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Chapter 5

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Chapter V

Meditation

 

The ground was cold underneath him as Martin got up, it felt weird, after the strange heat from wherever the hell he had been previously, the sanctum felt cold by comparison. He had the sense that he was being looked at as a voice came out of the murk that was surrounding him in his out of focus daze.

“Sparky?” Olly’s nervous voice came out of the darkness, he closed his eyes and then reopened them, and his vision was once more in focus. Above him were his five travelling companions who had come with him from the mountain or joined up along the way.

As he had guessed, Olly was closest to him, his pace face looking even paler in the blue light that lit the sanctum. Next to him, were Russel and Jeanie, looking equally confused as to why their friend had just appeared out of thin air in front of them.

“Fuck my head is killing me.” Martin said, more to himself than anyone else, and it was the truth. Whilst it was not as bad as when Eugene had invaded it on an almost daily occurrence, it wasn’t far off that level of pain.

“You don’t wanna old Vernon to hear you say that little bro.” Dave said, his older brother was standing a few paces back from where Martin’s friends were, looking as confused, but also with a hint of weariness in his young voice.

“How long have I been gone for?” Martin asked, looking around, that was something that he was interested in, whilst Xyla had assured him that they would have enough food, it still didn’t feel right that he had no sense of how long they had been away for.

“No idea kid.” Brutus said in his gruff voice, the wear-bear towering above the others as he spoke. “The god lady said that time has no place here. And I know that time works differently in these places than it does out in the world outside.” Brutus continued, looking around at the cavern with a sense of unease in his eyes.

“How d’you know that?” Russel said, looking up at the wear-bear in confusion.

“Couple of years ago, Capt’n Dmitri left his army, for a place just like this.” Brutus said, with Martin and Dave looking up at the name, whilst Olly, Russel and Jeanie only looking more confused. “He came back apparently six months later without eating a single thing on his trip.” Brutus finished. Whilst he had long since left by the time that Dmitri had returned to the imperial army at Haverminster. He had heard what had happened after he returned to the mirage city to deal with the imperials that had chosen to remain behind.

“Whose captain Dmitri?” Jeanie asked looking at Martin for the answer. “Is that the person who you said was looking for us back in the camp.” Jeanie continued, she vagally remembered the name from when she had first met with Martin, Olly and Russel that day at the prison yard.

“Yeah.” Martin answered, he wasn’t exactly comfortable talking about the captain, given the fact that Dmitri had met his death looking for him. And even if Codsworth assured him that Dmitri was already dying, nothing would change the fact that it was his fault.

“Where exactly did you go Sparky?” Russel asked, seeing and acting on the look on Martin’s face and choosing to change the subject.

“I dunno.” Martin answered, that was the truth of the matter, as he had no recollection of the place, just foggy memories of a city in the clouds and seven figures looking down at him.

“You went to my plane of existence.” Xyla answered, hearing Martin’s confusion and appearing behind him, the god looking not at all surprised that the kid had not remembered much of his travels. Martin stood up and turned to face the god, although something was different, he was seeing her properly. He was seeing her both in this place, and also in her own land at the same time, the two images layered over each other.

“What’s wrong with my vision?” Martin asked looking at the god, he scratched his eyes, closed them and then reopened them again. But the image didn’t change, like two strips of film poorly layered over one another. Dave stepped forward, and made for his gun, before realising that it wasn’t there anymore.

“What did you do to my brother?” Dave asked, stepping beside Martin as Xyla advanced towards them. As he said this, Martin collapsed to the ground and began to shake violently as foam began to come out of his mouth. Seeing this, Xyla rushed over and knelt down next to the boy, resting her hand on his forehead, and stopped the seizure.

“Take him outside.” Xyla said, and if leave him there for a couple of hours, then I will explain what has to happen.

 

Ten minutes later, Martin lay outside the sanctum, his head resting on some leaves and his breathing returned to normal. Standing guard over him were Olly and Russel, both having volunteered quickly to stay out here whilst Dave and Jeanie returned back into the sanctum to talk things over with Xyla. Brutus having also elected to remain outside to guard the two friends, as neither were a great shot, and they needed someone out here in case of a wolf or sabercat attack.

Inside the sanctum, Xyla stood inside the circler room where the statues of the gods sat in silent judgement, fending of the verbal attacks from Dave and the silent stares of Jeanie. It took a while before she was able to get a word in edgeway.

“In answer to your question, my young explorer.” Xyla said, raising her voice a few decibels in order to get back in control of the conversation. “Your brother will be fine. He was experiencing space differenal. In simple terms, he was seeing me in multiple plains of existence.” Xyla continued, and raised her hand when Dave looked like he was going to go off again. She thought to herself that these Wolfrick brothers were certainly a difficult bunch to control but pressed on with her side of the story. “We gave him a taste of our collective power. He heard our undiluted voices, a test if you will. He passed and is ready to fulfil his purpose.” Xyla finished, but at this, Dave could no longer hold in his temper and the fifteen-year-old let lose once more.

