A/N Wow….. the end.
I would like to thank each and everyone of you, letting me know how much you guys have been enjoying this has made me want to write more, so a massive thank you for keeping me going!
A bit about the sequel, the first chapter shall be posted either the first or second week in September (when I get back off my holiday) and shall simply be called Alagaësia Meets Middle Earth II. Hope to see you all there! And where ever you are in the world, go get Eldest the minute it comes out- I will be!
Well, that's it, enjoy!
Chapter 48- As The Tides Of Battle Turn
Eragon shot off the slide and went sprawling across the floor. He rolled onto his back, trying to focus his eyes on Isidar Mithrim high above him, the gem enormous gem swam in and out of his vision and he felt nauseous. That slide had more twists and turns than his stomach could take.
Eragon got to his feet once he felt less dizzy, he steadied himself and looked around the chamber he found himself in. it was completely deserted, no sign of the Twins, and Legolas had not reached the bottom of Vol Turin yet. He was just wandering where he should go next when there was a great rumble beneath him.
Suddenly in a shower of rocks, Urgals began to immerge from under Tronjheim, pouring out of the tunnel they had dug up like plague. Eragon groped for Zar'roc. Tronjheim had been breached! Now what should he do? He could try to seal the tunnel, but what if there had been more breached throughout Tronjheim? He could make for the main gate, blast it open and warn the Varden before Tronjheim was completely stormed by Urgals.
He found himself very alone now, and a man was immerging from the hole in the floor, clad in black armour and brandishing a sword with a thin scratch down the blade. It was Durza.
The Shade's evil maroon eyes glinted with power and malevolence, his snake skin cloak billowing out behind him, making him look even more imposing then Eragon thought possibly. And where was Legolas?
He could not fight the Shade one on one. Thinking back to what Brom had told him about battling another magic user, he found it very unlikely that he could match Durza. Then he remembered what Ajihad had told him, the only way to kill a Shade was to pierce his heart.
"Rider, we meet again," Durza's eyes glinted. "Kaz jtierl trazhid! Otag bagh!" he then said to the Urgals who patiently awaited his orders. They proceeded to form a tight circle around Eragon.
"That was quite some escape stunt you pulled back in Gil'ead," Durza said with contempt. "All made possible by your little friends, Murtagh and that troublesome Elf."
Eragon smirked. "Yes, how did you like being shot?"
"That Elf will pay dearly for what he did, don't you worry about that," replied Durza icily.
Legolas had heard what had been going on and had hurried down the stairs with all the speed he possessed. Now he stood, formulating a plan, just out of sight a few steps up. He could most likely slip past the Shade and the Urgals, he could then disarm the Shade using magic and get Eragon out of there, and if that didn't work, he always had his knife, and his last arrow left. He cleared the last few steps silently and stepped out onto the flat.
"Legolas!" Eragon yelled, thankful that the Elf had finally come.
Legolas was pretty sure he could have murdered the boy at this point, though he had no time to think or do anything as Durza swung round to face him.
"Ah, speaking of which…" Durza threw up his hands and muttered words under his breath.
Legolas was engulfed in a luminous blue light and elevated off the ground.
A satisfied smirk crept onto Durza's face as he muttered more words. Legolas was suspended in midair over the Urgals who jeered at him, poking their swords up at him, Legolas hung just out off reach.
Durza raised his hand and Legolas was lifted higher into the air, then the Shade raised his other hand and muttered more words. Legolas' face contorted with pain and he let out a gasp as pain laced through his body, he twisted and turned, engulfed in the blue light as he writhed in agony, unable to think of anything, not of any words of the ancient language which might be able to combat this torture.
"How is this for payback!" Durza cackled manically. He jolted the suspended Elf with another shot of pain that went through Legolas like electricity. Laughing hysterically, Durza dropped his arms to his side. The blue light vanished and Legolas proceeded to crash to the ground. The Urgals beneath him moved to the side so the Elf smashed to the floor.
"LEGOLAS!" Eragon screamed, he was frozen to the spot , to appalled by what had happened to his friend, what he had caused to happen, why the hell did he call out when the Elf was obviously trying to keep a low profile!
Eragon finally regained control of himself and made to rush toward his friend, only to find a wall of Urgals blocking his path.
Legolas lay outside of their protective circle. The Elf's body shook with the after shocks of pain that ran through him, his eyes fluttered then closed.
"NO!" Eragon cried in anguish. "Don't close your eyes! Do you hear me Legolas, don't!"
Eragon had learned that Elves only closed their eyes when they were badly hurt or... dead.
"Legolas! Tolo ngalad! Edro hin lín!" Eragon yelled to the Elf, fearing the latter. He had no idea what he had said, but he was fairly certain it had been in Legolas' language, he was sure the Elf had said these words to him before, and for some reason they sprang to the front of Eragon's mind now. Come back to the light! Open your eyes!
