Redmayne

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 11 (v.1) - History and Destiny Revealed

Submitted: June 17, 2018

Reads: 45

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Submitted: June 17, 2018

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Talbot pulled a red-hot metal poker from the embers of the fire and used it to draw on the leather in front of him, sending up wafts of smoke and the smell of burning hide. The mid-afternoon sun showing the marks he was following in a way that electric lights could never do. As he was about to place the iron back in the fire, he paused, listening intently. He looked over his reading glasses into the distance, down the road past Patricia's trailer, but nothing came into view.

Talbot called to his brother. “I hear a car.”

Jim came out from the tepee and stood listening.

*****

Down the track, out of sight of Talbot's camp, Patricia was sitting in her car. Behind her Jason had pulled up and let Trevor out from his car, before getting out himself and coming to sit in the car with Patricia.

As he opened the door and got in, Jason said “How long do you think we should give him?”

“I don't know; are you sure he'll be all right?”

“I have no idea. I hardly know the guy, but he said to give him a chance to circle round the camp, so I thought we should let him.”

“Can we trust him do you think?”

“He hasn't shot at me yet, if that's what you mean.”

Patricia said nothing; she just sat contemplating her brother's words. She had spent the night at the camp of the man who had shot at her car. As she was thinking her thoughts were absent-mindedly spoken. “He seems to be someone I can trust.”

Jason replied as he looked in the direction that Trevor had just gone. “I know.” He turned to his sister. “Can we trust our instincts?”

“Erik did; at least that's the story I was told. He chose a bowman and went to the wooden circle. How would he have known the right person if he'd not been able to trust himself?”

“I suppose; I just wonder whether we can trust anyone.”

“I wonder whether I can trust you,” said Patricia with a faint trace of a smile. “You've been saying you'd come over for years, then suddenly out of the blue here you are.”

Jason smiled. “It's good to see you Sis.”

“Julian's looking forward to seeing you.”

“He’s a good kid.”

“Yes, he’s a lot like his father.” There was a lapse in the conversation. Patricia was thinking about the days she was happy with a loving husband and a happy son. Coming out into the wilderness to fight for good against evil seemed such a distant idea, yet always close enough for the family to prepare for. She turned to Jason and told him of a thing she’d spoken of only to her late husband. “Julian was always going to be our only child.”

Jason seemed a little taken aback. “Just a son? I always assumed you would want a daughter, I thought that’s...” His voiced tailed off.

Patricia smiled, “It’s okay. No, I didn’t just marry Tom for a daughter. I always wanted to pass the sword back to Cousin Mary, I was only a caretaker, and I didn’t want my children to have the responsibility I did. Later I practiced out of duty, but as a child I thought I had no choice. I wouldn’t have had children at all, I wouldn’t even have married had I not met Tom.” She wiped her eye and smiled at Jason. “Love doesn’t always give us a choice, does it?”

Jason shook his head. “And it’s just as well. You should never have been given the chance to refuse the happiness I saw you two have together.”

“Julian could soon lose both his parents, you know.”

Jason put his arm around his sister and they sat silently. All the while Trevor was creeping his way through the woods.

*****

Talbot was again sitting at the fire doing his pyrography; his brother had also lost interest in waiting. Talbot heard the car again, and this time it appeared as he was looking over his glasses. Patricia thought that Talbot might be surprised to see the second car pulling up behind hers, but if he was he didn't show it. Patricia and Jason parked opposite the trailer and walked over to the camp fire.

Talbot put his leather down, took off his glasses and put them down on top of the leather. He got up to welcome the two of them, and as he did, he said to Jason “Welcome to our camp.”

Patricia indicated towards Jason. “This is my brother, Jason.”

Talbot reached out to shake Jason's hand. “Ah the brother she spoke of at the airport; I knew it had to be something special to cause your sister to leave us so suddenly this morning.”

“I wasn’t sure whether you would try and stop me if you knew,” said Patricia.

“You are not a prisoner here, you are a guest,” said Talbot. As he sat back down on the log near the fire he said “So too is your brother, who you left the note for last night. I assume you arranged where to meet?”

Patricia sat herself down near the fire and as Jason followed she said “Did you know that already? Some good that coded message was then.”

Talbot shook his head. “I did not see the message;” as he picked up his glasses he said “without these it might as well be in Chinese.”

Patricia slumped, and looked at Jason as she smiled and shook her head. “All that for nothing; and then I took off this morning without saying anything, only to find him sitting peacefully by the fire when I got back.” Looking at Talbot she said “You weren't worried about me at all.”

“That’s because I knew you would be back,” said Talbot.

