Inside the command tent Dmitri, Codsworth and Brutus stand around a map of the surrounding area, next to them is a hologram of Jack, observing the scene in his dad’s absence. It had taken Codsworth by surprise but after both Jack and Vernon had explained the situation regard Alan, the commander had accepted the fact that for the time being he would be delivering his information to a teenager.
“There are still small pockets of enemy fighters ahead of you, but for the most part your soldiers have been effective as you’ve said they would be.” Brutus said looking at Codsworth who nods grimly. It was after all a hollow victory, without this Abraham, they would be unable to advance, however.
“Without Abraham in custody, this victory will fall apart quickly.” Codsworth said, thinking about how close they had been to apprehending the rebel leader. “We must re-locate and capture him before he escapes.” The old commander stated, but not entirely sure how they were going to do just that given the fact that their target had seemingly vanished of the face of the earth. They had been taking more and more prisoners from the raids sent out against them, but whilst all claimed to be under the command of Abraham. None were able to tell the commander where he was. He was even now starting to consider the possibility that this Abraham didn’t exist.
“I think this Colton may be Griefful.” Dmitri said remembering the man who had disappeared every time he had gotten too close to unravelling his identity. This was certainly like this Abraham, people claimed to work for him, but none could give them a location. Jack looks up at the sound of the name remembering his time with his farther’s board members and the news they he had blackmailed them with.
“Who is this Griefful?” Brutus asked, looking at Jack for answers given his reaction was the most pronounced. The fifteen-year-old pauses before answering.
“I do not know much, but I will share with you what we have come to suspect.” Jack said and looks at Codsworth. The commander nods before gesturing at the two guards in the room to leave. Which taking the hint, they do, as Jack continued. “Griefful is the chess master who orchestrated the wars that we have been involved in for the past twenty years, whilst playing both sides of it from the beginning. Our first insight into this mysterious puppet master was with Geoffrey Randell, though any chance of getting any information out of him. Has now been lost to us.” Jack sighed deeply at this latest statement.
“Why?” Dmitri said. Last, he had heard Geoffrey was safety locked up in Greymount Island prison.
“Because Geoffrey Randell is dead.” Jack said and an unnatural quiet fell across the tent at his words. “They found his body inside of his cell two days ago. He had been strangled to death in his sleep. With Randell gone we’ve lost a vital link into understanding the mystery of Griefful. If you can capture this Abraham, we may have Griefful as you suspect Dmitri, or at the very least he may be able to provide the missing pieces to this puzzle.” Jack finished and Dmitri spoke up.
“Then can you convince the Mayor to send us more men.” Dmitri asked, he wasn’t hopeful, but the lad had proved himself able to hold his own with his company and Dmitri hoped that it would embolden Jack to confront Osmund on their behalf. However, the fifteen-year-olds next words put pay to those hopes.
“I’m afraid I can’t. I’ve been drafted to go and look for my brother after this meeting.” Jack responded.
“What do you mean?” Codsworth asked looking up at the words.
“Nick went out on a patrol with Dave two days ago, a few hours after this fog came in, when they didn’t come back, Charlie went out to look for them, she came across Dave completely out cold, and no sign of Nick.” Jack finished looking grave. Dmitri looked at Codsworth for a moment before asking the question he wasn’t entirely sure he wanted the answer to.
“Jack, do you know where your farther is?” Dmitri asked, as expected this didn’t sit well, Jack looked around at the room before speaking.
“May I speak to Dmitri alone, for a moment.” Jack said simply. ‘Clever sod’ Dmitri thought before nodding at Codsworth who leaves the room followed by Brutus. Once Jack was certain that the two had left the room he continued. “My dad has gone on an assignment, apparently according to Dave at least, on the orders of my uncle Gerrard.” Jack said knowing how foolish it sounded as he spoke.
“What kind of assignment?” Dmitri asked, he had been out scouting when the news of Alan’s experiment had come in meaning that he had only heard about it second hand from Codsworth after the fact. Combine that with the communications disruptions between them and Metropololis, meant that he was seriously behind the times with updates from home.
“I don’t know, he left for the north on the jet three days before the mist set in. In order to track him we need you back here as I can’t get passed the security systems on the jet” Jack said, for the first time sounding like the child he still was. He had managed to get the communications systems back up, but whatever the mist was it had reset the security systems to all of their vehicles, meaning he couldn’t gain access to the plane’s location.
“I will be back as soon as we are done here.” Dmitri said as Codsworth rushes back into the tent.
“I’m sorry to interrupt but there’s been an attack.” Codsworth said out of breath and from outside the tent Dmitri could see wounded troops being carried towards the medical tent.
“I won’t keep you any longer.” Jack said as Dmitri rushes towards the tent exit, before turning around.
“We’ll be back before the end of the year.” Dmitri said, Jack only nodded, and Dmitri rushed out as the hologram turns off.
