Cold.. I feel so cold..
On the warm down bed of the Houses of Healing lies Torrigan. His sunken eyes dart beneath their lids, his breathing is shallow. He lies in a state of fever, sweat beads on his brow and wets his now lank blonde hair. His cracked lips move wordlessly.
Why.. no.. the cold..
He dreams, seeing flashes of his life in his mind's eye.
He rubs his eyes with a sleeve, holding his father's hand as he lays a flower of Simbelmynë on a newly raised mound. He looks up at his father, his idol, and sees a broken man.
Young, on horseback, in Rohan. A charge, into the depths of a battle. He spurs his horse on with the others. Sharp battle cries. They meet the enemy. A great Dunlending shivers his lance. A riderless horse passes him. He looks to his right as a man, screaming, is thrown from his horse and set upon with sharp axes. The man, no, a mere boy of sixteen, tries to crawl; a sobbing, screaming mess. He loses half his face and lies still.
He enters his father's hall, now a young man. His father sits before the hearth, holding an empty but ornately jewelled and crafted sword sheath. Bottles at his feet. Torrigan slowly shuts the door and walks from the hall.
The frozen wastes.. all is ice..
He is walking deep in snow. Surrounded by great mountains. He carries no weapons, for no weapon will upon him bite. A horn is in his hand. He sets it to his lips and blows a great call. The mountains call with him.
All is ice and snow..
He stands at the front of a great host of Rohirrim. The Lord of the Glanhír. Tall and proud and strong, a mighty man, a great Horselord of Rohan. His spear is long and sharp and his shield is bright. His great warsteed whickers under him as he leads the charge.
Victorious, he stands in the halls of Aldburg and receives a toast from the Third Marshal of the Riddermark. Lord Éomer calls for silence and begins to sing of the victory. The fire in the hall gutters out and a frost coats Lord Éomer and the men, they stand still before crumbling.
Even the great will fall to the cold..
He stands alone in the halls of Meduseld. A dead king, coated in hoarfrost, sits in the once golden throne. At his side stands a cold wraith. From forth its mouth a long black tongue slithers and laps at Torrigan's feet. He is frozen to the spot as the tongue works its way across the hall, lapping tenderly at the dead king's shoulders. Torrigan draws his sword and the tongue withdraws. The wraith opens its mouth and shrieks frozen death incarnate.
Torrigan walks into the Combe and Wattle Inn and looses a crossbow bolt into the leg of a young man standing before a fireplace. A woman screams and runs to hide as he advances on the now whimpering man.
He looks back at the gates of Edoras, frozen tears on his face. All is covered in ice and snow. He leaps atop a horse and rides away.
A frozen wasteland..
He lowers the horn at his side and marches slowly through the snow. Step by step into the frozen wastes. A terrible blizzard descends.
His mailed fist descends upon a man's face with a crunch. The man begs and pleads and spits out broken teeth. Torrigan's great mailed fist, coated with ice, descends again and the man's face cracks and shatters.
He sits before a fire that carries no warmth. A woman next to him pleads with him and he hears nothing but the cracking of frozen water. He is lost. No sense of being. Nothing but the cold.
He stands beside a dwarf and two elves, their forms like shadows. He swings a hammer down and breaks apart an ancient chest. Within is a longsword. Sharp and bright, of rippling steel. It seems to Torrigan a tongue of living fire, a dragon's flame turned to steel. His inheritance at last.
The elf, with bright greedy eyes screams in frozen fury as he grapples with Torrigan for the sword. Torrigan runs the elf through in his rage with the burning blade. The elf's blood coats the steel and quenches the fire. Torrigan flees from the wrath of the elf's brethren.
Standing on a wall. Great winged men and women around him, filled with fire, fighting valiantly. The ram booms against the gate. The rammers are cast down. Men and orcs die together around him. A young man of Dale is cut from shoulder to hip by a great orc. Torrigan slides his longsword up into the orc's gullet as the man dies beside him. They take back the walls and a great yell goes up from the Black Uruk Captain. A catapult is loaded and fired; a great flaming skull arcs through the night sky. A heartbeat. The wall is blown apart easily as a child knocks down an anthill. The men closest simply ceased to exist. Bodies. Men and orcs sent screaming from the night sky. Some are torn limb from limb.
He awakes. Stands. Can't hear. He looks about at the devastation of the walls. Fire. Death. A cold wind rises. A great blizzard coats all in snow. The fires die and the remaining men are buried.
Like Béma, Oromë, the Valaróma blowing loudly at his lips, galloping in blazing fury, a sword of fire in his hand, he charges into the snow and it melts before him. Victory once more.
Frost once more. Marching into the cold dead city. So cold. Drowning in frozen water. Wielding a blade of ice. Death's cold touch in his hand.
He walks through the snow and sets the horn to his lips. With a mighty breath he blows and the mountains echo with his dying call. The cold seeps into his skin, into his very soul. The fire in his heart is quenched and his muscles stiffen. As his body is consumed by ice and the rime clouds his vision he is suddenly born up, looking down on the great frozen warrior, knees unbent, surrounded by snow.
The vision shatters, exploding into silver glass and a curtain of grey rain. The faint smell of Simbelmynë tea comes to him and he sits, a child once more, at his mother's feet as she hums a wordless song to him.