The rumbling seemed to shake the whole forest and leaves cascaded to the ground in all directions around us.
Katha grabbed onto a tree for support.
“What the hell is up there Theo?” She screamed at the now ghostly pale boy.
He gulped “The castle... the walls. They’re coming up from the ground” His mouth hung open in a petrified gape as his eyes fixed into an unknown point between trees in the distance.
The shaking became more and more violent whilst distantly the screeches of the retreated hoard grew louder and eerily gleeful.
“We have to get out of here” Theo stuttered slowly, still supported by his pillow of air he was the only one not being thrown to the floor. “Have you felt anything from Morgan?”
“No and I won’t leave till I have!” I snarled. Perhaps not the best idea as it just made him look paler. Layla shook her head at my lack of ability to empathise. Shakily finding her way over to him she gently placed both hands on his shoulders.
“Theo Honey?” She softly cooed finding his gaze. “We need your help sweetie. What exactly is out there?” Her soothing voice seemed to shake him somewhat out of his terrified trance.
“The castle walls, they started to...rise. They started to form this goliath creature. It was, it was swirling in black and.... that’s all I saw. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Layla’s face dropped further as he continued his description. “They’re a myth.” She mumbled turning to me. “They are just a myth aren’t they Mike?”
“What are?” Katha screamed from her position wrapped around a nearby tree. “What are they sending at us mum?” She looked terrified, in that second I knew we couldn’t let the kids fight.
The myth of the Golem had died out during my own childhood, one hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years, a dead race of creatures for as long as anyone could remember.
Now it looked like there was one more, locked away for god knows how long under the Van Helsings control. Serving as their castle none the less, a brutal mistreatment of such an ancient creature.
The Golem’s were a peaceful race until provoked, I was unsure how the Vanhelsing’s had trapped it, but by the sound of the swirling black in Theo’s description it wasn’t there by free will.
“Looks like they aren’t anymore”. I staggered towards Katha and peeled her grip from the wood, staggering back to the helicopter with her until she was safe. The archers didn’t seem to be particularly bothered by the shaking ground, their balance was impeccable even in this unrelenting earthquake. All but three of them were surrounding the chopper, two were inside nursing another who appeared to have been seriously injured in the battle.
“Is he okay?” I asked sitting Katha down next to them.
“He should be but he will need someone to keep care of his wound” The elf spoke solemnly.
I called everyone to gather around the helicopter, it not only made standing a lot easier but meant we could begin a plan.
We still needed to buy Morgan time. All I could hope was that they hadn’t been captured or found.
“Katha, I want you to stay here. Your job is to look after him” I pointed at the unconscious blood stained elf. “Pay attention to his wounds.”
“But...” Katha tried to interrupt; one sharp glare from her mother quickly silenced her.
I turned to another archer. “I need you to find all the weapons we have on board, anything that we can find. The rest of you I need up in the trees to keep an eye on our new friend.”
Nodding they began expertly and elegantly scaling the towering woods.
After they had gone Katha stood up once again. “I want to help you. Theo can look after him!”
Her mother and I exchanged a glance before she sighed and turned to the ground. It looked like I would have to be the one to tell the defiant teenage heroine just how much trouble we were really in.
“Katha.” I sighed. “You have no idea what we are up against. You have to promise me you’ll stay here and look after him.”
“Why does he get to go?” She accusingly pointed at Theo, who although still looked stunned was looking considerably more alive than before.
“He has a chance of being able to hurt it from a distance; he’s the only one of us who has anything on this creature. The golem is only made stronger by fire, it just hardens the stone. I’m damn sure they only sent out their swarm to scope out what kind of team we were bringing and we can guarantee whatever they’ve done to it will have only made it stronger. I’m sorry Katha but you have to stay here.”
The reality of just how hopeless our case was becoming seemed to sink in on her.
“We need you to stay with the elf, and try and break it to Theo we need him.”
She nodded slowly and turned her attention silently to the injured body next to her.
“Weapons report sir.” The elf had silently appeared behind me. I had to hand it to them they had stealth.
“Show me.” I commanded.
He brought me over to a large steel container in the back of the pilot’s cabin.
As he opened the box I smiled, gleefully rubbing my hands together. “Now this is what I’m talking about!”