Explainer, Plots, Cast of Characters, and other Random Stuff


Okay, great. Got that. So. Welcome to the Unorganized Chapter of Insanity…basically plotlines, explainers, weird little anecdotes, etc. They're not in any particular order. These are files I've dug out of my computer completely unedited and unfixed, so you may jeer at them to your heart's content because even I think they suck to the pits of hell.

I very seriously considered writing an epilogue to Thorn and Misery, but I have decided not to add anything in the end. See, it has to do with a bunch of factors including a) laziness, b) sloppiness, c) lack of time (big major sucky tests are coming, which equals lots of studying for me), d) drama, and plus another dozen factors, but too lazy to list them here. (See?) So, I'm very sorry to all you people who looked at my profile and my promise for an epilogue, but I'm a liar. XD

Soo…to start off. Let's begin with the main point of this not-chapter, shall we? The explainer.


Well, chappies 1-3 are basic, you know, Thorn hatches, so on and so forth. It's not until chapter 4 that a new character is introduced, Salem Blackfire.

Okay. When I first made Salem, I intended a romance. It wasn't until chapter…what, thirty? that the romance actually started…huh. And even then, I think it was really a friendship…so much for that. But hey, they did eventually get together, eh?

The riddle introduced in chapter 5 was a herald of Peregrine and the romance. I'll explain it line by line.

When Vrael's eye lies in fateful rest,

And jackals shimmer of ev'ry shade,

Wyrda's feet are put to the test,

And the threads be hewn by death's dark blade?

I said in chapter 11 that Vrael has the greenest eyes. Don't know if anybody picked up on that. So the eye thing refers to the last dragon egg. Jackals are scavengers, and traditionally play the roles of mangy thieves; Sílica are thieves of the last dragon egg. Wyrda, fate, and the 'threads' here are the threads of love that was meant to be the impending romance. The riddle doesn't play as nearly big a role as I thought it would; in reality it's just kind of a foreshadowing. OOH!

So, in chapter 5 Salem and Murtagh meet for the first time, never mind the fact that Murtagh was unconscious when it happened.

Chapter 6 and 7 bring in Murtagh's magic and also the first stages of Thorn/Murtagh transformation from somebody stoic and at least halfway honorable into hardened shells who trust only each other. Chapter 7 also tells of Heii (Peregrine magicker) and his death, and the impact it has on Sílica.

Chapter 8 tells of Salem and Reynold…well, that romance seemed to be getting farther and farther away, which was really kind of annoying. But at that point I just wrote on a whim…I had no all-knowing and all-powerful Plot then. O.o.

Tria Atalini (Talinia) pops in on us in Chapter 9, and the next chapter helps link it into Murtagh's discovery of Sílica and the introduction of our two lovebirds! Of course, then chapter 11 kills off Tria and also puts in effect the routs, which basically means Sílica has fallen to pieces. Chapter 11 also brings in Reynold's death. Wow. Chapter 11 was not a happy chapter.

Wait…where did Chapter 10 go? Heh? Anyway…

Chapter 12…now here we start to get all bubbly and totally happy-making (yay Scott Westerfield!). Thorn is revealed to be hiding a Secret (yes, capital letter and all), and in Chapter 13 the Secret is to be Peregrine and his guardians. In other words, Neal, Martaila, and Reya (though I don't know if she really counts, as all she really does is jibber about that scary red dragon flying around). You also kind of get the idea that Thorn doesn't like Salem in this chapter…and of course, it ends with the TWINS. The evil TWINS. MUAHAHAHA! –giggle-

Murtagh kicks Twin butt in chapter 14, and a new character is paved—Connac Blackfire, though he's not fully introduced here.

Chapters 15 and 16 take place at the same time as chapters 17 and the front of 18, chronicling the separate adventures of Murtagh/Thorn and Salem. I'll take Murtagh's side first. Basically, he and Thorn saunter off into the woods and have a nice chat with Martaila before returning to the palace and getting destroyed by Galbatorix. Those are the most basic points of those two chapters, but there're a lot more details (which obviously you all know because you read all the other chapters first…right?). Meanwhile, Salem is busy running amok in the sewers, Connac is introduced, and the section(s) officially ends with Salem eluding Connac's soldiers.

Now. The end of chapter 18 is pretty important. Murtagh and Thorn have been given orders to split up, and Salem is discovered by Gen and taken to the remnants of Sílica. And, of course, the balcony falls down. –splat- Yeah. While by contrast, 19 isn't exactly a long or important chapter. Salem is taken to Sílica, meets everybody, and Murtagh heals the guy he squashed via the balcony. That's about it.

Chapter 20, Galby shows just how much of an S.O.B. he is by separating Thorn and Murtagh. Gen is wounded, Serrion dies, and Murtagh gets Connac's permission to go haring after Salem. In 21, Barley (Matiel) passes on a cryptic message to Martaila and Neal, warning them of a spy and his suspicions.

