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Chapter Eleven: Reconsidering
(Percy Point of View)
Percy was freaked out by the contact of the unknown woman. But, he needed answers, and that couldn't come until he was far enough away from the titan. So, he decided to head back to Alagaesia, at least to reconsider his tactic.
'The titan is down there?' Blackjack wanted confirmed.
Percy was pale. 'Yes,' he admitted. 'And... a priestess.'
'A priestess!' Blackjack exclaimed.
'Yes,' Percy's thoughts were soft, not sure how to handle this information. Should he tell anyone else? And what did Angela know about this? 'Do you think Angela knows?' he asked his trusted steed.
'If she knew,' Blackjack considered, neighing softly. 'Then I don't think she'd keep it from you. She's not a goddess, and she's bound to serve the gods and their divine descendants. Besides, this rival priestess would be a threat to her.'
'You're right,' Percy admitted. She wouldn't know about her, nor would any of the priestesses who had trained Angela know about her. But that didn't mean that Percy couldn't council with her, get her thoughts on the subject. That was what a priestess was for.
The light began fading, but Percy didn't care. He just wanted to get away from the creepy place. So, they decided to fly through the night.
When morning came, Percy was exhausted. They decided to stop and rest. He rested for about half the day, and then they were off again.
Following the river back, Percy decided when they camped for that night that he should go for a swim in order to recharge his batteries. However, as he swam, he couldn't help but feel that he was being watched. The fishes greeted him, but he didn't greet them back. He immediately got out of the water and headed to the surface.
'Something wrong?' Blackjack became alert.
'Yes,' Percy said. 'Very wrong. I feel like I'm being watched.'
'Still?' Blackjack was surprised. Percy nodded.
It was an uneasy night that night. Percy couldn't sleep, but he managed to rest some, though not completely. And so, he was drained when they traveled again the next day.
It took a few days for the feeling that he was being watched to wear off, but by that time they were near Alagaesia. He knew that he should probably head straight to the elves for training, but he just couldn't. So, knowing he would be welcome among the dwarves, Percy decided to stop there instead. It would also give him a chance to talk to Angela.
He was greeted with fervor, and Brom smiled at him, Hrothgar by his side. "It's good to see you back," the dwarf grunted, and Percy nodded his head in acknowledgement. He could tell they wanted to council with him, especially since he'd come to the dwarves' land from an unusual direction.
"And you," Percy countered. Then he hesitated before asking, "Is Angela around?"
Hrothgar nodded and lead the way. When Percy reached the domicile she was staying at, she stood upon seeing him. "Your highness," she curtsied, and Brom and Hrothgar let him be. She was in a soft, velvet dress today.
Immediately, as the door closed, Percy let his guard down. "I was in the caves," he told Angela, and she immediately became serious. Taking a seat and motioning for her to sit, Percy explained, "This titan... she has a priestess of her own."
Angela's eyes widened in alarm, seeing the complications. So, she hadn't known. "This complicates things," the woman began thinking.
"Considerably," Percy agreed, leaning back in his chair. "And there's another woman there as well. Who she is, I don't know. She claims she's not a priestess, and that she's a servant to the high priestess, who is trapped in ice."
There was silence after that. Percy began considering his options. Since not many people were worshiping the Olympians anymore, their power was diminished. But if the worship was converted back sooner, perhaps it would buy them enough time and put off the inevitable to a later date. After all, the power wouldn't be going to this titan necessarily.
Realizing what he had to do, Percy stood up. "I'm planning on marching on Uru'baen soon," he decided.
"So soon?" Angela was surprised. "Does that mean you're getting ready to reveal what you really are?"
"In time," Percy promised. He had the backing of the elves and the dwarves, and Brom would side with him. And, if he was revealed as the son of a god, then he was sure he might be able to gather something of a foothold in the empire. "If I understand correctly, the Varden has links to Surda?"
"And Surda is religious," Angela confirmed. "When you came, word went around to Surda. Needless to say, King Orrin is interested in you. He seems to have much faith in the prophecy."
Percy was pleased. While it wasn't what he wanted, at the same time, if he could increase the Olympian's power, then they would stand a fighting chance against this titan. But that also meant that more sacrifice would have to be done to the Olympians soon, in order to bind the people to them in service and worship.
He stood up. "In that, case, I'm going to start a war council with King Hrothgar and Brom."
"Can you trust Brom?" Angela was suspicious of the old rider. "He was elven trained."
"And I have the backing of the elves," Percy was firm. He looked directly at her. "He's seen a god, so he's on my side. I know, when it comes to Galbatorix, he'll side with me. After that, I don't know. But, with this, I should have his support." Though, he was wondering if Brom would even resist him when all things were under the Olympian's hand again. Seeing a god had changed the man's perspective.
