Reviews… wonderful little things, aren't they?

Spottedstar106: Thankies!

Canadien-Girl14: Terribly said, isn't it? I had so much fun working on this that I hate to think that it's over. But now I can look forward writing my next fic, Darkness Approaches

Wannabeanautor: Thanks!

Oanimal0327: Purple came from a combination of red (Thorn) and blue (Saphira). When selecting the new Rider for this fic, I had to chose between Roran and Arya. I chose Roran because I like him better than Arya. Though I think Paolini will chose Arya. All your other questions are answered in this chappie.

DeadlyCreative: Yup. Roran'll be an amazing king. Sloan's in this chappie.

So here we are at the end of it all. This has been amazing and I can't thank my reviewers enough. You guys are amazing.

So Darkness Approaches is next, followed by Armageddon. If you're looking for any of my future fics that I talked about in previous chapters, I recommend adding me to your author alerts. I cannot tell you when, but they will be up eventually.

Until Darkness Approaches,

SwimAngel


Chapter Twenty-Seven: And in the End

Just as Eragon had predicted while he was still captive in Galbatorix's palace, killing Galbatorix did not end the war. The new Rider King Roran Stronghammer and his High Council spent nearly a year rounding up Galbatorix's followers and enemies of the new regime. Finally, when everything was taken care of and peace swept over Alagaësia, a date was set for Roran's Coronation.

It was a splendid occasion! People lined the streets of Ilirea, once Galbatorix's city of Urû'baen and now renamed by the new King. Everyone was dressed in their finest clothes and representatives of the Elves, Dwarves and Urgals had all come to honor the King. Music rang through the air and those in the streets could catch an inspiring glimpse of Saphira, Thorn or Garrow as they soared overhead. Flags bearing the King's seal, a green dragon wielding a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other on a gold background, flew from every building and flapped ceremoniously in the wind. The palace had been completely repaired and redecorated to represent the benign folk that now ruled Alagaësia. The courtyard that led up to its marble steps was filled with those who had been most influential in the war against Galbatorix.

Eragon was dressed like a prince in his finest armor, and Arya, now Queen of Ellesméra, wore her mother's cape of swan feathers over a magnificent scarlet gown. Saphira had landed behind them and her brilliant sapphire scales shone marvelously in the sun. Next to her was Thorn, who nuzzled Saphira in an adorable manner. Then there was Murtagh, dressed similarly to Eragon, with his arm around Circe, who was now liberated and dressed in a gorgeous violet gown that rivaled Arya's cape of swan feathers. Nasuada stood next to them and her gown was adorned with the lace used to support the Varden. Orrin, Jeod and Angela the herbalist were next to Nasuada with Solembum and Elva at their feet. Then there was King Orik and Queen Hvedra of the Dwarves, and Garzhvog with a group of Urgals. Also present were Vanir, Nari, Lifaen, Jörmundur and those who formerly made up the Council of Elders. Horst was also there, along with Elain, their newborn daughter Lena, Albriech and Baldor.

Several trumpets sounded in a regal melody as King Roran and Queen Katrina appeared at the top with the green dragon Garrow trailing behind them. Both were dressed better than anybody else in attendance and in the Queen's arms was her newborn child, Princess Mella. A silent hush fell over the city as everyone turned to gaze at the monarchs. The messenger boy Jarsha came forward. In his hands was an emerald pillow, and on that pillow were two crowns, one gold and one silver. He presented the pillow to Roran and Katrina and Roran took the gold crown while Katrina took the silver one. Then Jarsha retreated into the crowd and Roran and Katrina lowered the diadems onto their own heads. And that is how all future the Kings and Queens of Alagaësia were crowned.

Several shouts and yelps pierced the cheer of the crowds and a sole man was pushed out in front of the King and Queen. Those in the crowd closest to him backed away. Roran looked down at the man and pitied him for a moment, for he was clothed only in rags. "What is the meaning of this?" demanded the King. "Why is this man thrust before me in such a manner?"

It was Eragon who answered him. "Look into his face, Roran!" called the Shadeslayer. "Then I think the reason will become clear."

Roran did as his cousin and friend instructed him. He descended down the stairs and came within a few feet of the beggar. "Let me see your face!" he ordered. "Who are you?"

But the man did not raise his head to look at Roran. Instead, he pleaded, "Forgive me, My King, for I have wronged you and your Queen." Quiet sobs now reached Roran's ears and he stepped forward out of pity and knelt down to see the man's face. He froze at once upon recognizing the poor man. "Forgive me," begged Sloan the butcher, father of Queen Katrina.

Sloan was one man that Roran never expected to see again. They were bitter enemies and so he had refused to grant Katrina's hand in marriage to Roran because he had no profession and no way to care for her. Roran, being stubborn and steadfast in his love for her, had announced that they were engaged despite Sloan's disapproval. As a result, Sloan had betrayed Carvahall to the Empire.

