This story is dedicated to my friend, OpheliaHyde. If it weren't for her ideas and input, I doubt this story would've been written. You all should check out her story "The Girl Next Door" over in the movies/Four Brothers section. It's really good!
Anyway, this is my first Eragon related story, so try and take it easy on me lol. Reviews are always appreciated :)
It was early morning in the city of Uru'baen. A young dark haired girl named Alianna wondered the streets wearing a dark cloak with the hood up so as not to be seen. She watched as the people went about their daily routines: there were some who were buying and selling food, children running around playing, men drinking ale and telling stories at the tavern, and much more. Everything appeared to be normal. That is, until Alianna came upon the city's market where a small crowd had gathered. Alianna moved in closer so she could see what was going on. A group of the king's soldiers had cornered a man that had been caught stealing several packages of meat. Behind the man stood a small boy who couldn't have been more than four years old. Alianna assumed that he was the man's son.
"Please" the man begged, "I can explain. My family is starving, I…"
"Silence!" one of the soldier's shouted, "I place you under arrest in the name of the king!!"
The soldiers grabbed the man and began to lead him away. The little boy began to cry and ran after them.
A soldier in the back turned around and struck the boy in the head.
Alianna could hold her tongue no longer, "How dare you strike a child!" She stepped in front of the soldiers, "And release that man at once!"
The soldier who had struck the boy laughed, "Back away miss, this doesn't concern you."
Most people would be frightened at the point, but Alianna stood firm, "I'm not moving until you release that man."
"Are you deaf? Get out of our way before you hang as well!!!"
At that moment, Alianna drew her sword and removed the hood of the cloak from her head, revealing her face. The crowd around them gasped.
"Princess Alianna!" the soldier said as he bowed down, "Forgive me. I did not realize it was you…"
"Stand up" Alianna ordered, "Now that you know it's me, I demand that you release that man at once."
"Your highness, this man is a known thief. For months now, he's been stealing food from this market as well as many others throughout the city."
Alianna turned to the man, "Is this true?"
"My lady, times have been difficult for my family." the man said, sounding very frightened, "Not only do I have my son, but four other children at home to feed. I know it's wrong, but I'm desperate…"
Alianna nodded, then looked back at the soldier, "Release him"
"But your father, King Galbatorix, gave us orders…"
Alianna lifted her sword and held it to the soldiers throat, "Well, I'm giving you new orders. You are to release this man at once and see to it that his family has enough food to last them the season. Have I made myself clear?"
Alianna's brown eyes filled with anger as she began to press the sword to his throat even harder, "I said, have I made myself clear?"
The soldier nodded, "Yes, Princess…"
With that, the soldiers released the man, who immediately went and embraced his son.
Alianna walked over to them, "Are you and your son alright?"
"Yes my lady" the man said, "I can't thank you enough for what you've done for us."
"You're welcome" Alianna said, smiling slightly. She then began to walk away.
All of a sudden, one of Galbatorix's own guards, whom Alianna recognized as Evander, approached her.
"My lady Alianna" Evander said, "His majesty, King Galbatorix, whishes to see you in his chambers immediately."
"I'm on my way." Alianna replied, "Thank you Evander. You're dismissed."
"He asked me to accompany you to the castle." Evander told her.
Alianna rolled her eyes, "Of course he did. Well, lets be on our way then."
Evander climbed onto his horse, then handed Alianna the reins to her own horse, a beautiful white one whom she had named Bella. Soon they rode off and within minutes they arrived at the castle. Alianna gave Bella to one of the servants to put in the stables, and then entered. Ten guards escorted her down the long corridor that led to her father's chambers. Alianna slowly opened the door and took a deep breath. She was not looking forward to this. It didn't help that her father's chambers were very dark and cold. This room had frightened her as a child. Alianna saw her father standing near his throne.
"You wished to see me, Father?" Alianna asked.
Galbatorix looked at the guards, "Leave us"
The guards bowed down and then quickly left, leaving Alianna alone with her father. At first, Galbatorix said nothing. He just stared at Alianna with an angry expression on his face. Alianna gulped. Finally, after about five minutes, Galbatorix walked towards Alianna and spoke.
"Well Alianna" Galbatorix said, "I hear you've had quite a morning."
Alianna replied, "Father, I…"
"Silence!" Galbatorix shouted, "You will not speak until I am finished. You stupid girl! How many times have I told you not to go into the streets by yourself? I will not have my 17 year old daughter creating a scene in front of the entire kingdom and embarrassing me. Is it true you let a known thief go free?"
"He was just trying to feed his poor family." Alianna told him, "There was no need to arrest him. And there was no need for your soldiers to strike the man's son, an innocent child. So, I told them to release him. They would've killed him otherwise."
