18. The Journey

Egfor readjusted the death grip he held on Elf's reins. The horse tossed his head and champed on the bit, telling Egfor his grip was too tight. Egfor mumbled an apology in Rohirric and loosened the grip. Dem rode alongside Egfor, their legs bumping each other. He felt Dem's hand on his knee, snapping him out of his thoughts. He smiled faintly at his husband. 

He was scared, terrified. He did not want the girls to worry that they won't come back, so he did not properly say good by or anything of the sorts. He feared death was imminent. Why wouldn't it be facing such a foe. His shoulders slumped, thinking of how he was leading this party to their doom. They were such good friends, loyal friends, every single one of them. They were willing to follow him into dragon fire and death. He blindly grasped Dem's hand as they rode.

And his husband... A foolish man. He should be at least staying at home and taking care of the girls so they are all not orphans... again, but no, he stubbornly stuck at Egfor's side. He should be thankful, but all he felt was overwhelming guilt and grief. This situation, all of it, was entirely his fault. If anyone died or got hurt, it was his fault. As much as Dem tried to convince him otherwise, or tried to pin the blame on Copperspire or any other poor soul not deserving of the blame, it was Egfor's fault. It was his hand that foolishly touched the artifact. He barely heard as Dem spoke about the pie recipe that Egfor had got from a hobbit on their journey through the Shire. His heart was heavy, he could not smile.