Patricia said “I suppose you had a word with your ancestors and they told you what I was doing, did they?”

Talbot gave her an old fashioned look. “No; you’re just not the kind of person to leave the washing up undone.”

They all sat in silence until Talbot smiled, it was an uncustomary practice for his face, but it signalled a more relaxed atmosphere as first Patricia, and then Jason began laughing.

“I’ll do the drying then,” said Jason, “but is there any chance of a coffee first?”

“Of course,” said Talbot as he got up to go into the Tepee. He was still smiling, but his face was trying to return to its natural state.

As he was walking away, Jason tried to get a quick look at the leather Talbot had been working on, and then he sat back next to his sister and they giggled as they looked at each other.

*****

Trevor was still making his way through the woods. That was until his world was turned upside down. He had stood on a trap and was now hanging by his ankle.

“Oh bugger! This’ll do for my blood pressure,” Trevor said as he saw Jim appear in his view. “Hey, could you let me down? I seem to have got myself trapped.”

Jim did nothing; he just stood staring at the intruder caught in the trap.

“Oh come on,” said Trevor.

Jim still stood silently watching.

Trevor tried again. “I thought this situation only happened in films. It’s kind of embarrassing so if you’d be so kind I’d be much obliged.”

Jim took a pace forward and then stopped. “Before I cut you down you must tell me why you are creeping around our camp.”

“I’m not creeping; I was just enjoying a walk in the national park, like many others do.”

Jim motioned with his eyes towards the main track as he said “You've strayed from the usual track.”

Trevor was now beginning to get seriously worried about his blood pressure. “Well that’s because I am a bit of a wanderer, my mother always said it would get me into trouble. Now if you would do the honours before all the blood rushes to my head?”

Jim shook his head. “You've still not told me the truth about why you are here.”

Trevor was annoyed and exasperated, so he blurted out “All right; you damned idiot. I’m here to fight a great evil and prevent it from plunging our world into darkness. Ehh, now what do you think about that?”

Jim walked towards the helpless victim of his trap. As he did so he took a knife from its sheath.

*****

Jason took another swig of coffee. “Are you sure we shouldn't go and see what that shout was for? It sounded like someone in pain.”

Talbot shook his head. “There is always some noise around here, very often it sounds like a man shouting but it is just a creature of the forest.”

Jason and Patricia looked at each other. They dared not say anything for fear of blowing his cover but they knew that one of the creatures of the forest was indeed human.

“What did you think of Old Faithful?” asked Talbot.

Patricia was distracted, by concern about the shout they heard. “Sorry, what?”

“Old Faithful,” said Talbot, “you said you had arranged to meet there.”

“Oh, yes, yes we did. It was very good,” said Patricia.

“I didn’t actually see it,” said Jason.

“Oh no, that’s rotten,” said Patricia, “we’ll have to go back and see...” She tailed off what she was saying when she saw Jim come out of the wood into the camp.

Talbot looked round, following Patricia eyes. On seeing his brother, he said “Oh you are back,” while gesturing towards Jason, “we have another guest.”

Jim smiled. “It must be the season for them. I just found one snooping around the camp.”

Just then Trevor came limping in to the camp, dusting himself off. “I wasn’t snooping; at least not very well. I must be losing my touch.”

“Perhaps you can hide more easily in the city,” said Jim.

“I reckon so,” said Trevor.

Trevor and Jim joined the others round the fire and the coffee was passed around. First they made small talk and introduced themselves, but the talk inevitably turned to the Evil One, and the fact that he had risen again. Once they'd shared all the information they could, the conversation lulled.

“We have one thing on our side,” said Talbot. “We have the Redmayne with us, and it was a Redmayne that defeated the Evil One before and lived to tell the tale.”

Patricia fell silent, and the others looked on concerned. She looked up at Jim and said “Can you print something out for me?”

“Yes of course,” he said.

Getting up and walking to the Teepee, she beckoned for Jim to follow her.

Inside the tent Patricia sat at the computer and searched online for a document. When asked for a password she put it in and called up the document. “This was supposed to be given to my successor.”

“What is it?” said Jim.

“It’s the story of Erik Redmayne’s encounter with the Evil One. I think everyone should know what happened.”

“I have never found an exact account, where did you find it?”

“It has been handed down to each swordwielder. At least we no longer have to remember it; the story was written down and passed on. I have the original document safely stored, but I typed it up and stored it online.”

“The printer is ready,” said Jim.

Once she had printed it out she went back out to the campfire, and by the way the conversation ended as she appeared she guessed there had been much speculation about what she wanted printing out. She walked up to the campfire and stood with the papers in front of her.

