A Kingly Visit
Daylight was now flooding into the medical centre as Charlie walks up to Vernon as he enters the operating room followed by; Dave, Nick, Olly, Russel and Jeanie. Eager to see their brother and friend.
“Find anything else?” Vernon asked looking at Martin, who is lying down on the operating table in an induced coma, the chains gone from his wrists leaving thick red marks in their place, not that they looked out of place on the battered and bruised child. In the chair next to him, sat Codsworth still slightly lightheaded, but no worse for wear. Charlie follows his gaze, although she knew who the old butler was referring to before responding.
“No. His vitals are fine, and both his blood and body temperature are steady. He has numerous bruisers and burns to skin caused we believe by both electricity and fire. Other than the damage to the skin between his fingers which has been burnt away by the looks of it, the rest should heal with time.” Charlie said looking at Martin’s hands which have faint burn marks around the knuckles that occasionally reached the bottom of his fingers. “It should be fine to wake him up, should you want to.” Charlie finished.
“What about Codsworth?” Vernon asked looking at the semi-conscious commander, dozing in the chair next to Martin.
“He’s currently out for now at least, he gave possibly to much blood, but his body will recover it.” Charlie said, with more hope in her voice than she had when discussing Martin’s condition. “It will be a few days before he’s able to do anything though.” Charlie added with all seriousness. The old commander wouldn’t be joining the rest on hunting trips for a while that was for certain. Vernon nods in agreement, he thought that the commander was more than within his rights to take a break at this point anyway.
“Would you mind waking Martin up then.” Vernon said, words that he didn’t think he would get to say when the commander had first got Martin’s tortured body of the chopper, he looked over at Herfouck who nodded and, remembering her promise ushers the rest of the medical staff out of the room before she reaches into a cabinet and draws out a syringe filled with a grey looking liquid and injecting it into Martin’s neck, before she to withdraws to allow the patient to awaken in front of familiar faces.
For a few moments nothing happens, but then Martin’s eyes start to slowly open up. He looks around the room a minute, slight disorientated. Realising that he was back in a medical room his mind immediately goes back to room ninety-nine. He starts to breath rapidly and sweat starts to form on his brow. Seeing this, Vernon walks over and puts a hand on the young boy’s shoulder, trying to calm him down. But at this Martin really starts to panic, he shuffles back a few paces before he looks around again.
“It’s alright son, you’re safe now.” Vernon said in a calm, warming tone of voice, trying to get the kid to stop panicking. Seeing the old butler, Martin does begin to calm down slightly at the sight of a familiar face.
“Where… Where am I?” Martin asked continuing to gaze around the hazy room, it was almost too bright, before looking back up at Vernon.
“You’re at the mountain fortress of Normanguard. It’s…” Vernon said before checking his still working pocket watch. “It’s seven-o’clock in the morning, if you want to know. But the most important thing is that you’re safe here.” Vernon finishes looking down at Martin.
“What… What happened?” Martin asked, a voice answers and Martin turns around to see it was Dave who was speaking.
“We got you out of that place. I know it took us a while but…” Dave said but before he could finish, Martin sits up and hugs his older brother, this lasts for a few moments, as Martin doesn’t let go for a long time.
At that moment however, the doors to the medical bay open crashing against the walls, it was so loud that Vernon assumed that they must be under attack and put his hand on his gun, before quickly removing it as King Fierhand strides through the double doors and into the room, closely behind him follows Doraghek.
This new arrival causes Martin to try and back up even more than he had done when he first woke up, however before he can get too far, he reached the end of the table and almost fell off in his attempt to retreat from the stranger.
“Hurfim’s Beard.” Fierhand said looking first at Martin then at Doraghek. “So, this is the kid that you left to save, Doraghek? He looks half dead.” Fierhand finished, looking around the shocked room, blissfully unaware as to the looks that they were giving each other.
“Trust me father. He looks a lot better than when Codsworth and Dave here carried him out of that camp.” Doraghek answered, in a much more calm and quieter tone of voice. He was not as tone deaf to the situation as his father had been, but he did realise that the old king’s heart was in the right place when he announced that he wanted to pay a visit the medical centre, to see the mountain’s newest residence.
Fierhand looked over at Martin and approached the boy, it took all the strength and courage that Martin had not to get up and run into the corner of the room in an attempt to hide away from this newcomer.
“Well then, let me be the first to welcome you to my home, Mr Wolfrick.” Fierhand said smiling through his thick moustache and beard. “I’m so sorry that your arrival was not under better circumstances. But you’ll be safe here. I promise.” Fierhand finished.
“W-What if they come back?” Martin asked stuttering slightly, they had taken him once before he thought, what would stop them from doing it again. Codsworth, hearing the sounds of the two dwarves also regained consciousness and made to get up, but gave in after his legs gave way and chose to simply remain seated.
