Cedoric had been dreading sleep, doing everything he could to avoid it. For a while, his efforts had been going well. It had been approximately three days since he had caught some shut-eye, and was to the point where he didn’t really feel like he needed the sleep anymore. When the group had set up camp to rest, he kept in his tent and managed to make himself appear to sleep, only to sit wide-eyed with his back to Wraith. He knew he couldn’t keep it up the whole way, but he was sure going to try; he’d do anything to avoid the nightmares of losing his family all over again.
Night had begun it’s approach, and the Wayfarers were rather close to returning to Durrow. It would likely be the last time they needed to set up camp. Wordlessly, Cedoric helped the others until they had all been prepared for rest. He and Wraith curled up within their tent, and Cedoric readied himself for another long night with his thoughts.
Much to his surprise, he slowly found himself struggling to keep his eyes open. Wraith’s steady breathing, coupled with the comfortable night air, seemed to almost hypnotize the young man. He was fearful of drifting off into the unknown, threatening dreams, but as the minutes passed by and the insects of the night began their symphony, he let himself close his eyes, finding a peaceful state. There was a dream, of course. But much to his relief, it was no nightmare. This time, it was not just a dream, but a memory from Forochel that he would cherish for the rest of his days.
He found himself again at the Fjords of Remembrance, his mother at his side holding gently at his arm. The memory was as clear as day, and he could even feel his heart pounding at the prospect of what he and his mother would find there. He thought back to when he had interacted with Deep-Gaze, remembering that single desire that sang in his heart as he looked within the mirror: to see his family reunited.
Cedoric’s eyes swept over the crystalline waters, searching nervously for, well, he didn’t know. His mother gently caressed his arm in support, keeping silent as they waited. At first, a simple fog began to roll in, though it seemed more concentrated than any normal sort of fog. Once it reached the land on which Cedoric and his mother stood, a figure began to form until the image of Ulfric was in plain sight.
Unlike in the nightmares, this time Ulfric looked at peace. He wore a soft, serene expression, his translucent form floating forward until he was right in front of the pair. Cedoric’s mother’s face softened as well, and she released Cedoric’s arm to reach out to Ulfric, letting him envelope her in a loving embrace. Cedoric choked up, both in happiness and relief to see his brother one last time.
After a few moments between Ulfric and their mother, he turned, placing his hand upon Cedoric’s shoulder.
“I…I am sorry I left you, my brother. I am so, so sorry,” Cedoric blurted out, tears streaming down his face.
Ulfric said nothing, watching his younger brother begin to break down. Before Cedoric could say more, however, the mist began to twist and contort, giving way to another shape.
The sight of his father took a much harder toll than Cedoric thought it would. Perhaps he had hoped that somehow, some way, his father had still been alive. Maybe there had been a way to bring him back, or that everything had just been a nightmare. But the confirmation of his father’s death stood before him, and he broke down into sobs.
Nothing Cedoric tried to say was coherent, just a mix of sobs and broken sentences. Godric, just as serene as Ulfric appeared to be, stepped forward and very slowly, very gently, wrapped his arms around the three. At that moment, Cedoric realized that this was the reunion that he had wished for with all his heart.
The overwhelming emotions he felt brought him to his knees, and so too did the rest of the family follow. The father, mother, and two sons held each other wordlessly, Cedoric’s sobs the only sound being heard. Fog swirled gently around the family, and as the memory began to fade away, the sound of his father’s voice rumbled across his mind.
And so he did.
The rest of the journey back to Durrow had been thankfully uneventful. Their horses were stabled, and the group began to go back to their homes. Cedoric had refused help with carrying both he and his father’s belongings, moving at a slow pace with Wraith towards Godric’s home. When they arrived, they both stopped in unison before the steps. After a long, uncomfortable silence, Cedoric moved forward and set down a pack to open the door for her. With her head low, she trotted inside, making her way directly to Godric’s bed.
Cedoric entered in after her, and once he had brought in all the items, he shut the door. The sound of it was so hollow, so empty. It was like a resonating reminder of finality. The Rohir turned, facing the entry room with a pained expression as his mind began to wander. Slowly, he moved to rest his palms on the top of the table, closing his eyes while leaning over it.
Here and now in a better outcome, he had planned on giving his father the good news of deciding to join the Wayfarers. He and Godric likely would have embraced, then talked of their plans on when to go back to Rohan to visit. They would have discussed the routes to take, when to leave, when they would return. Planning Ulfric’s memorial would have likely been brought up. Cedoric would have been more open with his father about what was on his mind.
But now, the only thing certain, was an incomplete home.
His grip tightened on the table as anguish washed over him, and he lashed out, lifting it by the edge and flipping it in it’s entirety. Maps and parchment went fluttering about the room as Cedoric continued on in his rage, taking up one of the chairs. The moment the noise of the table crashing down was sounded, Wraith immediately flew into the room, looking ready to destroy whatever it was that was potentially a threat. She was shocked, however, to find that it was an inconsolable Cedoric.
With all of his strength, he struck the chair against the wall, wood splintering in various directions as the seat basically shattered from the collision.
“DAMN IT ALL!”
Wraith kept to the side until she knew for sure he was finished. When the telltale signs of his anger subsiding surfaced, she pattered across the floor and sat at his feet, staring up at him. Cedoric had no patience for the stern look in her eyes, and he turned, making his way to his bed. “I’ll clean it up tomorrow,” he muttered, sinking down onto the mattress. and lifting his eyes to stare at the ceiling. She kept staring at him for a while, but soon ceased and left him alone, returning to Godric’s bed where she would sleep.
Cedoric slowly turned on his side, letting out a deep sigh. He couldn’t begin to imagine how things were going to pan out now. Would he still join the Wayfarers? Would he go back to Rohan? Would Opechancanough and the Uruk be sought out? For some hours, he laid on his bed with so many questions and frustrations. As sleep finally took him, the soft rumble of a storm began far off in the distance.
A crack of thunder rippled across the sky over Durrow, clouds opening up to let loose a steady flow of rain. Cedoric’s eyes snapped open, his body going rigid. The longer the sound of the rain pattered on the roof, the more distant his eyes went. In a sudden burst of movement, the Rohir jumped to his feet and grasped at the spear his father had given him and small shield Cedoric had once carried into battle.
“Theoden King has fallen!” He cried out, flinging the door to the home wide open and surging forth into the rain and mud. From within the other room, Wraith’s ears perked up and she listened in confusion. Knowing that something was quite clearly wrong, she flew from the bed and out after Cedoric, barking madly.
The man jabbed his spear violently into the air at the non-existent enemies, his eyes wild with battle fever. Wraith kept her distance, continuing to bark and snarl. He began shouting incoherent words into the air, speaking to either himself, or perhaps unseen brothers in arms. The moment his back was turned, Wraith took her chance and used all of her weight to jump onto him, pushing him to the ground.
When he dropped, he struggled somewhat until he was onto his back. Exhaustion began to overwhelm him, and in between his panting, he simply stared ahead as if watching something within his mind. His lips moved, but no sound came out.
Wraith laid on his chest and licked furiously at his face, yipping and even biting lightly at what skin she could get a hold of. He was slow to come out of what had happened, but when he did, he continued to stare up at the sky, rain soaking both he and Wraith entirely. With his shield strapped to his arm and spear in a death grasp at his hand, Cedoric lay in the mud, dazed and confused. He lifted his head slightly to look at Wraith, his brows furrowed.
“Why am I outside?”