Disclaimer: Right, I'll just say this once. I do not own the Eragon world or the characters in it! Now, the plot however… :evil laugh: All mine!!
Warning: Hmm… mush, angsty Eragon and Murtagh… nothing squeaky here though! Some mild language, that's all. :lol: I'm turning soft.
A/N I have been writing this on and off for some time now, and was very pleased to finish it:D Unbetaed to boot. Read and enjoy guys!
What To Say
What do you say when you can literally feel the world falling away from under your feet? What can you say when everything you hold dear falls apart? What is there to say? Murtagh had thought these thoughts many times over, and he had yet to find an answer.
He supposed he was lucky, all in all. It wasn't he who had learnt of his parentage in such a way, as disgusting as the thought seemed to his brother. Murtagh chuckled darkly. His brother.
When he had been younger, he had longed for normality. A place where his father wasn't the cold-hearted bastard he was, a place where his mother hadn't disappeared off like she had. A place he wouldn't have had to watch his mother die… a place where he had gotten to know his brother. Murtagh had given up hope quickly. It was useless in the dark world he lived in. He was blind in a world filled with darkness, forever doomed to walk alone. That was, until he had met Eragon.
The dark haired brunet hissed. He couldn't think of the younger male without feeling a stab of white-hot pain course through him. He supposed that was what he deserved, after betraying Eragon so. He hadn't had a choice, but the reminder of what he had done still pained him.
A sudden wave of wind caught Murtagh nearly of guard. He snorted quietly, bushing away hair from his eyes at the same time. His eyes took in the sight around him, as disgustingly familiar as they had become. The final battle had been fought without him, be it by his own choice or that of his former master. He had been hiding in plain sight since his disobedience during the battle at the Burning Plains. Galbatorix had gotten him beaten nearly to death before he somehow had managed to get away. Murtagh knew Thorn had had something to do with it.
As his mind shifted to that of his dragon, the hazel gaze looked up to the sky. The red dragon had been gone for some hours now, hunting most likely. Murtagh had fought with Thorn not long before, and had been glad that their shouting had been of the mental sort. He wasn't ready for the Varden to find him yet.
The Varden only made the older teen think about the battle that had happened just days before. He had heard rumours, as Thorn had forbidden him to go near enough to see everything. So, Murtagh had stood and watched the bloodshed happen before his eyes. Hadn't he been so used to seeing lives waste away, he was sure he would have become sick. But as his too-short childhood had made him accept the cruel life-circle that of battles, he had merely flinched at the sights. He had cheered with the Varden when the King had fallen, only his voice hadn't been heard. And he had gasped with the now free people as Eragon had fallen.
Murtagh stubbornly got to his feet, ignoring the dull pains in his sides. Some injuries had yet to recover fully, as he didn't have the strength to heal himself. He didn't want to think of Eragon anymore. Thinking of his brother only brought him pain and sadness. If Galbatorix only hadn't told Murtagh of his link with the blue Rider, at least he could have worried for Eragon the way he should. For now he worried in a manner not proper to that of a brother. Murtagh didn't see Eragon as his brother. He hadn't grown up with the brunet, and hadn't gotten to know him much on their journey either. If anything, Eragon was a travel companion, a dear friend, his first love… but never his brother.
That was another thing that pained Murtagh. He didn't know when he had fallen for the blue Rider; he only knew that he had. But Faith was against him, as She had always been. Eragon was of his own blood, born of the same mother and father. That they were both men wasn't much of a problem anymore; people were more open-minded these days. But a relationship between close relatives, siblings… they would surely be slain. If Eragon ever, as unlikely as the thought was, felt the same as Murtagh did for him, they could never be together. Anyway, when the Varden found him Murtagh was sure to face execution, or any other punishment they saw fit. He had committed treason to them, what little he could have betrayed them for anyway. If they caught him, he was sure he wouldn't live to see another day.
Please Murtagh, I can hear your dark thoughts from miles away.
The hint of a smile entered the dark haired male's face.
Then you shouldn't listen, Thorn. My thoughts have been nothing but dark of late.
The dragon snorted in his mind.
Indeed! I'm starting to wonder if you remember how to smile beyond that damned smirk of yours.
Murtagh turned his gaze back towards the sky. He couldn't see the red silhouette that was his trusted companion, but he could feel him near. Ever since Thorn had hatched to him, much of an accident as it actually had been; Murtagh had found a new reason to carry on. He was bound to Thorn, and wouldn't let himself get killed, as his mind had thought of doing so during his first weeks of captivity.
