Instead of Arya, I prefer her mom (Eragon)

Reincarnated in the world of Alagaësia, Cedric Merlinson wants nothing more than to follow his namesake's example—by becoming the greatest wizard who ever lived. As far as the big bad was concerned, he couldn't care less. Power-gaming was the name of the game, and he wouldn't let anything get in the way of that. Unfortunately for him, the road to unlimited power wouldn't be without its hurdles...

f0Ri5 · Book&Literature
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39 Chs

Chapter 15

Cedric's prediction turned out correct—it was a week before the Ra'zac moved on, unable to find the slightest clue regarding the egg. To say those seven days were stressful was an extreme understatement. Not only he, but the rest of the villagers lived in a state of constant terror, the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Toward the end, the monsters had shown no signs of withdrawing, and the boy in question was beginning to fear the worst. Perhaps someone's flapping tongue indeed made them suspicious of himself, Brom and Eragon. Or had they discovered the ring of destroyed vegetation in the Spine, where Arya's magic expired?

He kicked himself for forgetting the latter, but he'd been kept so busy with other preparations, his training and trying to hide his experiments from Brom's prying eyes—it was no surprise something slipped his mind.

At one point, he considered implanting false memories in one of the merchants' heads—forbidden to leave, given the undergoing investigation—like having seen the stone in another town. However, he decided against it. As was the case with most things in life, destroying was far easier than creating, and he wasn't confident in such artificial memories bearing scrutiny.

With no other choice, Cedric could only grit his teeth and bear it, hoping the Ra'zac couldn't while away their time so unproductively, producing no results. His guess turned out correct, but that isn't to say Carvahall escaped their 'visit' unscathed.

The day before the creatures' departure, an elderly villager named Brenna went missing. With her husband dead and her children employed in a neighboring village, she lived all by herself—ideal pry for the man-eating monsters.

It was only the next week that her remains were discovered in the forest—a skeleton, stripped clean of flesh, the bones showing signs of nibbling. Some were broken in half, with the marrow extracted.

Knowing the cause, Eragon's reaction was predictable. If it weren't for Brom's persuasions, he might've done something… irrational. However, seeing the old-timer as incensed as himself, and realizing a conflict would only bring more death, he begrudgingly let the monsters' sins go unpunished—for the time being.

However, his sense of justice at least mandated an oath; knowing the kind, elderly lady was likely devoured alive, he would take revenge. For her, and the family she left behind.

Unlike him, Cedric couldn't have felt bad about this outcome even if he tried. Never mind a widowed old woman, half of Carvahall would've been buried with the ruins of their town, or become food for the flesh-eating Ra'zac. This ending was as close to ideal as anyone could've hoped.

Though he knew more hurdles lay waiting off in the future, he allowed himself a pat on the back. For the first time in months, he felt like he could breathe again.

Yet, his training would continue—he wouldn't be at ease otherwise. But… a good soak in a hot bath, a night out at the local tavern and sleeping in the next day; they were rewards he'd more than earned.


A group of figures huddled inside the Seven Sheaves, their heads close together. Though Carvahall had no mayor, it did have something similar to an informal council. This group of men, counting Garrow, the blacksmith Horst, the tavern-keeper Morn, along with others, counted among its members.

Eventually, their talk came to an end, a bald, bearded man sighing and leaning back in his chair.

"Bad business, that's for certain. The king's accursed servants, evil stones, and a mysterious murder… the world's becoming a darker place."

Loring, a man with a face as tanned and lined as the leather he worked with, snorted derisively.

"It's always been so, we've just escaped the worst of it. Remember that troubadour, the one travelling with the merchants? He was saying all sorts of things—talk of Urgals, Shades, giant bat-winged creatures… none of you believed him!"

The bald man pressed his lips together, not happy about being called out. However, he didn't argue, choosing instead to lower his gaze, his expression one of deep thought.

Horst, the muscled blacksmith, grunted, crossing his burly arms.

"Perhaps you're right. On account of being on the Empire's edge, we've been spared the worst of it. However, things are changing. Sitting here, waiting for things to get worse, isn't an option. We need to-…"

Their conversation continued, but the two boys, seated at a table on the other end of the room, didn't pay much attention. Or, well, Cedric didn't—Eragon did his best, but it was near impossible to overhear over the tavern's din.

