Disclaimer: I own none of the characters thus far.

Eragon sat beside the diamond tomb of Brom, finally returning to a place that felt like home. After many battles with the Varden, and a few rows with Roran, he made his way back to the man that felt more like his father than any man, save Garrow, could ever hope to be. (A/n I know what you're thinking and no, Oromis doesn't count. He's not technically a man)

Eragon folded his elvenish form beside the unravished form of his mentor, and began to cry freely as Saphira scouted around from overhead. He cried until he could cry no more. He cried for Ajihad, for Hrothgar, for Brom, for Brom's Saphira, and finally, for himself. He looked down at his gedway ignasia, and wondered why so many died in his name. He feared for Arya and Roran, the only family he had left. Murtagh was a traitor, and didn't deserve to be called his brother, just as Morzan didn't deserve to be called his father.

Saphira seemed to cry as well, and every so often, Eragon thought he could feel giant water drops hit his exposed skin. He ran one hand over the crystal that protected his friend just as Saphira cried out inside his mind, Eragon! We have to leave! I can sense Thorn and Murtagh. They are close.

He thought aloud. "Murtagh and Thorn are close? That's impossible! I can see for miles from this peak!"

For what seemed like the millionth time in his life, Fate laughed in his face. Murtagh, on Thorn's giant red back, flew out of the hole he and Eragon had once sought refugee from the empire. Eragon remembered the way he had stumbled many a time out of that hole, clutching his side, to do exactly what he had been doing moments before. Grieving the loss of one of the best men he had ever met, and the best Rider.

Murtagh dismounted from Thorn. "Closer than you think, Little Brother. I've been thinking about what you said earlier. About letting you kill me. And I came to the conclusion that maybe you are right." Eragon breathed a sigh of relief, but felt yet another pang of loss. After all, Murtagh had once been his best friend and ally at arms.

"Then I decided that you are wrong."

All happy feelings gone.

An epic battle ensued as Murtagh swung at Eragon with Za'roc, the crimson blade shining in the sun. Eragon brought up the blade that Arya had given him for his eighteenth birthday. The blade that matched the color of Saphira's scales. His Rider's blade.

The impact numbed his right arm, so he switched quickly to his left, all the swiftness of his new form needed. Murtagh swung Za-roc again, this time in a crescent moon strike, and sparks flew.

Overhead, Saphira was battling Thorn, her strong jaw clamped tightly over Thorn's left forearm. She twisted aerially, and bit his tail hard. The red dragon roared all mightily, and snapped toward Saphira, who dodged it swiftly. They continued this way, Saphira gaining advantage with every bite, Thorn getting weaker with every drop of blood spilt. Their Riders weren't nearly as lucky.

"Eragon, did you know that I am now Galbatorix's most trusted vassal? He entrusted upon me the most sacred of knowledge. Do you want to know what it is?"

Eragon, too busy trying to avoid Murtagh's deft blade, didn't respond. Murtagh locked hilts with Eragon, and pulled him close to whisper in his ear, "The last dragon egg, the final dragon, is female."

Eragon felt himself go numb, and heard Saphira's cry of sorrow in his mind. Impossible! How could Galbatorix know that? He then thought of the miraculous growth of Thorn and all the possibilities the dark arts may have presented him with. Saphira, don't give up hope! It's our only chance of surviving this! Galbatorix may have given Murtagh this information falsly to try to dishearten us!

Saphira mentally nodded, and tore at Thorn with renewed vigor. Egg Breaker! Murderer! Traitor!

Eragon smirked at these words from the sapphire dragon, and thrust for Murtagh's heart, only to be knocked have his foe knocked breathless by a fallen dragon. Thorn had fallen out of the sky, and Murtagh had pierced the crimson dragon's heart with his own blade. Murtagh's cry of anguish racked the hills, and Eragon had a single thought cross his mind. And history repeats itself. The seeds of madness plant themselves once again.

Brom's tomb glinted especially bright, seemingly in agreement, and Saphira landed next to the bloodstained Eragon with a grim expression. I'm sorry, little one.

Why? You did nothing. Let it go.

And with that, they took off into the sunset, once again returning to the Varden