Now, here's a little behind-the-scenes work. Serrion and Gen went out to who-knows-where together—the result is that Serrion is killed and Gen dies. This was the floorwork for Gen's betrayal. Serrion confronted Gen about his suspicions, and Gen killed him because Serrion knew too much. Serrion lashed in self-defense and wounded Gen.

Aren't I brilliantly evil? –cough cough- If you have a different opinion, keep it to yourself. Anyway. The rest of this chapter is typical action stuff—Murtagh seeks with his mind, finds the last Sílica stronghold, and freaks out Liane and company. It ends with a cliffhanger, which is promptly resolved in chapter 22 as Murtagh blows in the door and Liane sacrifices herself to let Rina and Ides escape.

The chapter ends with a crappy section with Thorn flying around, feeling depressed. All in all, 22 was not the best chapter I've ever written. Anyhoo. In 23, it's yay sewers, Murtagh also discovers his limits, and everybody gets all depressed because life sucks, basically. The Twins also get a taste of their own medicine when Galby zaps them with the Evil Mind Force Power Thing of Doom. Thorn is taken back to the palace, and we don't see hide nor tail of him for quite a while.

Moving on…Chapter 24. Sílica (comprising of Rina, Ides, Salem, Gen, and Matiel as of this chapter) find that Liane is officially Dead, but not before Martaila, Nealan, and Reya reach the body first. Martaila and co. move away, presumably to the smugglers, but they're obviously not there in chapter 27. Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Martaila and co. don't meet up with Sílica in this chapter, but both discover that Liane is dead. Connac's post also gets shifted to the city patrol.

4/3/101 is turning out to be quite an eventful day, and it's not done yet! In chappie 25, Ides gets into a bit of trouble and Murtagh hears the distress, resulting in a collision in chapter 26. Salem is taken by Murtagh, Gen/Ides relationship is revealed, and a cryptic messenger arrives for Connac (who is now city patrol), all in chapter 26. The messenger is Samker Effiwin, the master of Greenwort's Tavern, which is a HUGE clue to what happens in the next chapter.

Chapter 27. I had been planning this chapter for a REALLY REALLY REALLY long time…it starts four hours after Chapter 27, with Sílica finding the Pirean smugglers, gaining passage, then having the city patrol (led by Connac) arrest them. It details the revelation of Gen/Teleus's betrayal and his role in finally bringing down Peregrine.

Neehahaha. -evil cackle- Moving on!

28-30 contain lots and lots of Salem/Murtagh fluff (yay!). No, really, not yay. They were the hardest, grudgingest (not a word), terriblelest (not a word either) chapters I have ever had to write in my entire life. Basic content? Salem and Murtagh get in a match of wills while they tussle back and forth, and finally they get tossed in jail. Ain't that nice o' me?

Chapter 31 lays the groundwork for Chapters 32 and 33, meaning that Martaila/Neal/Reya move out, and Murtagh is released from jail. Chapter 32, Martaila/Neal promptly die. No word from Reya yet, though my suspicion is that she ran into the woods and became a gibbering hermit.

33 ends with the pwnest cliffie I've ever written! Ahh! –dodges tomatoes- You don't have to resort to violence, you know. –sniffles- So, in this enlightening chappie there's a little Connac/Murtagh showdown, some Connac/Salem fluff, some Murtagh/Salem fluff, and lots of happy dappy all around. Rundown of the chapter—Murtagh and Connac meet, they arrange to free Salem, Murtagh and Salem run to the sewers and it ends with the BIG BAD CLOUD hanging in front of them. And Thorn! Yee!

I separated chapter 34 into two chapters just to drive everybody nuts. 34I has a fairly unadventurous plotline; Shruikan sits around and guards Murtagh and Salem. Some M/S fluff, M/T fluff, and S/T fluff. Not much else. 34II, one of the Twins comes and picks them up, redirecting them to a chamber where they can wait for his Most Royal Majesty…Galby. Anyway, Galbatorix takes them for a little ride. Once again, fluffiness—M/T, M/S mostly. It ends with them landing near the Flam River.

In 35 I bring in some notable quotes that I'll use later in the Burning Plains, and there's a huge hunka Murtagh/Salem fluff. And yes, they kiss! –hugs- What a happy scene, which I just have to deflate in chapter 36 as they land in the Ephicai Vinael, the Vault of Souls. Murtagh finds the source of his magic there, but also sacrifices Salem to living hell while he's at it. Once again, another cliffhanger/half/sort of-thing where Murtagh plunges down the first path to bitterness/insanity.

In 37, there's a little insanity scene going on as Murtagh has a fever and starts raving. Galbatorix's doctrines are implanted in his mind…really short chapter, but important. In 38, lots and lotsa M/T interaction; you can clearly see Thorn's bitterness culminate here. 39, Murtagh is given his assignment and off we saunter to the Burning Plains.

