The Ephraim Godwin Chronicles - The Early Years: The Awakening Part 19
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 19 contains Chapters 37 & 38.
A jolt of pain woke Henry up with a gasp. A wave of panic washed over him and he struggled to sit up while cradling his arm against his chest. Judging from the shadows, he guessed it was midday but he couldn't be sure since he appeared to be in the middle of the forest
Henry glanced around, searching for the Baron as well as trying to gather a sense of where he might be.
"Well, that didn't help," he finally announced, needing to hear a voice out loud. Even if it is just my own. The thought comforted him as much as hearing anything other than the sounds of nature.
The vicar stood with the help of his uninjured arm and the nearest tree. His broken arm seemed to pulse in time with his heartbeat, leaving him lightheaded and slightly nauseous. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath.
Henry held it for a moment, praying for the strength needed to move forward, before releasing it. He started to walk, leaving the clearing and making his way to what he guessed might be a deer trail. It may take some time, but he was sure the more room between him and the Baron, the better.
The Baron stood on the bank of a creek that traveled through the deepest part of the forest. His body ached in exhaustion and he struggled to remember the last time he ate. A strong buzzing filled his ears and he slumped to his knees. For a moment he knelt there, his eyes seeing nothing but a red haze.
His hand darted into the creek and snagged a fish. He brought it to his lips and began to eat, savoring the fresh raw flavor as it filled his mouth. His stomach grumbled, leading him to grab another and another, until his stomach practically ached from all he ate.
The Baron glanced around, wondering where he left the vicar. He stood, ignoring the fish guts on his hands or the mud on his knees as he spun around. The red haze intensified as his rage boiled over. Where is that fool man? He slammed his fist into the closest tree. The hum grew louder, as if an angry swarm of bees were inside his head. The Baron stomped off fully aware it would only get worse the longer the vicar was loose.
Ephraim knelt in a field of the dead. Sweat poured down his face and his chest heaved as he struggled to catch his breath. He no longer knew how many battles he'd participated in, but he was quite sure from the piles of bodies around him the number must be in the double digits. His sword lay on a rare patch of grass beside him and he closed his eyes as the noonday sun shined down upon him.
His mind shifted through his memories, trying to count how many he had killed compared with how many times he had fallen throughout this nightmare. A horn sounded in the distance and he sighed in frustration. There was less and less time between battles, and the sun never seemed to move past noon.
These battles will never end without nightfall. The thought rang hollow in his head for he assumed in this hell, the battles would be waged no matter the time of day. Laughter carried on the wind and he opened his eyes, surprised to see the bodies were no longer around him.
Ephraim struggled to his feet after gripping his saber. He glanced around but couldn't find the horse that had fought by his side for many of the battles. God grant him mercy. A giggle slipped out at the thought. He must be losing his mind. The ground began to shake from the overwhelming number of men racing toward him.
If this was his punishment, then he would meet it head on. Taking a deep breath, Ephraim saluted his enemies and stepped into the surging mass of bodies.
The giant stood over the pod, both rested and fed. He closed his eyes, feeling out with his mind to enter into the cocoon he constructed. She was almost ready. Soon you will be awakened and our reign will begin as we take back this island.
The pod shuddered as if in anticipation to his thought and the giant smiled. The experiment that was man would soon be over.
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