I do my friend. Murtagh answered, eyes glazing over. It is merely not the time.
Then when's the time?! Galbatorix is dead and the good guys won!! And all you can do is brood Murtagh could practically see Thorn roll his eyes.
They may have won Thorn, but we stood on the wrong side when the battle ended. We're traitors, and of no use to the Varden or the people of Alagaësia. We're as good as dead.
Murtagh jumped back in surprise as Thorn landed a mere meter from where he was standing. The red dragon roared so loudly he had to cover his ears. Thorn closed his mouth with a sound snap. He growled as he walked into the cave that had been their home for the past few months.
I hate it when you voice your opinions. They are more often dark and suicidal than the slightest of optimistic.
"My apologies Thorn. But that is how our chances are." Murtagh replied.
The dragon snorted; a small cloud of smoke erupting from his nostrils. Murtagh sighed and walked in to sit by his friend. Gently, he caressed Thorn's rough scales. The dragon calmed somewhat.
And I suppose telling this Varden that you've been sitting here all these months with various injuries, without being either able or wanting to aid the enemy, is out of the question? Thorn questioned.
Murtagh smirked softly. If Thorn had been a human, his behaviour would have been classified as sarcastic. It rather suited him.
Who were to believe me Thorn? I'm a traitor to them all! Murtagh sighed and stilled his hand. The only one willing to maybe give me the slightest of a chance is in a coma.
Well, I bring news from the South. Thorn proclaimed in something very akin to a drawl. It seems that your blue Rider has awoken, and is well.
Murtagh turned to look into Thorn's golden and reptile like eyes.
"How did you come of this information?!" He demanded.
Amazing what you learn on the simplest of flights. Thorn remarked.
The dark haired male glared. He knew Thorn hadn't simply overheard this information. There were still spies out there that held onto the rule of Galbatorix. If they heard that Eragon had awoken, several attempts on his life would have been engaged immediately. It pained Murtagh to face this truth, as he had been ordered to do so himself. He was relieved the blue Rider had awoken, but yet he was worried. Eragon was sure after his head. Suddenly, their end seemed even closer.
You don't tell the whole truth my friend, but I won't pry. If you wish not to tell me, then I will accept that.
Thorn's emotions reeked of confusion and suspicion. Murtagh smirked. Thorn had wanted him to ask of how he knew. Hearing Murtagh saying that he didn't care didn't sit too well with the red dragon.
You do know that with the black dragon of Galbatorix gone, it is only me and the green one left to mate with Saphira? Thorn asked suddenly.
I know, Thorn. Does this trouble you? Murtagh paused. The green dragon hatched to Eragon's cousin… my cousin, not that long ago. It is indeed male.
A mere hatchling! Thorn snorted. I'm the best suited.
"What is it you are trying to tell me?" The hazel eyed male asked. "Do you wish to mate with Saphira?"
Murtagh guessed that if Thorn had been able to, he would have blushed.
I was merely pointing out how it is. Thorn protested. We are still useful to this Varden, if they know what indeed is best for their future dragon Riders.
If this is your desires Thorn, then I will not stand in your way. Murtagh said. I do not know the dragon customs well, but if this is your wish my friend; then you have my blessing.
Murtagh stood and gazed back out of the cave. The sun was setting, painting the sky in brilliant hues of blue, red and purple. He made sure to keep his breath even. His ribs had started aching again lately. It was a bad sign, and one that Murtagh wished to ignore.
You know very little of our customs, hatchling.
Murtagh protested at this. He had raised Thorn, and yet the red dragon insisted on calling him hatchling?!
When dragons mate, they stay together forever. That is how it was of the old age. New times have come, but I feel that it is time to brush the dust away from the past. Thorn paused. If I were to mate with Saphira, you would have to get along with Eragon. And they would have to spare us, as I cannot live when you are dead.
"I know this Thorn!" Murtagh cried frustratingly. "It is not me you need to convince. You know well of my feeling towards Eragon."
And so Thorn did. It was useless trying to keep something from your dragon, as Murtagh learnt early on. Thorn had confronted him about the feelings radiating off him whenever they spoke of Eragon and Murtagh had confessed. His friend had understood him, and had sounded wise beyond his years while telling him how it would all turn out for the better. Thorn did act childishly often, but Murtagh knew that the red dragon possessed an inner wisdom that was fit for a dragon older than he would probably ever become.