Chapter 40 is all Connac/Mikael…then DAMN, Connac's poisoning! NOO! ANGELA, I'M GONNA RIP YOU TO PIECES! –wails and sniffs- Okay, I'm done…I think…Mikael's a favorite charrie of mine cuz he's based off somebody I used to know. –nods and smiles-

And after that…

Chapter Inheritance! The finale! The epilogue! The culmination, finish, ending, end, DENOUEMENT! Don't you just love electronic thesauruses? I owe everything to Encarta thesaurus. That's one HUGE acknowledgement I must make. –bows to Encarta- Without you, believe me, I'd be screwed big time…

Eragon/Murtagh meeting, DOY! Been building up to this chapter for this entire fic, so it had better be good! –shakes fist- Anyway, the chapter might be slightly prejudiced because I think Eragon needs a life, but hey whatever. You liked it, right?

So there you have it, Thorn and Misery in three pages! Over the length of 41 chappies, squashed down into three pages…not bad. Is this confusing? I think it is, but I'm too lazy to rewrite it. (See again?)


And just for kicks, here's the original plotline I made. How much of it actually went into the story? Not much, eh? This is really boring, feel free to skippy.

Galbatorix's plan is three-fold: first and foremost, to capture Neal and make him the third Rider. Two: to take the last remaining members of Peregrine into custody, and three: to use Salem to open the Vault of Souls for Murtagh.

The first part is the most important. Galbatorix learned of Neal and Martaila through his spy, Gen, but for a long time was unable to do anything about it; they were too heavily guarded. That is, until the routs. Martaila and Neal were placed in the woods, where they were thought to be safe. Galbatorix didn't know their location until he probed Murtagh's mind, and so he sent Thorn and Gen to take them, believing that at least one of them would succeed.

Unfortunately for him, Serrion had been growing suspicious for awhile, sharing his suspicions with Matiel, his closest friend. Serrion finally confronted Gen; Gen killed him but was wounded in the process. Matiel, while Gen was still unconscious, took this opportunity to relocate Martaila and Neal, hiding them just in time and also warning them about a spy.

Needless to say, Galbatorix was not pleased. As apparently only Matiel knew the new location, he needed to capture Matiel because Gen couldn't probe minds. This was far easier said than done, though, as Matiel was chary of Gen and venturing out. But he did finally manage to succeed in it, capturing him, finding the new location, then disposing of the poor guy.

Martaila is no damsel in distress. She moved a lot at the first sign of trouble. Remember those crystal necklaces? The one that Salem has? Ides had been keeping in touch with Martaila, unaware of all the drama, until Martaila informed him of Matiel's cryptic words. Ides leapt to conclusions and wrongly suspected Salem. She stormed out of the house, all in a tizzy, getting incredibly lost and going right into Murtagh's arms. Murtagh had been searching for quite a while before finally finding her. His instructions by then were a bit outdated. He took her to the woods, where Martaila and Neal were supposed to be. By then, of course, nobody was there. They get into a fight, but some of it—a tiny bit—is resolved. Feelings and a real pivotal point in the Murtagh/Salem relationship start. However, a last patrol of soldiers that had been left behind finds them. Murtagh, struggling with his feelings and undecided, lets them take Salem and goes up to the palace.

Meanwhile, Gen is doing the very best he can to find the new location when Galbatorix gets impatient with the subtle method and sends in a troop of soldiers to flush them all out. All of them are captured, except Gen, who miraculously 'escapes'.

From Ides, Galbatorix learns of the crystal necklaces. He forces the man to send two messages—one to Martaila, telling her of a Peregrine messenger who will come to get them. The second to Salem, telling her of a rescue attempt. Gen, the traitor, acts as the Peregrine messenger. Reya is killed as she tries to escape. Martaila, refusing to bring a second Rider under Galbatorix's rule, kills Neal before committing suicide.

To summarize what's happened in two sentences: Peregrine is captured and the would-be Rider is dead. All that's left is objective three.

Murtagh, meanwhile, is wavering constantly. While Galbatorix is occupied with Neal and Martaila, he finally gives in to his conscience after hours of arguing with himself. Thorn is still blocked off from him; he is utterly alone. Finally, he decides to rescue her, playing right into Galbatorix's hands. They are caught, long story short, and put in a jail cell overnight. Then, Galbatorix takes them via Shruikan to the Vault of Souls.


These were the original chapters 2 and 3 that I made, but I didn't like them so I scrapped them. Yes, Malticai du Kaiya was originally Murtagh's true name, but I changed it because I thought it sounded too girly.

Also, the original source of Murtagh's true name is through an elf. But I couldn't get it to make sense for Thorn, which is another reason why these chapters asploded. BOOM! –fizzle- Don't laugh too hard at me, I'll cry!

Chapter Three entails Thorn's hatching and the forming of Murtagh's gedwey ignasia thingy, which I didn't write into the posted chapters.

He must've fainted, for the next thing he was aware of were cool fingers on his chin. "Relax, Murtagh," Galbatorix said soothingly. His face curled into an evil grin. "Or shall I say, Malticai du Kaíya?"

