[RO] A realm the size of a room
#1
Evening. The day Jasper died[+975]
The day held back nothing on Bellad Songthorn. Hours ago he held the man who saved his life in his arms. Hours ago that life ended, gurgling helpless pleas for the healer to save him. It was a wonder he’d stayed as many hours afterwards intact. But through this time the way he wearily gave commands, the way he paused occasionally to regard his hands as though he had not done a thorough enough job of washing off the deep red blood of the deceased keeper of the Underthing, made everyone face the fact he could not stay. Try as he might to stand, to lead and to heal in the wake of this tragedy.

For the first time since their confinement in the Bastion began, he did not shrug off the words of those who called on the Councilor to step out of the infirmary and finally get some rest. Gentle force proved sufficient. And not attempting to stop him was all it took for him not to look back.

Bellad walked through the hallways of the Bastion as if in a daze. It would not be all too unexpected, considering everything that has transpired. After many days of hunger, of barely any decent sleep, to suffer such a death up-close was a powerful blow to bear. Preventing it was impossible, but somehow he felt he should have made it possible all the same. His peripheral vision seemed blurry. The exhausted healer hardly knew just where he was going, but his legs carried him somewhere he wanted to be.

He followed a scent. Familiar notes wafting through the air. Flowers, spices, charcoal and earth. How could he ever forget her scent even with blood and thawed snow filling his nostrils with their incessant odor in the infirmary?

With a blank, dumbfounded expression, Bellad Songthorn stood in the doorway of her room. Of their room. Where they studied and rested and spent time with their children. Home that smelled of Fennore. Of his family. But it was just a trace. She wasn’t there. Fennore was busy elsewhere. While he had been dismissed from the infirmary for the day, she had yet to return from her duties.

This was right. This was how it should have been. There was so much to do. There was so much. So much…

The door creaked closed behind his back and he made a few more steps into the empty room. She was in the Bastion, she just wasn’t here now. His daughter was in the Bastion, just not here right now. His son was…

Alone in his room, Bellad collapsed to his knees and, without anyone to hear, he cried. He didn’t know why – his wife and daughter couldn’t have been far. His allies from the Circle hadn't abandoned him. His pack was hurt, but still near. Yet with consciousness worn, stripped down to that of a scared puppy, he mistook the room in which he was for the entire world. And in this world, for what to him couldn’t possibly be perceived as anything but a time till the end of days, he was alone. Shivering, shaking, weeping, hugging himself for lack of any other arms to call on in this time of need.

Slowly exhausting these sudden tears, choking on his own quiet sobs, Bellad lifted his teary-eyed muzzle upwards. He sniffed the air again, finding all those familiar scents, wishing they were a rope by which he could pull all that was dear to him back to his chest and never let it go. He took a few shaky breaths, wiped his face and tried to get back to his feet. He didn’t want to, but he did it all the same.

Before he could be discovered in this state, before he could be found for whatever reason or purpose, he took his time to shiver, lament and succumb to weakness. He traced every object in the room as if it were a lifeline. As if to know every bit of the tiny room-sized world and draw on something from the familiarity. A grown-up Bellad called weakly to the scared cub, tried to order him to stop crying, to apply himself instead, like they always had. There had to be something of use to do, but neither one of them could find the strength. The former too tired and the latter too scared no one was coming to the room.

Just like he navigated the room by touch in his daze, he slowly pieced together the few things he still felt he had the strength for. And in a cradle in his mind he found something unexpected, something often left forgotten.

Would his Light truly care for a song more than for something to better aid her?

Maybe, if only for now, he would offer one all the same.

He tested his breath before trying to lift his voice. Sobs and breaks did not fit in the song and he wouldn’t tarnish it with his sorrow. He would not sing her, nor anyone who would hear the sounds coming from his room, a plea or lamentation. No he chose a different song, and gradually, mustering use of his breath again, he let it flow.

He sang of hope, of salvation. He sang of the things that may have been coveted by those outside the realm the size of a room. He sent the sounds outwards, letting them resonate, not knowing who would hear, but hoping Fennore would be among them. Even if it would be her alone, then that would be worth putting all his heart into it.

At least for a little while, the world sounded like peace.

And in the aftermath, when he ran out of verses to sing, Bellad went to the empty bed, curled up, and let his mind sink into emptiness.


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