What if Eragon doesn't need much convincing either? Thorn questioned, bringing Murtagh back from his thoughts. The Rider merely needs to learn what became of you. A small exchange of your tales for a warm bed to sleep in seems to me like a fair trade…
Suddenly, it all dawned on Murtagh. Thorn had left earlier than normal, as the dragon usually stayed until Murtagh woke. He had come back without a pray, and they had fought. Thorn had stayed for a long time as well, longer than normally when Murtagh thought about it. The red dragon had contacted Saphira. And the dark haired teen was sure Eragon was close to finding their cave.
I cannot believe you did this Thorn. Murtagh ranted. You told him of our whereabouts? What if he brings people?! They'll kill me on sight!
"Do you have any idea what you may have started here?!?"
Thorn's gaze became firm and the voice in Murtagh's mind sure.
I made a bargain Murtagh, one that neither can back down on. They will not harm us, and we will not harm them. The war is over, and I wish to see your hurting disappear with it. Thorn's gaze softened the slightest. You're ill. Let the Rider check up on you. By this rate, you may have faded in a matter of days.
Murtagh turned away once again, this time with a frown on his lips. He had known of his own poor health, but hadn't thought of it as so serious. Thorn too was melodramatic, if anything. The dragon was stating facts, but he was also stretching them.
I do not know Thorn. I don't wish to see Eragon again so soon.
Thorn gently nudged his snout against Murtagh's back. The gesture was oddly soft as opposed to the giant muzzle he had nudged with.
My apologies Murtagh. I was merely concerned for your health. They had cornered me, and this was the only way I could escape. I may be stronger now, but am too weak without my Rider to take down someone like them.
Murtagh sighed. He sent Thorn a sad smile before slumping down on his bedroll. His muscles protested, but Murtagh didn't care. Suddenly, he felt drained. Eragon was well rested and coming his way. Himself he was ill and still wounded. He was no match to the blue Rider.
When will he arrive, Thorn? The hazel eyed Rider asked finally.
If we're lucky, when the moon is at its highest. Thorn said.
"And if we aren't?" Murtagh questioned quietly.
As it has fully risen from the horizon.
Murtagh gazed sadly at the setting sun. Eragon would be there soon. He had never felt so unprepared in his entire life.
Wind and clouds zoomed pass his face as they flied. Eragon's mind was blank as Saphira twisted elegantly on the giant sky. The sun had set behind them and blackness was capturing the heaven.
What troubles you, young one?
Eragon shook his head. Without knowing it, his mind had drifted to their second meeting with the red dragon not long before.
I'm concerned for Murtagh's health. Eragon answered. Can he truly be in such poor shape? I didn't see him during the battle.
Saphira dived low enough for them to nearly touch the treetops. The blue Rider breathed deeply to calm his mind.
Thorn told us he hadn't been. Saphira replied. He wouldn't tell us why. You will have to question Murtagh further on this.
"And so I will." Eragon stated firmly.
Saphira turned her giant head for a second, enough for them to make eye-contact.
You miss him. That he didn't show concerned your greatly in the battle. Galbatorix took advantage of your feelings.
Eragon frowned. He could remember it as clear as if it had been yesterday what had happened during his fight with the King. It was as if Galbatorix had sneaked into his mind and had seen his troubles and worries. The man had made sure to use everything he knew against him. Eragon clenched his jaw. He never thought he would be able to take another man's life and enjoy it, but hearing the final roar of Galbatorix had pleased him. Hearing the black dragon die however had brought sorrow.
"I know Saphira. But please, concentrate on finding the way there." He pleaded.
It is not far from here. Saphira said. Those are the mountains Thorn spoke of.
Eragon raised his gaze. The mountains that were growing in size steadily before him were average, if he were to call them anything. It was then he realised where Thorn had lead them. If this was indeed where Murtagh had been hiding, the red Rider hadn't been far from the final battle or the King's castle.
The location disturbs you? Saphira questioned softly.
It pains me. Eragon corrected. To know I was so near finding him, hadn't I fallen under the spell. But it disturbs me also. Was he too wounded to get further than this?
You will soon have the answers you seek. Saphira soothed him.
The brunet nodded to himself. They reached the first mountain as the moon had almost fully risen from the horizon. They circled it together. It wasn't until they came to the third mountain than Saphira spoke again.
I see a cave. Thorn is guarding the entrance.
"This must be it." Eragon spoke.
Saphira dived down and touched the rocks not far from where Thorn was standing. Eragon slid out of the saddle and patted Saphira's scales. He nodded respectfully to Thorn, who nodded back. As the red dragon turned to mentally speak with Saphira, Eragon took down the bag he had brought with him. If Murtagh indeed was as wounded as Thorn would have it, then he would need Angela's herbs as well as his magic.
