Summary: Murtagh runs away from Galbatoix with Thorn after he is questioned. After collapsing because of the scar on his back, Murtagh finds himself under the care of his younger brother and Arya. Both Galbatorix and Eragon are working to solve the mystery of Morzan's scar… and learn its horrible secret.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Christopher Paolini, since I am not him.
A/N: Hi! I'm glad you guys liked The Mark. But, there was a misconception about it, for you guys seemed to think that Galbatorix was too caring. I should have made this clearer so it is partly my fault, and I just wanted to clear this up now! Galbatorix doesn't care at all about Murtagh and his well being. The only reason he seemed slightly concerned is because Murtagh is pretty much his greatest weapon and hope for the Empire, and if he loses him, it will be harder for him to win the war. That's all. He could care less if Murtagh had a nightmare or something. Lol So, anyway, here's the next story. This takes place the morning after the night in The Mark. I'm going to remind you (or warn you if it's the case), to read The Mark first. It will make a lot more sense that way!
Ch. 1: Enough
Galbatorix looked up when the door to the throne room opened, and he nodded when he saw who had entered. "You called for me, Master?" Murtagh asked tightly, no feeling in his voice as he quickly bowed.
"Yes, I did, Murtagh." Galbatorix answered, setting his document aside as he got to his feet. "I was just wondering… if you were having any disturbing dreams last night. Something that would distract you from your training."
Murtagh instantly became defensive as he looked back at Galbatorix suspiciously. "Why?" he said slowly, his hand automatically moving to his back.
Galbatorix's eyes narrowed slightly, almost being able to see the boy's glowing scar through his tunic. He didn't care about him at all, but he didn't want to upset him either. "It seemed horrible."was all he muttered. "I could hear your scream from down the hall, so I came in to see what was wrong."
Murtagh's eyes flared angrily. "You were in my room?!" he cried. "It's none of your business what I dream about anyway!" He knew that he was being rude and he would probably get a punishment for it later, but he didn't care. He was furious at the king.
Galbatorix sighed, knowing that he wasn't going to get an answer. He figured he should try a different approach. "How is your scar, Murtagh?" he wondered.
This time, Murtagh seemed to be surprised by the question. "What about it?" he asked, laying his hand on his back again. Something was different…
"I was just wondering about it." Galbatorix answered. "It seems different to me. Does it… hurt at all or anything?"
Suspicion arose in Murtagh again. "No." he told him defiantly. "Why do you even care?"
Galbatorix sighed. It was impossible to get an answer out of this boy! "I don't. I just want to make sure that you're in top shape for fighting!" he snapped. "Because of your rudeness, we will be spending an extra hour of intense training today! You are dismissed."
Murtagh bowed again and hurriedly left the room, anxious to avoid any more questions. The king sat back down on his chair, sighing. He knew that something was unusual about the scar on Murtagh's back. He just didn't know what.
Murtagh closed the door to his room and leaned against it, closing his eyes as tears came to them. What am I doing?he thought, wiping them away. Why am I letting Galbatorix get to me?
Are you all right, Murtagh? Thorn asked from his position on the floor. Galbatorix didn't punish you, did he?
Murtagh looked over at his dragon, a small smile on his face. No, it's not that.he answered. I'm fine. He's just starting to ask me what my dreams were last night. I guess he was in here.
Thorn nodded. He asked me to watch over you through the night.he told him. But you didn't tell him about your dream, did you? The one about the night your father gave you that scar on your back?
Murtagh shook his head, but his face darkened at the mention of Morzan. Thorn was the only one he had told. No.he said quietly. I would never… His thought trailed off. He suddenly gasped when he felt Thorn's large head rest comfortably on his back, trying to comfort him.
I'm glad you didn't. Thorn replied, looking up into his Rider's face. But he'll probably draw it from your mind during training later.
Murtagh's face darkened again, but he still ran his hand over his dragon's head. That's not going to happen, Thorn.he muttered, looking at his and Thorn's reflections in the mirror next to his door. There won't be a later. He's not getting into my mind again.
Thorn growled softly with confusion. What do you mean?he asked, watching as the nineteen-year-old knelt down next to his bed and reached underneath it. What are you doing, Murtagh?
