A Pointless War
As Codsworth walked through the front doors of the manor he expected a barrage of abuse to be hurled at him. He had after all not been too vocal in his opposition to the invasion of Bartazer, but for that he had his reasons, both personal and professional.
“Ah Codsworth.” Alan said approaching the commander.
“Alan. You might want to turn on the TV.” Codsworth said, getting down to business, the sooner they got this over with, the better. As Alan turned around and flicks on the screen, the image of The Mayor came on the screen.
“Change the channel.” Alan said, the day he saw that glutenous oaf would be a day to soon, as far as he was concerned. As Vernon flicked through the screens, he stopped after a few moments.
“It on every channel.” Vernon said putting down the remote.
“Great.” Alan said, sitting down, to see what their Glorious leader had to say, that was so important that he felt the need to disrupt every station.
“It is now clear that the terrible events that happened a month ago. Was a direct assault on our lands was perpetrated by the barbarians of the west. Which is why it is by solemn regret that I must inform you. The good people of this city. That we are once again at war with these barbar…” Vernon flicked off the TV screen.
“Well, that’s that then.” Vernon said as he put down the remote.
“Yes. Our forces have already begun to advance into the desert.” Codsworth said sitting down cautiously. He had after all effectively barged in and still wasn’t entirely sure how welcome he was. At this point Charlie and Dmitri walked in, both having heard the broadcast.
“You allowed this to happen.” Alan said, looking at Codsworth. It wasn’t a question, the commander realised.
“Yes. Because well. We received intel. About a week ago. Have you ever heard about Rocksburg?” Codsworth said looking up at the four of them. All of them shook their heads as Codsworth continues. “It’s an old temple city. Set into a small mountain range. And there have been some strange sighting from the natives.” Codsworth said.
“So that’s why you didn’t object when The Mayor suggested committing a war crime. You want to go there and investigate.” Alan said. Now that he saw the fact that Codsworth was playing Osmund for his own ends. Was enough to redeem him in his eyes. “Why didn’t you say anything? Back at the town hall.” Alan asked.
“Because by the time I was finished with Osmund you had already left.” Codsworth said simply. “And I had no idea where you had gone off to.” He finished.
Alan paused for a moment weighing up the choice as to whether to tell Codsworth what Dmitri had brought back from the hidden encampment. He was still thinking when Charlie spoke up.
“So, this place, is it like that place out east. Cause if it is, count me out from going there.” Charlie said putting her arm out and shaking her head.
“No. This is worse.” Codsworth said. as Alan made his decision.
“We have something to so you. Commander.” Alan said walking to the door and looked around and gestured for Codsworth to follow.
“What is all this stuff?” Codsworth asked, walking around the cave, examining the guns that had been used against them. Before he did a double take and stared at the engraving in horror. “These are our guns.” Codsworth said looking at Alan and Dmitri, Charlie had not accompanied them, instead returning to the medical lab.
“My son found it.” Alan said looking at the artillery pieces himself. “These were what the raiders used to attack us.” He continued as he produced the black robes and showed Codsworth the black hand on it. “And these were group of people responsible. It seems I owe Osmund an apology, Boris didn’t commit the raid, he leant his men to do it. But he wasn’t the mastermind of it.” Alan finished.
“Wait so who was?” Codsworth said, taking the black hooded robe.
“Them. The Answer.” Alan said simply. Codsworth thought about this statement for a minute.
“Weren’t they defeated though. I thought that was the whole point of Dmitri waiting to come and join the war against Boris.” Codsworth said slowly, at least that was how he understood it.
“We thought they were. But it turns out some survived and have now joined forces with the old fool.” Dmitri said walking up.
“Why team up with him though?” Codsworth said, if what they had told him about this organisation was true, then they would rather die than align themselves with a man like Boris.
“I don’t know. Maybe they just needed his numbers.” Dmitri said shrugging.
Upstairs Jack was lying on his bed clutching his forehead, the pain was excruciating as if something was inside trying to break out, every part of his body was telling him to close his eyes and rest, but he knew better, every night he had returned to The Unknown Lands with that Xyla, and he was determined not to go back. However, the pain overtook him, and he closed his eyes and returned to the nightmare world.
“Why do you keep bringing me back here!” Jack shouted at Xyla; he didn’t want to come to this place anymore.