Thorn says that Murtagh is asleep. Saphira said, her head still facing away from him. He wonders if you will wait for him to wake.
"I cannot wait any longer I'm afraid." Eragon answered directly to Thorn.
The red dragon gave away a quiet rumble, one that wasn't meant as hostile.
"If he is ill as you said Thorn, then I have no time to spare." The brunet continued. "My presence will be missed soon as well."
Thorn nodded softly.
Be careful young one. Saphira said warmly.
It's just Murtagh. I'll keep myself in check. Eragon joked softly as he turned and entered the cave.
As the sun had set, the only light inside was a fire that looked to have been lit by Thorn. It was obvious that Murtagh didn't have any magic to spare. Eragon found the older teen curled up on a bedroll, one that had been pushed closer to the fire for warmth. As Eragon moved closer he could see the faint bruises on Murtagh's body and the paleness that only came with sickness. The blue Rider bit his lip as he sat down. He now wished he could have come sooner.
Saphira, did anyone besides Lady Nasuada know of our departure? Eragon questioned.
Roran will most certainly have been informed by now, as well as Arya. Saphira answered. If one of them are to come after you however, it will be Arya.
Keep a lookout for me?
Always. Saphira replied. Who else is there to look after you?
No one that does it as well as you. Eragon said with a slight smile.
Their link was temporally shut as Eragon prepared to heal Murtagh the best he could. He knew why he had been so worried for his brother, even after hearing of the betrayal. Before he knew of any blood connection between the darker Rider and him, he had somehow developed feelings for Murtagh. Eragon had been unsure of what they were at first, pursuing to earn Arya's love instead. It was now, when he had matured, that he saw what lay in his own heart. His eyes had opened at the same time as Murtagh had flown away from him during the battle.
Eragon sighed as he shook away the thoughts. He decided to spare his magic for the more serious injuries. The bruising could be taken care of by the salve Angela had given to him so sneakily before he had taken off earlier that same day. Sometimes, he truly wondered how much the witch knew. But, at the same time, he was glad he didn't know.
Murtagh let out a groan in his sleep. Eragon gulped as the other merely rolled over to lie in a more comfortable position. The brown eyed teen was glad that Murtagh was asleep, as the healing then would take less power out of the other teen and Eragon didn't feel like facing him yet.
Carefully, Eragon began to tend to his brother's wounds. He tried not to think too much while he worked. Thinking in such times would only disturb him. It was during his check on Murtagh's sides that the other decided to wake. Eragon felt Murtagh's posture stiffen, but still continued to pull the shirt out of the way.
"Eragon?" Murtagh questioned hoarsely.
"Lie still." Eragon commanded softly. "Moving will only worsen my healing."
"When did you get here?" Murtagh asked, but to his credit he lied down and didn't move.
"Not long ago." Eragon murmured.
He could see that Murtagh's left side didn't have any damage that hadn't healed on its own. The right side however looked far worse. Murtagh hissed when Eragon checked the ribs. He counted two broken ones, and at least one that had healed wrong.
"This is going to hurt." The brunet warned. "I have to break up the bone that has healed itself wrongly."
Murtagh nodded. The younger teen gulped and moved his scarred palm up and muttered the words to heal the other. Murtagh bit back curses by the sound of it. Eragon winced when he heard the bone break and heal itself again.
"Better?" Eragon asked quietly.
The darker brunet breathed heavily as he tried to answer. It seemed that words had left him. Murtagh nodded instead.
"I fixed the bruising and your wrist." The brown eyed teen murmured. "Is there any other damage you need healed?"
Murtagh looked like he wanted to speak, but shut his mouth before he could utter a word. He shook his head instead.
Other than the damage to his heart, there was none Murtagh could think of. And that damage not even Eragon could heal the way Murtagh wanted. Sighing, the darker Rider watched Eragon pack away the supplies he had brought silently.
"I brought some food, if you're hungry."
Murtagh was startled out of his hazy thoughts.
"No thank you." He murmured.
"Please." Eragon said in a mere whisper.
Murtagh sighed. Nodding he let Eragon prepare something over the fire. Silence filled the cave as the younger brunet continued to prepare a meal. Murtagh tried, but couldn't hear Thorn or Saphira outside. It was most likely they had gone for a flight.
"Where were you?" Eragon questioned calmly as he stirred whatever he had brought in a small casserole.
Murtagh let out a quiet sound of confusion. If Eragon wanted to talk, then he hoped there would be few riddles. He was still tired.
"During the final battle, where were you?"
"Ah." Murtagh muttered. "I was here."
