The Mark

Summary: What happened on the night that Morzan left the scar on Murtagh, and how it still affects the nineteen-year-old years after. May contain some Eldest spoilers.

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters from Eragon. They all belong to Christopher Paolini, which I am not! Lol!

A/N: Hey! This is my first Eragon fic for all who know me and have read my other stories. I hope this is as good as they are! Hope you enjoy! This is kind of a set-up for another story I'm writing, so read this one first.

Morzan was sitting at the kitchen table, running his hand through his dark hair. Thinking about the long days he had, he sometimes wondered why he served under Galbatorix. But that day had been especially hard for him. He had faced one of his former best friends in battle… and killed his dragon. The evil Rider didn't know why dragons had to be such noble creatures or why Brom's had to die protecting him, but it didn't really matter. His dragon was safe; that's all that mattered to him.

He didn't know why, but since he killed Brom's dragon, Morzan felt slightly guilty. He had no idea what the other man must have been feeling, and he couldn't imagine what it must have been like to lose your dragon. To try to get rid of these feelings, Morzan had spent at least an hour at the local tavern, trying to forget everything. He was home now, but he knew that Selena was preparing him another drink in the next room. That was the good thing about having her around. She always knew what he wanted, and she always did what she was told.

Growing tired of waiting for Selena, Morzan took out his red blade named Zar'roc, beginning to balance it between his fingers. He was surprised that he could hold it, since he could hardly remember a thing. At that moment, Selena entered the room, holding a mug in her hand. "Don't drink too much."she advised, her fair hair falling over her shoulders as she placed the cup in front of him. "You've had enough already."

Morzan merely grunted in reply as he took a drink. He didn't need to listen to her. He knew his limits.

Then, another door opened and a young boy entered the room, looking up at them with a broad smile. Selena smiled back at her three-year-old son, running her fingers through his dark hair. "What are you doing up, Murtagh?" she asked, kissing him on top of the head. "You're supposed to be sleeping."

Murtagh gave her a sneaky grin. "Catch me!" he cried, running from her. Selena smiled as she watched him. This was a game that they played together often.

Morzan watched his son over the brim of his cup, his eyes angry. "Disobedient brat."he muttered to himself, his hand tightening around the hilt of his sword.

What happened next, no one expected, not even Morzan. The Rider didn't know why he did what he did. It just… happened. But when Murtagh ran past him, Morzan rose his arm and threw Zar'roc at the small figure.

Selena screamed in horror when as she watched the sword's blade hit Murtagh's back and slide down his skin from his right shoulder to his left hip. "Murtagh!" she cried, watching as he hit the ground, his eyes closed and unmoving. She began to move toward him, but Morzan grabbed her wrist and held her back.

"He's fine."he said thickly. "Leave him be."

Tears were streaming down Selena's cheeks as she looked back at the Rider in disbelief. "He is not all right!" she shouted in panic. "Look at him! I told you not to drink so much! How could you do that to your own son?!"

Morzan grew angry at her whining. "I said he's fine!" he said loudly, slamming his cup down on the table as he forcefully got to his feet.

Selena looked up at his dark, angry eyes in shock, beginning to sob as she sunk to her knees. Her thoughts weren't disoriented like Morzan's were. She knew that Murtagh would die in mere moments if he didn't get attention, but she couldn't move because of Morzan's iron grip on her wrist. Selena glanced back at Murtagh, seeing that he was still not moving. The sword that hurt him was lying next to him, shimmering red in the pale light of the room.

Then, a door opened again and Erina, Selena's young healer, entered the room. "What's all the commotion in here?" she asked, a pleasant smile on her face. "Selena-!" But her sentence ended in a gasp when her eyes landed on Murtagh. She immediately ran to the boy's side, checking his breathing and vital signs.

"He's fine." Morzan muttered, ignoring the sobbing Selena at his feet.

Erina angrily looked back at him, her sharp eyes accusing. "No, he isn't."she replied. "He'll die shortly if he doesn't get help!"

Selena took a deep breath and looked at the healer. "Can you do something, Erina?" she asked in a shaky whisper. "Can you save him?"

Erina gave her a small, kind smile. "I will be more than happy to try, Selena."she told her. Gently picking Murtagh up into her arms, the healer quickly went to the young boy's bedroom. There, she worked through the entire night to try to keep Murtagh alive…

Xxxxxxxxxx

Galbatorix sighed as he walked down the hallway. He couldn't sleep since there were too many thoughts on his mind, and he thought that a walk might clear it somewhat. Not exactly sure why, the king slowed to a stop outside one of the doors in the long hall.

The room belonged to Murtagh, eldest son of Morzan of the Forsworn. Galbatroix knew that the nineteen-year-old hated him, and he wasn't too fond of the boy either, and he also knew that Murtagh would rather die than serve him… but he was necessary. He was a needed tool, a weapon, in the war being fought against the Varden.

But there was another reason that he kept the boy after he had kidnapped him, a reason that Galbatorix kept to himself. Murtagh was the living, breathing reminder of Morzan.

Galbatorix knew that Morzan had almost been like a friend to him rather than a mere servant, and he couldn't believe how much the late Rider and his son looked alike. Murtagh had the same hair and eye color as his father, and had similar facial features and body structure. The king knew that the boy hated resembling Morzan, but it almost seemed to warm his own heart. It felt like Morzan was still alive.

Then, Galbatorix gasped when he heard something through the door; something that almost made him feel concerned. It was Murtagh's cry.

Making up his mind, Galbatorix threw open the door and ran inside. He found that no one else was in the room but the boy, but he was horrified by what he saw.

Murtagh was laying in his bed, shaking as he curled up a little. As Galbatorix moved closer, he saw in the moonlight that was coming in through the window that tears were streaming from the boy's eyes and his forehead was damp. He was crying out in his sleep, and his breath was coming in gasps.

Not sure what was wrong, Galbatorix placed one hand on Murtagh's shoulder to try to calm him down while he used the other to feel the nineteen-year-old's forehead. He was slightly worried to feel that he was clammy. The king sighed. Even though he disliked the boy, he almost felt sorry for him when he saw him now. Murtagh truly seemed to be scared… or in pain.

Then, Galbatorix's eyes narrowed when he saw something that he hadn't seen before. The scar that ran diagonally down Murtagh's bare back, the one left on him by Morzan, seemed to have a black glow to it that was caused by the moonlight. But as he looked closer still, he saw that the glow wasn't coming from the moon. With horror, Galbatorix realized that the glow was radiating from Murtagh's body.

Before he could realize what was going on, the king whirled around when he heard a noise come from the corner of the huge room. Thorn, Murtagh's dragon, walked out of the shadows, his eyes on his Rider with worry. Galbatorix looked at him intently. "Watch over him through the night, Thorn."the king told the dragon as he backed away from the bed.

Thorn growled softly in reply, laying his large head on the bed next to Murtagh, hoping that his presence would comfort the boy. Making sure that Thorn kept to his word, Galbatorix slipped out of the room and headed toward his own. The only thing on his mind now was the mystery of the scar that was left on Murtagh, an innocent boy; the only thing that Morzan left behind.

A/N: Hope you liked it! Keep an eye out for the story that follows, Morzan's Curse. Reviews are very much appreciated!