Turning back to Angela, he instructed, "Keep what I am secret for now. It will come out soon enough. The elves... already know. I had to pull that card. And with Orik over there, he knows what I am. Given time, I'll reveal my nature to the humans. But I want to pull it off precisely and carefully to ensure victory."
"I understand," Angela was smooth, and she got up, dusting her dress off. She was back to her usual mysterious demeanor. "If his highness needs anything else, don't be afraid to call on me."
That was when Percy hesitated. "Actually," he considered for a moment. "I was hoping you could try to see the future."
A sly smile was on her face. "Are you wanting your fortune told, or is it a prophecy you're wanting?"
Percy laughed and shook his head. "We both know that a prophecy is going to be a lot stronger than fortune telling."
Her eyes then went still as she tapped into her priestess powers. But, confused, she shook her head. "The future isn't certain," she replied. "I'm sorry, but I can't give you anything. Perhaps, if I were an oracle..."
As she trailed off, Percy murmured comfortingly, "Don't worry about it. I only ask that you continue to keep a look out. I knew, when I got into this, that things would be uncertain. I'm used to operating with uncertainty."
She curtsied to him. "I always have an eye to the future, your majesty."
"Of course," Percy replied, and then stopped stunned. She had just called him his majesty. He hadn't caught on until now. It was her way of acknowledging him as the rightful king.
It took him time to get out of his stupor, but when he did, he nodded to her.
He then exited, deep in thought the whole time.
(Brom Point of View)
Percy had requested of Hrothgar that a war council be called, and Hrothgar had conceded. As head of the Varden, Brom had requested of Percy that he be allowed to join. At this, Percy had given his permission. And so, they were all assembled. Orrin, who'd had to delay a little, would be coming in a few days. But Brom doubted Percy would stay that long if the look of urgency on his face was anything to go by.
Percy stood at the table, Hrothgar on the other side, Brom to his side. "I know you're all curious as to why I've requested this," Percy was leaning, hands on the table, staring intently at everyone. "I've called this council to let everyone know that I'm going to march on Uru'baen. I'm going to attack the Empire. Whether or not anyone supports me, I will be going. But, I wanted to see if anyone will join me."
Immediately there was a stunned silence all around at Percy's bold move. Jormundar turned to Brom. "Do we even have the resources?" he asked his leader.
Seeing some of the doubt, Percy replied before Brom could even answer. "I know that this comes at an unexpected time, but there is never a right time for war. Galbatorix has already made a declaration of war on the dwarves and the Varden by sending troops here. I intend to retaliate with force before he can recover."
"It's bold," Brom's voice was soft, eyeing Percy. He knew the young man was dead serious. And while the Varden's finances were starting to be under control, at the same time it was an expensive expenditure. That said, they weren't dire like before. And, perhaps it was time to attack. It was time for the Varden to make a move against the king.
Hrothgar had weary eyes. "It's been a long time since I've seen war," he admitted softly. "But the way I see it, we can remain here and wait for Galbatorix to attack again, or we can join forces and strike back."
Percy nodded at him. With the dwarves backing Percy, Brom knew he needed to rethink his position. With the new deal, it would mean that weapons would be in high demand with a war going, and that meant that he wouldn't have to worry financially about the war. But his highest concern was the power that Galbatorix still held.
He knew the prophecy. He'd heard it. He knew that Percy had war experience. But, in many ways, it was unnerving to follow one so young. And yet, Percy had accomplished things already that many at his age hadn't. He'd maneuvered the Varden to his favor, as well as the dwarves. Brom had yet to hear from Islanzadi, but he didn't doubt that Percy could pull it off.
Brom considered his position. He knew the Varden wanted to remove Galbatorix. "I'm assuming you have a plan, Percy?" he asked.
"I do," Percy was smooth. "But I also understand the need to adapt. I won't have my plan so set in stone as to eliminate a better way."
"Very well," Brom reluctantly gave his support. In many ways, it was what he wanted. But he wasn't prepared for it. In many ways, he believed this day would never come, at least not while he was alive. So, for the first time, he chose to put his trust in a prophecy from long ago. "I'll concede."
"I plan on sending a letter to Surda with hopes they'll meet us on the battlefield as allies," Percy then announced, and Brom considered the maneuver wise. Surda's king was interested in Percy, though he didn't know what Percy was. But he had no doubt that Percy could maneuver the politics there, especially with what he'd seen. And that was without even announcing his heritage. "While I don't intend on stopping there, as I'm headed in the opposite direction, at the same time, I was hoping that we could have some of our troops meet on the same date."
"When do you plan to march?" Hrothgar asked.
