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
Not enough ratings
39 Chs

Chapter 17

Cutlery clattered against bowls and plates as Cedric and Brom had their breakfast. The atmosphere was uncomfortable and devoid of conversation. Over the past few days, Cedric's 'transgressions' had been addressed time and time again, but the boy was unrepentant.

His attitude enraged Brom, but there was little he could do. The lad was beyond the mental age where a good caning would have any effect, and stopping him from practicing magic was impossible.

At an impasse, the old rider could only keep his mouth shut, to avoid pointless arguments and as a form of punishment. Cedric wanted to learn the ancient language? Well, now he wasn't hearing so much as a single syllable.

When dinner came to an end, the youth, pushed back his chair and grabbing their greasy, wooden plates. Though he wasn't sorry, he did all the chores around the house anyway. He thought it a prudent gesture, a way of showing he didn't want lasting enmity.

For all the trouble Brom gave him, the storyteller was housing and feeding him for free. Whatever the old man's motives, it was a kindness Cedric couldn't ignore. Back on Earth, he'd a hard enough time, caring for his basic needs. Even more so in this world, where making do without was the norm.

"When you're done, put the kettle on. And don't run off. We're expecting a guest."

Now in the kitchen, Cedric's scrubbing paused briefly, the only indication that he'd heard. He was curious, but it didn't last for more than a second. Brom was hardly a social butterfly, so it wasn't hard to guess who'd be showing up.

A few minutes later, as Cedric expected, Eragon arrived. While the red-head wasn't surprised about his presence, his friend's situation did surprise him. He was dressed for travelling—in thick, winter clothes with a rough cloak draped over his shoulders. On his back, he had a knapsack big enough to be containing his every possession.

Coming out of the kitchen with the kettle and a few cups, Cedric's gaze flicked suspiciously from him to Brom.

"Eragon. What's all this, then?"

The young rider greeted Cedric with a nod, his expression revealing his own confusion.

"What do you mean? You're coming with us, aren't you? Brom said as much."


There was an uncomfortable silence as the two boys stared at each other. Eventually, Eragon broke away, looking at Brom. The old man was sitting on his stool, staring impatiently at the kettle in Cedric's hand.

"Damn it, get over here with that kettle! Winter's not over yet, and I need something to keep my guts warm."

Cedric, who was starting to get a bad feeling, narrowed his eyes. He retreated a few steps, holding the kettle at arm's length.

"How about you tell me what's going on first? Eragon said something about me 'going with you'. You're planning a journey? I agreed to no such thing."

Brom held his gaze for a few moments before sighing, stroking his beard.

"I hate it when you play dumb. And for gods' sake, put down that kettle before you hurt yourself, then we'll have a proper conversation."

When Cedric didn't move, he all but growled, getting up from his chair. Walking deliberately to his young ward, he pried the kettle from his fingers before sitting it on a rusted iron frame.

"Don't stand there like a statue, boy. You knew this was coming, as did we all. Did you really think it was safe for you and Eragon to remain in Carvahall? Or, more importantly, is it safe for Carvahall to be housing you two?"

Pulling back from Brom's face, all but shoved into his own, Cedric eyebrows furrowed involuntarily. He didn't like where this was going, not one bit. Gallivanting across the empire was exactly what he'd been wanting to avoid. Not only would he gain nothing, his magical experiments would all but grind to a halt.

"I won't go. You can't force me either. Whatever you and Eragon have planned, I want no part of it."

He distanced himself from Brom, casting a wayward glance at his friend. He saw a conflicted expression there, one that was almost sympathetic.

"If I'm not welcome here, then I'll go somewhere else. That's all there is to it."

Hearing his words, a vein pulsed near the old storyteller's temple. He looked like he wanted to strangle Cedric until he turned blue.

"'Not welcome here'? You know that's not true, nor was it my meaning! Stop feeling sorry for yourself and acknowledge the reality of the situation! Eragon could, why can't you…?"

He was about to continue his rant, but exercising his willpower, Brom took a deep breath. The redness that'd been reaching up from his neck to his face receded, regaining a measure of calm.

He gestured toward the table.