Jim took a seat next to his brother and said “We should all listen to this.”

“Thanks Jim,” said Patricia and she read out the story she had just printed. “In the mist, a lone Danish warrior strode with his long slightly greying hair flowing free. He looked upon the circle of stones that had stood in this land long before his nation had tilled its fertile soil. Recently his people had been suffering and he alone was able to hold his mind in the face of the enemy. It was that face he had come to see.

His stride was not the longest of his people, for he was not the tallest, but he was fit and strong, and soon his back was to the grove of trees that marked his destination. He had moved through it until he came out on the far side, looking once again on the open land. Just in front of him he could see the smaller wooden cousin of the lithic structure he had been gazing on moments before. Where the stone had stood against weather and time, the wooden pillars had not. All that remained to mark the sacred place were a few stumps that barely stood proud of the land.

Erik moved cautiously towards it, and soon he could see the shadowy figure within. None of his people had kept their mind once approaching the Evil One; indeed, many had lost their lives. The Evil One had been an ever-growing plague on his people. Erik Redmayne drew his sword, and without hesitation or fear he walked forward.

The Evil One grinned and appeared happy to see a new plaything, but then seemed surprised, and he said mockingly ‘You are different to the others; your mind is closed to me. Very well I will talk to you in the vulgar tongue of mortals.’

Erik said nothing he just continued forward while watching the figure in front of him.

The Evil One spoke again ‘What have you come here for? Is it to mock me in my prison?’

Erik moved closer and said ‘I have come to seal your fate.’

The Evil One laughed. ‘It will take more than one mortal with a feeble weapon. Surely even one such as you could not have failed to grasp the futility of fighting me alone?’

Erik was not a man who liked being mocked, but he parleyed for the moment and look for a weakness. After all he only needed to get his runes to the centre of the circle. He stood forward but did not try to look taller or make any show, he was a warrior to his bones and he stood calmly in the moment and said ‘I have seen the suffering you've wrought on my people, even trapped as you are, but I have not been idle. This sword was forged by our finest smith who called on Odin himself to help hone the blade.’

‘Odin, really?’ said the Evil One. ‘You still cling to the old Gods, even though they've been abandoned by your people?’

‘My people have not abandoned them; though others have.’

The Evil One smirked. ‘Your people; you talk of the petty tribe you led to this place. You brought them here only to get away from the new god your people have turned to.’

Erik just glared. The Evil One was right. Erik had led his people away to escape persecution. They had come to farm, and had been drawn to the area by the ancient religious monuments which they held in great respect.

The Evil One continued. ‘What about the doubt in the hearts of your followers. I've seen it in their minds; your gods are in decline. Even if you were to defeat me, they would still not survive in the hearts of men.’

‘Only one of us shall see what comes to pass. I care not for the hearts of others; my gods live in my heart and the power of Odin is in my sword.’

‘And do you believe the power of such a sword will protect you?’

Erik stood firm. ‘I do.’

‘Then come closer and let us see how it performs. I will look forward to devouring your flesh and leaving your soul to see what a world I make. You will be trapped here, while I travel in my new realm of darkness.’

‘I do not come to trade words with a servant of Loki; my sword is in my hand.’

The Evil One watched Erik circle cautiously; he did not seem to fear this Dane or his sword. Nor did he seem in a hurry to dispatch this being that could stand before him uncontrolled. It might have been curiosity that held him back or perhaps it saw a chance to have some sport. Either way it waited.

Erik thrust forward, bit it was to no avail. The Evil One's staff emitted an eerie blue light as he used it to parry the blow.

The Evil One laughed, ‘You noticed my mind elsewhere. I see you do have some deviousness in you; I like that.’ A wide grin came across his slim, harsh featured face.

Erik said nothing, but he kept his eye on the staff and looked for a way through the defence. Again he lunged, but this time the blow was deflected and he went forward, just saving himself from losing his balance. Turning quickly to face his enemy he saw the staff come towards him and he parried the blow easily.

The thrusts, parries and slashes continued, but where Erik was becoming slower and more ragged with each clash, the Evil One remained relaxed and continued to taunt Erik. The shadows grew longer, and Erik's attacks got weaker. He began trying to keep his distance, and gather his strength. This time the Evil One did not chase him down straight away. Erik leant on his sword, and watched for any chance to strike.

The Evil One spoke. ‘The light fades, and night comes. Just as light fades into darkness, so the time of your petty gods will pass, and my reign will begin.’

Erik stood again with his sword in his hand and shouted ‘My people sail by the stars; there is no fear for me in the night.’

The tired and ill-timed thrust gave the Evil One his chance. Erik was struck and mortally wounded; dropping his sword as he fell.