Considering, Percy replied, "I know it takes time to make preparations for war. I intend to march around six months for now. That should enable everyone to make preparations."
"And where shall we meet?" Brom asked.
Considering, Percy replied, "I"ll tell you when the time comes. For now, I want to gauge the empire and it's movements. Then, I'll consider a more appropriate course of action."
"Very well," Hrothgar said to him. "You have my support."
"And mine," Brom gave, though he was tense. A declaration of war was a bold move. And he was still searching out for the spies in the Varden. No doubt the king would get word well in advance, though Percy would know that. Perhaps that was why he was keeping his move of where to meet for battle so secret.
Percy nodded to them. "Thank you for your support," he murmured in gratitude.
Hrothgar was firm then.
"My people have long awaited you. We know you will lead us to victory."
(Eragon Point of View)
The training had progressed, and though things calmed down with the dragons slightly, slightly mind you, at the same time, he was growing closer to his brother. They still sparred with Vanir, and the elf had been giving them tips. A few weeks later, Vanir was looking pleased with them.
"You're decent," he was surprised to hear the elf say. And Vanir had walked off after that.
They had lessons then, and it was during that time that a familiar figure was seen coming down out of the trees. An exhausted Percy, who had worry etched on his face, landed on the Crags with his pegasus.
Immediately, everyone, including Oromis froze. The elf walked over and exchanged greetings with Percy. Seeing his face the elf asked, "Are you all right?"
Percy shook his head. Eragon wondered vaguely if the dragons would come back, but it didn't appear they would, having their own lessons to attend.
Percy plopped down, exhausted. "Problems, more problems," he grumbled, not looking at anything in particular.
Murtagh looked shocked, white faced. "You're alive!" he murmured, and Percy turned to him curiously. There was relief on his face. But Murtagh looked away, not wanting to discuss the other emotions he was undoubtedly experiencing. It would come out eventually, though. Eragon had no doubt about that.
They all waited a moment for Percy to get himself together. Ultimately, it was a matter of time before he was bombarded with questions. However, before anyone could ask him anything, Percy quickly informed them, "I just spoke to Brom. They've agreed to amass an army to attack the Empire."
"You're attacking?" Oromis was shocked. And it was a bold move, Eragon thought. But Percy knew what he was doing. He'd done it before.
His liege lord nodded. "The way I see it, the time to move is now," Percy considered. But his face was haunted, like he'd seen something he wished he hadn't. "I want to remove the king from power before... I have to engage in another war."
There was silence. "The daughter of Gaea?" Oromis asked.
Percy nodded. He sighed. "The caves, it's more complicated than I thought. Needless to say, I don't want to be fighting two enemies at once. Already, she is stirring. And I don't trust her not to awaken. I have to time things just right, or we're all dead."
At this, Percy began giving Oromis a strange look. Percy frowned. "Mind if I ask where your name comes from?" he asked the elf.
There was surprise at the sudden change of subject. After pausing, contemplating, Oromis replied, "I don't know."
Hesitation was on Percy then. "Does the name... Ormius... sound familiar?"
Slowly, Oromis shook his head. "I've never heard it."
Percy was considering, silent. "Never mind, then."
'Why do you ask?' Glaedr was quick to pop in. The dragons flew swiftly in and a sparkle of color lit the area. Anaklusmos immediately went up and nuzzled her rider, and Percy, a smile on his face, rubbed her nose affectionately. Even Blackjack trotted up and butted his head against the dragon, which she seemed to enjoy.
"One of the scrolls in the cave," Percy explained. "The name Ormius was in an old legend that was told in there. I thought that maybe the name Oromis was descended from his name. I'm well aware that languages change throughout time, and even names."
"It's interesting," Oromis considered, almost like he thought it was vaguely interesting. "But many of the elvish names are ancient, so I wouldn't really be surprised."
At this, Percy seemed more than willing to drop the subject. Eragon then piped up. "What did you find?"
'Eragon!' Saphira chastised. She curled around her rider after greeting him.
Percy was silent. Apparently he wasn't ready to reveal everything, even to his vassal.
Thorn was gentle. He was already seated next to his rider. 'You don't have to tell us,' he reassured Percy.
Shaking his head, Percy responded, "I think I will, someday. Just not today."
With that, everything was silent once more.
Oromis stood up. "Get some rest," he suggested to Percy. "We won't train today."
Percy immediately trudged off, and everyone broke up.
The rest of the day felt odd.
(Murtagh Point of View)
When Percy returned, Murtagh wasn't sure what to believe. He'd been so sure that Percy wasn't going to survive his expedition. While he still wasn't sure what the dream meant, and he was certain that the dream would come to pass eventually, at the same time he was starting to consider that perhaps Anaklusmos was right. Sometimes prophecies weren't exactly what one thought they were.
