Disclaimer: Don't own Eragon.
Oh my god, is it? IT IS! THE LAST CHAPTER!
So I'd like to thank all of you reviewers out there for sticking with me so long! And the sequel to this will be up before the summer! Not much of a reassurance, but bear with me! Now enjoy!
The fox must fly
With cloak and dagger
To bare the lie
The fox must fly
With cloak and dagger
To bare the lie
"Alycie, wake up..."
On thieving heel--
Alycie felt her body hit something hard and cold, shaking, her back racking in compulsions. Hands seized her shoulders and feet, lifting her onto a soft bed and holding her down. Her eyes shot open and she looked around, breathing hard. Her ribs hurt with every breath and she felt her stomach heave. Leaning over the edge of the bed, she waited until the waves of nausea passed, then lay back on the sheets, breathing calmly.
She looked beside her and saw Angela sitting on a chair, looking at her with a sad expression. Solembum sat in her lap, his eyes fixed on Alycie's face expressionlessly. Behind her stood Ferros, looking at Alycie with a concerned expression. And Murtagh was there, sitting on the edge of her bed, his hands in his lap, though he had the familiar wistful expression in his eyes and Alycie knew it took all his resolve not to embrace her then. She was thankful; her ribs were quite painful.
"What happened?" she asked.
"We won," said Murtagh. "Right before you passed out, the spirits of Durza were released from his body and the Urgals came out of some sort of trance. You remember they fought each other?"
"Yes," said Alycie. She tried to sit up, but Angela made a clicking noise with her tongue disapprovingly and she stopped.
"Eragon killed Durza. He struck him through the heart. That released the spirits."
"Are the Urgals gone then?" asked Alycie. Murtagh shook his head and Alycie noticed a bandage that encircled it.
"Some escaped through the tunnels. As soon as I was sure you would be alright I joined the hunt, but I was hit on the head and they sent me back here," he said.
"Where is Eragon?" asked Alycie.
"He was hit on the back and got a nasty scar, but he's alright. He's a few rooms down from here," said Angela.
"How am I not dead?" asked Alycie. "I was impaled on a hammerspike...right in my middle..."
"Almost through your middle," said Angela wearily. "Not many survive an Urgal plunging a spike the size of a horse's ear through their center, but luckily for you, it missed your stomach and liver and pierced your sternum instead. It would have been serious enough with that, had Eragon and Arya not summoned the strength to assist the Twins in healing you."
"The Twins?" asked Alycie.
"Yes, Du Vrangr Gata has been issuing different members about to heal those who are injured," said Angela. "They saved your life."
Alycie saw Murtagh stiffen on the edge of the bed, but he continued to caress a hand up and down her leg comfortingly. She lifted the covers and looked down at her body. Her armor had been removed and she was naked except for a few bandages around her torso. Her head began to itch and she reached up, feeling a bandage wrapped around her head under her hair. She felt the back of her skull and winced as a sharp pain erupted at her touch.
"We didn't heal everything, girl, don't be overeager," said Angela, standing. Solembum dropped to the floor, trotting out of the door. Angela followed him, but paused for a last word. "And don't try and heal anything yourself! You're not ready for that kind of magic yet!" The door swung shut and they were alone.
"Are you alright?" asked Alycie, looking at Murtagh, who was staring at the floor. He looked at her incredulously.
"Am I alright?" he exclaimed. "Am I...I was afraid you'd died! You suddenly collapsed while I was riding you into the city and I was there, utterly scared to death that you might have died, spurring Tornac on until his heart nearly gave out, and running halfway up Vol Turin with Angela carrying your bleeding body in my arms, all the time trying not to ask myself 'What if she's dead'"'. Three hours she made me stand outside the room, suffering the Twins' snide comments as they walked in while I stayed outside! She wouldn't even tell me how you were! Said I had better go back down and fight Urgals!" His voice became gradually more tortured and distressed. "So I did, worrying myself sick over you in the process, blaming myself for your injuries! Finally I was hit and sent back up! Angela let me in so she could bandage my head, but...when I saw you there...and all the blood...and you were so pale...I thought...I thought..."
He broke off, putting a hand to his eyes and turning away. Alycie heard him sob and saw his shoulders shake. She did not know what to say. He had cried on the battlefield as well, she remembered. It was unlike him. He bent over, putting his elbows on his knees and kneading his fingers in his hair. Alycie sat up, hissing as her ribs reprimanded her for moving. Murtagh looked at her with shimmering eyes, holding up a hand.
"Don't," he said cautiously, as if afraid that she were made of glass and would break if she moved too fast. Alycie ignored him, sitting up against the head of the bed. She looked at him with sympathetic eyes.
"It was my own fault I got hurt," she said. "I was too sure of myself. You were right, I wasn't capable..."