Even as Erik's death was coming to greet him, the Evil One had more torments for him. ‘You will not have comfort in the night or the day. Your whole eternity will be a torment of my choosing.’

As Erik was reaching for his sword, the Evil One picked it up and held it tantalisingly close, but just out of reach.

The torment continued to pour from the evil mouth. ‘I see, you want your sword. Is that to try for one more pointless strike at me; or are you hoping to enter Valhalla? Either way it must be so disappointing to be so close, and yet unable to reach it.’

Erik was at as full a stretch as his broken body would allow.

The Evil One was now completely focused on his victim. Watching intently as the defeated warrior stretched for his goal that was so nearly in his reach. In that moment of sheer misery, The Evil One seemed to be stronger than ever and intoxicated by the sight of the victim before him.

At that very moment, while looking up at his foe, Erik stopped trying to reach his sword and relaxed. This seemed to confuse The Evil One who stared intently down at Erik. So fixed was he on his victim that the Evil One did not see, nor sense the arrow that flew from my bow and into the circle, but both he and Erik watched it land in the centre.

For the first time, I saw that the Evil One looked concerned, and now Erik began to repay the stinging words.

‘Yes you can feel it can't you? I feel it,’ said Erik.

‘No!’

‘Yes, it has runes on it; words to call forward the twelve Celtic chiefs buried here.’

‘You were just the bait?’

Erik just smiled as he saw the Spirits appear. ‘Yes, your cruelty was your weakness. You could stop me getting past you to the centre, but you could not resist tormenting a mortal in front of you, and you missed the real threat. 

The Evil One was now backing off as the twelve spirits came forward. The Celtic men and women moved in on the Evil One, and though he was defiant in words he was pushed inexorably back until he began to fade and gradually, the Evil One disappeared completely.

The Celtic spirits stood silently while I approached from the undergrowth; I was full of fear as I looked on the Spirits, but Erik motioned me forward. I crept up, grabbed Erik's sword and put it in his hand, before I shrank again from the ghostly figures.

Erik gripped my arm and spoke words of reassurance. ‘I don't think they’ll hurt you.’

A Celtic woman came forward to address us. ‘Indeed I will not; you who summoned us forth when the Gods needed us.’

‘Has he gone?’ Asked Erik.

‘The Evil One has escaped his destruction by retreating back to his crystal. That is all we can do for now, and we are grateful you asked for our help.’

‘I knew there were slain Celtic Chiefs here,’ said Erik, ‘but I was not sure you would help.’

‘We swore to help our gods contain the Evil One in his prison. Neither our gods nor your gods are in favour with the people of this land any longer, but if the wishes of our gods match the design of your gods we have no complaint.’

Erik now turned to me. ‘Take the leather with the binding runes on it, wrap the crystal in it and bury it deep. When I’m dead, take my sword and give it to my son and tell him that it must be passed down to his sons in case the evil ever rises again.’

The Celtic woman interjected. ‘Wait: pass it to his daughter and tell her to pass it to her daughters. There is always more certainty in the woman’s line.’

Erik nodded his agreement. A look of contentment came over his face; his life ebbed away while I held him in my arms.

I laid his body down and moved towards the centre of the circle of wooden stumps. The spirits parted to allow me through. I wrapped the crystal in the leather as Erik had ordered. The spirits faded and I found himself alone, save for one apparition dressed only in animal skins.

‘Remove all signs of this circle,’ said the vision, ‘and erase it from the memory of all. Let no generation to follow speak of it or visit it. Let the Evil One lie unfound for all time.’

I sat silently waiting for more visions, or for the reappearance of one already seen. There was nothing, and I was now finally alone. As I looked on the body of my chief, I had held only moments before I made a vow to him. ‘I will return, with enough men to remove all signs of the place you fell. We will carry your body away and build for you the biggest of pyres. Our smith will give you a fine sword to take with you to Valhalla. We will lay you on the pyre, and as your body is engulfed in flame, I shall tell the tale of your valour and how you banished the Evil One from our world. I shall see that our people ever remember the Redmayne.” 

Patricia put the papers down beside her. Each of her companions around the fire held their own thoughts; realising now that the Swordwielder had not survived the encounter before. She wanted to say something, but hesitated momentarily, and then she saw Trevor looking across at her and nodding silent encouragement. She addressed them all. “We are all here for the same thing. I am going to have to be the one to fight the Evil One. I was chosen and I have the sword, but I have no intention of it ending the way it had before. That means I’m going to need your help, so we have to trust each other completely and work together. I have told you what I have never told another, will you trust each other, and me?”