It was a relief for him. At the same time, he was nervous, knowing what he knew. He'd have to tell Percy eventually, and yet he was too afraid to. But his king had a right to know.
And yet, he was beginning to doubt that his dream was right now. However, his dreams had always come to pass. So he was confused.
After Percy departed, Anaklusmos by his side, Blackjack took to the skies. Thorn motioned for him to join him in the air. 'I thought you could use a distraction,' the dragon said.
Murtagh smiled. 'Thanks,' he told his friend. He got in the saddle, and when they were both in the air, he sighed. It was a relief to feel the wind on his face.
It was sometime after that that Thorn broached the subject. 'You seem really disturbed by this dream.'
'I don't know what to think, Thorn,' Murtagh admitted. He couldn't get the dream out of his head. 'I remember it so clearly. And yet... it didn't happen.'
'You should be glad that it didn't happen,' Thorn replied.
'And yet, I still think there's something to it.'
'Only time will tell,' the dragon replied.
Things were silent once more. And as they flew, Murtagh thought on things. Thorn was a young dragon. He and Anaklusmos were close. Saphira was hurt by this. But there was still one more egg left. And so, deep down, Murtagh knew that Saphira still had a chance to get what she desired. But try telling that to the young she-dragon.
Thorn chuckled. He'd been with him in his mind. 'Tell me,' Murtagh finally asked. 'Why did you pick her?'
'Why?' Thorn was incredulous. 'I don't really know why. All I know is that I was interested in her, and I was finally glad when she returned the affections.'
'She's a proud dragon,' Murtagh commented. 'Prouder than Saphira.'
Thorn laughed once more. 'She has a right to be. She's a direct creation of a goddess.'
'True,' Murtagh tipped his head. Then his stomach flipped as Thorn did some twirls in the air. It was still taking some getting used to.
'You'll have to get used to it,' Thorn warned.
'I know,' Murtagh was sure he was green. But he didn't protest. In the end, his dragon was right.
They flew for sometime longer, and then the dragon landed. They were done for the day.
Murtagh was exhausted.
'I'm going to take a nap.'
(Percy Point of View)
Percy was dreaming in his tree house. Triton was in front of him, in his palace, standing in front of him in the throne room. It was time to have a talk with the god.
"Life force?" he folded his arms, frowning at his godly brother. "Why did did no one mention this? And why did no one mention the priestess to me?"
Triton was immediately alarmed. "Priestess?" he asked in shock, clearly never having heard of her. That's when Percy knew that the women were an unexpected complication that the gods had not been expecting.
"High Priestess," Percy was firm. "She's frozen in ice. And she has a servant."
At this, agitated, Triton began pacing. "This is not good," he murmured.
"I know," and Percy was worried. "You're expecting me to go in and steal the gods' life force, and she has two people to work against me!"
"Who aren't divine," Triton reminded him.
"But she is!" Percy was dead serious. And, not for the first time, he was scared. "You're putting the balance of everything on one person! If I can't pull this off, we're all going to die!"
Triton stopped pacing. "Be calm," he commanded his brother. "This isn't the first time you've been in danger. Trust me, with this important a task, the Olympians wouldn't just hand it out to anyone. They've put their best in."
This didn't do much to reassure Percy, but it did calm his fears. "They have confidence in you," Triton continued, placing a hand on his brother's shoulders. "And they've done their best to even the odds by making you three quarters god. We all know it's a risk. But, if anyone can do this, you can."
"Let's hope the prophecy is right," Percy grumbled.
"It is," Triton replied, but even he looked worried. And that was when Percy knew: if he couldn't pull this off, no one could. His brother was lost in thought. Then, he shook his head. "Since when did she get a priestess?" he murmured to himself.
"Who knows," Percy replied, even though he knew the comment wasn't addressed to him. "It was probably after the Olympians left. After all, no one knew about her. How, I don't know, but she's been alive for a very long time. Probably like Angela has been. Though Angela is probably older than her."
"So she made a priestess," Triton considered the information. He was back to swimming back and forth. They both knew the complication. By having a priestess, the titan would have a little extra power since she was worshiped. And if more people started worshiping her, then the Olympians and demigods were in trouble. And with a priestess, the titan would be able to have worship done to her. Not to mention, the titan might find ways to have her priestess gain more worshipers to her.
Suddenly, Triton turned to Percy. "You're planning on marching on Uru'baen?"
Percy nodded. "I want the worship converted back sooner. I feel it will give me the edge."
Triton nodded. "Wise plan. And tell me, who will answer your call?"
