AN 1: I am sorry but I do not have internet at my house. Someone busted my satilite dish and knocked it loose, making it lean towards the left but the force was enough to also break off a couple parts of the white plastic surrounding the cable on the satilite dish. I can't get anyone out until March 30th to get the internet fixed and am at the library right now updating this story, so you'll have to wait a while.
AN 2: I am working on From the Ashes, Painting the Jungle, and Phantom Betrayal updates at home at the moment.
A week's ride later and the pair found themselves marched through the gates of Uru'baen towards a castle which was incorporated into a black citadel. Overhead flew the king's Dragon-Rider, a dragon with vermillion eyes and scales that glittered like rubies. White talons shone on each of its paws and white spikes lined the tail with two white spikes sticking out of its cheeks. Resting upon a saddle on the dragon's shoulders was a man of eighteen, only two years older than Roran. Tall spire-like buildings that were made of glass and stone abounded within the city. Above the city was a large overhang of stone that protected the city and six emerald towers which stood out and were beautiful to behold. A richer shade of emerald than Harry's own eyes. It was the citadel they were heading towards, the hands of both Harry and Roran bound behind their backs as the trio of soldiers that found Roran and this other boy in Gil'ead were with them.
Although there were citizens about as well as slaves that belonged to the king and to the rich citizens who could afford them out and about on the streets, none stopped to look at the two captives being escorted up to the citadel. They had seen young men being taken to the citadel numerous times during the king's reign to be bothered by a couple of boys who thought they could skirt their duty to joining the army. When they got to the gates leading into the city, they went through without a word to the guards stationed there and into the citadel itself. As Harry walked through the gates, he couldn't help but feel strange. A sense of foreboding hit him yet he also felt something pulling at him, silently begging him to come further into the citadel. Unknown to him, Roran felt the same pull, as if something were drawing him inside the citadel and along the hallways to where the throne room was where the king and his enslaved dragon were waiting. Two eggs, one a startling shade of emerald and the other a rich burgundy rested within a pouch at the king's feet.
Galbatorix was a cold and shrewd man. Once bonded to a female dragon named Jarnunvösk, his partner had died when she had been nine-years-old, slain by an arrow that was enchanted by an Urgal Shaman and fatally wounded. Galbatorix was a young rider who did not know the arts to save his partner and she died in his arms, the bodies of their two companions and their own dragons slain by Urgals after venturing too far into the Spine where the Urgals lived. Galbatorix had gone mad with grief and eventually was found by a farmer who had contacted the riders to take him home.
The Council of Riders had denied Galbatorix the opportunity of another dragon and so Galbatorix had waged war on the Riders. He had fled to the north, to places that even the riders dared not tread, and there he had been trained under the Shade Durza who taught him Dark Magic. When he had grown strong, he went back to Vroengard, the home of the Riders, and persuaded a sympathetic rider to lure out and kill an Elder. Galbatorix then turned on his ally and killed the rider and his dragon in cold blood, taking the dragon's Eldunari for himself. He then fled into the wilds and bided his time, bending the Eldunari to his will. Years would pass for the Mad Rider and he would eventually find a strong but weak-willed man named Morzan. After persuading the man to join his cause, the gate to the nursery in the elf city Ilirea, later known as Uru'baen, was left open. There Galbatorix went in, slayed a young rider of a newly hatched dragon and took the dragon for himself. Through Dark Magics that he had learned from Durza, Galbatorix named the dragon hatchling Shruikan and twisted the poor creature's mind with the Dark Magics, bonding the hatchling to himself and forcing it to obey his will.
There had been the Fall of the Riders, led by Galbatorix. He and his riders had managed to collect three dragon eggs and the Eldunarya or the Heart of Hearts of dragons. These Eldunarya were the source of Galbatorix's power. He had taken over Ilirea and slain the elves and riders that lived there with his own Forsworn or Wyrdfell in the Ancient Language. Galbatorix had even killed Vrael, Head of the Riders in Galbatorix's time at Vroengard. After slaying the king of the Brodding Empire, Galbatorix had declared himself king and had ruled for a century. Brom had eventually been killed by Durza and Brom had slain Morzan, the last of his riders. Although the blue egg had been stolen by a thief that Galbatorix speculated of working for the Varden, the red and emerald eggs lay safely within the Citadel. The last egg, a Burgundy egg, was unknown to the Varden or the elves for it contained the son or daughter of his dragon Shruikan and of Morzan's ruby dragon. Galbatorix had also taken the Eldunarya of the dragons under his service when they died.