A strange tingle shot through Murtagh at the sound of the name. He swallowed thickly, feeling helpless rage course through his veins. "Answer me!" Galbatorix barked.

"Yes," Murtagh answered, sagging with defeat. "Yes, that is…that is my true name." He swallowed thickly and forced himself to look Galbatorix in the eye. "I am your slave," he said bitterly.

Galbatorix laughed. He laughed, the bastard. "Why, Murtagh, why such a depressing viewpoint? I do like the sound of it—Malticai du Kaíya. Hmm. Interesting combination—contradictions, bits of this, bits of that—" he smiled, slow and cold. "True names give one so much power, don't you agree? It's interesting how you got an elf to tell you…hmm, pity you didn't accompany him to Ellesméra, eh?"

Murtagh didn't answer, eyes fixed dully on the ground. Galbatorix murmured, "Rekna," under his breath. The iron chains snapped open with a dull clank. "Come, Malticai du Kaíya," Galbatorix whispered. "There is something you must see."

Murtagh rose—he had no choice. Walking as if in a dream, he followed the Rider-King down winding passageways, past multitudes of guards, and finally down a flight of stairs into a round, dank chamber.

He heard the occupant of the prison before he saw it. Towering within it was a massive black dragon, roaring; a thundering sound that threatened to knock him to his knees. Galbatorix shouted something incomprehensible over the noise, and the black dragon fell silent, head hanging. Galbatorix turned to him, eyes bright.

"This is Shruikan," he said softly. "Shruikan is my dragon, mine. He belongs to me, do you understand?" His mouth twisted into a resentful smile. "The other Rider lost his right to bond with Shruikan…he is mine!" The black dragon puffed a slow cloud of smoke. Murtagh touched the dragon's consciousness with a light tendril of thought. Mournful sorrow came out to him, along with unshed tears. Marafin, Shruikan said softly.

Your former Rider?

"Enough!" Galbatorix roared, cutting off their communication violently. He turned onto Murtagh, eyes bright. "You will not talk to Shruikan, Malticai du Kaíya, do you understand? Never! Never!"

Murtagh flinched as the force of the command hit him. He nodded, numb. Galbatorix's rage faded as quickly as it had come, a smile spreading over his face once more. "All right," he said. "Shruikan, move!"

The great black dragon shuffled dolefully aside, eyes watching them sadly. Galbatorix ignored the dragon and walked deeper into the chamber. "Look," he hissed, touching a silver box.

The latch swung open at his touch, revealing two pearly stones—one blood-red, and the other emerald. "Dragon eggs?" Murtagh asked, vaguely puzzled. "Why should they hatch for me, Morzan's son?"

Galbatorix turned to him. "It tends to run in families," he said slowly. "Father to son, mother to daughter—most commonly, though, brother to brother." He cocked his head, watching horror dawn on Murtagh's face. "You should be happy," he snarled. "At last, someone shares your shame. Thanks to you, I can now scry him…your side, our side, has a means of defeating this so-called Rider." He cocked his head. "Eragon. The first Rider. And also the last, the last to stand against us!"

Galbatorix's fingers curled around Murtagh's wrist. "They will hatch for you. They will."


Chapter Three: Thorn

Cracks spread across the surface of the red stone; slowly at first, then spreading across like a plague. Murtagh stood, transfixed by the sight. "It's hatching," he breathed softly.

Galbatorix stood silently nearby, eyes filled with something that was not quite hate, and not quite jealousy, but a strange mixture of both. As the small red dragon tumbled clumsily out of its egg, Galbatorix whispered, "I was right."

Murtagh ignored him, reaching a hand forward slowly. The dragon eyed it curiously and snapped playfully at it, teeth clacking inches away. Murtagh jerked back, startled. "It's beautiful," he said softly.

"Touch it, Malticai," Galbatorix ordered coldly. "Now."

Murtagh's palm lunged forward, touching the neck of the red dragon. A roaring fire filled his ears as the world swirled into a rainbow of colors. He fell to the floor, numb.


When it finally passed, Murtagh found himself in a bed, the first bed he'd been in for what felt like years. He sat up slowly, head swimming—

Then abruptly jumped out of bed, yelling at the top of his lungs. The small red dragon gave a squeak and launched itself clumsily after him, tumbling to a halt at his feet. Murtagh stared in disbelief. "What—what—what—" he managed eloquently.

From the doorway, Galbatorix laughed. Murtagh spun around, eyes wild. "Oh, get a grip on yourself, Malticai," the sorcerer-king snapped. "You're a Rider now—how does it feel?"