"All," Percy replied. "As far as I can see, anyways. The elves will come. The dwarves and the Varden. I'm pretty sure I can get Surda to back me."
Triton nodded again, pleased. "I see no need for you to delay. The sooner you attack, the better, Percy. I know she's stirring more and more. Ever since you've visited her, she's been growing stronger."
"Are you saying I should attack now?" Percy asked.
Triton frowned. "Maybe. Maybe not. It's hard to say. But waiting six months may not be wise."
"I understand," Percy replied, rethinking things. He was fairly sure he could pull this off. He was only waiting because he was wanting Murtagh and his vassal to have more training. As it was, Oromis was speeding up the training. But he couldn't be sure that they'd ever have enough training.
"I hate to say it, but until we're ready to crown you, we won't be allowing any more demigods or legacies to pass," Triton warned him. "It's simply to dangerous. We have to save them for when they are really needed. And your coronation."
"I understand," Percy replied.
Things began blacking out. The dream was ending. "Don't be afraid," was his brother's last words.
Percy woke up.
(Oromis Point of View)
It wasn't long until Percy revealed that he was planning on attacking the capital. Though Oromis had been expecting it, Islanzadi wasn't ready. They were in front of her throne, and Islanzadi's shocked demeanor was echoed on everyone. She turned to Oromis. "How much training have Murtagh, Thorn, Eragon, and Saphira had?"
Glaedr was the one to reply. 'We'll continue to train them during the war. They'll fight alongside us, we've decided. Plus, with Oromis restored to perfect health again, and my paw healed, we're more than ready to match the king.'
"It could be worse," Oromis was careful to say. He didn't want to dissuade Islanzadi as he knew that Percy wouldn't appreciate them saying 'no'. Plus, Percy's reason for wanting to attack was reasonable. It might not be wise to delay. If Percy thought it was necessary sooner, there had to be a reason. "Eragon and Murtagh have survived in battle before. I'm less concerned about the king considering we have a demigod." And what he said was true.
"But?" Islanzadi raised an eyebrow.
Percy was the one to pipe up at this. "I don't want to fight on two forces. The titan is already stirring. The way I see it, it's better to have Galbatorix out of the way before we have to fight her."
Murmurs spread. It was a disturbing turn of events. And yet, the prophecy had warned about it.
Now Islanzadi looked like she was reconsidering. "A war on two fronts doesn't sound good," she agreed. Then she looked up. "Very well. I am ready to go to war. We've stayed in Du Weldonvarden long enough. It's time to let the world know that elves still exist."
"Agreed," Oromis replied softly.
The truth was, he was worried for a different reason. Percy was powerful, and if this titan was powerful enough to be a problem for Percy, he worried what that meant for the world. He feared that there was no way that even a dragon rider could match the divine realm considering what he'd seen of Percy. He doubted a dragon rider could match a demigod or legacy. The divine were a whole new league.
That meant that no matter how much training his students got, apart from Percy, they were always at a disadvantage.
With everything set, Percy looked happy. "When do you want to invade?" Islanzadi asked.
Percy considered. "Word has to get around that I've changed the date. I'll give the location last minute. But, I was thinking in two weeks, provided that the messengers can get to the dwarves, the Varden, and Surda that fast."
Islanzadi raised her chin. "Elves move fast," she reminded the demigod.
Percy nodded. "Then it's set." He nodded once more and moved backwards, never turning his back on the elven queen.
When he was gone, Islanzadi turned to Oromis. "Are you concerned?" she asked, and it was only then that she was letting more of her concern show.
Oromis considered. "There is little we know about the divine realm," he admitted. "We've only been able to pull some things from the historical records. And, considering what we've learned just from watching Percy, I think the divine realm could prove a far greater threat than Galbatorix ever did."
"It was what I was fearing," Islanzadi admitted. She shook her head, coming out of her thoughts. "I don't like the sound of a divine war coming up."
"Nor do I," Oromis whispered. He and Glaedr looked at each other. It wasn't what they had imagined when they imagined overthrowing Galbatorix and reestablishing the riders. Glaedr grunted in agreement.
With everything done and said, Oromis backed up, nodding respectfully to his queen.
(Percy Point of View)
The following week had been a hassle. Not only had he had to contact everyone about the change of plans, and rely on Brom to contact the King of Surda, but he'd spent the day going over battle plans. And when he went to sleep that night, he'd gone over the plans with his beloved Annabeth.
"You'll be fine," Annabeth reassured him. She was seated on her throne, looking very regal. "You always are." And there was a soft smile on her face.
But that wasn't what concerned Percy the most. And Annabeth could tell this. "What is it?" she finally asked him.
The throne room was vast, and there was no one there. Percy began pacing, head in his hands. "It's just," he began. "Every war... we always loose people."
