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Chapter 12

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Chapter XII

The Mist Descends

 

Vernon gazes out of the manor windows at the mist he had just come from arguing with Dave about how he had let Alan go on his suicide mission, but the boy seemed to believe that he had done the right thing. Dave had always been reckless, but the lad was taking far too many risks at the moment, Vernon thought to himself. That was alright when it had been only himself that he was endangering. But he was now taking risks that involved other people’s lives. Whilst he was deep in thought Charlie walked up to him.

“We’ve lost track of Alan’s jet.” Charlie said. it had taken several attempts to verify that fact, but after an hour of trying everything she knew. She had had to come to the conclusion that she could not find the aircraft.

“How’s that possible.” Vernon said, they had installed tracking devices on all of their vehicles that would keep their signal up for over ten-thousand miles away from the manor.

“The only thing I can think of is the mist. It the only variable that’s changed since Alan left.” Charlie said. She had never seen anything like this before and she guested neither had Vernon. Although there was a nagging doubt, that the mist wasn’t a natural event, which she also suspected that Vernon had come to this conclusion as well.

The Mist had come in about an hour after Alan had flown north. And nobody seemed to understand how it had moved so quickly without triggering any weather warning systems. However, the worst thing was that it was disrupting all of their communication devices, meaning they had initially lost all contact with both the imperial city as well as Dmitri and Codsworth, still fighting out in Bartazer. Which was weird, whilst weather patterns had on occasion created communication problems, they had never been able to shut them down entirely, until now it would seem.

“Yes, it does seem to be wreaking havoc on our tech systems.” Vernon said continuing to gaze out of the now murky window. Although Vernon thought, they had managed to regain contact with the former and Jack was working on getting communications re-established with Codsworth and his men. But so far, the fifteen-year-old had had no success. In the next room Dave, dressed in his scouting armour could be seen putting on his boots, he looked into the room where they were both standing, he opened his mouth as if he was about to speak to the pair of them, but chose not to. Vernon’s eyes followed him, but he didn’t raise contact with Dave. Seeing this Charlie sighed. She knew that the kid had done what he believed was right, even if she personally didn’t agree with the action herself.

“You shouldn’t be so hard on Dave. He was only doing what he thought was right.” Charlie said, as the boy left the manor entrance hall and out into the grounds. Vernon sighed deeply at this.

“I know. I’ll make it up to him when he returns.” Vernon said. “I just wish the boy would stop acting so rashly.” He finished bitterly. He had seen it all before, younger brothers wanting to make a name for themselves. Only with Dave recklessness it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.

“I’m sure you were just as bad at his age.” Charlie said, which did make Vernon chuckle, thinking about his past.

“At his age I had already run away from home twice.” Vernon said remembering before returning to the window. “That’s why I know that things will soon go south for him. Because that’s exactly what happened to me.” Vernon finished, before looking up, it had been on that second run away that he had arrived in the imperial city for the first time. "What about you, what were you like at his age?" Vernon asked, realising that he had never asked about Charlie’s history, however what came next made him regret that he had never done so. Charlie looked up at this. She paused thinking of the best way to say what she had to say.

"I was too busy reading to do anything rash, my younger brother on the other hand wasn't. He was a rash boy who would do dumb things just because he could." Charlie said. It had been a long time since she had talked to anyone about him that she stuttered for the first time since childhood on the next words that came out of her mouth. "S-S-Some sailors brought his b-bo-body home a few weeks before he was g-going to turn fifteen. They had found him dead inside one of the storage buildings by the docks." Charlie finished her voice cracking a bit. Vernon didn't say anything for a moment.

"I'm sorry, my ‘dear." Vernon said and Charlie only nodded in response, as she worked to try and stop her stutter from rearing up again. He had never known, the old butler felt ashamed for never having enquired into what may have happened in Charlie’s youth.

 

Whilst Vernon and Charlie talked, outside the manor, Nick Wolfrick walked along the perimeter of the grounds staring out at the place where the city of Metropololis should have been in the distance, grey blocks on an otherwise peaceful backdrop, but impossible to see in the mist. Dave walks up to him in full gear, taking his younger brother by surprise, normally this wouldn’t have been the case but due to the mist he had not seen Dave approaching from the manor.

“Keeping watch little brother?” Dave asked as Nick picked himself up

“Yeah.” Nick said looking around again for the all the good it did, the eight-year-old may as well have been blind. He had never seen anything like this before. And secretly thought to himself that this mist was impossible.

“Well, that's good. As I'm going out, someone has to watch the fort.” Dave said smiling to himself.

