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Chapter 28

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Chapter XXVIII

The Face of Griefful

 

When they were out of the room, Alan was able to catch up to Charlie who still held the sapphire gem in her hand. She was turning it around and, as she did, a nearby glass of water that one of the troops had left on a table, begin to sloosh about in the glass. Observing this Charlie immediately stopped messing around with the gemstone and tried her best to keep the bloody thing still in her hands.

“I know, it takes a lot of getting used to.” Alan said managing to catch up with the scientist, he had also seen the water and could relate.

“How long did it take you t-t-to gain control?” Charlie asked, hearing the stutter return slightly.

“Years.” Alan said, he knew that it wasn’t the answer that she would want to hear, although he thought, the truth seldom was.

“Great.” Charlie said sarcastically, although she was glad that Alan had not picked her up on the stutter.

“I need some advice. I need to make the sun arrive here quicker than it normally would. Cause at this rate, we’ll be dead long before the light arrives from over the mountains.” Alan said. the look on Charlie’s face was exactly what he had expected it to be. The look of someone who was mentally trying to decide if the person they were talking to was completely insane.

“Sure. Become a god, then you could just move the mountains out of the way.” Charlie said, she was about to laugh, assuming that this was just some joke. But when that didn’t happen, she really did start questioning the man’s sanity. “Your serious right. This isn’t some joke.” She asked.

“I am. I reckon that my gem will have the power to break those mountains, to the point where sunlight can come through a little earlier.” Alan said, as he gestured to the emerald gemstone on top of his staff. “How much energy would you think it would take?” He asked, this did give Charlie pause, not only had he thought this thing through, but he was now asking about the finer details to his mental scheme.

“Listen Alan.” Charlie said, trying to figure out the best way to phrase how mad this idea of his was. “Channelling that amount of energy. Would probably kill you.” She finished, but Alan remained unperturbed, as if he had already made up his mind and was simply looking for some validation in his wild theory. Much to her alarm however, he didn’t seem concerned at all.

“Well. I suggest you get practicing with that gem. As I have no idea how much water is in that mountain.” Alan said walking off towards the cave, leaving Charlie to wonder if she had ever seen the man this suicidal before. She had barely had any control over the small sapphire and now he wanted her to be able to stop a potential flood.

 

--Dmitri and Dave—

Outside the doors to the manor, Dmitri almost walked into Dave, due mostly to the fact that the lad was in his armour which Dmitri had designed and built to be as discreet as possible, especially at night, but also due to the fact that he was sitting on the steps that led up to the doors, looking out into the darkness.

“Ah kid. I’ve been looking for you.” Dmitri said, in truth he was glad he found Dave so quickly, as he half expected the lad to be on the front lines, no matter what his older brother said. Dave looked up at the sound. As Dmitri held out a rifle, modified slightly in order to fit his stature, but a real-life gun.

“Really?” Dave said getting up and looking at the weapon.

“Really.” Dmitri said as Dave took the gun of his hands and began examining it. “Charlie told me about your incident on the road with Nick. I think it’s about time that your armed.” Dmitri finished.

“Right.” Dave said, he had thought about that day, and whether or not a gun would have helped the situation. Still to this day, he wasn’t sure, as whilst he had only gotten one of the kidnappers, he wasn’t sure if he would have gotten either of them with a gun.

“It should also mean that you can stay out longer. As you’ll be able to get your own food.” Dmitri said.

“If we survive that is.” Dave said glumly, on that subject he was extremely doubtful, he had overheard what people were saying, in particular the soldiers of The Iron Company. And to him at least, they didn’t seem to stand a chance.

“Let the adults worry about that kid.” Dmitri said, he had a bit more confidence in the plan than most, especially after hearing what Alan had in mind to boot. With a bit of luck, which they had been using so far at any rate, so there was no difference really, they would survive till the dawn. “You’ll live to go outside these walls, mark my words on that kid.” Dmitri said, before heading off to inspect the trenches that had been dug in front of the manor.

 

It took Alan longer than he remembered to walk to the cave, but he was glad once he was back here. He needed to get away from the noise and confusion that was going on right upstairs. But there was another reason for him coming down here.

He draws his staff in front of his face and aims it at the wall. After a few moments of blinding concentration, the cave wall begins to crack like an egg. Not by a lot, but enough to be visible. There was however a trade-off. In that small practice round, the emerald gemstone had a small crack in it as well. This was new, and also terrifying to him, he had never seen the gemstone damaged before. It was almost as if the small emerald was resisting his will.

“Fuck.” Alan said to himself, or at least he thought it was to himself, when he heard a noise come from behind him.

“Da?” Jack said, looking concerned, the last time he had seen his father talking to himself, it had led to Alan leaving and passing on all of his responsibilities to him at the worst possible moment. “What are you doing?” He asked.