Annabeth was silent. Then, "You've grown close to some of the mortals there, haven't you?"
"Yes," Percy admitted. While he didn't want to be a liege lord, at the same time, Percy was concerned about Eragon. Eragon had a tendency to do things without thinking. Then again, so did he. But Percy had learned to be street smart, whereas Eragon hadn't yet. And then there was Murtagh, whom Percy had gotten close to as well. And his path was already marked by the gods. Percy didn't know what he felt about that. That could be both good and bad.
Then there were the elves. There was Arya. Despite not getting along initially, he was starting to be more relaxed around her. Dare he say, they could see somewhat eye to eye now that she accepted that the divine existed. And she'd been helpful on more than one occasion. Oromis was kind, if not strict. But he was willing to work with Percy and respected him.
"So many people are relying on me," Percy murmured. "I know we've always succeeded when faced with something in the godly realm, but I always wonder if there's going to be something that I face that will be too much for me."
"We all do," Annabeth admitted. She was worried, he could tell. But she didn't want to pressure and burden him more. "Have you heard any more news?" Percy asked his fiancée."
"None," Annabeth admitted. "Just to prepare for war, which is the usual. It makes me think: the gods are keeping this quiet for a reason. There has to be something more going on."
"I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say," Percy admitted. "But, I think I'll tell you more if I can at my coronation. I know you'll be there."
"Yes," Annabeth smiled. And with a wave of her hand, a card appeared. "I got the invitation."
"It will be small," Percy admitted. "But, despite the celebrations, there's something I don't want to say over in dreams that I want to say when you're present. That, and I want to get our wedding plans going."
"A wedding would be good," Annabeth gave some thought. "I have my mom and dad's permission. Not that it would make much difference, since we govern our own countries. But, it would help make it legitimate among the mortals on our world. Then again, with the mist, and being told to act like the royalty we are, it may not. It may end up being recognized in other countries anyways, since we are our own country."
"I was thinking a Greek and Roman theme," Percy admitted. "But what do you want to do?"
"I like that," Annabeth admitted. She smirked. "Let's talk about it at your coronation."
"Sounds good," Percy grinned.
The dream ended. Percy woke up.
(A week later)
The elves had spent the week preparing to invade Alagaesia. Meanwhile, Percy had received word back. Surda was joining in the efforts. And according to Brom, the King of Surda looked forward to meeting with him.
Murtagh, being noble, had purchased full plate armor from the elves. And, he'd graciously updated his brother's armor to full plate as well. Meanwhile, Percy was planning on wearing his Greek attire. Though, as always, he'd have his Roman set along.
Oromis' armor was ancient, but the elf looked more confident. Ever since having been healed, he was somewhat more at ease. Though, there was still stress on his face. Glaedr was wearing some protection, but not all.
That left the dragons. But, Anaklusmos was stubborn. 'I need no armor!' she snapped at her rider when he suggested that he purchase at least some protection for her. 'I'm a creation of the sea!'
'You're pride will be the death of you,' Percy warned dryly. And though she was somewhat furious, she couldn't deny her rider when he insisted that he give her at least fifty percent protection. 'Just for the vital areas,' he tried to appease her.
'Fine!' she snapped and took off, launching into the sky.
Blackjack, who had been grazing nearby chuckled. He trotted off. He would be wearing the Greek set that Percy had had made for his steed before going. There was a Roman set to, but Percy had it stored away. He wanted to match, not that the others would know the difference. 'She's as proud as dragons get,' the pegasus was dry.
Percy rolled his eyes. 'We may argue now, but she'll be grateful to me later. Let's just hope that she'll cooperate and be measured. I don't want to loose her.'
'Aye, and the gods will not be creating more dragons until we win the war against the Titan,' Blackjack commented. Then he took off after Anaklusmos.
So far, things had been going good. And while Anaklusmos had mumbled the whole time, she'd reluctantly let the elves measure her.
By the end of the week they were ready to march. Anaklusmos had armor on her, just as the other dragons did. Percy was full in Greek armor. While he would be riding Anaklusmos mostly, at the same time, for the sake of his position, he'd need to ride his pegasus part of the time. It was a symbol of his divine station and that he was a descendant of the gods.
Islanzadi headed her elves, dressed in elegant armor with jewels on it. Beside her were Percy, Oromis, Murtagh, Eragon, and their dragons. Blackjack was behind Anaklusmos, and he nodded towards the elven queen. They had agreed to journey through the Hadarac desert with part of the army to the Burning Plains while others swept from Marna heading down to Uru'baen.
"The Burning plains," Islanzadi murmured. She would be going with Percy to there. "It will be high time to remind Galbatorix that we have not forgotten what he and the Forsworn have done."
