers its weapon. Martin walks away back to the cliffside as Jeanie once again approaches the robot, which doesn’t attack this time around.

“How did you do that? How’d you wake them back up” Dave asked, he was now starting to wonder about how powerful his younger brother was, what with the visions and this.

“I just told it to.” Martin said simply, he hadn’t expected it to work, but had thought that it was worth a try. The young boy turned to the bot. “How did you get here?” Martin asked looking upwards. The bot looked around at the rest of its crew before answering.

“We came with Commander Wolfrick when he visited this place almost three years ago.” The bot said. “He asked us to stand guard and wait for his return. That was the last we saw of him.” The bot said before walking over towards his companions and proceeds to wake them up.

“Woah there.” Russel said looking at the bot, wondering why none of the others were concerned, before returning to the bot. “You aren’t going to attack us, are you?” Russel asked as two of the other bots came online. The bot’s leader looked around.

“Negative.” The bot said before returning to his task until all seven of the bots were once again active again after their three years rest. Martin leans up against the cliff-face his head in his hands.

“You alright little bro?” Dave asked.

“Yeah.” Martin said looking up. “I guess… I just didn’t realise it had been that long since we left home.” He finished. It had all gone so fast, the hunt, their time with the wear-bear, Bergskort, the prison. He was wondering where the time had gone. Before he remembered that it also meant that it had been almost three years since their father had died.

“I know.” Dave said, putting his arm around his youngest brother. The two brothers stand there for a few moments before the figure of Igradust walked across his field of vision. Martin looked up as the figure walked up to the mountainside and turned around to stare at him.

“I’m here.” Martin said as he walked up towards the old man who stood silently watching the group. “What do I do now?” Martin finished. Igradust took his gaze away from the group.

“You are here to finish what was started almost three years ago.” Igradust said his long grey hair and beard not moving despite the strong breeze that had come down from the mountainside. “You must first gain entry into the sanctum. Once inside you will be shown the way.” The old man finished as the small group walked behind Martin

“How? There’s no door.” Martin said.

“You must believe, and the door will be there.” Igradust said and walked towards the cliff-face and proceeded straight through it as if there wasn’t a hundred feet of solid rock in front of him.

“Where the hell did he go?” Olly said looking at the mountain, he was now starting to question his own sanity, wondering if this was some shared hallucination or something.

“You saw him then?” Martin asked, on the contrary to Olly’s thoughts he was positively relived, he had started to question his own sanity believing himself to be suffering mass hallucinations.

“Yeah, we saw him kid.” Brutus said, looking down at the small boy. Martin sighed deeply before gulping and walking forward into the mountainside and vanishing through it to whatever lay on the other side of the invisible doorway.

 

On the other side of the doorway Martin collapsed on the rocky ground before quickly picking himself up and looking around. He found himself in a long thin corridor which stretched beyond his vision range, deep blue torch light, just like what had been used to illuminate the sanctum that he and Jack had gone to, was used here to light the hallway and stairs down into the darkness.

“What the fuck is this place?” Russel said, as he walked up behind Martin along with Olly, Jeanie, Dave and Brutus came through the invisible doorway followed closely by a two of the bots. Jeanie makes to put a hand on her gun but discovers it is no longer in her holster.

“Fuck.” Jeanie said fumbling around the empty holster for a few moments as Dave does the same.

“Mines gone to.” Dave said looking at his younger brothers for answers, but it was Brutus who provided them.

“Your weapons would be useless here anyways.” Brutus said grimly. “Something wants you to come unarmed.” He finished dryly smiling as he spoke.

“Something?” Olly said nervously, wondering what kind of beast would inhabit a place like this, his thoughts went to the stories that he had been told about the great serpents that made their home in the dark places of the world, just like this.

“You’re standing at the centre of the world boy. Both geographically and magically.” Brutus stated. “The ancient one will not allow us to go into their domain armed.” Brutus finished still smiling. At this, Martin turned back towards the long corridor before gulping slightly and, hoping that his companions would follow, he began to walk forward.

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