Author's Note: Another oneshot, since I'm too lazy to work on my actual fic. -slams head on desk- Come on! WORK!! -no response- Gah, I really have to keep writing! ...do I like this fic? ...maybe. Maybe not. I'm not sure about it. Tell me what you think.
Disclaimer: Ah, Notepad. How lovely to have an excuse not to put pointless accent marks in random places... But anyways. Not mine. Not Paolini's either, really... okay, maybe the name of the character (no wait, that goes to the Bible). Okay then. Mine. Sort of. Ah, just say it's FanFiction's!
For the first time in... well, for the first time, the small form realizes something. If it were human, or capable of intelligent thought, it would be something along the lines of, "I think, therefore I am."
But it is not human, so this moment passes with little fanfare. But the being has discovered itself, that it exists. It is aware of itself.
A human would be pleased, but the small creature is not. Emotions are still too complex for it. One step at a time, after all (although the being would never have thought this, seeing as it had never taken a step in its existence).
The form explores its new awareness almost cautiously. Vague thoughts and urges bubble to the surface. And then, something miraculous happens.
It realizes it has a body.
The creature manages to twitch slightly. Nerves and muscles respond to its thoughts as if by magic. It is suspended, hanging gently in something soft and pillowy and difficult to push. The limbs shove with weak strength at the pillow, but it does not yield. Stubby claws scrape at the inside of the billowing softness to no avail. Something within the creature wants to leave the safety of the pillow-thing, to escape. It is not a desire it created for itself, but one born from something deep and ageless.
It stops, because the deepness tells the creature that it is not yet time.
When that time will come, the small form does not know.
But it will wait.
There is a burning curiosity to find out what is happening outside the protecting softness, to seek out knowledge. But the deepness says that it is not yet time, so it will wait. It must wait.
Something else is there.
As the creature first felt itself, so does it feel this other, alien thing looming over its unformed consciousness. And although the small form has never been hurt, never known pain, the deepness whispers of terrible things and the fear of the unknown. All creatures, all humans, all beings blessed with thought feel this same fear when faced with the unknown, passed on through the deepness within them. The unknown is a terrible, frightening thing full of unknown hurts, until it is known, and the fear recedes.
But this presence whispers softly, in the same voice as the deepness does, in the same language. For the creature, there are no words yet, but somehow it feels the sameness between the looming terror and the soft deep, and is comforted.
A strange tingle runs through the pillowy softness. It is warmth, and the creature feels the comfort of it for the first time. The unknown is known, now. The presence is a provider of kind not-words and heat. The fear recedes.
The presence says something, and this time it is a word. The creature is not sure how it knows that this new thought from the presence is a "word", but it feels something different from it, as if the deepness were telling it so. The word is repeated, gently, lovingly.
The word is "Saphira," but it does not know what it means.
Lulled by the warmth and the presence, the small creature feels its hard-won awareness fading to black.
It is something called "sleep," but it does not know this yet.
But not for the first time. This time, the creature understands that it was aware before, once, and it remembers the warmth and the presence. It wants more.
But the presence is gone, and the creature feels disappointment. It desires the warmth.
After an indeterminable amount of time, the looming feeling comes again and the being feels a strange lurch of emotion. At first there was joy, but it was followed by the crushing fear again, the fear of the unknown.
This presence is different in a slight way, and the creature does not understand.
It feels and hears the not-words again, the same as the deepness. And the word is repeated.
The small, pillowed consciousness feels confusion. It had known that the first presence, the warmth-bringer, was the same kind as itself, even though it was impossibly vaster. But this new thing is different. It is... it is...
There are no words, other than the first one, but the being in the softness begins to understand the difference between "male" and "female". It now categorizes itself, subconsciously. "It" becomes "she".
She moves the limbs again. There are six of them, six wonderful limbs, all moving differently. It takes too much energy to sustain, but she does it anyways.
The he-presence gives her warmth and not-words, just like the first one does. She feels a soft rumbling and understands that the he-presence provides vibrations as well as heat and not-words.
Time passes, measured by the steady rise and fall of her awareness. Sometimes the two presences are there together, sometimes only one. But the creature begins to understand, slightly, the differences between the two. The she-presence, to her surprise, also provides deep rumbles. In fact, both seem to give exactly the same things, and only by the faint "male" or "female" sense can the being tell them apart.
But now, she knows the difference. Often, the he-presence leaves for long periods of time, leaving only the female one to provide warmth. And there is a curious difference, almost like the one between "male" and "female". But this one is harder to find. All the small one knows is that the he-presence is one, and the she-presence is another, and it is not the same as "male" and "female". It is something the deepness warns her against, something that tells her there is something very, very wrong about the he-presence, something unnatural.
The suspicion is confirmed when one day, when the she-presence is gone, a horrifying sense of vertigo grips her as she is torn roughly into the air. The sudden change of movement terrifies her and sends blood rushing to her head. She feels herself tumbling over and over and there is another presence looming over her, but it's nothing like anything she's felt before, and the fear of the unknown has her in its grasp and there is nothing she can do as she feels the motion jerking her around. The he-presence is there but he won't say the not-words, won't comfort her with his warmth.
In the midst of all this, the creature learns something new--the difference between "dragon" and "man".
And when the he-presence makes no move to save her, then, she understands the difference between "wild dragon" and "Rider's dragon".
The unfamiliar presence is there again and it says words, but words of terrifying power that bind her up and crush her consciousness and the softness has suddenly become rock-hard all around her and she's scared and she wants her mother back--
--The deepness screams within her one last time and is silenced.
Awareness flees and does not return.
She awakens, she knows not how many years later.
Doru Araeba is burning.
Things are dying all around her, but all she is aware of is the terrible coldness of the no-longer-soft surrounding her and the terrible vertigo of movement. A presence is holding her again, but it's different from the last time. It is dark and bloody and reeks of rotting flesh, even though she can't smell it.
She learns another difference.
There are "men".
And there are "Ra'zac".
All around her, things die.
She sleeps for years.
Even when she is moved again and again, she barely stirs. She catches a glimpse of many presences, but they do not matter to her. For every moment she is awake, she feels the hardness pressing in on her marvelous six limbs and the scales and the claws she discovered all those years ago.
And then, when she settles for monotony, some thing happens to break it.
Blood and theivery, and the difference between "man" and "elf". An elf takes her away, away... She wonders what will come next.
For all the excitement of her passing from the man to the elf, she would have thought life would be less boring.
But things stay the same. Again and again, presences come to her. She sleeps through all of them.
For some reason, they seem disappointed.
The monotony breaks at last.
She barely has time to note the differences between "elf", "Shade", and "Urgal" before the world roars bright around her. The fear of the unknown is back in full force as she feels herself move hundreds of miles within a few seconds. Inertia and impossibility wrap around her, screaming as they fight. Her head throbs as she spins and rocks and moves everywhere, and she feels as if she'd be better off going back to sleep, no matter how many years later it'll be when she wakes up again.
The lack of sound deafens her.
Something nudges her, but she ignores it.
Until, that is, it picks her up.
A shock jolts through her.
The deepness is back for the first time in more than a hundred years. It says words to her.
"It is time."
Another difference for her to remember, but one she'll have no trouble with.
The difference between "Eragon" and "the rest of the universe".