The Shade laughed at him. "Strange words you speak Rider, but whatever you say is useless," the Shade sneered. "Now that that nuisance has been dealt with, tell me where your dragon is."
"As if!" Eragon snapped back. "You will never get your hands on her!"
"Fine, I will force it out of you, do not try my patience boy," Durza raised his sword and made to strike Eragon who lifted Zar'roc to block it, raising his shield as Durza's blade struck it. a mental probe burrowed deep into Eragon's thoughts.
"You will pay for what you did to my friend!" Eragon shouted in anger, trying to protect his consciousness while fighting Durza at the same time.
"Oh really, I am sooo scared, so what are you going to do Rider, scream at me like a girl?" the Shade taunted.
Eragon gave a great cry and fought harder. To his dismay he found Durza's mind to be impenetrable, and when he tried to get him to let his guard down using Zar'roc, the Shade simply batted the sword away and with lightning fast movements, thrust his own scratched blade at Eragon, catching him in the ribs with the sharp point, piercing his mail and forcing the breath from him. Luckily, Durza's blade missed by millimetres. But this distraction had been enough for the Shade to break into Eragon's mind while his guard was down. Durza could now seize control of him.
Eragon lunged at Durza, determined to get the Shade out of his mind. He went to ram Zar'roc into his stomach, but Durza side stepped his attack. Eragon steadied himself and went in full pelt- hammering Durza with his attacks, hoping he could weaken his defences around his mind so he could get in by distracting him.
And all the time Durza was laughing at him. The Shade stood over a downed Eragon, sneering. Eragon, anger welling in the pit of his stomach and bubbling up inside of him, hurled his heavy shield at him. As the Shade made to side step it, the shield clipped his hip and he stumbled.
It was all Eragon needed. He plunged through Durza's weakened defences around his mind. A flood of images suddenly overwhelming him, rushing through his consciousness-
Durza as a young boy, though his name was Carib back then, the son of nomads, though his father had been called 'oath breaker' by their tribe and the family had been cast out. There was an old man who had taken him in when he lay alone and near death in the desert. The old man had agreed to teach him how to control spirits. But then the bandits had come and killed his mentor, the spirits he had summoned to exact revenge on the bandits had turned on his, taking him over, possessing both his body and his mind, how he had screamed, I AM DURZA!
Eragon suddenly bowed his body in agony as he felt the heavy blow across his back, it cut through his mail and skin, falling to his knees as Durza loomed over him, his face livid, eyes burning with unchecked rage.
Eragon looked to Isidar Mithrim, it had all been in vain, the Varden would lose their fight. They would all lose…
A flash of brilliant light erupted high above him, the star sapphire shattered. The dagger like pieces of the gem came cascading down, deadly and sharp, yet strangely beautiful, like icicles falling down…
Eragon could only watch, waiting for the shattering impact of the shards of gems hitting that would hit the floor. Amongst them though, Eragon caught a blue shape coming down in a blur. He blinked and realised it was Saphira.
A great tongue of flame suddenly erupted from the dragon's open mouth. On her back was Arya, shining palm held high, emanating power, raven hair billowing out behind her.
Durza had turned to look up. He was furious! He raised his hand, a word forming on his lips, directed at Arya and Saphira.
Eragon, using every last reserve of strength he could muster given his current condition, scramble to his feet, fire in his eyes, he charged at Durza, Zar'roc held poised to strike.
The Shade suddenly dropped his hand, a look of surprise on his face. Then he turned in anger away form Eragon, his attention focused on the being that stood tall and proud, bow in hand.
"You!" the Shade roared, raising his hand once more.
Eragon charged forth, anger spurred him on, "BRISINGR!" he yelled, as Zar'roc burst into blue flame he plunged it into the Shade's back before he could deliver his punishment to the one who had shot him.
Eragon's blow had struck true. The Shade looked down to find Zar'roc protruding from his chest. An unearthly howl burst from his mouth and he dropped his scratched sword which fell to the floor with a clatter. He tried to reach round his back to wrench Zar'roc out, but he could not, no matter which way he tried, the sword was lodged firmly, right through his heart.
Durza's pale skin then turned transparent; under it was swirling patterns of darkness. He shrieked even louder and the darkness began to split his skin. He let out one last cry, then the darkness leapt from him, separating into three separated entities before vanishing through Tronjheim's walls and out of Farthen Dûr.
The Shade was destroyed.
Eragon fell back as Zar'roc clattered to the floor. The deadly gem daggers hung in midair as Arya and Saphira landed. The last thing Eragon heard before giving into the darkness that brushed the fringes of his exhausted mind was a familiar gentle voice. "Mae carnen Eragon, le car den."
'Come to me."
He recoiled slightly at the touch of another consciousness in his mind. But it was gentle, and it was blocking the pain he should be in, that much he most definitely knew.
'Who are you?' he asked.
