The Oblivion Chronicles: Book 2 - The Answer's Call by JHarris15 | World Anvil Manuscripts | World Anvil

Chapter 17

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Chapter XVII

Brydon's Return


The gunship landed onto what a year ago had been the grasslands twenty miles south of Prostead Bridge, not that there was much grass, as the combination of multiple army’s movies back and forth, combined with the heavy rainfall of the past few weeks in Riveruster had turned the ground into something greatly resembling a swamp.

Waiting for them on the muddy ground stood Codsworth and Brian both sopping wet due to the downpour that had only just stopped. Dmitri led the small group out of the gunship and shook hands with Codsworth.

“You’re looking well old friend.” Dmitri said.

“You to Captain.” Codsworth replied as he eyed the other that had come. He raised no objection to Charlie and Jamerson as well as Fredricks and Kerl. Then his eyes fell on the three kids. His brow furrowed before he turned back to Dmitri his demeanour completely changed. “You can’t bring these minors to a war-zone. What in the gods name is wrong with you?” He said angrily.

“Don’t worry Codsworth, they’re ready.” Dmitri said. Pleading with the commander to let this slide. The commander continues to stare at the three youngest members before sighing.

“Fine.” Codsworth said as he gestures for the others to follow him. As they walk through the military camp, they see the trials that this once green force had been through on their faces. They looked like the dead, with gaunt faces and whilst not starved, all looked malnourished. Of the five thousand that Codsworth had gone to war with, only about a third remained.

“How many losses have you taken.” Dmitri asked wanting to confirm his theory.

“Our total losses are about four thousand. However now that we have pushed The Iron Company back to their starting positions, we are being reinforced by ever greater numbers of Rivermen.” Codsworth said, although this didn’t please him. Not that the newcomers were not good fighters, but most of the commanders that joined seemed more at home on the water than on land and were only concerned about driving Boris’ mercenaries out of their lands and then stopping.

“Most of the loss’ being Rivermen.” Brian said, and Codsworth knew that he was talking about the disastrous attack on Prostead Bridge that, whilst a victory. Had led to the deaths of almost half their numbers including his partner, Rockwood.

“Yes.” Codsworth said unable to deny that fact. “It has been difficult, but we’ve managed to whip these recruits into shape and give them experience.” Codsworth finished and he gave a hollow laugh at this.

The group arrived at the command tent, which was the only one that didn’t look like it had been shot to hell but compared to the ones that Dmitri had seen in Bartazer it looked as bad as the ones currently surrounding it.

“You said you had a plan.” Charlie said, eager to get this mission over with.

“Yes, it’s risky but I reckon it can be done.” Codsworth said as a disturbance from the outer edge of the camp attracted the attention of the group, although the commander knew exactly who it was and thus didn’t raise his weapon as Dmitri and his small band did.


A huge bear comes charging through the row of tents, but certainly to both Dmitri and Charlie eyes this beast was twice the size of any wild bear that they had ever seen, with many more scars than would be expected on a normal wild animal, covering its face and legs. As the beast comes closure, they see it morph into a giant humanoid figure, over two meters tall and no less hairy or battle scarred as the bear he had just been. Brydon Briggs came walking up to the group before looking at Dmitri, a stern look in his gaze.

“Have you learned nothing Mr Jones, I thought after last time you would have learnt not to raise your gun at me. I seem to remember telling you that your bullets won’t work against me.” Brydon said, his voice which came across as more of a growl to both Jack and Dave. As the adults enter the command tent to join the other captains, the kids remain outside talking about what they had just seen.

“What is he?” Dave said looking at Brydon’s retreating back, in awe at the giant that had come into their world.

“I’ve heard about people like him.” Jack said also looking at the giant. “I thought they were all extinct though.” Jack continued. In truth he had only read about these kinds of people in books of the strange creatures of their world, they were once said to be omens of death and destruction, if a wear-bear or wolf was seen near a town, it usually didn’t bode well for said settlement. But that had been a long time ago, and since then, the creatures had still been shunned from life, but had not been ruthlessly hunted as they had been back in the olden days. They had for the most part just been left well alone. He was about to say more on the matter, when a voice interrupted him from behind.