“Because I have more things to show you boy.” Xyla said coolly, as if the anger that was being directed her way was of little concern to her and in fact did nothing more than amuse her.
“Fine. Just show me whatever the fuck it is and let me go!” Jack shouted throwing his hands up in exasperation, and before he knew it, they were transported back to The Unknown Lands.
“Look at the darkness Jackson Wolfrick and tell me what you see.” Xyla said. As Jack looked, he saw once again the darkness, and the pair of red eyes staring back at him and the figures surrounding it, but something was different. “Well?” Xyla said pulling him back to the heartlands.
“There were only two. Only two figures around it.” Jack said gasping for air as if he had been underwater for too long.
“It is as I feared then.” Xyla said solemnly. “Three have now been dispatched to your world. It will not be long now.” The god finished.
“Why can’t you just look? Why do you have to keep dragging me to look at this shit?” Jack asked. Wanting to know why he was being tortured, surely if she was as powerful as she claimed to be. Then why was she forced to use him, a kid. To do her spying.
“I cannot look. The Shadow knows me to well and would hide.” Xyla said kneeling down so she is on Jack’s eye level. “But he does not know you Jack Wolfrick. He is less careful if it is you who spies on him.” The god finished. Jack looked at the ground, she was just using his mind for her own ends and would most likely not give a damn if she destroyed it in the process. “It will not break your mind Jack Wolfrick.” Xyla said and reminding Jack that he couldn’t think like that when he was near this creature.
“Will my memories ever come back?” Jack asked finally looking into the god’s face. He had been wondering about that for a while now, and suspected that Xyla was the one who had removed them.
“Yes. They will return. Give it time though. If you gained all your memories back at once. It would drive you to real madness.” Xyla said.
“You aren’t the one that took them then?” Jack said, he had hoped for the simplest answer to this problem, but it was not to be so.
“No. But they will return. It has already begun.” Xyla said.
“And, and my eye. Can you give that back?” Jack asked. He knew it was a childish request, but he didn’t care. He hated being crippled like this. Colliding into objects and furniture all the time, and looking like something from a damn freak show whenever he happened to catch a look of himself in a mirror.
“If I could give you back your eye. Then I would.” Xyla said, looking sorry for the first that Jack had seen her. “Now. You must return.” She finished getting back to business and returned Jack back to his own home.
Jack woke up with the smell of dog breath in his face. He opened his eyes and saw Echo once again looking directly at him, turning to look at the angle that allowed him to judge distance, he confirmed that the husky was about an inch away from his face. The husky’s tongue was hanging open, and at the now open door, stood Martin looking concerned and frightened.
“I heard you moaning.” Martin said looking upset at his oldest brother.
“I’m fine.” Jack said, this wasn’t a lie as such, but it was certainly far from the truth. “What are you doing in here anyway?” He asked looking at his youngest brother as Martin looked at the ground.
“Echo told me.” Martin said talking to his feet more than to his brother.
“Really what else did he tell you?” Jack asked thinking that there were now two freaks in the family: ‘The cripple and the lunatic’. At this thought however Echo barked at him, causing him to look at the dog in slight alarm.
“Here Echo.” Martin said and walked out of the room, Echo looked up at Jack for a moment before leaping of his bed and following Martin out of his room. Leaving Jack to wonder who was the least crazy.
Trying to forget this latest encounter, he sat down on his bed trying to think about what he had been shown, and who to tell. Before settling on Charlie. He stopped for a minute in amazement. He could remember her name and realised that he was at least not being lied to by Xyla when she had told him his memories would return. He stood and walked out of the room to go down to the medical lab, feeling a lot better than he had done half an hour previously.
Downstairs in the medical lab, Charlie was analysing the map of Jack’s brain that had been created for them by the dwarven machine. The burned area was sill concerning her, she had never seen anything like it. As she was thinking about this Jack’s voice came from behind her.
“Charlie.” Jack said. She turned around not wanting to believe what she had just heard. She saw the lad standing in the doorway.
“You remember who I am then?” Charlie asked, trying not to let her emotions show at the fact that the kid could now remember her. But despite the casual way she said it, the look on her face showed relief, and Jack only nodded. “What do you want kid?” Charlie asked as she walked up to him.