Murtagh swallowed hard and looked at his shaking palm. There, glistening slightly, lay the gedwey ignasia (A/N: can't figure how to get the little two dot things on top of the e). "I'm a Rider?" he gasped, disbelieving. "But—"

The first tendril of the baby dragon's thoughts touched his, and Murtagh shut up. "Oh," he said finally. "Okay." Reaching down, he picked up the small dragon gently. A terrible pain came into his heart, and he sighed. "I'm—I'm a slave, aren't I?" he said finally, looking at Galbatorix. "Your slave. To use against Eragon." He hesitated a moment more, then said, "My brother."

"Quite," Galbatorix purred. "But why look at it from such a depressing viewpoint? You're an esteemed servant of the Empire, second only to me! Of course, that doesn't seem like too much now, but later, when I feel like I can trust you more…" he laughed. "There's a whole world out there, just waiting for us." Taking Murtagh's limp hands in his, Galbatorix said persuasively, "Imagine, Murtagh. The old Riders were old, outdated—they fought constantly within themselves, pretty much reducing their usefulness to nothing. But if we form the Riders again—this time, under a single banner—imagine what good we can do! For Alagaesia, Murtagh!"

Murtagh hesitated, looking down at the dragon. His dragon. Finally, in a weak voice, he whispered, "But…Eragon…I can't…"

Galbatorix shook his head and sighed gently, as a father disappointed in his son. "It will become clear to you in time, Murtagh," the king said kindly. "Don't fret about it now." He gazed down at the young dragon, now pawing in Murtagh's lap. "Don't worry about your brother. He'll learn."

Murtagh shuddered at the implied threat in Galbatorix's voice, vividly remembering the pain the torturers had inflicted upon him. He pulled away, his voice rough. "Do as you will," he said with an effort.

Galbatorix stood, a cold smile on his face. "Oh, I will," he said mirthlessly. "It's not like you can resist, eh, Malticai?"

He swept out of the room. Murtagh was left alone on the bed, callused hands rubbing the dragon's head slowly. As if it sensed his mood, it nuzzled his fingers, licking them gently, ruby eyes looking mournfully up at him.

"Oh, what do you know?" Murtagh said hoarsely. "You were just born a few days ago, at most. You've got nothing to worry about. You aren't the slave of some man who knows your true—"


This is chapter two, just in case you started to read Thorn and Misery after I revised chapter two.

Chapter Two: Uru'Baen

(A/N: this is after Murtagh has been tortured and everything. He's meeting Galbatorix in this little scene)

"Murtagh," Galbatorix greeted coolly. "How has our hospitality been?"

Murtagh didn't respond, his eyes unfocused. In a way, he was grateful for the chains binding him to the chair—he didn't think he could sit up without them. A cold, icy finger ran along his cheek, making him shudder. "Very good? I'm glad."

Galbatorix walked back to his throne, a slight sneer on his lips. "Are you willing to serve me now, Murtagh? Have I taught you correctly?" He leaned forward, eyes gleaming. "Your father, Morzan, was the most faithful of my men. I trust you shall be the same?"

Murtagh didn't respond. Galbatorix shook his head, then roared, "Waíse heill!"

A long shudder ran down Murtagh's spine as injuries knitted themselves closed, muscles reformed and bones melded back into one. Murtagh's eyes focused, snapping toward the king. "Good," the king said darkly. "Your limpness was getting to be a bore, and I don't like being bored."

Murtagh swallowed, feeling much more clear-headed and also much more frightened. "I will never serve you," he said hoarsely. "Not willingly. What do you want with me? I'm a fair swordsman, but there must be hundreds others like me! I'm of no use to you."

Galbatorix laughed. It was not a pleasant sound to hear. "That is where you are mistaken, son of my friend," he said mockingly. Stepping down from the dais, he said quietly, "There is much you can tell me…my torturers, talented as they are, are sadly lacking in this particular skill…"

Galbatorix's mind slammed into Murtagh's violently. Frantically, he threw up barriers, trying to defend himself from the vicious, unrelenting assault. His body arched up in the chair, eyes rolling in their sockets. "No—" he choked. "No—no—"

Bit by bit, inch by inch, Galbatorix forced his way in. Things were pried out—Eragon, Arya, Brom, their time in Gil'ead, the Varden, his childhood, anything, everything, pulled out against his will. His life was laid bare under Galbatorix's scrutiny; not a single inch went unexamined. Tears ran down Murtagh's face as he remembered bitter memories he had struggled to bury, painful things that were meant to be private—NO!

He must've fainted, for the next thing he was aware of was that he was lying on a bed, the first bed in what seemed like eternity. Sitting up slowly, he saw Galbatorix standing over him. "Eragon is protected," the king said lightly. "It seems that the images you have provided me with aren't enough to scry him."

Murtagh couldn't find anything to say. Finally, he managed, "Oh."

"Fortunately," the king said, pacing around him, "I have you." He turned around, eyes gleaming. Within his arms, he held a chest. Murmuring a word, he clicked the chest open.

Within lay two gleaming eggs—one emerald, and the other ruby. Murtagh stared at them, momentarily stunned. "The last two dragon eggs," he said finally.