“They won’t lad. We destroyed that camp and any who worked there when we left.” Doraghek said, if he was being honest with himself, the explosion had gone off a lot better than he could ever have predicted. At this Codsworth once again tries to get up and once he was on his feet, he leaned up against a pillar to gain his balance.
“How? How did you do that. I was meaning to ask.” Codsworth said looking at the dwarf, it had taken his breath away when the camp had collapsed in on itself as they hovered above it. At this Doraghek smiles.
“Seismic charges. We normally use them down the mines, but we used over two hundred on that base all at once.” Doraghek said, he too hadn’t believed how effective the charges had been and was certain that no guard managed to escape. Other than the one he had seen fleeing during the raid. Thinking on this he turned to Martin. “So yes kid, we’re certain that only one managed to escape. He was seen fleeing in the opposite direction however though.” Doraghek finished, turning to face his father whose brow temporally furrowed at the news. As he watched the old king’s mood shift, he wondered if he should had said that, if only for the kid’s sake. But he saw no reason to lie to the lad, that would most like do more harm than good.
“Do we know who he was?” Fierhand said looking at Doraghek, this could be dire news indeed if it was one of the five, despite his councillors attempts to hide those creatures return, he had found out, and wanted to know what they were doing at all times.
“No. All I remember is a feeling of cold dread and fear as I saw them fleeing.” Doraghek said he shivered as he spoke and an unnatural silence fell over the group, as cool beads of sweat started to re-appear on Martin’s face, running down in gushes. He knew who the dwarf was speaking of.
“You alright their bro?” Nick said looking at his younger brother with some sense of trepidation, noticing how beads of sweat were running down Martin’s face as the group described what they had felt like. Martin only nodded, as he took a few gulps of air he revealed who it was.
“His name was Eugene Fitzfurgel.” Martin said hollowly, off all the people who had to of escaped, he was the one who scared him the most, more that Layton, or Dr Larry, the mere thought of Eugene sent a feeling of dread across his entire body. The group look at Martin in shock.
“That’s… Not possible.” Codsworth said, from all the intel they had gotten since arriving, Eugene’s death had been confirmed to them after he took his master to the imperial city, after failing to break through the god like defences that had been cast over the manor.
“It was him.” Martin said, more forcefully. “He did stuff… He did stuff to me inside my head… He… He.” Martin finished as his breathing starts to become panicked again before he starts to cry, as the memories started to return of what Eugene had done to him inside that room. Vernon applies a hand onto Martin’s shoulder as he continued to sob.
“It’s alright son. It’s alright.” Vernon said, wondering what in the gods name had happened that had given Martin this reaction. As Herfouck re-entered the room and began observing the scene walks up to the group.
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Herfouck said looking around, as she could clearly see that the patient was becoming more and more distressed. Surprisingly the king did not rebuke the order.
“Aye. We should go, come on.” Vernon said looking around at the rest of the group before turning back to Martin. “We’ll talk in the tomorrow, kiddo.” Vernon finished as he clasped Martin’s shoulder before exiting through the door, the rest of the visitors follow. All apart from Olly, Russel and Jeanie who hang back for a few more moments.
“See you around Sparky.” Olly said smirking at his friend, before exiting the room followed by Russel who smiles at his friend, Jeanie on the other hand, walks up and hugs Martin before following the others and leaving the room.
Codsworth who was remaining in the medical centre until his blood levels had recovered turned to Martin who was lying back on the medical table trying to get his emotions in some form of control.
“Kid.” Codsworth said trying to think about the best way to phrase his request. “I need you to tell me what happened directly after I told you to head into the woods?” Codsworth asked looking seriously at Martin, he had an idea, but he wanted to hear it from the kid himself. Martin didn’t say anything at first as he thought about it, then he turned around to look at the commander. He took a deep breath and began to tell Codsworth what had happened.
“After you told me to run, I headed into the woods and hid inside a small hollow for about half an hour. When I couldn’t hear the sounds of battle anymore, I came out, but I got lost on my way back, ended up in a clearing where there were these men waiting by a couple of black cars discussing something that I couldn’t hear.” Martin began recounting, trying to remember the events of that day, before continuing. “They looked up at me and said, ‘I guess one’s better than nothing.’ Then they came at me, I shot at them but didn’t hit them. One came up behind me and injected something into the back of my neck. I couldn’t move, or speak, or do anything. They then put me inside the car and drove off.” Martin finished his tale looking at Codsworth, who nodded. It certainly confirmed his theory as to what had happened and gave him a sense of dread. Whilst one camp had been put out of action, who was to say how many others there were.
“I’m sorry Martin.” Codsworth said looking up, feeling that a much overdue apology was in order for the kid. “I should have got back to you sooner. I’m sorry it took so long to find you and get you out.” Codsworth finished hollowly, and when Martin didn’t initially respond, he feared that with his brothers track record of getting angry, that the same thing was going to happen here. However, he was surprised when that didn’t happen.