“I wanna talk about what I was shown in The Unknown Lands.” Jack said, his tone was casual but even Charlie could see the dread that came over his face when he mentioned the name of that cursed and dead place.
Fifteen minutes later and Jack had told Charlie the full extent of his visions. Afterwards she sat still in the chair for a long time, not saying a word. Mulling it all over.
“I’m not lying.” Jack said fearing that Charlie would choose not to believe him, as not two months ago, he would have struggled to believe it himself.
“I know you’re not kid.” Charlie said. “It’s just a lot to take in.” She paused for a moment got and walked over to the windows, again tinted by Jack’s request this time, so that they would not be disturbed. “You say that three of The Ravens have already arrived in our world. Which ones?” She asked.
“I don’t know. All I know is that they have arrived and are laying the groundwork f-for h-him.” Jack finished, stuttering on the last few words as he often did when he begins to panic. Charlie paused the recordings that she had set going at the start of the meeting. Initially Jack had been opposed to the idea but had eventually come around when Charlie told him that it purely there, so she didn’t have to keep asking him about this vision later on down the line.
“We’re off the record now.” Charlie said pocketing the device and continuing. “You saw him then?” She asked and Jack only nodded. “Do you think you’ll get more of these visions?”
“I think so. When the time comes.” Jack said rubbing his head, it still hurt but it was nowhere near the pain levels that it had been giving out earlier in the day.
“Jack I’m not going to force you. But when you do. I want to monitor it.” Charlie said calmly and Jack knew that despite what her tone was saying. That this was not a request.
As Charlie walked into the cave, she found Codsworth still in talks with Alan and Dmitri, she didn’t want to interrupt, but this was now a matter of life and death. On her way down she had remembered Codsworth talking about the sighting by the Barter peoples and wanted to get a better idea as to what.
“Codsworth you mentioned something about strange sighting in the west. What were those exactly?” Charlie asked.
“In truth I don’t fully understand them myself. But the natives have been reporting strange weather events, storms and the like around Rocksburg.” Codsworth said breaking off the conversation with Alan and Dmitri, he was glad to see her as he needed her to try and understand these events, if they were natural or, as he feared not.
“It’s odd, I’ll give you that.” Charlie said pondering, whilst storms were not uncommon in the west. Her mind kept going back to the events in the east.
“Charlie do you know something?” Alan asked.
“Yeah.” Charlie said and produced the recording. “You better listen.”
“This is certainly interesting.” Dmitri said after the recording finished, he had started this whole thing as a non-believer, part of him still was, but there was another growing part that did see how what the kid said was making sense, in the grand picture.
“You think that another one of those monsters is creating these events?” Codsworth said, of all of them, he hadn’t seen what had happened with the encounter with Rhazien and was the least convinced of this theory.
“Yes.” Charlie said, there were at least a hundred other more rational reasons, but this was the only one that was making any kind of sense to her.
“This is deep.” Codsworth said, putting his hand through his hair.
“I know. But you weren’t out there Codsworth. You haven’t seen what those things can do.” Alan replied.
“I’ll go.” Dmitri said. “I’ll go and investigate these ruins.” He looked at Codsworth. “Don’t mind if I tag along with your little war do you. It will be a good enough excuse against prying eyes.” He finished and Codsworth nodded.
Later that day, Dmitri was armoured up along with at least thirty BOT's, about two thirds of what he had created. The rest would remain to guard the manor. He thought to himself about what had happened in the south. About how he had regretted going to the front after the disastrous raid. and he now hoped that he wasn’t making the same mistake again.
“You’ll need this.” Alan said, handing Dmitri the staff with the clear gem on the top. Another difference between the south and now. “Goodbye old friend.” Alan said, saluting the soldier. Which Dmitri returned before heading out with his BOT's, clutching the weapon in his hand.
He turned around for one last look at the manor. When he noticed something odd. Alan was not the only person observing his departure. A man with a long black beard was also watching the departure. The same figure who had observed the chopper retreat from the east. He squinted and the figure faded away. Choosing to think he had only imagined the man, he turned and got into the choppers, Codsworth had left earlier that day. And now Dmitri was following. The three choppers loaded with supplies and the BOT's took off from the ground and began to head into the darkness of the night.