"I intend to come from all directions if I can," Percy admitted. He'd put some deep thought into his next move. He and the riders would be breaking away to head towards Carvahall. The intention was to petition Roran, Therinsford, and Carvahall to join them. While Percy knew that Varden sympathizers existed out that way, at the same time, he knew they would be persuaded to join him directly instead of the Varden because of who he was. They were religious.
Besides, it was high time that he started his own band.
By knowing which locations were more likely to give him the support, Percy hoped that he could make the bid for the throne easier. He wasn't ready to call on his demigod relatives just yet. So, he'd have to raise an army himself.
Oromis had agreed with him to this expedition. Mainly, Percy suspected it was because Islanzadi wanted to track him. He'd tolerate it for now. But if necessary, he was willing to go separate ways. That, and Oromis was independent enough that he was sure that he'd filter what he gave to Islanzadi.
He was fairly sure he understood what Islanzadi Drotting was doing. She was still unsure of him. While she recognized that Percy was the only legitimate king in Alagaesia, apart from Hrothgar, and while she acknowledged the prophecy, at the same time, the divine realm was so new to her. She wanted to know what to anticipate, especially from Percy's rule.
Oromis was also curious. But he was more likely to observe. He had a feeling that Oromis wanted to know what Percy's reign was likely to be like as well.
Percy wouldn't say no. After all, it was his way to gauge how these nations were going to react to him. That, and he was keeping his plans flexible, just in case.
Islanzadi looked to him. "It's not my army," Percy reminded her. There were political reasons and personal reasons Percy was leaving her in charge. For one, if he took control of the armies, it was making a statement that he was more integrated in the elvish nation than he wanted to be. He'd rather have autonomy.
Islanzadi raised her eyebrows in surprise. "Move out," she ordered.
They did so.
(A week later)
Brom and the Varden were already there when they arrived. Islanzadi greeted Brom respectfully, and surprisingly, with warmth. The Surdans were also there.
Percy's arrival had caused murmurs, especially the appearance of Anaklusmos and Oromis and Glaedr. No doubt rumors of Oromis' survival would go around soon.
While Percy set up his regal Grecan tent, Oromis walked up. They both exchanged respectful greetings. Then, Oromis lowered his voice. "You may be the prince of prophecy, but this whole set up is still your idea. Islanzadi is wary to walk on your toes. So the question is, what are you going to reveal?"
Percy gave it some thought. "I know there's an army out there," he nudged his nose in the direction of the north to the enemy army they would face the next day. "I have no trouble giving them the prophecy. But before I say the other part, I'm going to gauge them first."
The tent was up somewhat, and Anaklusmos landed. She was in full armor. 'In all honesty, you're issuing a challenge anyway. What's the big deal?' she lightly scolded her rider.
"The titan," Percy said aloud when he saw Oromis agree with her. "Let's not forget, she's probably watching. The moment I say anything, she'll know exactly what I am. Time will be cut even shorter then."
"So you're gauging how quickly you'll win the war," Oromis realized.
Percy nodded. "Exactly. If I can get them to switch by showing them I'm the prince of prophecy, I'd rather go that route. But, if necessary, I'll pull my card. But I intend to speak to them before battle."
"Not all will be persuaded by mere prophecy," Oromis warned.
"But if I can still buy time, then I will," Percy was firm.
Oromis acknowledged his plan. "It's not our call, anyways," Oromis murmured.
Something softened in Percy, then. "If there's something on your mind, you don't need permission to say it," he pointed out. "I don't want this to be a relationship with nations where I give the orders, they follow. Where's the teamwork in that?"
"Forgive me," Oromis murmured. "It's just, I'm well aware of your position."
Percy huffed in frustration. He was slightly ranting at this point. "You know, Arya once asked me why I didn't reveal what I did earlier to her. You know why? That's why. Seriously! I'm just a normal teenager, with normal concerns! Is everybody going to treat me differently because of what I am?"
Oromis seemed startled by this, even surprised. Percy began walking away, somewhat angry. He was well aware that Oromis wanted to say more to him, but he didn't want to hear it at the moment. Oromis walked away then.
"Just great," Percy murmured to himself. Then, in a mocking voice, he mimicked the gods. "Just go over there and be king, Percy! It'll be great, Percy! Bah! There goes my college plans! There goes my senior year plans! Yeah. Just great! Go be a ruler instead of living a normal life like the average teenager!"
He started muttering to himself in Greek, Anaklusmos lifting the tent up so that he could put some of the supports on underneath it. A short time later, some footsteps approached. "Go away!" he murmured. It could only be elves as he was in the elf camp.
"No," a voice came, Arya Drottingu.
