Disclaimer: I do not own Eragon, Eldest, or Brisingr; nor have any of their characters come out of my tiny little head
Disclaimer: I do not own Eragon, Eldest, or Brisingr; nor have any of their characters come out of my tiny little head. This is simply my wish and depiction of how Nasuada and Murtagh's first meeting went (I mean come on! She had him with one visit? How cool could this have been?). I am however, responsible for that awfully lame title... Please enjoy.
A Prisoner's Promise.
She fastened the laces around her arms and adjusted the front of her dress pulling down the ripples that had formed at her waist. The indigo dress Nasuada wore was one of her finest, reserved only for men and nobles of the highest rank. To her opinion, he was just as deserving of her finest garments as King Hrothgar.
Diplomatic as this errand was, she was exceptionally curious to meet the boy born from Morzan, the most condemned of the Foresworn. Murtagh had originated as much stories as his father before him. Although the only stories she really believed were her father's. Meeting someone so eccentric was delightfully out of the ordinary for her. She would not pass up this opportunity, especially if it was staring her in the face.
"I'll be back before sunset," she announced to her hand-maid.
Farica answered back and resumed her duties without much excitement. Careful to avoid the crowds and anyone who would want to 'accompany' her she reached the cell in about 15 minutes. When she stood before the door the guards were a bit reluctant to let her enter on her own. But if she was nothing else, she was convincing; enough at least for a human and a dwarf.
So after three knocks at the door and a last subtle warning and reassurance that they would be there at the first sound of trouble, they let her in. She was pleased to see that her father had at least given him one of the descent prisoner's cells. The sight that greeted her upon arriving though was a shock she was unable to hide even with all her years of nobility training.
He looked back at her with as much curiosity as she had been feeling a short while ago. Even if she had not been able to prevent the way her eyes had swept over his bare back, she at least had the decency to stop herself from staring any longer at the horrible scar cutting across it's length. So it was true, Morzan did not show compassion to even his own flesh and blood.
"Who are you?"
She looked up upon his dark eyes. His tone was not demanding or angered, but rather marveled and almost enticed. Gathering her composure she straightened herself and offered the man and small curtsy.
"My name is Nasuada; I've come here with a decree from my father, Ajihad."
Now it was Murtagh's turn to be surprised, "Father? You are Ajihad's—"
She allowed herself to arch a brow in his direction, as if challenging him to question her genealogy. She was her father's daughter if only you were to look at the tone of her skin.
"I'm sorry;" he said humbly, "Though you carry yourself with much of his authority and uncommon skin tone, your beauty is of unknown origins to me... in reference to him that is, and, um, your mother. She must have been beautiful. That's what I meant. When I said--,"
He seemed to comprehend that the best course of action for his horribly embarrassing mistake was to shut up, so he occupied himself with putting his shirt back on. Try as she might, she was not able to bite back the smile that crept slowly onto her face. As a King's daughter she had been told on countless occasions of her 'beauty'. But the fact that he was not trying to amuse her or play politics with her father made her suppress a sense of giddiness. He was sincere.
Murtagh had been in the middle of a set of exercises when she had walked in on him, so she waited for him to dress with the poor excuse of a shirt and tunic he had and when he was sitting once again over his bed she continued.
"My father has allowed you visitation rights by your companions at any time they wish to come for the amount of time that they desire, as appreciation for your help with Arya and the Dragon Rider Eragon."
His face darkened, "I don't think it's wise that they spend any more time with me than they should. Though I thank your father for his offer, I also ask you to refrain from telling him. Eragon must have enough on his mind as it is."
She watched as he averted his eyes and tried to make out this peculiar stranger, "You wish to be alone?"
He looked to her for only a second before occupying himself with the hem of his sheets, "I would like it if he came to see me, but my request is not made with me in mind. By granting him permission to come the task becomes more of an obligation than a desire. Besides, I've become accustomed to being alone."
She looked from his slumping shoulders to the light in his eyes that seemed to fade as he spoke. He looked up to meet her gaze and both stood looking at each other for a while.
"Is there something else you desire, Lady Nasuada?" he said quietly lifting himself from the bed.
She tilted her head slightly, "Does my presence disturb you?"
"No!" he said immediately, "No. I simply presumed that a lady such as yourself would have something better to do than mingle with the prisoners."
She allowed herself to smile and went over to the desk that had been moved, she assumed, to allow him more room for his exercises.
"Maybe, but what could be more interesting than meeting a prisoner of such fame? It's very true that I could have sent this information to one of the guards, but then," she looked up at him tentatively and smiled, "I would not have been able to meet you in person."
His reaction was not what she expected when his brow furrowed and the light in his eyes dimmed once again, "Why would you be interested in meeting the son of one of the Varden's worst enemies if not to see for yourself how much of a threat I can be to you?"
Her smile disappeared.
"Your assumptions are as quick as they may be justified but that is not why I came here," she said in a stronger voice. "Contrary to what people may think, I know that parents and their offspring are not one and the same. Not even a carpenter with the same whittling knife can create identical figurines. Though neither of us can fault the other for being suspicious, it was Murtagh whom I wanted to meet, not the son of Morzan. Unless of course, they truthfully are one and the same."