"I give the orders, not you! I don't care what happens to some peasant."
"You're nothing but a cruel, heartless…"
Galbatorix grabbed Alianna by the hair and pulled her head back.
Alianna smirked, "What are you going to do Father? Kill me? You can't and you know it. I'm your only heir."
Galbatorix released Alianna's hair and continued to speak, "Enough! You are forbidden to leave the castle unless you are accompanied by your guards or Murtagh. Speaking of Murtagh, there is another matter I wish to discuss with you. I've decided that the two of you will be married a month from today."
Alianna was shocked, "A month?? Father, why must I marry Murtagh? I don't love him. To be honest, I don't even like him."
"That does not matter." Galbatorix replied, "This marriage was arranged long ago. You know that."
How could Alianna forget? Her father and Morzan had made the arrangement when Alianna was two and Murtagh was three. Morzan was Murtagh's father. He had also been Galbatorix's right hand man in the days of the Dragon Riders. Morzan was now dead, having been murdered years ago. Alianna had met him only a couple of times. She was quite young when he died, but Alianna remembered him as a very cruel man, almost as cruel as her own father.
She tried not to, but Alianna's eyes began to fill with tears, "But I don't want-"
Galbatorix interrupted, "I don't care what you want. You will marry Murtagh and that's final! Now, run along to the training field. It's time for your swordplay lessons with Murtagh."
"Yes Father" said Alianna quietly.
When Alianna arrived at the training field, she saw that Murtagh was already there. Alianna just shook her head and looked at the one she was being forced to marry. Murtagh certainly was handsome, Alianna would be the first to admit that. But she also found him to be extremely annoying and arrogant. When they were children, Murtagh would constantly tease Alianna and do things to upset her.
"Took you long enough." Murtagh said as Alianna approached him, "What happened princess? Did Daddy yell at you for that scene you made?"
"How do you know about that?" Alianna asked.
"Everyone in the royal court is talking about it." Murtagh replied, "I didn't think you had it in you."
Alianna looked at him strangely, "What's that suppose to mean?"
"Well, to me you've always seemed so…weak…"
"I am NOT weak!" Alianna snapped.
Murtagh drew his sword, "Prove it"
Alianna drew her sword as well and then looked around, "Where's Tornac?" Tornac was their swordplay trainer. He was also Murtagh's closest friend and servant.
"Tornac won't be training us anymore." Murtagh told her, "Galbatorix wants me to train you from now on."
Alianna was surprised, "You? Train me? That's ridiculous! I'm just as good with a sword as you are."
Murtagh smiled, "We'll just see about that."
It was Murtagh that drew the first blow, which Alianna normally would've blocked easily. But being in such a bad mood since talking to her father, she missed it, causing the blow to graze her arm.
"Owww!" Alianna cried out.
Murtagh laughed, "Just as good as me, huh?"
Alianna charged at him in anger. Their sparring continued with this intensity for what seemed like hours. Murtagh clearly had the upper hand that day. But just as Murtagh was about to strike the winning blow, Alianna spoke out.
Those words sent Murtagh flying backward. Alianna couldn't help but laugh.
"You cheated!" Murtagh said with anger as he got up off the ground, "You used magic."
This was true. Alianna had been taught magic by her father and his various sorcerers. But since she wasn't a Dragon Rider, she could use very little of it.
"I did what I had to." Alianna told him.
Murtagh shook his head, "It figures. The only way you can beat me is by cheating."
"Can you be any more arrogant?" Alianna asked, "I can't believe my Father is making me marry you!"
Murtagh replied, "Hey, I'm not exactly thrilled about this either. Do you think I enjoy know that I'm going to have to spend the rest of my life with a spoiled, bratty princess?"
"Spoiled? I'm far from spoiled. You know how my Father treats me. That man is pure evil. I can't believe his blood runs through my veins."
"We don't get to choose our father." Murtagh told her. He of all people would know that, "So stop complaining."
"I'm not complaining." Alianna said, "God, I can't even talk to you. I'm leaving."
Alianna turned around and began to walk away. Suddenly, she felt the point of Murtagh's sword against her back.
"Never turn your back on an opponent." he said.
Alianna turned her head around and looked at Murtagh, "Do I need to use magic on you again?"
Murtagh dropped his sword.
"I didn't think so. Now if you'll excuse me, I have other things to do."
"Fine, go ahead and run. Typical…"
"Leave me alone! I don't have to put up with this."
"You're going to have to put up with me for a very long time. See you later princess."
Alianna just rolled her eyes, climbed onto Bella, and rode back to the castle.