'One who would help you. I am Osthata Chetowä, the Morning Sage. And Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is Whole. Come to me Eragon, for I have answers to that which you ask. You must trust Arya and go with her to Ellesméra- I will be there, with the Elves. But for now, you must sleep…'
He felt the presence recede from his mind. His last thought before giving into the sleep he craved was how proud Brom would be of him.
"Eragon, wake up. You have slept too long," the voice was soft and kind, that of a woman.
He opened his eyes and found himself to be lying in a big comfortable bed, Angela sitting in a chair beside him.
"Angela," he murmured.
"Shh Eragon, save your strength."
Angela turned her head away from him toward the figure that stood in the door way.
"You should be resting Legolas, you took a lot from that Shade," Angela said.
"I am rested. How is Eragon?" Legolas asked coming over and taking the seat next to Angela.
"I'm fine thanks, how are you? Eragon asked taking a sip of the mead Angela handed him. Legolas just nodded and gave a small smile. "I'm sorry that I gave you away to Durza and-"
"Eragon, do not worry about it, it is past now," said Legolas holding up a hand to quiet the boy.
"Legolas I- I think I spoke Elvish- your language," said Eragon uncertainly.
"You did, I heard you. And I came back to the light and opened my eyes just as you commanded me to, for I was so far way from the light, submerged in Durza's suffocating darkness, I do not think I would have been able to had you not spoken those words to me," said Legolas.
"What happened in the battle? Did we-"
"Yes, we did win," said Angela.
"How?" asked Eragon.
"There are some friends of yours who wish to tell you that themselves, shall I let them in? They have been waiting a very long time for you to come round," replied Angela. Eragon smiled and nodded as Angela got up and went into the living room opening the door to let in Gimli, Murtagh and Arya. Saphira snaked her long neck inside, being too big for her whole body.
'You breathed fire!' Eragon said to her suddenly remembering.
'Yes, I did!' she replied proudly.
"It's about time you were up, we've been waiting in the hall for hours," said Murtagh grinning, he had a bandage around his head and cuts and bruises on his face.
"So, are you going to tell me what happened?" Eragon asked.
"Of course! We won! It was strange though, when the Shade's spirits flew out of Tronjheim and across Farthen Dûr, the Urgals stopped fighting us then the different clans started fighting each other! It was as though they had been released from a spell. It was crazy! Those that didn't manage to kill each other escaped through the tunnels, the Varden are routing them out now." Explained Murtagh.
"Looks like you took some damage Elf, you look awful!" Gimli stated.
"Thank you Gimli, how kind of you to point that out," Legolas said wryly.
Gimli smiled happily. "And what was your end tale Master Elf?"
"Fifty-six," Legolas replied.
Gimli looked disgruntled. "Bah, mine was fifty-five, you won."
"I told you we would better our last scores, well done Gimli! We are now even, you won at Helm's Deep, and I have won here. But do not worry, there is always a chance to beat me in the next battle.
"The next battle?" Eragon said disbelievingly with a gulp.
"Well, after all this there has to be another doesn't there? We are only speaking from experience though," said Gimli logically.
"So Murtagh, are the Varden going to lock you back up? Or have you proven yourself trust worthy enough now?" asked Legolas.
Murtagh shrugged. "I don't think anyone really cares about me right now, they all seem rather preoccupied. But you're a hero Eragon! Everyone is talking about how you killed Durza. If it wasn't for you, the battle would most definitely have gone ill for us."
"Arya how come the stone sapphire broke? And how come it didn't all crash to the floor?" asked Eragon turning to the She-Elf who had remained silent next to Gimli this entire time.
"I had to break it, it was the only way of getting down once we got wind of what was happening below us. We had to help otherwise Durza would have killed you, he would never let me rescue you. I managed to suspend all of the pieces of the star sapphire in midair before they hit the floor, then I lowered them down slowly so none of them shattered," Arya replied.
"A feat which almost killed you," said Angela. "The three of you who had dealings with that Shade were all in bad shape when you came to me, if you hadn't you would have taken far longer to heal, if you survived that long. It took all my skills to get you back on your feet!"
"It did? How long have I been here exactly?" asked Eragon
"A day and a half," said Angela. "Legolas woke up a few hours before you, and Arya refused to take the rest she really needed. But you boys took a lot courtesy of Durza, still, you all should be as good as new in time," she faltered. "Though Eragon you must understand, my healing methods use herbs and potions and, well, some things cannot be fixed perfectly."
My back! Eragon thought suddenly. He raised himself up and felt his back, moving his hand up to the base of his neck he froze in horror as he felt the large bump beneath his fingers, he followed it down his back where it ended at his hip. So he had not walked away from this battle completely scar free.
"Eragon, I'm sorry. You paid the price for your bravery. I'm afraid you will have that scar for life," said Angela gently.
Eragon closed his eyes and sunk back down in his bed. His thoughts suddenly turned to Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is Whole who had spoken to him in his dreams. He must go to the Elves, yes he would go.
And from there, who can say.
May your swords stay sharp!