He looked up at her with such shock after that last sentence that it was a while before he plopped back down on the bed and looked down at his fidgeting hands. "People here make it difficult to distinguish the two," he didn't look at her when he spoke but at least he had dropped his defensive manner.
"I was Murtagh once I suppose. For a few weeks while I traveled with Eragon. It's true that he did not trust me at first; he shouldn't have even trusted me to begin with. But that boy has never known betrayal like most of us have. He was wary of me because I was a stranger, not because I was the son of a Foresworn. When I proved myself trustworthy, that I really meant him no harm, we became," he shook his head and gave a sad smile, "He's the closest thing I've ever had to a friend."
"I do not understand then," Nasuada interrupted not standing the sadness in his voice, "why you push me away."
For the second time since she had arrived Murtagh looked up at her taken aback. She saw with certain curiosity how a pink tinge came to his cheeks. Was he so unaccustomed to understanding that just the thought of it was shocking to him? She hid the sadness in her eyes and pushed herself off the desk making her way towards him.
He lifted himself off the bed when she approached and with wondering eyes took the hand that she held out to him. She would probably regret this later but she was sure if she didn't stay, it would nip at her heart for days to come.
"Eragon may be too busy to be bothered with me. But there is nothing I would like more than to hear of your adventure."
She led him back to the bed where they both sat. Her eyes smiling she did her best to transmit all the compassion she could for this broken man. He gazed at her with incredulous wonder and after several seconds of silence she felt her face grow hot under his scrutiny.
"It would be an honor, Lady Nasuada."
Over the next hour or so she felt herself become entranced by the tale he told her. Listening attentively she watched as his demeanor changed from that of respectful politeness to passionate storyteller. And little by little her face was allowed more expression than she had experienced since childhood. She was excited with him, apprehensive when he was, and troubled by the same deeds he had been. The only thing that gave away her prolonged time with him was the dull throbbing her lower back accumulated whenever she was seated for too long. But surely it had not been that long.
"This is surely the nicest prison I've ever been in though. Granted I fear the only death that will befall me is of boredom, but I really could not have asked your father for more. Is it not strange? That the sworn enemy of my father has shown me more kindness than he ever did?"
She would have enjoyed his story more without those sporadic comments of abandonment and grief, but such were weaved into his essence. It was inevitable.
"I find it amazing Murtagh, that someone who has been through so much would still have a heart big enough to know right from wrong and help those in need."
He gave her a dry chuckle secretly touched by her words, "You make me out to be so noble my Lady. The reality is another."
Nasuada smiled and was about to counter when there came a loud bang from the door.
"Lady Nasuada!" the dwarf that had been standing guard came bustling in.
With the door ajar Nasuada was shocked to see the city draped in darkness. She could not have possibly been here for that long.
"Is everything all right?" asked the guard noticing her proximity with the prisoner.
"Did you mean to tell me something sir?" she asked pushing herself off Murtagh's bed.
Murtagh was prudent enough not to speak while the guard analyzed the situation. He finally looked up to Nasuada and nodded curtly.
"Since sundown your father has been beckoning you. Nobody seemed to know where you were and we just now heard the request."
Nasuada cursed under her breath. It seemed impossible that she had been here for more than two hours, but the absence of twilit told her it had possibly been more. "Thank you, I will be out shortly. If you can, inform my father that I am on my way."
The dwarf gave a quick bow before exiting the cell. Murtagh lifted himself from the bed and took a step over.
"Forgive me. If I'd have known how much time had passed--,"
She shook her head cutting him off with her gaze, "Do not attempt to set upon yourself my responsibilities Murtagh. Getting lost in your story was my mistake. I thank you for your time but now it is painfully obvious that I must depart."
She curtsied and started towards the door.
"Wait!" he called out taking her hand. Bowing low he placed it just under his chin and looked up at her, "The courtesy and kindness you have shown me this day are unrivaled since I have been able to cast judgment. You should know how much I appreciated them and that they will never be forgotten. As neither will you."
With a slow movement he touched his lips to her hand and she tensed; not because the contact made her uncomfortable, but because it didn't. Without another word she hurried over to the door and pulled it open. The other guard was waiting outside for her.
"Murtagh," she called out before the door closed. He looked up hoping that his demeanor didn't seem too stupid.
"I would be inconsolable if you happened to die of boredom in our custody. We have a rather extensive library in Farthen Dur. From what you've told me, this would likely ease your lethargy. Any book you desire is yours to consult."
His chest duplicated its size and he smiled, for the first time in a long time. Thrilled that she was smiling back he gave her one last bow, "My lady Nasuada."
Authors Rambles: I adore Murtagh, throughout the series and no matter what has happened he is my reason for reading the books. The fact that Paolini if even very subtly mentioned his interest in Nasuada in the first book made me love him even more. This M&S romance for me is of the best kind because even though you know it's never going to happen (yes, I admit it weeps), you cannot help but hope. It's so painfully like my own 'love life' that I just couldn't resist. Hehe.
I'm really rather pleased with the way this turned out. Truth be told I'd been wanting to write this since the end of the second book, (sobs woefully) and now that I have gobbled up Brisingr I was inspired once again. I also found it smart to write now just after reading CP as his style seems to wear off on me for the following month after I finish his books, making this fic a little more credible and in character which is always what a good fanfiction author should strive for.
Hope you enjoyed. Please leave a review. Feedback is always appreciated