The red-haired youth sipped his own mead—watered down on account of being a child—draped bonelessly over his chair. Right now, the only thing he wanted to think about was how he'd fit three mutton-stuffed bread rolls in his stomach.

Eragon wasn't so at ease. The current situation played a role, but there was also Cedric's matter—manipulating the villagers' minds. On account of the crisis and his injury after, it hadn't been addressed. However, this wasn't the place for such a discussion.

He sighed, staring into his own mead, though it was a tad stronger than his friend's.

"So, you burst into tears?"

Under his tired tone, there was a hint of teasing.

Cedric snorted, his eyes still wandering behind the counter, trying to see how far Tara was with his food—tavernkeeper Morn's wife.

"Yes, yes. I'm sure you and everyone else who witnessed that little spectacle found it incredibly amusing. None the less, it had the intended effect of obscuring my vision, and breaking the Ra'zac's control."

The small smile on Eragon's face faded as he recalled his own experience with the monsters, having only escaped with Brom and Saphira's aid. Without them, he'd not have resisted their paralysis.

"No… I doubt anyone would've thought badly of you if you'd genuinely cried. Those things were… terrifying."

He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself, before posing a question.

"Brom knew what they were. Why didn't he tell us earlier? We could've… I don't know, prepared better."

Cedric's eyes briefly flicked toward him, shrugging.

"Who knows what goes on inside that old fart's head? My only guess is he didn't quite believe my vision, or maybe he didn't want to, or perhaps he believed the figures were someone else…"

Eragon sunk in his chair, putting his head in his hands. He'd heard of Cedric's vision during one of their training sessions, but he hadn't put much stock in it either. Of course, he feared someone might come looking for the egg, but… prophetic visions of dark, cloaked figures? That seemed far too outlandish at the time.

"…he's not quite what I expected."

The latter part, Cedric muttered quietly, mostly to himself.

Eragon looked up from the table.

"Brom? What do you mean?"

Before the red-head could answer, one of Tara's serving girls arrived with their meals. Her name was Milly, the daughter of a local soap-maker. She was rather pretty, with big, brown eyes and curly, brown hair.

When she was done, she collected their coppers, alongside Eragon's empty tankard. Though, as she returned to the kitchen, she looked Cedric in the eyes for a full second, her full lips curving into a smile. Then she was gone.

Eragon showed and expression of surprise, glancing between his friend and the retreating girl. Cedric was certainly handsome, so it wasn't surprising he attracted female attention, but… to put it politely, people thought he was a tad strange, and his family had a bad reputation—not exactly the type a mother or father would want their daughter marrying.

"What was all that? You and her, are you…?"

Cedric shook his head, already digging in to his meal.

"Of course not."

His tone was so decisive it gave Eragon a bit of pause.

"…it's none of my business, but, well, why not? Aren't you interested in her? A lot of boys are, Milly is… quite pretty."

He was never the type to believe rumors, and before their… involvement, Eragon and Cedric never had much to do with each other, aside from exchanging the occasional greeting, and that incident by the river—though it was a long time ago, already.

Regardless, he'd come to realize his friend was indeed strange, and perhaps a lot stranger than even the villagers thought. Similar to Brom, he simply didn't have a clue what went on in Cedric's head.

"I'm a wizard, Eragon. She's just a normal village girl."

It wasn't the answer the young rider expected, and when he heard it, he found himself frowning.

"So, what does that matter? I don't mean to lecture you, but… it feels to me as if you're looking down on her. We may be different from the rest in Carvahall, but that doesn't mean it's right to…"

Cedric rolled his eyes, sticking a hand inside his cloak and withdrawing a napkin.

"Looking down on her? A relationship between us—how would that even work? We're far too different, and I'm not going to be here forever. Am I supposed to take her with me when I leave? How would her parents feel? Besides-…"

He started listing off reasons one after the other, but eventually he shut his mouth, ending it with a final sentence.

"…I don't even like her, so it's a moot point anyway. Now, eat your stew and stop bothering me. Seriously, like father like son…"

Eragon barely heard the last bit, his thoughts already turning in a different direction. Was he projecting his feelings onto Cedric? Perhaps that was indeed the case. Like his friend, a normal life may not be possible for him. Would he be forced to leave Carvahall? Aside from this little village, he didn't know anything else!

Suddenly, he didn't feel all that hungry anymore.