"There would be three, but Brom and his little friend happened to steal the other," Galbatorix said conversationally. "It made me most vexed, but I'm glad Brom's dead. Jared…well, I don't know exactly where he is, but I'll find him soon." He glanced at Murtagh, a half-smile on his face. "Rider blood runs in your line," he said calmly. "There are two dragons here…and one will accept you."

"You don't know that," Murtagh said, struggling onto his knees. "My mother wasn't a Rider."

"She could've been," Galbotorix shrugged. "Pity she wasn't, but it doesn't matter. Your brother's blood cancels it all out, Murtagh."

"My brother?" Murtagh said, frowning slightly. "I don't have a—"

Horror dawned on his face as he finally understood. Galbatorix grinned knowingly at him. "Interesting, isn't it, hmm? As I said, I still can't scry him, but you're welcome to try. Perhaps shared blood will make it easier…" he shrugged, then looked back at the two eggs. "But shared blood will make you a Rider."

Murtagh shook his head wildly, frantically. "No! That can't be true, and you know it! I—I—" he looked down at his hands, thoughts dancing madly through his head. Finally, he said, "I'll never work for you. I'll run away to the Varden—"

"Oh, them? My first horde of Urgals didn't work it, which is rather disappointing. Still, if at first you don't succeed, try, try, again, right? So really, you haven't got much to run away to. If you can find your brother, he'll either be dead or else converted. Not much choice there, either. But as for you…" Galbatorix closed the chest carefully and set it down on a table. Raising his hands once more, he barked, "Malthinae!"

Murtagh fell back onto the bed, held in place by invisible chains. Galbatorix eyed the prone man then resumed pacing. "The ancient language is vastly powerful, if you hadn't gathered that already. Everything can be named in it, including people…and there are ways to find out those names." He laughed. "Let's see, shall we? Eyddr eyreya myder!"

Murtagh fell into a semi-conscious haze, a blank arena in which nothing existed. It was darker than night, and his thoughts ceased to move…it was as if he were dead himself.

Sound seeped through slowly, echoing around the vast emptiness until they became a compelling order in which he had to obey. A set of words emerged slowly from the darkness, words of power. Murtagh struggled to hold them back, but the net of sound that was Galbatorix reached down effortlessly and plucked them from his grasp.

The darkness released him. Murtagh was thrown violently back into the harsh light of the dungeon, shivering and feeling as if he had just risen from death itself. Galbatorix's smug face filled his vision as the king threw a blanket at him. "Oh, cover yourself, you idiot," he said with a mirthless smile. "Or, should I say, Brikijae Knívarya?"

Though he had never heard those words in his life before, Murtagh recognized them instantly. His mouth twisted open to respond, unable to resist. "Yes," he whispered. "That is my true name."


Original chapter four before I decided to introduce new characters :) I needed a plot and this one couldn't give it, so it DIED! BWAHAHAHA!

Murtagh's training began the very next day. A servant woke Murtagh up while it was still pitch black, handing him a sword wordlessly before shoving him out into the dark courtyard. He blinked, trying to gather his thoughts together. "Hello?" he called into the darkness.

There was the sharp whistle of a blade slicing through the air. Murtagh swung the sword up instinctively, blocking the blade with a clang. The weapon felt odd in his hands, heavy. I've grown lazy, he thought wildly. What's going on?

The mysterious attacker swung again, arcing towards his side. Murtagh dodged and attacked on his own, letting himself settle into the calm focus he had in battle. Pivoting sharply, he stabbed the blade towards what he judged to be the man's neck. A quick patter of feet greeted his attack, and Murtagh lunged backwards before he lost his balance. He stood, waiting.

A sharp word was uttered, and lights suddenly flared. With a yell, Murtagh dropped the blade, shielding his eyes. As he did so, he felt the point of his enemy's sword upon his neck. "You're dead, Murtagh," said a gravelly voice he recognized as Galbatorix's.

"I realize that," he snapped, lifting his hand gingerly, eyes watering with pain. "Why don't you just kill me and get it over with?"

The sorcerer king laughed. "What, and miss all this fun?" He eyed the man. "Months of inactivity haven't done you good. You've grown slower from last time I saw you—who was your trainer again? Tonny? Toran?"

Murtagh opened his mouth to answer, but Galbatorix had already stepped away. "Has the egg hatched yet?"

"No," Murtagh said grimly, hauling himself to his feet. "I'm wondering if I should smash the damn thing and get this over with."

"So why didn't you?" Galbatorix asked rhetorically, then laughed. "You won't. The egg was bound to you the second the first crack appeared. On guard!"

Without warning, he lunged. Murtagh ducked under the blade and rolled, hands smacking heavily down onto the hilt of his weapon. Mouth set into a thin line, he attacked. "What's the point of this?" he asked between blows. "The egg hasn't even hatched yet!"

"It will," the king answered calmly before slamming his fist into Murtagh's nose. The man retaliated immediately, jerking his knee up towards the king's groin. With a gasp, Galbatorix jumped away, eyes narrowing.