"You don't have to agree with me right now. At least sit down, listen to what I have to say. After you've done that, well… you can make your decision."

For a moment, the room was silent. Then, Cedric gave a single, sharp nod, reclaiming his chair. Though he had no intention of being convinced, he didn't want to appear unreasonable. Besides, he wasn't in the mood for another round of shouting.

Brom looked at Eragon, gesturing to a third stool.

"Put down your things, have a seat. More than myself or Cedric, this issue concerns you, Eragon. Might as well pitch in, give your own opinion where you feel it needed."

The old man then went about making some tea, mixing a handful of leaves he procured from somewhere. It wasn't a common thing, drinking tea, but Cedric was grateful for it. Milk and ale were fine and dandy, but he found himself missing some of the common food and drink from his past life.

Accepting a cup, he slowly sipped from it. It was sweetened with honey—a common enough luxury, and one available every season, due to its ease of preservation. Feeling his tongue loosen from the sticky-sweet taste and strangely heady aroma, he started talking.

"Listen here, you two. There's one thing you must understand—I never wanted this for myself. I enjoy my peace, and I enjoy quiet. What I don't enjoy is the idea of waving around swords and hurling spells like I'm some kind of fairy-tale hero. If that's what you have in mind, you're going to have to count me out. And don't try to guilt trip me by bringing up Galbatorix and his misdeeds. They've got nothing to do with me. If people don't like living under his thumb, they should pack their bags and fuck off to somewhere else."

Blowing on his mug, he took a bigger swallow, feeling the warm liquid travel down his throat and into his stomach. As expected, there weren't many things that rivaled a warm meal and a hot drink on an icy, late-winter day.

"If people value their property so much they aren't willing to give it up to save their lives, then that's that. Am I saying they deserve their fates? Maybe, maybe not. But why should I risk my neck for them? Most people in this damn empire wouldn't piss on me if I were on fire."

Glancing at his 'companions', he saw Eragon's expression worsening, evidently not liking this kind of talk, and the swearing even less. Well, he could go fuck himself, or so Cedric thought. Not like his opinion was going to change anything.

And Brom, well, he seemed almost bored. Annoying bastard.

"Oh, go on. Do let us know what you really think, Cedric."

Instead of jumping in with some sanctimonious argument, the old storyteller waved a hand idly, motioning for Cedric to continue. When Eragon looked at Brom in anger, like expecting him to interject, or perhaps wanting to roll up his sleeves and step into the ring himself, the senior held him back.

"There'll be time for that later, boy. Let him blow off some of that hot air. The gods know, he's full enough of it as things stand."

Cedric felt his face heating up, his temper flaring like a stoked forge. What little restraint he had vanished like mist under the morning sun.

He was hallway through a tremendous rant when his brain finally caught up with his mouth. Why was he talking so damned much? It wasn't his style to spout so much nonsense.

His throat strangely dry, he looked away from the wide-eyed Eragon and narrow-eyed Brom, staring at the bottom of his cup. It was empty.

For a while, he was silent. His thoughts were unusually sluggish, like his brains had been replaced by molasses. Something was definitely wrong. And then it clicked.

His pupils widening, he stared, shocked and disbelieving at Brom.

"You wouldn't…!"

The old man's disapproving expression turned predatory, like a cat with its paw on a mouse's tail.

"Enjoy your tea, Cedric? It's a blend I've been saving up. Expensive stuff, too. I'd rather have not used it, but you made it abundantly clear no argument was going to move you. Fact is, I can't let you out of my sight, no matter what. It would be beyond irresponsible of me."

He stood up from his chair as Cedric started tilting backwards. The red-head felt like a sailor who'd set foot on shore after months at sea. Everything was swimming, tilting this way and that. He opened his mouth to speak, but the only sound he managed to produce was a bout of retching, nausea surging up into his chest.

"Feel free to let me know just how much you hate me after waking, but know I do this out of genuine concern. For you, and everyone around you."

A hand steadying his shoulder, Cedric felt his consciousness slipping away. He tried to claw it back, but it was like squeezing a slick, wet bar of soap.

The last thing he heard before everything went black was Eragon, shouting in alarm.