Outside the command tent it is havoc, tents have been set ablaze and there is still gunfire raging off in the distance.
"Trooper, what's going on?" Dmitri yells at a passing soldier, as he holsters his gun and walking up to the man.
"We've been attacked from the rear captain." The soldier said looking pale. Dmitri nodded, dismissing the soldier and looked around at the scene in front of him. ' The rear, we're to exposed here.' Dmitri thought to himself before rushing off towards the east. Once he arrived the fighting was coming to an end with the shadows of men riding off into the distance, leaving behind the remnants of the massacre they had just caused behind.
"How?" Dmitri said as Codsworth came up next to him, his guns drawn and at the ready.
"We're in their territory now Dmitri, they know ways of out flanking us that we'll never know." Codsworth said, before Dmitri could respond an explosion rocked the night air, turning around a small fire had broken out towards the storage tent.
As they rushed towards the tent, they were reviewed to find that nothing inside had been damaged, however that momentary happiness was shattered by the damage to the tent next to it. A mess of broken computer parts were strummed over the ground, with wires all over the place.
"Looks like they took out our communications centre." Codsworth said kneeling down to examine the wreckage. "Lucky we weren't here. Elsewise we be picking glass out of your corpse for the next month." Codsworth said, grimacing to himself.
"We're going to need to re-think our plan." Dmitri said and Codsworth nodded, walking over to the command tent, as Dmitri turned to follow until he notices a figure out of the corner of his eye.
The old man stands leaning against a long staff looking at Dmitri once again for a few seconds before walking away.
"Hey!" Dmitri yells but the man doesn't hear him an disappears into the darkness. Dmitri looks around trying to locate the stranger but is broken out of his search by Codsworth. Although on second thought he was pretty sure that the old man wasn’t a stranger.
"Dmitri, we need you in here." Codsworth said from the command tent, Dmitri looks around for a few more moments before entering the command tent and trying to put the old man out of his mind.
Dmitri sits in his tent cleaning his weapons when he suddenly gets up and walks out of the tent towards the rocky outcrop between their camp and Rocksburg. A guard hails him on the way.
“Is there a problem Captain?” The guard said looking concerned.
No, I just fancied a bit of fresh air is all.” Dmitri responded smiling at the guard who looks around before asking another question
“Do you know when we'll be moving out.” The guard said whilst look nervously at the mountain.
Soon, trust me I don't like it any more than you guys here.” Dmitri responded kindly also looking at the mountain, which if he was completely honest with himself, scared him too. The soldier nods and continues on his patrol. As the same figure in a white, grey cloak pops out of the darkness, the ghost of a man he had first seen once before, during the rescue mission well out in the wilder lands of the east but had been coming to him more and more recently. “I should have known, when are you going to stop invading my head?” Dmitri said, he felt relieved that he knew who had been invading his head for the past few months. Although it didn’t help his feelings that he thought that this man had an ulterior motive for helping him.
“When you give up my weapon. Then you'll be free of my interruptions. So, why haven't you gone up there?” Igradust said, his facial expression blank.
“It scares the men.” Dmitri said coldly.
“I didn't ask why they haven't gone up.” Igradust said almost indignantly.
“It scares me too.” Dmitri said looking afraid for the first time in a long time.
“I know. But you must do it soon. The enemy is coming. And you will need what is inside those ruins to defeat them.” Igradust said
“I… I can't do it.” Dmitri said, doubting himself, wishing that he had never picked up the staff he was still holding in his hand.
“You can. You must. The enemy has already sent one of his servants to gain access to the ruins. Only my powers are keeping him out and my strength is failing. You must go up there and face your fears, tonight.” Igradust said, pleading now, trying to make the young soldier understand what was at stake.
“I… I will.” Dmitri said gulping as the figure of Igradust fades away as Codsworth comes out of the darkness to join Dmitri on the outcrop.
“Dmitri.” Codsworth said and Dmitri turns around to face the commander who is looking worried.
“I… I will not be joining you on your next stage of your plan, Codsworth.” Dmitri said, trying to keep his tone casual but his throat was starting to crack up.
“You're going up there then.” Codsworth said, he had dreaded this moment and had hoped to dissuade Dmitri of this notion, but the captain was as stubborn as he had ever been, even more so on this path and Codsworth hadn’t fully accepted that until now.
“Aye, I am.” Dmitri said, gritting his teeth in determination.
“You know I think that this is a fool’s errand.” Codsworth replied trying and failing to change Dmitri’s mind
“I know. But I did see something up there Codsworth.” Dmitri said pleading with his old friend, trying to convince him of what he saw once again, but Codsworth only smiles in return.
“I'll meet you in Haverminster.” Codsworth said.
“You will.” Dmitri responds and smiles before descending the outcrop and walking towards the mountain. Codsworth shakes his head before walking off back to the camp.