Murtagh felt the iron grip slam into his mind again. He closed his eyes, sweating as he struggled to keep Galbatorix out of his mind. "What—"

He opened his eyes just in time to see the blade lancing towards his head. With a cry, Murtagh dropped to the ground, his concentration breaking. Galbatorix jumped into his mind squarely, anticipating his next move and shouting, "Letta!"

With a shudder, Murtagh obeyed, the sword dropping from his hands. He lay panting on the ground, eyes watching Galbatorix. "Okay, you've beaten me," he said finally. "And the point of that was?"

"The point, my little friend, is that there is much to be done." Galbatorix stepped back, helping Murtagh up. "Your defenses are fairly capable, you're a fine swordsman, but you play fair. And that's your problem. You didn't expect my punch, did you? You didn't expect my use of magic. To win, you have to cheat. It's the only way."

Murtagh rolled to his feet, silent. Galbatorix threw a towel at him. "There's a well over there," he said, indicating a field to the right of the building. "Clean yourself up—somebody will come to escort you back to your cell."

Murtagh accepted the towel soundlessly. As Galbatorix turned, Murtagh said after him, "You're very trusting to someone who'd kill you at the opportune moment."

"I know who you are, Brikijae Knívarya," Galbatorix said. He turned back, smiling slightly. "You don't know the words yet, Murtagh, but you will swear loyalty to me. For now, your true name's enough. But later…" he shrugged, his expression promising more. "Now leave."


This chapter was the original chapter 38, but I decided it was too unrealistic and to try to fit it into chapter 39. But then I discovered that it was easier to just rewrite the whole stupid thing, so this gets dumped into the trash pile.

Thorn knew instinctively who he was talking about. Do you? the dragon asked in reply. Once, you fought for the Varden. Soon, very soon, you will be pitched against them. There's a difference between fighting because you must, and fighting because you will. Which one are you?

Murtagh hesitated.

Never mind, Thorn advised quietly. There was a pause, and then he added, You miss her, don't you?

Yes, Murtagh answered, feeling the familiar pain in his chest. It was muted, dulled by time, but still there. But she's gone, now. A memory of the past.

A soft huff of laughter. Are you angry?

I can't be angry forever, Murtagh said. Galbatorix...listen, Thorn. The dream. I can't—

Yes, I'm your on-call psychiatrist, Thorn said, tiredly amused. Go on, tell.

Murtagh couldn't laugh at Thorn's weary humor. It's…it always begins in light. I see them. All of them. We're standing in an arena, and our quarry is in the middle. We don't know what it is, but…we want it.

So we fight. Every man…or woman…for himself. Herself. And all the time, they're outside, just waiting. Every time one of us dies, they leap. And finally, it's just me and Eragon…lost in this tight circle of darkness. All the others are gone. We don't even know what we're fighting for anymore, only the knowledge that the other must die.

And…who wins? Thorn said after a pause.

Murtagh shook his head. I don't know. I've never found out, until tonight. We fight, and fight, and usually I just wake up there…but not today.

I assume you won? Thorn said lightly.

No, Murtagh said.

A pause. Murtagh could almost feel Thorn's skepticism. Then…Eragon wins?

No, Murtagh said again.

There was an exasperated sigh. Oh, come on. This is like pulling teeth. Who wins!

Neither of us, Murtagh said quietly. In the dream, I can't stop myself. I…well, I slash him first. The sword I use is Zar'roc, for some reason, and I can see the glyph on the sword. And then…and then there's a searing pain, and I look down to see a white sword slicing through me. And then the darkness falls…we both die, Thorn. Both of us. By each other's hand. He fell silent, uncertain.

Am I in this basket of cheerfulness? Thorn inquired.

No. Saphira isn't there, either.

Then it'll never come true, Thorn said simply. I won't desert you, Murtagh. Even if nasty Saphira comes and claws my head off. My headless corpse will be there, no matter what.

Murtagh had to laugh softly. That's reassuring.

It should be. I'm a dragon; you're only a fragile human. Give me some credit.

Murtagh smiled, shaking his head. Don't underestimate us fragile humans, he advised. Under Galbatorix's direction, we are the ones who will craft Alagaesia.

Well, duh, because the elves and dwarves suck to the pits of hell, Thorn said acidly. You haven't got much competition on that quarter. But dragons—pffbt. I daresay we have a trick or two up our sleeves.

You haven't got sleeves, Murtagh pointed out.

That makes it all the more marvelous, Thorn said contentedly.

They stood there in calm silence for a while. Murtagh could feel the tension in his mind lightening, although one question still remained. I wonder how they are, Murtagh murmured. Eragon…

Then scry him, came the idle reply. In fact, I honestly don't know why you haven't done it before.

But—I've never scryed anyone— Murtagh said hesitantly.