"Don't say that," said Murtagh, standing and walking to Angela's abandoned chair, sitting down and scooting to the edge of the bed next to Alycie. He took her hand and lifted it to his lips, kissing it and caressing it against his face lovingly. "I never doubted your capability. You could defend yourself against a cavalry of Galbatorix's best soldiers," he said. Alycie looked puzzled.
"Then why do you worry so?" she asked. Murtagh bowed his head.
"I can't bear to lose you," he said. "The thought of life without you...I...I can't imagine it. And you lying on the ground with that hammer...st...sticking out of your...I...I can't...can't stop..." He shook his head. Alycie opened her hand and stroked his face, looking at him with a conflicted expression as several more tears ran down his face.
"Why do you love me so much?" she asked, voicing the question that had been silently flickering in the back of her mind ever since the day he had kissed her outside Gil'ead. Murtagh closed his eyes, savoring the feel of her hand on his face.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"Why do you love me?" repeated Alycie, her voice choking. She realized she was crying and withdrew her hand from Murtagh's face. He opened his eyes and looked at her in confusion.
"What is it?" he asked. Alycie shook her head, turning her face away.
"It was a stupid question," she said through her tears. Murtagh stood and sat on the edge of the bed, leaning over to kiss her. She turned her head again and he drew back, looking at her.
"Why do I love you..." he sighed.
"Yes, why?" asked Alycie, looking at him. "I'm a slave, you're a noble, I can't fight, I can barely use magic, I have no talents, I can hardly read or write, I have no knowledge of Alagaësia or Galbatorix or politics, and...and..." She stopped, looking at Murtagh expectantly. He raised an eyebrow.
"Are you finished?" he asked. Alycie nodded. "Then let me begin my list, but I warn you, it's long." He smiled, his sadness seemingly gone. Alycie sniffed and straightened.
"Do tell then," she said. "What makes you love me?" Murtagh scooted closer to her, looking into her eyes.
"Your happiness makes me love you," he said. "Your smile makes me love you. Your...innocence and your...freedom. The way your eyes light up whenever you look at me. The feeling of safety that I get whenever I see you. Your beauty and cleverness, and your endless riddles. The feeling of your hair in my face when we wake up together and the velvet softness of your skin against mine. Your warmth and kindness. Your lovely breasts--" Alycie snorted, laughing. She began to cough and winced at the pain, but smiled reassuringly at Murtagh as his eyes widened in worry.
"My breasts?" she repeated, raising an eyebrow. Murtagh nodded, a smile stretching over his face.
"If it's true, why deny it out of modesty?" he asked.
"Is that the end of the list?" asked Alycie.
"No, in fact, I could go on for days or even weeks, but I doubt you would want to sit in such monotony of hearing your own angelic features listed," said Murtagh, leaning in and kissing her on the cheek. He kissed along her face, finally stopping at her mouth and meeting her lips in a particularly prolonged kiss. Then he drew back. "I am actually more puzzled at why an angel could bear to love such a monster."
"You're not a monster!" exclaimed Alycie, shaking her head.
"Then why do you love me?" asked Murtagh. Alycie thought.
"You're always calm and collected...you're smart and handsome, and you always seem to have a better idea of what is going on and what could happen than I do." She stopped, looking into her love's eyes.
"There aren't many reasons, are there?" said Murtagh solemnly.
"You haven't heard the main reason," said Alycie.
"Oh, and what is the main reason you love me?" asked Murtagh. Alycie leaned in and kissed him hard on the lips, passionately pressing her face closer to his. They remained locked like this for several minutes before she broke off slowly, opening her eyes. Murtagh smiled slowly. "Oh, I see," he said.
"Will Ajihad lock you up again?" asked Alycie. Murtagh shook his head solemnly.
"No, everyone is too distracted by the remaining Urgals to really worry about what I could do," he said.
Alycie nodded, then felt the familiar dizziness wash over her head in a wave. She began to ease herself back down onto the mattress. Murtagh stood, helping to lower her onto the pillows. He watched her for a moment, then turned.
"Don't leave," said Alycie, lifting a hand out towards him. He turned back and took it, knealing by the side of the bed.
"I'm here," he said.
"You won't leave when I sleep, will you?" asked Alycie.
"Not unless you wish me to," said Murtagh.
"No," said Alycie.
"Then when will I go?" asked Murtagh.
"Never," said Alycie. Murtagh smiled.
"That applies to you as well, then," he said, leaning over and kissing her forehead. "Goodnight, my love."
"Goodnight, my Dark Angel," said Alycie, feeling her eyelids drop closed suddenly as sleep seized her in it's warm embrace and carried her off to the land where dreams roam free.
Now it is the end. And that means that, for the last time, you all will move your little arrows down to the lovely purple button to the southwest, click, and type.
THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!!!