“Nothing. No need to worry about it kid.” Alan said putting on a false smile, that he knew immediately hadn’t worked.

“Really. We’re still playing it like this then.” Jack asked, leaning up against the cave wall. He was tired off this. Tired of being constantly lied to by his father, despite everything he had been through. He was still locked out of what was happening. ‘Unless he wants to fuck off somewhere, then he leaves me with his shit.’ He thought to himself but wasn’t entirely comfortable saying out loud. On second thought, screw that. “How come you only tell me shit when you want to fuck off somewhere.” Jack said stepping forward slightly, trying to sound braver than he actually was. “You told me that I’m no longer a kid. And yet you still refuse to tell me exactly what the fuck is going on.” Jack finished, bracing himself for the verbal attack that was almost certainly about to come.

“You’re right.” Alan said hollowly.

“I am?” Jack asked, bemused. He had not expected that answer, and in truth he hadn’t prepared for it.

“Yes. You are. I’ve put too much stress on you this last year Jack, and for that I am truly sorry.” Alan said walking up to his eldest. “Your plan on holding off till dawn, is a good one. But we need to make dawn come earlier than usual.” Alan continued, speaking quickly in order to get everything he needed to say out in the open. “Which is why the mountain has to go.” Alan finished.

“Wait. What?” Jack asked, he had heard some weird gibberish in the past year, but this took the cake as the most ludicrous of them all.

“The mountain range behind the manor, will be blocking the sunlight. It needs to go.” Alan said.

“Da. Channelling that much power, it will kill you.” Jack said. he had overheard Charlie talking about it, and he could see no reason why the scientist would lie about this statement.

“I know. But it has to be done.” Alan said and walked out of the cave; he wasn’t confident at all. He had managed to break part of the cave wall, but the gemstone on top of his staff had been damaged as well. Jack was once again, left alone with his thoughts and wondered to himself, about how much of a death wish his father had.

 

As Alan walked along the lawn of his manor’s grounds for, he thought might be the last time, examining the soldiers who were dug into small trenches that cut directly across his front lawn. He felt a sense of pity, that many of these people would most likely soon be joining him in the final peace. In his right hand he clutched the long staff, the emerald gem gleaming on its top, in his left he clutched a pistol with a wolf’s tooth that formed part of the grip, it had belonged to his great-grandfather, normally locked in a case, he had taken it out before coming out here. He didn’t know why, but it felt right to use his ancestors’ weapon right now.

He waited, behind him, the troops chatted to each other nervously. They all knew what was about to happen, what they were about to do. Alan wondered if any of them had any doubts. Any thoughts of running away. If they did, he wouldn’t entirely blame them. They all stayed however, not one trooper got up and ran away.

He felt the arrival of their enemy before he ever saw them. The atmosphere had gotten colder as they approached. He was ready, ready to do his part.

“Griefful!” Alan shouted into the darkness. There was silence, and he wondered for a moment if they had been wrong in their suspicions. But a noise ordering something to halt came from out of the darkness. Then, a hooded figure came riding on a horse up the manor driveway.

“You’re alive. I must admit that I’m impressed Mr Wolfrick. Very impressed indeed.” Griefful said, there was defiantly a note of pride in the man’s voice, but not fully hiding the air of alarm in it as well. They had not expected this, which was good. The more they kept these monsters on their toes, the better chances they would have.

“Surprises me to.” Alan said looking around, he still couldn’t make out the Raven’s in the darkness, but they were there all right, the weather was proof of that, even in mid-autumn it shouldn’t be this cold.

“Your abilities to resist our temptations had us worried for a long period.” Griefful said, he looked around at the hastily dug trenches and scattered obstacles that littered the front lawn. “You no longer wish to know my identity is that it?” Griefful asked, he sounded almost offended, as if he had never had anyone reject him before.

“I have moved above such petty things Griefful. I know who you are. Your identity doesn’t matter. As in a few years. Nobody will remember your name.” Alan said leaning heavily on his staff. This did anger Griefful however, the hooded man spat at his feet, before removing his hood.

Eugene Fitzfurgel stood before him. Looking angrier than he had ever seen The Mayor’s former advisor before.

“My name will live on a lot longer than yours Wolfrick.” Eugene spat at him. However, he seemed to realise that he was being goaded. And he returned to his much more usual tack. “Hand over the gems Wolfrick. And we shall spare your children from the fire. Refuse and they will burn.” Eugene said in a business-like tone, as if he had done nothing more than announce the weather. And with that he retreated back into the darkness. As he did so, Alan walked back towards his house. Wondering how long they had. The first part of the plan had gone off without a hitch, they had successfully goaded their enemy to the point where they were ready to attack them. He looked upwards, there was a faint red glow outlining the mountains behind the manor. He just hoped it would be enough when the time came.

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