• ERIC BUTLER

The Ephraim Godwin Chronicles - The Early Years: The Awakening Part 23

Updated: Feb 17

This story takes place 5 years before the first Ephraim Godwin Chronicle Serial. It will be longer than a simple stand alone story so I will be releasing parts of the tale every Wednesday. Part 23 contains Chapters 44 & 45.




CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR

"Well this is unexpected," Ephraim said, his voice portraying a calmness he did not feel.

If pressed, he would not have the ability to express exactly what he thought might happen as he slipped through the mud but arriving in an eternal sea of blackness was not it. He held his arms out to his side in case it kept him floating but soon realized the inky darkness supported him no matter what.


Well, at least the fighting has concluded. Ephraim closed his eyes at the thought, hoping to steal a few moments of sleep while bobbing in nothingness. A chill traveled through him and he hugged himself, hoping to generate some warmth. When the chill intensified Ephraim opened his eyes suddenly aware the cause was before him.


Lady Farkus stood in front of him with a sad smile on her lips. Her eyes shined with unshed tears, and Ephraim could only ponder what upset her so. He studied her with unblinking eyes waiting for her to make the first move.


"Ephraim Godwin, stoic until the end," she said, her voice no longer light but heavy with an unseen tragedy. "I wonder if you would have fought those demons until the end of time...simply because it was the correct thing to do."


Ephraim offered a shrug before gripping his sword's handle tighter. He had no idea what was happening but he would not allow himself to be caught unaware by this woman ever again.


"Where is my brother?"


"Henry is injured, but alive."


Ephraim studied the woman floating in the void before him. She had brightened up as she spoke of Henry, of that he was sure. However, he wondered just how she knew that since she had to be a figment of his imagination. His mind's last desperate scramble to put him at ease before Ephraim slipped into madness. Most likely already there.


"Mr. Godwin, I sent Henry to retrieve you. He will not have the will or strength to finish what needs to be done. But we both know you do."


Ephraim offered nothing but a slow blink of his eyes, refusing to be drawn into whatever game his mind was playing. If my mind seeks to punish me with a woman it could have at least sent my wife.


"I am content to float here until I expire," he whispered hoping to scare away the vision.


"I am not a figment of your imagination, Mr. Godwin," she snarled as she glided forward to strike him across his cheek.


Ephraim grabbed her wrist as her hand swung to strike him a second time.


"Enough...woman," he said as he released his grip. "You have my undivided attention now speak so you may leave and haunt me no longer."


"When Henry wakes you, you will need to return to the clearing. He will know the way. Make sure to arm yourself and when it's time...remove the demon's heart."


At the last word, Lady Farkus faded away leaving behind a soft shimmer of light.


"Fine," Ephraim said into the darkness. Now to get back to my madness.


CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE


Henry stared at his brother lying in the middle of a field of flowers. They looked oddly familiar but he could not place why. Obviously, they are dangerous...Ephraim doesn't usually nap in times of trouble. A sly grin formed on his lips as he thought of some of the mischief they pulled when they were younger.


"Not the time," he whispered to remind himself the clock was ticking. He stalked around the outskirt of the flowers searching for anything that may help retrieve his brother.

The sound of rustling leaves brought his attention back to the middle of the field. Ephraim rose above the flowers, his arms and legs still dangling in the green. Soft snores slipped past his lips alerting Henry his brother was still asleep. How in the world?


Ephraim slowly moved to the edge of the field, his body rolling up and down as if upon a wave of green. Henry rushed to his brother as he rolled from the flowers. He grasped Ephraim's shirt collar and shook him.


"Wake up," he yelled, pulling Ephraim closer when he received no response. "WAKE UP!"

Ephraim moaned softly before the snoring took over once again. Henry swung his open hand back, holding it above his head a moment to see if there was any change before swinging it toward his brother's face. A loud crack filled the quiet. Henry dropped Ephraim back to the ground and stepped back.


"What?" Ephraim asked as he gingerly touched his cheek. "Ouch...what happened?"

"Oh good...I've found you, brother," Henry said as he stepped closer and offered his hand. Ephraim studied the extended appendage as if it might strike before grasping it.


"So I guess Lady Farkus sent you to find me?"


Henry nodded, "and we must return. This way, hurry."


Ephraim studied his brother as he crashed back into the woods. Might be smarter to just drag him back to the church and wait this out. The sounds of Henry's heavy footsteps through the undergrowth floated on the wind. Ephraim let out a sigh, if he didn't stop his brother the whole forest will know their location.


"Henry, wait up and for the love of God be quiet."


***


The giant gleefully watched the pod shudder and shake. His path to ascension was finally here. He clapped his hands and danced around as he imagined the death and destruction he planned to visit upon mankind as he swept them from his lands and into the oceans. Let Lir deal with the vermin.


A tear appeared in the pod, sharp fingertips protruding from the rent before sliding down to widen the opening. The pod burst open, spilling a thick green fluid upon the ground. Wildflowers instantly bloomed all around as Lady Farkus tumbled from her cocoon.


The giant leaned over her, a smile splitting his face as his laughter boomed all around. It worked...it worked. She was the lady Farkus in name only as the once petite woman was now longer in limb and stature. Her skin was a light green, and her hair hung loose like Spanish moss. Thick vines encircled her legs and arms, meeting and blending across her torso and groin, providing her with a natural defense against physical blows.


He scooped her up, pulling her tight against his chest. She struggled a moment but he shushed her as he rocked her like a babe, "Soon my beauty, I will unleash you upon this world but for a moment you are mine alone."



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