But before the Battle of the Burning Plains, he had his evil pair of magicians, known simply as The Twins, capture Murtagh and bring him to Uru'baen. There the red egg had hatched for Murtagh and after torturing the newborn dragon, Murtagh had sworn fealty to the Mad King. Thorn's growth had been enhanced and his speed augmented through Dark Magic so the ruby dragon could survive in a fight with the blue rider…a boy named Eragon of who the blue dragon had hatched for.
The red dragon landed within the main courtyard of the castle and the rider undid the straps that secured his legs to the saddle before the man jumped to the ground. The rider had fair skin, dark brown hair and gray eyes. The son of Morzan and Selena and brother to Eragon. Resting a gloved hand upon the dragon's neck, Murtagh Morzansson and his dragon Thorn strode after the trio of soldiers with their two captives towards the Throne Room. The ruby pair had been sent to Gil'ead when Galbatorix had received news that there had been an incident in Gil'ead...a young boy with jet black hair and emerald eyes had bumped into a soldier, and a brown-haired man with gray eyes had run down the road to aid the fallen boy. One of the soldiers had turned and recognized the man from Carvahall, a man named Roran Garrowson. The reason was that the man had once lived in Carvahall and had known Roran as a child before he had been taken to the Army three years prior to Roran's running away. So Galbatorix had sent his Dragon-Rider to Gil'ead to bring these two to the castle along with the trio of soldiers involved in the incident.
Walking into the Throne Room, they saw a man with tan skin, black hair and black eyes sitting in a gold throne. Behind the man's throne was what appeared a black curtain, however the curtain seemed to be almost breathing…this was the terror of the skies, Shruikan. A pouch lay at the man's feet, the man appearing between his thirties or forties to Harry. Within the pouch the green and burgundy eggs shifted, the unhatched dragons sensing the presence of their perspective riders'. These eggs, one unknown to the Varden…could turn the tide of the war in the Black King's favor.
Harry and Roran were shoved onto the floor of the Throne Room, the soldiers bowing to their king along with the red dragon and its rider as they stopped before the throne. "We brought the soldier who recognized the brown-haired man sire," said Murtaugh as he remained beside Thorn whose vermillion eyes were upon the boy. The ruby dragon wasn't sure why but the boy seemed scared and confused about why he was here and where he was. Almost like Thorn had been when the king had expedited his growth through dark magic.
Galbatorix dropped his gaze to the two people before him and motioned to have their heads lifted. A pair of guards did as commanded and soon two pairs of eyes; one pair gray and one a startling shade of bright green, reminding Galbatorix of a pair of emerald gems. Oddly enough, the eyes were disconcerting to look at, yet pretty as well, though he wouldn't admit that to anyone. Roran glared defiantly at the king, trying to think of a way out of this while Harry's eyes went to the hulking black dragon that was like a living curtain, curled up behind the king's throne room and staring at the young man and boy facing his master. "What are your names?" Galbatorix questioned the pair, having searched both boys' minds and found their true names. As for the sack at his feet containing the two last dragon eggs in the world, he was curious to see if these eggs would hatch for this pair…something about the emerald-eyed boy intrigued him and the young man…well, if the solider were correct, he was the cousin of that farm boy Eragon who had given him some trouble lately. If, at least one of the eggs reacted to the cousin of Eragon, then it would be interesting to see if he could then bend the boy to his will.
"Harry Potter," said Harry as he too looked at the king, lifting a hand to rub at where his scar had been, the beginnings of a headache beginning to form which were the memories, knowledge and power of one Tom Riddle Jr. up until the night his parents had been killed being absorbed into Harry's consciousness and mixed with his own knowledge. Sadly, the scar on his hand from his detentions with Professor Umbridge had not faded. There was no reaction to his name, no recognition that the Potter family or his fame as the 'Boy-Who-Lived' and again, Harry wondered if nobody here in this world knew of him. While he was pleased that for once, he wouldn't be stared at or questioned by anyone here about the events of how he'd become an orphan, he wasn't too sure what he was doing in this world or how to get back to his own world, nor why he was here now in front of a king with what seemed to be tamable dragons. Hermione would probably have a heart attack when he told her.
Unable to think of a way to escape with the king, a rider, two dragons and soldiers standing around them, Roran spat out his name, his tone brook with defiance. "Roran Garrowson," he spat at the king's feet. He desperately wanted to get out of here, yet feeling the eyes of the black dragon upon him, frightened the young man. Growing up in Carvahall, nobody knew much of the king or his dragon, only that they were a force to be reckoned with and the stuff of nightmares from traders who traveled into Carvahall with each spring.
"Are you related to Eragon Bromsson?" questioned Galbatorix.
Roran blinked at the question. "He's my cousin and what do you mean he was related to the old storyteller Brom?" Roran questioned in confusion.