Roran beckoned for Katrina to come down and join them, for Sloan was her father. It only took one look at her sad eyes once she realized that this was her father for Roran to know what he had to do with the butcher. Swallowing his own pride and hatred for Sloan, the King said to the pauper, "Listen here, Sloan the butcher, for your King has already decided your fate. I will put you to work in my castle and you shall be our butcher. You will have no salary or any belongings of your own except for the tools you use and the clothes you wear, but you shall never again want for shelter, clothing or food." He paused and lowered his voice to a threatening whisper. "But be warned, you wretched traitor. If you put so much as one foot out of line, you are no longer mine, but the hangman's."

Sloan and cried out and then did something that Roran had never expected. He apologized. "I hope, dear King and son-in-law, that you can find it in your heart to forgive me, for I only wanted the best for my daughter."

"And now she has the best," answered Roran. "Lament no longer, but do not forget who has saved you from destitution." Then Sloan's and Katrina's eyes met and both filled with tears. Katrina handed the child Mella to Roran and rushed forward, embracing her father. It was a most heartfelt scene, and when they finally broke apart, Roran ordered that Sloan be taken into the castle at once and given clean clothes.

Once Roran and Katrina had returned to the top of the palace stairs, Eragon stepped forward with Saphira and Thorn's lavender dragon egg that had recently been spelled not to hatch until its Rider came. "If there is any child present who would like to lay his or her hands on the dragon egg, I ask them to come forward now," the Blue Rider announced, and the result was spectactular. It seemed that every child in the city came forward and held the dragon egg in hopes that they would be chosen as a Dragon Rider. However, no matter how many children laid hands on its smooth shell, the purple dragon refused to hatch.

At the end of the line was Elva. As Eragon had said, all the effects of his curse had not gone away. Though she was no more than three years old, she still appeared to be ten or so. Though her voice had lost its adult cynicism, Saphira's mark still blazed silver on her forward. Fortunately, she no longer felt the pain of others as her own and her life had greatly improved. She was thin and lithe, and her straight black hair blew in the wind as she came forward and laid her palms on the surface of the dragon egg.

Almost immediately, the dragon mark on her forehead blazed with a white light so bright that Eragon, standing very close the egg, was nearly blinded. The crowd gasped at the light and several small cracks appeared in the previously unbreakable surface of the egg. One by one, the pieces of the shell fell away to reveal a tiny purple dragon, and as Elva, the new Rider, reached out to touch it, she was branded by the gedwëy ignasia, sign of a Dragon Rider.

King Roran stepped forward again and stood next to Rider Eragon. "Behold the new Rider, Elva Shiningbrow!" The crowd erupted into boisterous cheers as Elva turned to face them, the hatchling dragon in her arms. For the first time since the Battle of Farthen Dûr, a smile appeared on the face of Elva Shiningbrow and the dragon was named Alambil, after one of Elva's ancestors.

All were ready to depart from the capital the next day, for they all had business of their own to attend to. Eragon, Arya, Saphira, Elva, Alambil and the Elves were ready to leave for Ellesméra. Murtagh, Circe and Thorn were off to the Silverwood Forest. Horst and his family had their heart set on rebuilding Carvahall. Orik, Hvedra and the Dwarves were set to return to Farthen Dûr and Orrin and his attendants were leaving for Aberon. Angela and Solembum were returning to Teirm.

The goodbyes were many and very sad. Saphira and Thorn promised that they would see each other again, even if their Riders did not, and both of them had wise words of advice for little Garrow and Alambil. Eragon promised Orik that he would someday return to Farthen Dûr with Saphira and repair Isidar Mithrim. Eragon and Roran both promised to help Horst in his efforts to rebuild Carvahall if they could be spared from their new duties. But perhaps the most important farewell was between Eragon and Murtagh, for Eragon had yet to share his dream in the Vault of Souls with anyone but Arya and Saphira.

"You look troubled, little brother," observed Murtagh.

"Do not call me that," Eragon told him, "for it is not true."

Murtagh laughed. "Do not tell me that you still deny the past? The name of our father does not influence who we are today."

"I do not deny the past," Eragon corrected him, "but Morzan was not my father. Brom was." Seeing Murtagh's confused and shocked expression, Eragon told him all about his dream where Brom told him the truth and was forced to relay Brom's reasons and arguments in order to convince the Red Rider of the truth.

Finally, Murtagh sighed. "Very well," he said. "We are half-brothers, then, and I am glad to say it." Eragon smiled and embraced his brother.

Before leaving, Eragon managed to catch Angela's attention. "Your prophecy was true," he said. "You predicted my longevity as a Rider, the Battles of Farthen Dûr, the Burning Plains, Isenstar Lake and Urû'baen, Brom's death, my love for Arya and Murtagh's betrayal. But you also said that I would leave Alagaësia forever."

Angela cackled. "That's right," she said, pleased with herself. "I predicted all that and it all came true. The dragon bones never lie. I predicted you would leave, but I never said when." She shook her head and chuckled. "No, your adventures aren't over yet, Shadeslayer."