Thorn's head popped down, staring at Murtagh with clear astonishment. You don't know how to scry! What, were you born in a bin? Even I know how, and I'm not the one training under Galbatorix's tutelage—

How would you know? Murtagh asked crossly. Scrying isn't a dragon talent.

Because I have ears, dolt, Thorn said impatiently. You're making excuses. Galbatorix clearly taught you how to scry. You've just forgotten.

I have not, Murtagh said indignantly. Scrying isn't high priority—

No, figuring how to kill people is, Thorn grumbled. That and manipulating power…it's ridiculous. Draumr kopa, remember?

I know! Murtagh yelled. I know the words. I'm just saying, I've never actually scryed anyone before. I haven't practiced.

Well, now's as good a time to try as any, Thorn said cheerfully. Take a shot. Use the water in that pitcher of yours.

Murtagh hesitated, then drew the pitcher close. Shutting his eyes, he called upon the source of the magic.

He had lost Salem, a loss that still wounded him. In addition to that, he suffered with the unceasing voices in his head—they were a nuisance, and sometimes far more than that. Sometimes, they almost literally drove him insane with their cries and wails.

In return, though…

Murtagh breathed slowly, drawing upon the wellspring in his mind. Power flowed into him, ripe and heavy. Every inch of him tingled as the power pulsed, pushing for an exit. It was an intoxicating feeling.

Slowly, as if drugged, he whispered, "Draumr kopa."

The surface of the water blurred, filled with a maelstrom of colors. They pulsed once, rippling, and then—


Murtagh stared with surprise. How can this…

Pour more power into the spell, Thorn suggested.

Murtagh did so. It was no strain for him at all; the power wanted to be used. He increased his efforts, staring fiercely at the surface. Eragon, he thought. Show…me…his…face!

There was no image. Nothing.

He let the magic go, feeling discouraged. Maybe I did something wrong?

I doubt it, Thorn said. Based on my world-wise experience, you did everything just fine.

Murtagh sighed, bracing his palms on the railing as he stared into the distance.

And that's it for the assorted crap section! Please don't mock me too much; I KNOW they suck. Don't rub my nose into it. –cringes-


(owned by CP)

Murtagh Morzanson (guessing on last name, really), Galbatorix the Supreme Ruler of All Alagaesia (or so he thinks), the Twins (boo, hiss!), Eragon Garrowson (or is it Morzanson, now? Who knows?), Thorn (though his personality is MINE!), and a few other characters like Hrothgar who really doesn't count because he died after a few sentences. Oh, and let's not forget the animals, shall we? Blagden the nutty raven, and Maud the werecat.

(mine, dead or not. mostly dead. –sighs-)

Salem Blackfire, Connac Blackfire, Eugenides Farrow (or Teleus, whatever), Martaila sa DeVann, Nealan (Neal), Reya the whimpering maid, Henrides Miyan (Ides), Liane Jeryl, Rina Onadatir, Matiel Ryeson, Serrion insert-last-name-I-forgot-it-here, Tria Atalini (Talinia), Jacob of no last name (Heii), Charis Felin, Reynold Barrickson, Mikael Kretz, Garrett Fryling, Evyn Chandler, Adrian Healey, Darl (the king's messenger), and various other soldiers and/or magickers who played minimal roles.

Let's give them all a big round of applause! Whoot!


Um, what do I owe? Encarta Thesaurus, of course. Uh…Tamora Pierce, Bill Watterson (creator of the ALMIGHTY CALVIN AND HOBBES!), Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Terry Brooks, Diane Duane, and about a bazillion other authors in which I have stolen material either directly or indirectly from. Not that they care, I think. But this is just in case people get all nitpicky at me stealing their best lines.

Also, I guess to CP…I mean, this entire fic is based off his characters, right? Even if he did rip them off from LOTR and Star Wars. And in case you haven't figured it out yet, all or most of the dialogue between Eragon/Murtagh and Saphira/Thorn came directly from Eldest. I did edit a little of it, but mostly it's untouched. YOU NO SUE! NO SUE! NOOOOOOO!

-returns to sanity and grins stupidly-

Most especially, though, I must thank all ye reviewers! TANK YOOSE SO MUCH! ME IS VERRY HAPPEE.

Seriously, though…I am deeply grateful. You guys made me laugh, cry, blast the computer to bits, chuck stuff out the window. All sorts of fun stuff. I've ranted, I've raved, I've made my characters suffer through my every whim, and you have always followed through with reviews.

…and also to my muses, I suppose, even if they did keep on taking illegal vacations to the Caribbean. And go on strike. And release killer French Roasts.

Come to think of it, I owe nothing to them…NOTHING, YOU HEAR? –pfffffbt-

But to all my reviewers :) Man, oh man, it has been fun writing this fic. All of you have made me feel like there's a point to my writing, and you've critiqued it, reviewed it, praised it, etc. it…I'm so gonna cry!

-wails- I hate getting sentimental. Gah! What the crap. –starts to cry-


End of Thorn and Misery