AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sorry it took me a while to update. I realized that I didn't remember the ending of 'Eragon'…so I re-read the book. Anyway, I figure that there will be two more chapters that take place during the novel 'Eragon' and then it will continue with 'Eldest'. (I'll keep the story in the same place on the website though).
One more thing I want my readers to know ahead of time: I AM following the story Christopher Paolini wrote…so once I get to the end of 'Eldest' I won't be able to continue. I heard rumors that the third novel will be released early 2008…if that's the case then it shouldn't be a problem (it'll be right on time for me to continue writing). My story will not be complete until the third book is released. But don't worry…I have MANY chapters for 'Eldest' so I'm sure the third novel will be out by the time I'm at the end of the second book.
Julia woke up to the sound of snickering. She was laying flat on her stomach on top of Murtagh, her head tucked under his chin and his arms wrapped around her waist.
It took Julia a couple minutes to realize that the snickering was coming from Eragon. Julia was so shocked and embarrassed of being found in such a suggestive position that she quickly jumped off of Murtagh and landed flat on her butt on the floor.
She was fidgeting with her hands and stammering, "It's not what it looks…um…we only slept together…I mean, not slept together…we…um…uh…it was cold!"
Eragon was almost on the ground laughing at this point.
Murtagh let out a lazy yawn, "Julia, are you really going to deny all the beautiful and erotic things we did last nig-"
Julia jumped to her feet with a squeal, "We did none of that! It was absolutely innocent!"
Eragon had to take several deep breaths, "It's ok Julia. If you ask me, it's about time you two-"
Julia screamed once again, "We didn't do anything!"
Murtagh grinned up at her and Eragon broke into a laughing fit again. Julia let out an exasperated sigh, crossed her arms and glared at Eragon, "Are you here to let us out, or are you just going to stand there laughing all day?!"
Eragon shrugged, "If you ask me, you two looked pretty comfortable in that cell and-"
"Well, nobody asked you!" snapped Julia with venom in her voice.
Eragon held his hands in front of him, "Easy, I was joking. Yes, I'm here to let you out. The dwarf leaders agreed to let Murtagh and you out if, and only if, you agreed to stay within the walls of Tronjheim."
Murtagh stretched and lazily stood up, "What's a Tronjheim?"
"It's just the name given to the palace," Eragon explained.
Julia sighed, "Great, so they're moving us from one prison into another one. Why don't the dwarfs trust us?"
"Well, Murtagh they'll probably never trust, being that he's the son of Morzan, but you they might…eventually. Dwarfs and dragons have never gotten along and so naturally they're weary of their Riders. You've also got the fact that you're the daughter of Durza working against you…so we'll just have to wait and see."
"It still doesn't give them a right to treat us like criminals," muttered Julia more to herself than to anyone else.
Eragon unlocked the cell and both Julia and Murtagh followed him up to the palace.
He led them down several passageways and finally to a large dining room. Julia hadn't eaten more than bread and dry meat for weeks and she savored the fresh fruit, vegetables and other assortments of food that were placed in front of her.
Eragon informed the pair that he had to talk to Ajihad. He explained to them where their rooms were and left them to find their own way.
"Are you sure this is the right way?" asked Julia after having walked around Tronjheim for thirty minutes.
"Yes, I know where I'm going," replied Murtagh as he tugged Julia down yet another hallway.
"You just won't admit that you didn't listen to Eragon's instructions and that we're lost."
Murtagh grinned and faced Julia, "You're right…I won't admit it." With that he pulled Julia close and placed a small, undemanding kiss on her lips that left her breathless and in a daze.
It took Julia a while to realize that they had started walking again, and for some reason she didn't care anymore if Murtagh knew where he was going or not.
They rounded a corner and almost ran into two dwarfs. They looked to be warriors and were very large (for dwarfs) at almost five feet.
"Barzŭl! Watch where you're going!" the slightly taller one barked.
Murtagh began to apologize, but stopped when he saw how the two dwarfs were glaring at him.
One dwarf leaned over to the other and said, loud enough for Murtagh and Julia to hear, "I can't believe Ajihad is letting filth like this run around Tronjheim freely. If I had the son of Morzan and the daughter of Durza in my palace I would have them thrown into the deepest dungeon of Farthen Dŭr."
The two dwarfs snickered and walked away.
Julia looked after them and whispered "Deloi moi! (Earth, change!)"
The ground underneath the dwarf's feet suddenly cracked open and the two were left hanging off the edge of a big ravine that had appeared in the middle of the hallway.
Julia smiled to herself and turned to Murtagh, but he had already walked halfway down the hallway. She jogged to catch up with him, "Hey! Why'd you walk away so quickly? I wanted to watch them dangle a little longer…maybe give them a push down the ravine."
Murtagh didn't reply and kept walking.
Julia grabbed his hand, "Murtagh. What were you expecting? Did you think the dwarfs would welcome us with open arms?" she chuckled, "Both our fathers are murderers for God's sake!"
Murtagh stopped and sighed, but he still kept his back to Julia, "I've had to suffer for the sins of my father my entire life. I'm sick and tired of being ridiculed for his actions. I hated that man with every fiber of my body and yet, each day I feel myself becoming more like him."