“How could you have known where I was, when I didn’t even know myself.” Martin said quietly, it had taken him a few months to come to that conclusion inside the camp, there had been a period of time when he had almost given up hope that the group would ever have found him.
A few minutes later, where not much in meaningful conversation was discussed. Herfouck walked back into the room and walked over to Martin and Codsworth.
“We’ve got a bed set up for you lad and you commander, should you want it.” Herfouck said gently and Martin only nodded in response sitting up and sliding off the table, wanting to sleep in a proper bed for the first time in what felt like an age, seeing this agreement from the kid, Herfouck turned to Codsworth. “How are you feeling now commander?” She asked, as the commander felt his legs to see if they were up for the walk.
“Well, as well as anyone who has given to much of their own blood away.” Codsworth responded, before getting up, stumbling once before straightening propping his hand against the wall for support.
“Your beds are in the visitor’s room” Herfouck said, as Martin walked out of the surgery room, Codsworth allowed him to get ahead before turning to Herfouck in all seriousness.
“How long is he going to be in here for?” Codsworth asked, he knew that whilst his stay would be short and sweet, Martin’s would be far from that.
“A week. At the bear minimum.” Herfouck replied, that had been apparent from the moment that Martin had entered the medical centre, that today’s operation would likely be the first of many. Still, they had made good progress at bringing the kid back from the brink of death. “We’re going to have to do some reconstructive work on his hands as the skin between his fingers has been burnt off. It’s not complicated but will take some time to recover from surgery. And that doesn’t even begin with his other injuries.” Herfouck said before looking back at Codsworth. “As for you, you should be discharged tomorrow so long as your blood levels are stable.” Herfouck finished and Codsworth nodded and took his leave and followed Martin into the room that had been prepared for them.
Once inside he notices Martin was already asleep in his bed, having crashed on the sheets the instant he lay down, despite not having been awake for the past several days. Next to him lay a half-conscious Jimmy, the blood-soaked bandage still wrapped around his shoulder, but mercifully alive and kicking.
“How you doing soldier?” Codsworth asked the young scientist, who looked up at the sound, surprised to hear the commander’s voice.
“Commander, what the hell are you doing here?” Jimmy asked looking concerned, wondering if something had gone wrong during the raid and Codsworth had been wounded.
“I’m only here the night, gave to much blood.” Codsworth said lying down in his own bed but not immediately falling asleep as Martin had. “The lad didn’t need as much blood as we thought. So, I’m out of action for the next week.” Codsworth said grudgingly, a few years ago this would have been nothing and he would have dared anyone to try and bench him for something as trivial as excessive blood loss. But it seemed that age had finally caught up with the almost sixty-year-old commander, something that scared him more than any number of enemies determined to end his life.
The following morning Martin was the last to wake up, he found himself alone in the room, Jimmy having been taken away so they could determine his strength and whether it was safe for him to leave. None of which helped Martin who looked around nervously, as the walls moved around in his mind, at which a cold chilling voice came into his head, a voice he had hoped never to have heard again in his life.
“It is a pity that you did not see the light, Mr Wolfrick.” The voice of Eugene said, Martin begins to back up against the wall where his bed was, holding his legs close to his chest and looking around the empty room. However, before he can so much as call out, Vernon walks through the door, leaning heavily on his stick, but otherwise just as robust as ever.
“Is everything alright master Martin.” Vernon said looking concerned at the look on Martin’s face, which had gone almost chalk white with fear. Martin looks up at this, as if he hadn’t properly heard the old butler speak.
“Yeah… Yeah I’m fine.” Martin said hesitantly keeping his gaze fixed stubbornly on the old butler. However, his eyes gave up the truth to Vernon. Much as Alan’s and his older brothers’ eyes couldn’t hide when they were lying, and the same was the case for Martin, his eyes darted away as he spoke and the old butler noticed, but decided not to press the subject, as like his father and brother’s, he would tell the truth, just in his own time and Vernon contented himself with that knowledge.
“I’ve been speaking with the doctors, they have a few more things they have to do before they can discharge you lad.” Vernon said looking at Martin, hoping that the lad wouldn’t fly into a panic attack at the news.
“Like rebuilding my hands. I heard Codsworth talking to that chief doctor last night.” Martin said looking at his hands as he spoke, whilst on the surface they looked alright, serious damage had been done to the skin between his fingers. Although he mockingly thought to himself that if Eugene had not interrupted the integration, ‘Those sickos would had roasted his testicles to boot along with fingers.’ Martin thought to himself with an indifference.
“Yes.” Vernon said, he hadn’t intended to be that blunt, but as the kid knew already, he saw no reason to tip-toe around the issue. “That’s what they’re going to do, if you are up to it, they would like to do the procedure today.” Vernon finished looking at Martin gravely.
“Sure.” Martin said with no great enthusiasm, before continuing. “Just knock me out again, I still don’t know if I can take seeing a room full of doctors.” Martin said thinking back to the voice he had heard as Vernon nodded and exited the room.