“You greens talking about our big friend in there?” Barca said from behind them, he had overheard the conversation. The three turned around in slight horror at the news that their little conversation wasn’t as private as they hoped. Barca was no longer the younger officer he had been when Codsworth had raised him to lieutenant the previous year. He was both battle scarred, and battle hardened, having fought in the front lines during all the major battles, and thus had formed a bond with all the troops here, including Brydon and he would not stand to hear these kids insult the man who had been their best eyes and ears out in the battlefield.

“No sir.” Dave said looking up at the lieutenant.

“Good because he’s saved our lives out here more times than I can count.” Barca said before walking into the command tent himself to receive his next instructions.


That night, as the encampment slept, Jack lay wide awake in his tent that he shared with Dave and Mia. It felt odd, he had grown up in the luxury of Wolfrick Manor his entire life, and wasn’t used to the simple life of the army camp at all. He was even now starting to doubt his own judgment in coming out here in the first place, thinking that Codsworth may have been right, that a war zone was no place for kids.

But if Jack was feeling bad about the current situation and starting to doubt himself, it was nothing compared to Dave, who lay curled up in his own camp bed shaking with fear at both what he had done back at the manor, and what lay ahead for him here. Realising that sleep was impossible, as it had been on most nights. Dave sat up in his bed and looked around, finding his older brother also awake.

“Why did we come here?” Dave asked looking even more sleep deprived than he felt. After what had happened in the cell, he had found that when on the rare instances that he managed to fall to sleep, he was plagued by nightmares of what had happened in that small room.

“I dunno little bro.” Jack said, not looking at Dave and instead focusing in on the ground, which seemed to offer the best opinion for not throwing up at the situation that they had landed themselves in. David sat there silent for a moment looking even worse than he did, before finally managing a few words.

“I need some air.” Dave said and before Jack could call him back, his younger brother exited the tent. It felt odd, he knew that he should go and comfort Dave over what had happened back at the manor. But he didn’t knowing that forcing the issue with him would only make the situation much worse.


Outside the tent, Dave took in great lungfuls of air, trying to get as much into his body as possible in order to combat his queasiness. Before gaining control of himself and sitting down on the ground a few feet away from his sleeping quarters.

As he did so, he curled up on the ground and tried to sleep here instead. A trick that he had learnt a few months ago, which usually worked, but didn’t now. And the only result of it being that he was attracting even stranger looks than was usual, given the fact that most of the soldiers were still unaware as to why their were three children walking around their encampment. In this world of men, Dave looked even smaller curled up on the ground under the stars, but he remained that way for an unknown amount of time, only looking up when a voice spoke directly above him.

“You alright there lad?” Bruce said in his deep, but calming voice. As Dave looked up he saw a big, muscular man, with the darker skin of Bartazar in his early twenties. Despite having the look of the desert dwellers of the west, he wore ragged imperial armour that was covered in dents and cuts. As Dave took in the strangers appearance Bruce spoke up again. “In my land Ingrisal, it is rude to ignore an elder, young one.” Bruce said, although the sternest of his words were offset by the small smile that crossed his face.

“What?” Dave sputtered out, wondering what exactly he had just been called by the stranger.

“My apologies, it means Imperial in my land, although we also use worse words to describe your kind as well if you would prefer any of them.” Bruce said, looking curiously down at the small boy, looking just as curious at Dave, as the boy was at him. Dave opened and closed his mouth at this, looking more like a fish than anything. “You are wondering why I am here rich boy.” Bruce said looking Dave up and down as he stood up.

“Y-You’re from Bartazar, a-aren’t y-you?” Dave finally managed after getting enough courage to speak.

