For the first time in more than over a thousand years, the Menoa tree blossomed.
It was breathtaking sight that almost none had seen before. The flowers were crimson in color, and yet not like the shade of blood; rather, like the tinge of a fire dancing in the cold winter night. Warm, and comforting. Yet still, it brought a sense of loneliness too much to bear for the elves of Ellesmera. Too much had been lost for them. Too much.
They passed it only if they needed too. Even then, they hurried passed it as if the blossoms carried the plague. None wanted to watch the scene.
In the night, only a single rider stood beneath the great tree.
Petals from above fell in greater amounts as a wind blew through the branches. It was like a scarlet rain. As Eragon held out his hand gently, a single blossom landed on in the center of his palm.
It had been two days since Oromis's death. The wounds were still fresh for everyone in the nation, but it was particularly painful for the young Shur'tugal. But still, as the only symbol of hope the people had left, he could not cry.
He would put up a bold and yet slightly saddened face for all to see. He would give out small speeches, or talks, in the following months, to urge the elves to fight on, and to show his resolve. He would stand as straight as a statue, and be the awe of the others around him.
Oh, he could scream. He could bang his head against the walls or drain his anguishes in alcohol. He could cry, clinging to Saphira as he slept. But only in the depths of his room, where no one could see it. After all, if he fell, Du Weldenvarden fell with him.
The petals continued to fall.
Eragon stepped further into the shower of blossoms. The flower that was in his hand had been kneaded beyond repair. And as he let it fall, it reminded him of how his heart felt.
Losing his uncle, who was like a father to him. Losing his first mentor, that had been like a father to him as well. Losing Oromis, who like the others, had been like a father to him.
After all these days, weeks and months, Eragon understood one thing, the thing that he had pushed back into his mind since his youth, the one thing he just didn't want to acknowledge.
He was a child with no one to call father.
As if on its own accord, his hand went to his sheath and slowly drew out his sword. A toy in comparison to the smithwork of the elves, but a fine blade nonetheless. A beautiful weapon.
The petals continued to fall.
As smoothly as a crane's neck, his arm straightened, and he whirled around, his blade moving with him as if through water. The sword did not touch any of the falling flowers. They were one.
The wind grew. The Menoa tree seemed to move as if to meet the coming gust.
The petals started to dance.
In the storm of blossoms, a blade whispered. It glided, and snaked through the air like the wisps of smoke from a thin candle. Moonlight gleamed off of the blade, and then vanished as it changed in its direction.
An elf that was passing nearby suddenly stood still, watching the scene in awe. As if frozen in the winter night, he stood there, unmoving.
The petals spun.
The rider's sword never stopped. Always moving within the flowers, they flowed as one. It was not to defeat an imagined enemy, or a blow. It was a dance. A dance with the stars, the leaves, the silver streams of moonlight that filtered through the trees. And with the red petals of the brightest fire.
More and more elves came, gathering in hushed whispers. However, Eragon paid them no heed. In this moment and in this time, he was the only being in this world. He was one with the blossoms.
A slash there. A slight parry. A slanted thrust.
The wind grew in strength, and the petals twirled in the air in a crazed frenzy. Eragon sword followed in their speed, and soon, it was impossible to see which was blossom and which was blade.
The wind grew in strength. The Menoa tree creaked, its branches moving with a life of their own. The flowers fell in torrents.
The grace and yet concealed ferocity of his movements… impossible…
The elves were murmuring now.
With the fluidness of a stream of water, the sword moved through the falling blossoms. Not one of them touched the blade.
In each petal, Eragon saw a shard of his past. The finding of Saphira's egg, the numerous revelations and discoveries on Brom, his brother Murtagh, Arya, and finally, Oromis. Not all of the memories were happy ones. But all of them held something to learn from. They shaped who he was, and what he chose.
And what will he choose?
To fight on.
Not because it was his responsibility, nor because it was his destiny. It was a simple choice, made by himself. As an individual. Not for others, but for himself.
The wind stopped. The petals slowly drifted to the ground. Eragon withdrew his blade, and sheathed it. A small smile appeared on his face.
Though he didn't feel joy, his heart had lightened. The pressure that had clutched his insides had dissolved. He breathed deeply, relishing the cool morning air.
It was morning? A warm light had crept onto the surrounding hills, bathing the forest in gold. As if the leaves were covered in the sweetest honey.
Slowly, the elves turned to the Menoa tree, as if noticing its beauty for the first time. As the petals continued to fall, they knew something had changed in the flower's fiery warmth.
There was hope.
Okay, so this didn't exactly turn out how I wanted it to be in the first place. But I hope you all enjoyed this small oneshot.
If I can, I'll pump out the chapter of The Night of the Falling Stars tomorrow. This was just to get rid of my writer's block (Did my attempt succeed? I know not.)
Please review and tell me what you think!