Chapter One:

Twin Betrayal

Galbatorix smiled as word reached him that his spies from Varden had arrived.

The doors to his study opened, and the king looked up as two bald twins entered.

"Well?" asked Galbatorix as his visitors bowed at the foot of his mighty throne. "What news from Varden? And the battle? I expect to have Ajihad ether dead or, under control."

The twins' stood uncomfortably and began to speak, careful not to look their master in the eyes.

"Well, you see,"

"There wasn't much we could do."

"I mean we took out as many soldiers as we could while their backs were turned."

"But in fear of people seeing-"

King Galbatorix silenced their sudden explanations with one hand. His dark eyes surveyed the Twins' apprehensive faces. He slowly pointed to the twin on the left.

"Tell me the outcome of the battle and any news from Varden," his eyes flashed, "leave nothing out."

He nodded.

"When word reached the Ajihad that urgals were to attack, he wasted no time in preparing. My brother and I did our best to disable the traps he and the rider were putting into place.

"So," snarled Galbatorix, "the rider has chosen his fate."

The Twins nodded slowly.

"Continue!"

"Although our plan was flawless and, we succeeded in sabotaging many of

The traps, the urgals were still," he hesitated "defeated."

There was a diminutive silence when the Twins cowered below Galbatorix's excruciating gaze.

"You failed." whispered Galbatorix. "You failed…but I am willing to over look that as you are my most loyal spies."

"Oh thank you, thank-"

"Silence! Tell me news from Varden!"

The twin trembled and his voice shook but he continued his story all the same.

"The rider, we have been testing him, and trying our best to learn his techniques. But even we cannot uncover his secrets. He also has his… suspicions about our loyalties to the king. Yet, Ajihad suspects nothing."

"The rider has taken a special liking to the elf Aryra. Yes," he said with a glance at the king's irritated face, "she is alive. We tried to kill her by prolonging their entry to Varden, but Orik stopped us, clearly aware of her condition." Both of the Twins snarled in dislike.

"You may have him killed if you like." Said Galbatorix in a slightly bored voice.

"That would be wonderful." They exclaimed, smiling viciously at the thought.

"Yet we still have, a little bit of bad news that we…forgot to mention before." He said nervously.

Galbatorix raised his eyebrows.

" The shade Durza fought the rider, and was killed."

Galbatorix's face became contorted with rage and regret. Even the twins' could tell that Galbatorix was disturbed by the loss of Durza.

"You did nothing?" yelled Galbatorix.

"We couldn't. Ayra was watching and we could have been discovered."

Galbatorix nodded. In an act to cover up his sudden burst of emotions he snarled, "No matter, we shall use someone more useful. Someone that the rider would dare not kill. And you two are going to help me. Now return to Varden I will contact you when you are needed."

"But master!" whispered the twins. "There is one last thing. They have added a new member to Varden! Murtaugh, Marzen's only son!"

Eragon yawned. For the first time in months his mind was clear of all thoughts. He was in a state of eternal peace, until-

Are you going to get up or not? I've been sitting here for hours!

Eragon sat up hazily and looked around.

"Eh, what am I doing here?" asked Eragon rubbing the back of his head. His whole body was sore.

Is your memory really that bad? Well, it's expected, after that battle.

"Saphira?"

No you idiot Solembum.

"Oh," Eragon smiled. His mind was now filled with the week's startling events, the battle, the shade, and the morning sage's message.

"You could cut me some slack you know." Said Eragon starring down at the scar that was wrapped in a snake like fashion around his upper body.

"I did fight the shade."

Yes your right, you did fight the shade. FOUR DAYS AGO! Now get up lazy! You call your self a rider!

Eragon glared at the wear-cat seated at the foot of his bed and looked around the shadow filled room. He was lying in a bed covered in blue lace. Dozens of pillows lined the headrest, which was made from precious red wood trees. The two chairs that were seated next to the bed were previously inhabited with Ayra and Murtaugh the night before. The rest of the room was filled with dwarfin designed furniture made of similar wood.

"Is Angela here?" asked Eragon.

No, she is traveling beyond Beor Mountains to tell the Elvin queen that we have recovered Ayra. She is accompanied by two Elvin members of Varden and shall return in a fortnight.

Eragon nodded. He got out of bed and began to pull on a shirt that lay folded on the side table.

"And Saphira? Where is she?"

She is having an elegant dinner in the dinning hall. You idiot were do you think she is? The dragon hold!

Eragon laughed.

"You remind me of Brom-" But he stopped abruptly, suddenly filled with regret.

Worry not about the dead, you are a rider your responsibility is the living. Go now to the king's quarters! He has a mission for you!

"Thanks." Said Eragon, and walked toward the door.

"WHAT!" yelled Galbatorix, "He is alive! And in Varden?"

"Y-yes, we tried to keep him out, by telling Ajihad he was reluctant to let us search his mind, but after his assistance in the battle, he has been excused."

"How did he come to Varden? Who brought him?"

"Apparently, he had rescued the rider from the Ra'zac and the shade, numerous times and they have been traveling together."

"He is well?"

"Yes. I expect you would like us to keep him that way."

"No, he is a trader. He is not important anymore. This has changed things a bit. You must go back to Varden; I will send word in two days time. Now leave."

The twins nodded and backed out of the king's quarters.

Eragon knocked loudly on the large oak door of Ajihad's office.