“Correct boy. And you, you’re one of Mr Wolfrick’s son’s aren’t you?” Bruce asked as he stared Dave square in the face, taking in his appearance properly for the first time. He was almost certain of this fact, the features were whilst not entirely similar, there were still some rough similarities to the rich brat who had arrived in Bartazar several years previously when he had been working as a translator for The Imperial Army under Codsworth.

Dave only nodded at this comment, but still wondered how this complete stranger knew that fact about him, as he, like Jack were both said to take more after their mother in appearance at least.

“Well, let’s hope you don’t meet the same fate as your old man.” Bruce said. And with that he walked off, leaving Dave alone to stew on those words, which gave him another thing to worry about when he really didn’t need it.


The following morning, a deep haze engulfed the landscape, making visibility almost impossible beyond a few meters. Making it so that Dmitri only noted the newest member of the scouting party when he saw Dave standing amongst the others. Looking more like a dwarf than anything in this world of men.

“I can’t allow this David.” Dmitri said as he noted the eleven-year-old standing stubbornly waiting for him, along with the others.

“Why? I mean what’s the worst that can happen right?” Dave asked, but the smile vanished from his face when he saw the look on Dmitri’s. “Anyway, it won’t be like last time. I’m with other people for starters.” David finished.

“That is true. But all the same, Vernon would and will flay me alive if he found out that you had been out scouting.” Dmitri replied as the group began to move out. It would have been almost comical seeing the kid try and cut it with the rest of the scouts. If the threat had been an exaggeration, but Dmitri knew that the old butler would do a lot worse to him than that, if he ever found out about this latest planned excursion.

“Then it’s a good thing he’s not here then.” Dave said, his cocky smile returning, and before Dmitri could call him, back, the eleven-year-old rushed off towards the rest of the scouting group.


It didn’t take long for Dmitri to realise that whilst Dave might be annoying, and rash, and a general accident waiting to happen. But the kid had one skill that was undeniable, he did know how to scout.

It had taken Dmitri, and he guessed the rest of the scouting party by surprise when the boy had rushed on ahead of the group. So much so, that it was only the long reach of Brydon Briggs that kept the kid from running off into the woods alone. But Dave had managed to keep them on track, with the group looking to Dmitri for clarification less and less as the day wore on.

“How do you know this stuff kid?” A river-man soldier asked, he was the first to have swallowed his pride on this matter. Clearly seeing something strange in the kid’s abilities.

“A few weeks.” Dave replied shrugging. He had in truth only gotten used to doing this a few days before they had left for the war. But it sounded better and hopefully more reassuring if he fudged the numbers somewhat.

“Yes.” Dmitri said looking at Dave in a way that told the eleven year old that he didn’t believe a word that had come out of his mouth. But, he was willing to allow the kid a modicum of slack, given the fact that Dave seemed to at least not be thinking about the man that he had killed back home.

Dave noticed the look, but was glad when Dmitri didn’t press the matter further, which was fortunate as the small group eventually came to halt in a dense patch of woodland. Despite the sunlight that they knew was still above them, from where they were now, it may as well be the pitch black of midnight.

“We got something, looks like an Iron Company’s scout.” An Imperial said as he knelt down in the ground and examined a footprint embedded in the dirt. “Heading west by the looks of it.” He finished as looked towards the west. But scowled as he looked at the ground and saw nothing to confirm his initial theory.

“What that?” Dave said, looking in completely the opposite direction and into a deep brush. It had not originally been noticed by the soldiers as they were too focused on the ground, but Dave noticed that several of the brush that headed of towards the east were disturbed by something.

The river-men who had been first to swallow his initial pride, came over for a closer look, it took a few seconds.

“Nice job kid.” The River-man said as he signalled for the small group to follow him, as they passed by, Dave noticed the scowl that the Imperial gave him, clearly angered by the fact that he had taken away his own glory at discovering the footprint to begin with.

Dmitri was the last one to come, and he too look at a now slightly nervous looking Dave, who did nothing but stand staring at the ground directly bellow him.

“Eyes up Dave.” Dmitri said in a brusk tone that was so far from his usual kind voice that he had had back at the manor. And Dave realised that this was no longer Dmitri that stood in front of him right now, it was Captain Jones, who would not show Dave any preferential treatment from him.