"You didn't participate?" Eragon asked in confusion.
"I was too unreliable for Galbatorix." Murtagh said bitterly. "I was given a second chance, but failing that sent me to weeks with torture. I was nothing but an audience to the battle raging on below me."
Eragon fell silent. Murtagh watched the other Rider absentmindedly stir the spoon with his right hand.
"What happens later, Rider?" Murtagh questioned. "Is there an army on the way to send me to the gallows?"
Eragon looked at him with large eyes. His face screamed of horror.
"No one knows of your whereabouts but me and Saphira. There is no one coming after you." He answered.
"Then what of my head?" Murtagh said sourly. "Does it still bare the same price or has it increased?"
Eragon looked away. Murtagh felt bile rise in his throat. He forced it down.
"The dwarfs still hold a grudge against you for murdering their King." The brunet answered silently. "Their price hasn't lowered. But since your disappearance I have pled your case. That you weren't seen in the last battle made people doubt of your allegiance to Galbatorix. If you explain what bound you to him, I'm sure you'll go free."
"You're saying I have to face trial. I'm as good as dead." The darker Rider spat.
"NO!" Eragon screamed.
Murtagh gazed at him. Where had the teen with the grudge against him gone? The boy that had hated the mere thought of them being of the same kin?
"Lady Nasuada will have to be your judge. She would never send you to your death." The younger teen explained.
"And what do you know of that Eragon?" Murtagh asked. "Surely she has to do with me as with all other traitors; make sure they stand down and stay down."
"I will not see you to your death. Not when I have finally found you again." Eragon said stubbornly.
"Months ago those words would never have been uttered from your lips."
"Months ago I was still a child." Eragon answered, giving Murtagh a bowl of broth along with his words. "I have matured now."
"So I can see." Murtagh whispered with his focus set on the bowl in his hands.
Eragon let out a choked splutter by the sound of it. Murtagh let a smirk show on his face as he continued to eat. His stomach was protesting, as he hadn't eaten properly in quite a while, but he forced it all down. If he got sick later, then so be it. Murtagh was too tired to care.
"Thank you." Murtagh said as he returned the bowl.
Eragon merely nodded. Murtagh wasn't sure why he younger brunet had turned silent all of a sudden, but if his comment were to blame, then he felt rather smug.
"When will you be leaving for the Varden?" Murtagh asked into the silence.
Eragon turned back towards him.
"Saphira needs to rest first. Tomorrow morning at the earliest."
"Are… will you be coming back with us?" Eragon asked hesitantly.
"If I don't, will you tell them where to find me?" Murtagh countered.
"I swore an oath to the Varden, but it is only Lady Nasuada I cannot lie to." The brunet answered.
"Then it seems like you'll have a travelling companion back."
Eragon gazed sadly at him as Murtagh lay back down. The pains in body were almost gone, but a slight tiredness remained. Outside, both Riders could hear their dragons land on the rocky terrace.
Figuring that the talk was over, Murtagh turned away. His mind clouded over as he tried to figure out what to do next. He could hardly run from the Varden, they would sure track him down and execute him for running. He could only go back with Eragon and hope that his brother was indeed right; that Nasuada would spare him. Though, Murtagh doubted it. And if Nasuada wouldn't charge him, then Surda probably would. It was safer for him to think of his life as short, rather than to live in the hope that he would be spared from two forces.
Oh, this is getting ridiculous!
It took a moment for Murtagh to understand who had spoken. Once again he had forgotten the mind-connection between Thorn and himself.
If you do not wish to hear me wallow in self-misery, then do not listen!
That is kind of hard, me being your dragon and all. Thorn almost drawled.
Then shut me out. You are only listening because you want to know what I'm thinking. Don't think I don't know that Thorn. Murtagh grumbled.
Excuse me for worrying. It is hard not to when that's all I've been asked since the new arrivals.
What? Who asked what?
Saphira and her Rider have been asking me left and right about you. Both are worried, in their separate ways of course. Thorn informed him.
I'm not even going to bother questioning you. Murtagh replied with a small shake of his head.
In his mind, Thorn pouted. Murtagh had to right the urge to laugh. He wished to be able to see that look on his dragon's face.
Murtagh closed his eyes, and it wasn't long before he fell asleep.
End Part I
A/N What did you think? This is just the first half of the story. The rest will be out within a week or so. I'm pretty pleased about this one, though it was tough to write. I just love the angsting and tension between the boys. :wink:
Leave me a little review and let me know what you though yeah? I live off them! Reviews help me write, so please review if you want me to write more stuff in the future. XD