"Come in"

Ajihad's quarters looked the same, if not slightly less organized than the last time he had stepped foot inside.

There were papers, maps, books, and quills scattered over every flat surface provided to him.

Seated at one of the less organized tables was Ajihad poring over a map of Sudra.

"Ah, Eragon!" exclaimed Ajihad looking up as Eragon entered. "Please, have a seat."

Eragon cleared a pile of papers off of a chair and sat down.

"I'm glad to see your well. I'm suspect you have spoken to Solembum?"

Eragon nodded nervously. What was this about?

"Eh, he said you had a, mission for me?" said Eragon awkwardly.

"Ah, yes, and he was correct. There has been a fast spreading rumor that another egg was found in Lithgow."

"Another egg?" asked Eragon. "You mean one out of Galbatorix's grasp? That wonderful we can get-"

Ajihad held up his hand for silence.

"It is only a rumor, but I am going to send you and Murtaug to find out. I want you to ask questions to find out if the rumor is true or not. But do not expose yourselves. Galbatorix has already sent an army down, so be careful not to get caught. Now, when you leave, tell Murtaug that you leave at sun down,"

"That soon!"

"Yes, you will find him on the training ground with Ayra."

Eragon nodded, gave a small bow and walked out the door.

Eragon walked slowly toward the kitchens, he was very eager to eat.

He stopped suddenly turned as his name was called.

Eragon!

Eragon turned around and saw no one there.

Eragon!

Eragon smiled.

"Saphira?"

Ah, the Where cat tells the truth. You have awoken. I'm glad your back little one.

Eragon smiled to him self,

"I am too Saphira, I am to."

Will you meet me at the dragon hold?

"Of coarse" exclaimed Eragon. "But I must eat first."

Saphira agreed.

Eragon walked into the kitchen and asked the miniature chef if they were still serving breakfast.

The chef scowled for a moment and then said, "Normally, breakfast is not served hours past noon, but for you Eragon Shadeslayer, it is."

The dwarf bowed and scooted him off into the dinning hall.

Eragon hungrily wolfed down his breakfast of bacon, eggs, and sausage, and left the hall.

In the many weeks spent with the Varden, Eragon had grown used to humans stopping and bowing respectfully to him. But dwarfs swallowing their pride to acknowledge him, is a miracle in it self.

Eragon was so engulfed in his thoughts, that he did not notice when a stout man no older than forty ran right into him.

Eragon rubbed his head and looked up at the man.

"Sorry," mumbled Eragon.

"Now that is a story for me grandchildren!" yelped the man. "Eragon Shadeslayer apologized to me? When the doing was my own!"

"Eh," Eragon stood uncomfortably unsure what to say, "It was my fault really I-"

The man stopped him, "I will not hear of it!" he bowed and Eragon turned to walk away until he yelled out to him again.

"O rider!"

Eragon turned not knowing what to expect.

"My wife, she just had a baby boy"

Eragon groaned, he did not fancy blessing another child but he listened all the same.

"And we were wondering if you could pick a name for him?"

Eragon sighed in relief.

"Roran." Said Eragon, "Roran."

The man thanked him and then asked, "I would like to know where this name originated from, I have heard not of it."

Eragon smiled, "it is the name of my cou-," no "it is the name of my brother."

The man practically jumped for joy. We shall make sure he brings the name the same respect that the name brought your brother. Such an honor, such an honor!"

The man skipped off intent to tell his wife the news.

Eragon smiled.

For months Eragon had feared for his relationship with Roran. When this was all over, when he went back to Carvahall, would Roran still be there? Would his village be untouched by their bloody revolution? Would Roran forgive him for Garrow's death? The thought of Roran's reaction to the whole ordeal sent chills down his spine.

Maybe I should scry Roran, no, I will wait until after the mission. If I look now, what I see might compel me to go to Carvahall.

Eragon tried to push Roran out his mind, but with little success.

When he finally reached the dragon hold, he saw Saphira surrounded by a crowed of people.

Eragon slowly pushed his way through the crowed, careful not to draw attention to him self. As soon as he got to Saphira, relived to see her saddle already on, he climbed onto her back.

He hugged Saphira around the neck. They were about to take off when-

"Argetlem!"

Eragon turned as a little boy stared up into his face, his small eyes shinning with apprehension. He had shaggy black hair and a shockingly pale face.

"Yes?" asked Eragon, slightly confidant that the boy would not ask for a blessed child.

"Well, I don't, you, if you can't" the boy stuttered.

"Spit it out!" yelled a man in the back of the crowed.

The boy took a deep breath and began, "My father you see, our family are farmers, and we have been having problems with our tomato stalks."

Eragon laughed quietly. The little boy had suddenly reminded him of himself.

The boy's face burned cherry red but continued his plea.

"And my father doesn't know what to do about it. I know someone as noble as you would not trouble your self with useless farming, but if you could do anything." The boy faltered, and stared at the ground.

Eragon smiled. He remembered having the same problem when he was in Carvahall two winters ago.

"Can you keep a secret?" Eragon asked the boy quietly.

The boy nodded eagerly.

"I was a farmer too, that is before I became a rider."

The boy gasped in disbelief.

"You can't tell anyone okay?" the boy nodded. "And to answer you question, if the stalks are to flimsy and tomatoes to small you are watering them too much, if they are dead and cracking, you are watering them to little. Does that answer your question?"

The boy nodded, and before any more requests were thrown at him, Eragon took off.