“I’m fine.” Dave replied, wiping his eyes quickly and following the rest of the group of into the deeper parts of the woodland. He had been stupid to think that Dmitri would have offered him any sort of comfort out here. He continued to sulk until he felt a firm grip on the shoulder and he turned around to see Dmitri towering over him.

“Listen kid, I’m glad you found those leaves. But out here, you need to keep all your senses active, else-wise your crew is going to get hurt.” Dmitri said, looking more stern than he had done when Dave had seen him after lying about how long he had been tracking for. “Now then soldier, keep yourself frosty understand.” Dmitri finished, and Dave nodded. He wasn’t entirely sure what else he was supposed to do in this situation. And both he and Dmitri headed off after the rest of the group.


Later that week, where the camp had been left well alone: Codsworth, Dmitri and Charlie. Along with the other captains and officers stand around a table with a map of the southern lands laying on top of it. Whilst Jack, Dave and Mia were talking outside.

“The plan is a simple one at least.” Codsworth said. “Dmitri, you and your team will infiltrate Lord Boris’ fortress and open up his gates to us.”

“Is that all?” Dmitri said. If that was all they could be in and out within an hour.

“Not quite. We’re going to need you to access his computer terminal and make a copy of everything that is on there. This should give us an idea of both his battle plans and who he has been communicating with. Something you should find in useful.” Codsworth said. This was the truth at least; it might even give them a lead on who this Griefful was.

“Do you know anyone who can gain access to computers?” Brian said. “We’re not exactly the best hackers here.”

“I think we’ve got someone.” Dmitri said turning around to look at the kids outside continuing their conversation. “What about their forces, you said they’ve retreated but where too exactly.” He finished, looking at the commander but it was Brydon who initially answered

“No sign of any enemy forces.” Brydon said, the man stood over a foot taller than anyone else in the room and had the muscular power to take on the best of them in a fight. Codsworth nods and looks back down at the map, he had not known what to think when Brydon had joined their growing army, but he couldn’t deny that the man was certainly effective.

“Have they just given up?” Charlie asked, it didn’t seem at all like Boris, if what she had read was true, but if this was the case then it was certainly good news.

“They seem to have retreated back to Boris' stronghold.” Codsworth said in response.

“I'm waiting to hear if that's good or bad news old friend. Do we know where his forces are encamped.” Dmitri said, this was either a strategic retreat, or a rout. Whilst he hoped it was the latter, he had a sneaking suspicion that it was more likely to be the former.

“Yes, fortunately for us most of Boris' forces are concentrated here.” Codsworth said whilst pointing at the eastern point of the map on the table next to Boris' Castle. “On the eastern side of his fortress.” He finished looking at Dmitri. Who looks down at where the commander was pointing before nodding and holstering his gun.

“I'll keep the old bastard distracted until you get there. Just don't take too long.” Dmitri said at which Codsworth smiled.

“Come on. When have I ever let you down?” Codsworth said and Dmitri gives a small chuckle as he exits the tent followed by Charlie, Jack, Dave, Mia and Brydon.

“Very well. The burdens on me not to kill all of Boris' men until you arrive.” Dmitri said from over his shoulder as he takes his small group towards the gunship docked in the centre of the encampment. As Codsworth turns to the remaining captains and officers.

“Well, you have your orders. Get your men ready to move out.” Codsworth states to the group of men inside, who all nod and head out of the tent leaving Codsworth alone inside. As the commander exits the command tent himself looking towards the departing gunship, he thinks to himself whether or not he will ever see them again. As Jamerson walks up to him, he wonders briefly why he wasn’t accompanying them.

“Don’t like the chopper, do you?” Codsworth asked, looking at the formally disgraced sergeant.

“No. I’ll be a lot more useful to the battle if I’m not violently sick beforehand.” Jamerson said.

“I know what you mean.” Codsworth said as he watched the gunship fly off towards the east.

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