Talbot was the first to agree, quickly followed by Jim and Trevor.

“I’m with you Sis,” said Jason.

Patricia smiled at Jason and then continued. “We need to know where they are, where and when they will strike, and what they intend to do.”

“I don’t know exactly where they are but I think I know where they will strike,” said Jim. “Valerie Erlin, the Geologist you discovered, is an expert on the caldera which is a super volcano in this area. She has a theory that a blast of a significant size will cause a chain reaction. That reaction will destabilise the caldera, leading to a major environmental catastrophe.”

“The age of darkness,” said Jason.

Jim nodded. “The only thing is that it would require a very big explosion.”

“How big?” asked Patricia.

“Huge; it would take several truckloads of high explosives,” said Jim.

Jason rubbed his palms on his knees. “We think the Evil One has been using an arms dealer; right Trevor?”

“Yes, a particularly nasty one,” said Trevor.

“Then all we've got to do is find a huge stockpile of explosives,” said Patricia.

Talbot looked around them. “This might be a haystack but the needle must be quite a large one.”

“I’m afraid not,” said Trevor.

The others all looked at him expectantly.

“They don't need a pile of explosives, they’ve got a nuclear bomb,” Trevor continued.

They were all stunned into silence.

“That would certainly do it, but why do you think they have one?” asked Jim.

Trevor took a large swig of coffee. “It’s something that has been bothering me for since I saw the police near murder scene.”

Jason added “There was a murder somewhere north of the airport. We saw a flying saucer chaser being escorted from the area.”

Trevor nodded. “Ryan wouldn’t normally come out here unless there was a good deal for him, and now he’s wanted for murder. That’s not like him; he’s usually much smarter than that, so something must have gone bad. Now Ryan is no amateur so for him to get caught out like that and not stop to cover his tracks there must be a really big player involved.”

“Why does that make you think it involves a nuclear bomb?” asked Jim.

“The UFO chaser; He said there was a residual radiation level. My instincts told me he was telling the truth, but at the time I couldn’t quite see what it meant. I’ve been thinking about what it could all mean, and I realised that not all sources of radiation are extra-terrestrial. I think the arms deal involved a nuclear weapon of some sort.”

“So what are you saying; that we get a Geiger counter and race around the national park?” said Patricia.

Trevor answered her. “It won’t just be radioactive; it will be very heavy, so the truck might leave tracks we can follow.” He looked at Talbot and then Jim. “Could either of you...?”

Before he could finish the question, Jim said “Sorry Kimosabe not all Indians able to track prey over sacred plain.”

Trevor looked down sheepishly. “Okay sorry.”

Jim patted him on the shoulder and smiled. “At least you haven’t had me hanging by my leg from a tree.”

Patricia looked around at them all. “Is there any way of narrowing down where they might use the bomb?”

“Yes there is,” said Jim. “The relevant fissure is shown on a map on her website.”

Trevor thought for a moment and said “That’s a good break for us; it’s a linear feature so all we have to do is search along it.”

Jim nodded. “We could map the locations that a heavy weight could be lowered into.

Patricia thought for a moment. “Right; Jason and I will search the length of the fissure as soon as you can give us a map showing where it is.”

“Why don’t we all search; it’ll be quicker?” asked Trevor.

“We can't do that,” replied Jason. “The Evil One can control minds around him. If you get too near him he’ll sense what you’re up to and plant thoughts in your mind you won’t even know are there.”

“He may have done so already,” added Talbot.

“Yes, that’s a cheerful thought,” said Patricia.

Jim, pointing at Patricia and Jason, said “Why can’t he do that to you two?”

“We don’t know,” said Jason.

Patricia added “He was not able to do it to Erik Redmayne, so we hope that it is something genetic and we will be protected in the same way.”

“But you’re not sure?” said Trevor.

Talbot stood up statesmanlike, and as they looked at him expectantly he said “Sometimes there is a time to be sure, sometimes there is a time for faith. At this time I am sure we need to have faith.” He pointed to Patricia and Jason, “You two look and we will prepare.”

Jim was the first to react. “Right; I’ll print you a map of the fissure,” he said as he got up and headed towards the tepee.

Trevor then got up. “I need to see that map; I have an idea that might shorten the odds for us.” He followed Jim into the tepee.

Patricia patted Jason's arm. “We’d better go and get ourselves ready for this long hunt.”

Jason nodded to Talbot and Talbot nodded in reply. No words were necessary. Patricia and Jason went back into the trailer. Talbot sat back down, picked up his piece of leather and went back to his pyrography.


© Copyright 2019 Kevin Broughton. All rights reserved.

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