“His purpose. Is that all he is to you all powerful lot. A tool to be discarded after your done with him.” Dave said, losing his patience at the god’s answer.

“Your brother said the same thing, David Wolfrick. Both of them did. But we did not force him, if that’s what you fear.” Xyla said in an unusually calm voice, as whenever people tended to insult her, which was happening a lot when it came to these brothers, she would lose her temper. But this time she resolved to keep her cool.

“Fear. Heck yes, I fear that. Along with everything else that has happened to him since we got him out of that prison.” Dave said, that wasn’t the problem though, his problem was the fact that these gods seem to be using his little brother for their owns ends without any regard for his own wellbeing.

“Is it so hard for you to think that I have your brother’s best interests at heart, young explorer.” Xyla replied to Dave’s unanswered question.

“Well considering he had a seizure I would say that your plan didn’t work that well.” Jeanie said, adding her voice to the debate.

“Yes, I’m afraid that might of happened. He seemed to adjust to his new powers. He will be fine when he wakes up.” Xyla said, although whatever she said, it didn’t change the fact that the first part of that statement was a lie, if the lad were to have reacted in the way that he had done, it would have happened straight away, not after time had passed. This answer, as she had expected, did not sit well with the two mortals standing in front of her.

 

Back outside, Martin woke up for the second time that day, although unlike before his head was no longer hurting like hell. Instead, it was his eyes that were burning as he had opened them directly into the sun.

“You alright Sparky?” Russel asked, noticing that his friend was awake.

“I will be if you stop calling me sparky.” Martin answered as he scratched his head, although he preferred it to being called a freak he guessed. Not that he had been called that, at least to his face.

“Sure thing. Sparky. Sorry old habits and all that.” Russel said smiling at his friend apologetically as he spoke.

Martin fully sat up at that point, but still seemed out of it, his eyes were out of focus at this point, they also seemed to be brighter than they had been when he had gone up to meet with the gods.

“Why are we here Sparky?” Olly asked, he seemed more exhausted than Martin felt. Out in this light he looked even paler than he had done in the sanctum.

“I guess I’ll find out soon.” Martin said, getting up and pacing, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was missing something, he had been given all that power and it had so far done nothing other than temporally fry his brain. “All I know is that there is something here that is going to help us win.” Martin finished; he knew that he was going on nothing but faith right now. But after all the stuff that had happened to him over the past year or so. it seemed odd that this one ability had been enough to knock him out like it had. He was about to say more but was interrupted by the arrival of Jeanie.

“The god lady wants you, Martin.” Jeanie said, walking out of the sanctum along with Dave, seeming pleased when her weapon was returned to her holster as she left the perimeter of the sanctum.

 

“Why am I here?” Martin asked, looking around at the stone room, it was completely barren, even more so than his cell had been at the prison, expect for a stone basin, that stood in the centre of the room, filled to the brim with some strange bluish liquid.

“This is you first test boy. Now that you have recovered from our gift, now is the time to test them.” Xyla said, gesturing Martin forward to the basin, which he did. Walking forward until he was standing over it. “Open your mind and place your head into the water.” Xyla commanded.

Martin was about to refuse this order, as the last time he had been dunked, it had ultimately resulted in his connection with Eugene. And he was in no hurry to repeat the experience.

“This will not cause you to see Mr Fitzfurgel young Martin.” Xyla said, reading his thoughts, something that he was getting well and truly fed up with, as he wondered whether any of his thoughts were safe from the god’s prying eyes. He dunked his head into the water.

 

He found himself outside once more, but it was nowhere that he recognised, he in fact doubted that he was on the same planet as before. Beside him, as he had certainly expected, stood Xyla. But it was what was around him that was even stranger. He was seemingly hovering, and all around him were faint shapes, made of smoke, that formed into people as they came into his mind, although it was versions of them that he did not recognise. Visions of people from their past or future.

“What is this place?” Martin asked, turning away from his older brother’s smoke perception.

“A place where you can see all, now that your mind is unlocked.” Xyla said as she walked along what appeared to Martin, to be nothing more than thin air.

“You mean I can see people’s future?” Martin asked, eager for the first time since first waking up after his visit to the gods.

“A version of it. But that is not why you are here.” Xyla said, gently leading Martin away from the smoke people, as she could see the boy slowly moving closer towards them with every passing second. “You are here, for the second part of the gift. As with your new ability you now have the power to travel through space, with no restrictions, no defense system can stop you accessing someone’s internal thoughts.” Xyla said, that got the kid’s attention, as Martin looked up at her with awe.