When Murtagh straightened back up, he was holding a sword tightly in his hand. Zar'roc, the sword that once belonged to his father, was now a part of him. He fought back some more tears as he painfully remembered what this sword had done to him, but he managed to keep them back when he turned to face the dragon in the room with him. Tell me now if there's anything that you want to bring with you, Thorn.he said, strapping Zar'roc to his thin waist. I've had enough of this. We're leaving.
Saphira looked down on Surda, watching as all of the people ran around to do what needed to be done, even though it was still early in the morning. Ever since Ajihad died and Nasuada had taken control of the Varden, and she, Eragon, and Arya had returned to Surda, everything seemed to be a lot more desperate.
But that wasn't what was on Saphira's mind as she watched all of the people. What she was thinking of was what had happened to her last night. She had spoken to a dragon that she had only met once before. She had been deep in her dreamless sleep when an image suddenly appeared in her mind. Saphira had recognized the red form immediately. It was Thorn, the dragon that returned to Murtagh. What she was surprised about was that he was communicating with her, not threatening to harm her or Eragon.
Thorn had seemed frightened and desperate. He spoke of how something unknown was causing Murtagh to suffer, and he wanted it to stop. The dragon also wanted to get both him and his Rider away from Galbatorix so that they could be free from unwillingly serving him. But they needed help, and he seemed to be begging for it.
Saphira sighed as she hung her head. Thorn… she thought intently, closing her eyes. She didn't know if the other dragon could hear her or not, but she knew that he knew that she was willing to help them. There were only a few dragons left, and the less that were under Galbatorix's control, the better. She could only hope that Eragon would feel the same way.
Speaking of which…
Saphira turned her head to look behind her when she heard a slight rustle, watching as Eragon sat up and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. Good morning, little one.the dragon said, turning to look away from him again.
"Morning." Eragon replied, his voice thick with sleep. Then, he looked at her with confusion. "Saphira," he muttered, concerned, "are you all right?" He was expecting an immediate reaction of "yes" from her, but he grew worried when she didn't respond.
No. Saphira finally told him. I… am having confusing feelings.
About what? Eragon asked, getting to his feet. Then, he smiled slightly, deciding to tease her a little. About another dragon?
What he heard next, he was not expecting at all.
Yes. Saphira answered. She sighted, then turned to look at him. Eragon, can someone who you though would never be your friend end up being a friend?
Eragon, still bewildered, nodded. Yes, of course.he said. Why do you ask?
But Saphira didn't answer. Instead, she looked him seriously in the eyes. You once offered to give help to your brother and his dragon; to break Galbatorix's hold on them.she muttered. Are you still willing to give that help?
Eragon looked back at her, anger welling up inside of him as he thought of Murtagh and his betrayal… which soon lead to thoughts about how none of this was his fault. Then, he nodded. Yes.he told her. Murtagh is my brother. I can' t abandon him if there's a chance I can do something to help him and Thorn. I'm not sure what I can do or what power I have, but I'd do anything.
Saphira seemed to smile. Good, little one, she replied, because Murtagh and Thorn are ready to accept that help.
Murtagh looked down at the scenery below them, wondering what his dragon was thinking. Thorn, are you headed anywhere in particular?he asked. It seems like you already know where you're going.
Thorn growled softly. I already know a good place for us to go.he answered, swerving to avoid a large bird. Surda. Someone there will be willing to take us in.
Surda? Murtagh muttered, looking at his dragon's eyes. Why would you-! His question was sharply cut off when a searing pain ran along the scar on his back. The boy cried out, holding on to his dragon's neck for support. He began to shake from the cold wind as sweat appeared on his forehead.
asked anxiously, glancing back at him. Murtagh?!
Murtagh didn't reply. He couldn't see anything around him or feel the heavy wind on his face. Instead, all he could see was an image of his father drinking and balancing Zar'roc between his fingers. Then, that image was replaced with the one of Morzan throwing his sword at a three-year-old version of himself when he ran past, the red blade slicing his back from his right shoulder down to his left hip…
Tears formed in his eyes when the pain from his scar would not subside, but only intensified. "Thorn…" Murtagh whispered, his voice weak as the tears streamed down his face.
Hold on, Murtagh! Thorn shouted, not able to hide his anxiousness. We're almost there!
The last thing that Murtagh heard before darkness consumed him was Thorn crying for help to another dragon.
A/N: Wow. A cliffie on chapter one! lol! Thanks for reading my other story, and I hope you like this one as well! Later!