"No, Murtagh. You're not at all like Morzan. You-"
Murtagh whirled around, "Just look at me! I'm the spitting image of him! Every time I see my reflection I'm reminded of that!"
Julia reached up and touched his cheek, "Just because you look like him on the outside doesn't mean that's what you are on the inside…"
Murtagh took a step back, "You don't understand. I'm becoming like him on the inside too. Do you know that I've never felt any remorse for the enemies I've killed? None."
He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at the ground, "It took every fiber in my being not to snap the throats of those two dwarfs just now. I'm afraid that this anger, this hate within me, will keep growing. I can already feel it getting stronger with every passing day."
"Don't say things like that, Murtagh. You're not your father, nor will you ever be him."
Julia knew he didn't believe her. Murtagh turned and walked away and Julia silently followed.
It didn't take them too long to find the rooms. Julia noticed that their rooms were right down the hallway of the dining room…but she didn't mention that to Murtagh. He disappeared into his room without saying a word.
Julia sighed and went into the room next to Murtagh's.
It was a large room that looked fit for royalty. A four-poster bed took up most of the room and a huge fireplace covered the wall opposite of it. Right across from Julia were two double doors that opened onto a large balcony. Dark red tapestries covered most of the walls and a soft maroon rug lay upon the floor.
Julia sat on the bed and thought about Murtagh's sudden change in attitude.
She could understand his frustration. It must have been terrible for him living his entire life as an outcast. Julia knew she was the daughter of Durza, but she'd only been ridiculed for it once. She couldn't imagine being looked down upon everyday of her life for something she had no control over.
Julia decided the best thing to do would be to give Murtagh his space. He needed to work this out on his own and no matter how much she wanted to, she couldn't help him through this.
Julia tried to put Murtagh from her mind and focus on other things. She closed her eyes and attempted to contact Ladon.
She had been trying for the last several days but to no avail. Julia could vaguely sense his emotions, but whenever she tried to speak to him a wall blocked her from doing so. Once again her mind hit a wall, but she could sense that he was alive and that was all the reassurance Julia needed.
Having nothing else to do, Julia decided it was time to wash off weeks of dirt and grime. She found a robe hanging in the closet of her room. Julia put it on and tried to remember the directions Eragon had given her earlier about how to get to the baths. She knew that they were located several floors below Tronjheim, somewhere within the caves.
Julia grabbed some towels and headed out of her room. After getting lost and getting more and more frustrated by the size of Tronjheim, she finally ran into Orik, a kind dwarf who had stopped the bald man from going too far into Julia's mind.
Orik smiled at Julia, "Follow me. I've go nothing else to do right now, I'll show you where they are. I'll also have some clean clothes delivered to your room."
"That's very kind of you."
Julia followed him down several staircases and into the cave system below Tronjheim. She had no idea how she'd find her way back out, but she'd worry about that later.
After walking through several more caves, Orik stopped in front of two large wooden doors, "The baths are through here. Fresh clothes will be in your room when you return."
Julia thanked Orik once again and entered the bath chamber.
It was a giant cave with several pools of hot springs scattered to the right. On the left were large walls carved out of the stone that served as, what Julia assumed to be, changing rooms.
Julia was in the process of removing her robe when she heard a sound from behind one of the changing room walls. She quickly tied her robe and hid behind one of the many stone pillars scattered throughout the cave.
She peeked around the corner and spotted Murtagh, wearing nothing but a towel around his waist, heading towards one of the pools.
Julia was about to quietly exit the bathing chamber when something on Murtagh's back caught her eye. In the light cast by the many lamps in the cave, she could see the large scar that covered most of his back.
Julia shut her eyes quickly as Murtagh dropped his towel and sank into the water. She waited several seconds and once she was sure he was in the water, she opened them again.
Murtagh's back was to Julia, so she had a clear view of his scar. She could tell the wound was inflicted by a sword or similar weapon.
If Julia had to guess exactly what happened, she would assume that a large sword had been thrown into his shoulder and then pulled diagonally down his back to the top of his hip.
Julia turned away from Murtagh and pressed her back against the pillar. Who would do something like that to him? And how could he have survived it? Julia knew the scar had something to do with Morzan and Murtagh's unconditional hate for anything having to do with his father; including his growing hate for himself.
A sudden wave of anger came over Julia. All she wanted to do was make that scar disappear.
Julia wished she could make people forget that Murtagh was the son of Morzan and see him for who he really was: a brave, honorable and caring man who didn't deserve to be put in the same category as his father.
Suddenly it hit Julia: she'd fallen in love with Murtagh.
Julia had tried to stop it, but it had occurred anyway. She wasn't quite sure when and how it happened, but the feelings were there.
Their minds had been connected for a short time, but that connection was gone. Now Murtagh had something much more valuable than Julia's mind:
He had her heart.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Sorry, I didn't mean to make Murtagh so 'emo' in this chapter…but you have to understand all the underlying emotions he's going through. I also didn't intend to end it here…but it just seemed like a good spot to stop a chapter.
PREVIEW OF NEXT CHAPTER: Is it me, or does Murtagh kind of have a thing for Nasuada in the novel 'Eragon'? Well, I thought so…and that will play quite a role in the next chapter…I hope you guys are ready :-P.