“You mean I can get back into Eugene’s mind, and there is nothing that the monster can do about it?” Martin asked.

“Yes. For started at the very least.” Xyla said, as the pair continued to walk through the smoke-filled room. “But eventually you will be able to do so much more.” Xyla continued, but before she could elaborate any further Martin interrupted her.

“No. I don’t want any more power.” Martin said, returning away from whatever this fantasy was.

“I know you don’t kid. But you have that power. The power that is going to save the forces of the living.” Xyla said, kneeling down in front of Martin now, imploring him to understand how dire things were. “Your king is raising an army that is the truth of it. But a million soldiers cannot stop the great one.” Xyla said.

“Then how can I? I’m just a kid.” Martin asked, he was starting to wonder why he had been chosen for this, whether it was just dumb bad luck, or something else.

“Because you have the power to use the gems, my dark reflections one weakness against him. That is why you have been given this power Martin Wolfrick. To not get inside the minds of mortals, but to get inside the mind of the gems, and force them to unite.” Xyla finished, although from the look on Martin’s face, she knew that the kid thought she was crazy.

“Their objects though. Sure, I can get into Eugene’s mind, although I’m still sure that’s the other way around, but those pieces of rock, they’re not living things. They don’t have minds, do they?” Martin asked, he knew what his curse, he refused to call it a gift, could do. But this was a whole new level of crazy, even to him, who had had the ability to communicate with their family dog when no-one knew how or why.

“They are as living than you and me. Even more so.” Xyla said, as she spoke, the images of the six gems appeared out of the mist, glowing brightly, the colours glinting in their eyes as Xyla spoke up once more. “Your people are already trying without you, but they will not succeed, and break the lad’s mind in the process.” Xyla finished, at this Martin looked up at the god.

“Who. Who have they been using?” Martin asked, but the god had disappeared from his view. He could help feeling a little bit abandoned by the people in the mountain, choosing to replace him when they needed someone else with powers.

He wanted to leave this place; his head was starting to ache. But something drew him back to the mist people, and just decided to look into the fates of those that had chosen to accompany him here.

 

It took a while, but eventually Dave found his younger brother siting outside the sanctum alone, having only just arrived back from his trip into wherever he had been, he still wasn’t entirely sure where.

“Knew I’d find you out here baby bro.” Dave said, walking up to and then sitting down to his youngest brother. He had known from the start where Martin would have been, as whenever he had been angry or scared back at the manor, if he wasn’t in his room, then he would have been outside somewhere.

“This was always your thing, coming outside.” Martin replied, that was the truth. Whilst he had sought refuge outside, Dave was the one who had been well known to have spent more time outside than in. Dave smiled at that, although there was something he had to ask his little brother, as Martin seemed to know the god better than he did.

“Why does that god keep calling me an explorer little bro?” Dave asked, that had confused him, as whilst he had been exploring a lot during his time. He had not done enough of it to be noteworthy of it. Martin paused at this, thinking about the best way to phrase what he had seen, which had been weird in the extreme.

“Because you are, or at least going to be. I saw you. You were older, and you were travelling somewhere. I don’t know where though. But you were a long way from here.” Martin said deciding that the truth was the best option, as a lie would sound even less plausible than what he had just said. Dave raised his eyebrows at this.

“Older, how much older?” Dave asked whilst wondering what else his little brother had seen about his future.

“Like Da’s age.” Martin said shrugging.

“Well, at least I live through this mess.” Dave said in an undertone, although Martin heard him and laughed slightly.

“It’s certainly a possibility.” Xyla said, joining in on the conversation, she had overheard the brothers talking, and chose now to add the caveat to the statement. “But that is only one possible future David. Those who ride the currents of time and space, like your brother. Will see many futures, not all of them are that good.” Xyla finished, leaving the mood considerably worse than when she had joined the conversation. The god disappeared into thin air.

“Well. If truth be told baby bro. I prefer your prediction.” Dave said smiling at his younger brother. Martin smiled back at him. It was the first time that he had seen his little brother smile in a long time. the two brothers were then interrupted by the arrival of Russel, the now fourteen-year-old from Riveruster.

“What about me?” Russel said, he had overheard Martin talking about Dave’s future, and whilst he was uncertain about his friend’s new ability, he was still interested t potentially see what his own future had in store. “What do I look like?” Russel asked, looking inquisitively.

Martin paused, thinking of the best way to tell his friend what he had seen of his future, it was difficult.

“You look pretty much the same. Just taller.” Martin said, although he looked at the ground as he spoke. Russel however, seemed to be satisfied with that answer and left. Although Martin thought that he wouldn’t have been if he had seen, what he had during his time on the time rifts. Although he remembered what Xyla had previously said and comforted himself in the fact that his vision of Russel’s future may not come true.

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