Another voice came. Vanir's. "I don't think you'll bite our heads off if we intrude since you're not like that, Percy."
Percy sighed. He was inside setting his tent up. Anaklusmos growled. 'Lack of manners,' she grumbled.
In they walked and Percy grumbled. He turned around, exhausted. "What do you want?"
"To talk," Arya raised an eyebrow. She sat down on his bed without his permission. "Is that really why you didn't tell me at first?"
Percy rolled his eyes. "Figure you overheard," he muttered.
"You were really loud," Vanir pointed out.
"I'll have to watch my tone then," Percy deadpanned.
"But you didn't answer my question," Arya pushed.
He sighed again, frustrated. How to explain it? "I don't want to be king," he finally admitted. He started putting things away and polishing his armor. "But what I want has little bearing."
They both seemed surprised. "You... don't want to be king?" Vanir tried to figure out.
"No," Percy slapped the rag on his chest plate, looking up. "It's a mere reminder that I'm different from everybody else."
"You don't want to be different," Arya assumed.
"No, that's not what I mean!" Percy exclaimed, it all coming out. He huffed. "It's just... I wanted to have somewhat of a normal life. I'm used to knowing I'm different. But it would have been nice to have had a semblance of a normal life for once. Even more, it would have been nice to have a break from war."
He set his chest plate down, his eyes a thousand miles away. "Most teenagers don't go to war. They don't have to deal with life and death situations. I'm well aware that as monarch, I'll be dealing with life and death situations. Life will be in my hands. If someone murders, I have to hold them accountable. But, as a teenager, if I lived normally, I wouldn't have to worry about that. I could... well... my concerns would be less severe things. I could have what others have without having to worry about... never mind."
He went back to shining his armor. "No," Arya finally admitted. "I think I understand. It's not the responsibility you would have had if you weren't what you were."
"Exactly," Percy admitted. "Most kids where I'm from graduate high school and go to college. They get a job. They don't worry about ruling countries or waging war."
"Do you resent it?" Vanir asked.
"I envy them," Percy admitted. He looked up. "I've watched friends... family... die. All for fighting for what they believe in. The average kid never goes through that. Being different is so overrated."
"So it's not just waging war, then. You're giving up the lifestyle you want," Arya realized.
"I've basically known for a while that I'll never have the lifestyle I want," Percy was dry. "But, I thought I could at least have some of it."
"And your father telling you to come and conquer Alagaesia changed all that," Vanir realized.
"Pretty much," Percy shrugged. "It's not like I could tell him no. That, and people aren't genuine with you once they know who they are. They can't be themselves."
Things were silent after that. "It bothers you," Vanir realized. "Being treated like you're special."
"It more than bothers me," Percy admitted, shining his plates with a lot of force. "It's in a way being ostracized. You never know who is you friend, and it's hard to find people who treat you normally, and well, they're not genuine. It's all on putting a good show on."
He didn't know why he was telling them all this. He didn't know why he was confiding in them. But it felt right. He felt like it was meant to be.
Despite the silence that followed, he could tell that they knew they'd gotten a glimpse of him that they'd never seen before. And from their expressions, he could tell that he wasn't what they were expecting.
"Is that why you were so willing to be hands off?" Arya wondered aloud.
Percy shrugged. "What the gods want isn't necessarily what I want. I know they at least want worship, and I have to ensure that. But, if I can have less to do, well, less is more for me."
Vanir chuckled. "Less of doing what you don't want to do."
"And so you wage war for someone else, but not for yourself," Arya concluded.
Percy hesitated. "I know what will happen if I don't do that, and I don't like it," Percy whispered. "My family is staking a lot to defeat this titan, for everyone's sake. Imagine everyone being wiped out so that she can start over, have things as she wants. That's what will happen."
A shiver went down everyone's spine. "So it's just as much for you as for your family," Vanir realized.
"And everyone in Alagaesia," Percy concluded. "And many worlds. If you think that this titan will stop at this world, think again. She must be stopped."
"So much at stake," Arya shook her head. None the less, the elves got up.
He didn't know why he was suddenly wishing they were staying. "Don't be a stranger," he told them.
They seemed puzzled at the unusual expression, none the less they seemed to understand it's meaning. "It was... strangely good to talk," Percy admitted.
And a strange friendship was developing between them. It wasn't what he was expecting.
They nodded to him and exited.
Percy spent the remainder of the evening relaxing. 'You know,' Anaklusmos told him. 'Maybe that's why you'd be the perfect king. You'd be a friend, not a ruler.'
'Bah!' he told his companion. 'I don't want to be king! Or emperor!'
I know this is a bit shorter chapter than normal, but this was the appropriate place to end this.