Galabtorix just smiled thinly at the young man and didn't answer his question, instead speaking to the others within the room. "Murtaugh and Thorn, remain here. The rest of you leave," said Galbatorix as he heard his dragon's private speech. "The rest of you leave and allow nobody within the throne room," he said. The pair of soldiers holding up the captives' heads released them and hurried out of the room with the three that had been part of the incident in Gil'ead that had brought Roran and Harry to this point. Once the door had closed, Galbatorix leaned down and opened the bag, removing, what looked like to Harry, a pair of oval stones. One was green with white webbing visible as veins along the surface, the other was a rich burgundy color. Harry stared, enraptured at the eggs while Roran looked on in confusion, unsure what the king was playing at.
For their part, the king's rider was surprised at the two eggs that were being revealed to these two children while Thorn looked on, sorrow in his eyes as if he knew what was about to happen. "What are those? Sir," Harry said, adding on the 'sir' as an afterthought. This brought incredulous looks from Roran and the person with the red dragon in his direction, but Harry had no clue of the danger the king posed before him, even if Roran had spoken briefly of it in their travels together.
"Dragon eggs," spoke Galbatorix. "Your cousin has been a thorn in my side for a while now young Garrowson," said Galbatorix. "How fitting if I were able to ensnare you and his brother there to my will along with your dragons, but it remains to be seen if one of these sleeping dragons will choose you as their rider," said Galbatorix. "Now, which of you will explore the eggs first and see if one chooses you?"
Roran was stunned and stared at Galbatorix with wide eyes while Harry was confused about this talk of dragons being ridden again. What was the king playing at? Why he was acting as if he knew about his cousin? What did he mean about ensnaring him and a dragon that might bound with him? Where had these eggs come from? Who exactly was Eragon's brother? These questions flitted through Roran's head like the wind that blew through the crops he had tended with his father as a child, the trees that creaked and leaves that shook within the forest of the Spine that lay outside Carvahall.
As if the king had read his thoughts, Galbatorix looked to Roran. "Where these eggs came is of no concern but you would do well Garrowson, cousin of Eragon, to obey me if you want to keep your life," hissed the king dangerously.
Harry shivered at the tone in this man's voice. Oh, he knew a bit about the royal family that ruled under Queen Elizabeth II in Britain, having seen the woman on television as a child, but he found it strange that this land he had been thrust into, was also ruled by someone in power. Roran, for his part, worried over Kathrine's safety and knew if he wanted to marry her one day, he would have to stay alive. Movement beside him and the cracking of spine made him turn his head to see Harry rising to his feet and approaching the pair of dragon eggs that rested at the foot of the king's throne. Swallowing the rising bile in his throat at what might happen to Kathrine, should he not comply, saw the defiant man following the boy until they reached the throne.
To see if one of the sleeping ones accepts you, touch your hand to the egg. If it has chosen you, it will react and the egg will begin to crack, said Thorn.
"Thorn…" said Murtaugh, looking to his dragon. "Do you know something I don't?"
The sleeping ones are stirring Murtaugh. They have begun stirring within their protective shells since these pair of two-legs were brought to the king, spoke Thorn gravely.
While Murtaugh was stunned into silence at this revelation, he looked to the king who didn't seem surprised by what Thorn had said and then turned his gaze upon the captives who had reached the eggs as Thorn spoke, though the boy with messy hair that looked like a rat's nest had jumped at the silent words being spoken within the throne room, a frown coming to his face as he studied the boy's back.
With one last glance at each other, gray meeting emerald, the two captives turned back to the eggs, finding themselves each standing in front of an egg. As one, both laid their hands upon shells of emerald and burgundy, Harry at first rapping on the shell with his knuckles and hearing a hollow sound within the stone, before the eggs began to crack…little cracks appearing on the suface which grew bigger. Harry jumped at the cracking and looked down at the egg as it began…breaking…hatching was probably the correct word…and within a few minutes two scale-covered lizards sat were revealed within the pieces of broken egg shell around them. The dragon in front of Roran had emerald green scales that grew lighter as they went further down its body and amber eyes while the dragon in front of Harry was a rich burgundy with the same colored eyes. Both dragons appeared to have ivory claws on their four paws as well and before both men could move…the pair of dragons darted their heads forward to outstretched palms.
An icy feeling spread through both riders, searching and judging each rider and an intense spurt of pain appeared in their palms. Harry turned his palm over to see a silver oval in the middle of his left hand while Roran's right palm contained the same mark, the intense spurt of pain fading as quickly as it had come. While Thorn and Murtaugh looked on sadly, the king's cruel laughter echoed throughout the throne room, Roran and Harry too stunned to react to what had just happened.