“How long are you away for this time?” Nick asked.  Normally he wouldn’t have been out on the grounds, preferring to remain on the roof as he liked looking out at the vast landscape from the rooftop. Only what with the mist, it was impossible to see more than a few meters in any direction. So, he had decided to come down to ground level this one time.

“Only a few days this time.” Dave said, he had been scolded by Vernon for letting his father leave the manor, but the old butler had allowed him to continue his scouting missions.

“Please let me come with you. I promise I won't cause any problems.” Nick said, he had been wanting to go out on the missions since about two seconds after Dave had been given permission to do so.

“No. I work best alone, Nicky.” Dave said, this was exactly what he had wanted to avoid, he knew that both his younger brothers would want to accompany him. Nick looks stubbornly at his older brother. Before Dave sighs.

“Fine? Vernon's going to kill me though.” Dave said, although the butler had wanted to kill him for letting Alan leave. ‘What was one more reason.’ Dave thought to himself. Nick’s reaction was completely different however, he smiled, and the two boys leave the perimeter wall to the manor and head out into the surrounding countryside. Unbeknownst to them, the small figure of Martin Wolfrick follows them a few moments later. Under normal circumstances they would have seen Martin siting underneath one of the tree’s but due to the fog neither could see each other. But the youngest Wolfrick could hear his older brothers talking and wanted to join the mission. As Martin followed after his older brothers, Echo began to bark into the fog.

 

An hour had gone by since the two brothers had left the manor grounds, and still neither of them had seen nothing, both were cold and tired even though they shouldn’t have been. The mist seemed to be sapping both of their strengths as long as they were out here. They also were both under the impression that they were being watched, but as neither could see more than a few meters ahead, there wasn’t much they could do. But that feeling never went away, on the contrary it only intensified as they walked further and further away from the safety of the manor.

Dave was about to call a halt to the mission and suggest that they simply return back to the manor before he stops and puts his hand on his knife, now almost sure that someone was watching them.

“What is it?” Nick said looking around but couldn’t see anything and was now wishing for something that would enhance his vision.

“I don't know. Keep your eyes open.” Dave said, looking around at the mist. ‘For the all the good it would do.’ He thought to himself but said nothing, the last thing that he needed was for Nick to start panicking about the situation. As Dave begins to walk off Nick turns around and see's the silhouette of two men; Lat Fosnen, a tall thin man with a pointed beard, and Blelr Yelt, a thick set man, who was completely bald, advancing out of the mist a few feet away from them. Nick starts to franticly tug at the armour that Dave was wearing. “What?” Dave asked his younger brother, wondering what had gotten into him.

“Dave.” Nick said his voice cracking slightly gesturing at the newcomers and Dave also turns around to see the two men advancing on their position.

“Well, well, well. Now what would two young boys be doing so far away from home, on a day like this?” Lat said mockingly at the two brothers before looking at his comrade. Dave walks over to stand in front of Nick draws his knife, the last time he had had to draw his weapon, he had been alone and able to act as he pleased. This time he was having to think, not only about his own life, but also that of his younger brother’s. At the sight of the weapon, both Lat and Blelr look at it the small blade and begin laugh. The sound echoing slightly around the misty landscape.

“Stay back.” Dave said trying to sound a lot braver than he actually was feeling, he weighed up his options. He could strike now and take one of them down, but that wouldn’t do. As he continued to think, Blelr sighed deeply.

“Put that down you stupid boy.” Blelr said looking exhausted. However, Dave continues to wave the knife at the two men. Hoping that if they thought that he was this inept. That they would do something stupid and reckless in return, that he could seize on. Their next words however almost did take Dave off guard, however.

“He's almost cute in a way. But we only need one of you.” Lat said looking at Dave, which gave the twelve-year-old pause, whatever he had originally thought about this meeting went out of the window. This was a planned event which meant he was now on the back foot, heck there could be more attackers hiding and he would never have known it.

“I said stay back.” Dave said. Lat and Blelr look at each other. Before Blelr nods and Lat draws a small pistol from his side, and Blelr draws a club.

“Please be aware. That this isn't personal.” Lat said taking aim at Dave, however remembering what Dmitri had taught him, he strikes, quick as a snake at Lat with the blade cutting into his unguarded wrists. Lat screams and falls to the ground holding his wrist which is spewing blood. However, despite this small victory, Blelr is able to raise his club and brings it across, smashing into Dave's face. A cracking noise rips through the silent landscape, before Dave collapses to the ground with a broken nose and completely out cold. Blelr looks up at Nick who stands in place as still as a statue as the man advances on him, his club raised.

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