Hello people ^_^ This is just a little thing I wrote in December. It's not accurate, as things happen differently in the book, but I thought, why not? Different way of Eragon finding out about his namesake, and an opportunity for him and Brom to spend some time together.
Hope you enjoy it ^_^
As always, I do not own the Inheritance Cycle. Just writing fanfiction here ^_^
Brom had never had much patience for children. Even as a boy, his younger siblings had annoyed him. It had been a great bonus for him to have been chosen as a rider, for it meant he could relate with people older than him, and no kids!
Even after the fall of the riders, he had never spent much time in a place where children abounded. As he had founded the Varden, there had only been grown ups, and as families arrived, were created, and grew, he was already spending less and less time at Farthen Dûr.
How his life had changed when he had settled in Carvahall six years earlier. Now he had no peace, for there was not a day when a child, or more, would come over to ask him to tell a story. Perhaps it hadn't been too smart to present himself as a bard. He should have known that would be the result.
He did not lack adult listeners, not at all, and he reserved the most serious stories for them. But kids… all they wanted to hear were impossible tales of magic… things Alagaësia had not seen, and likely would not see, anytime soon. He was not very confident about the blue egg hatching. It had been long already, and perhaps the one meant to be its rider had died long before… or maybe hadn't even been born yet.
Still, he had to do his best and be patient. Once the egg hatched, he would have to find whomever it had hatched for, and give him the initial training, before sending him off to Ellesméra for more formal training.
Ah… it was when he thought of it that he remembered Saphira. It may have been ninety years since he had lost her, but the vacuum she had left in his mind and heart still hurt. And yet, it was hard for him to decide which pain was greater, that of losing Saphira, or that of losing Selena.
In a way, he thought, it was about the same. When Saphira had been killed, a part of him had died with her; when Selena had died, another part of him had passed. He was no longer whole, and he would never be.
His existence had been cursed over and over by that treacherous Morzan. Six years since killing him had done nothing to placate his anger, his hate… He had taken everything from him. It was his fault he was without Saphira. It was his fault he was without Selena.
And it was his fault that he had to sit in a small village in the middle of nowhere, pretending to be a dimwit bard, just so he could, from very, very far away, watch his son grow. And it was torture. It was torture not being able to see him every day, tell him stories of his mother, how great a woman she had been. No, he had to contend himself with watching from afar as Garrow and Marian raised him along with their own son, Roran. He had to keep himself from giving the parents a right slap, for he did not think they were given his son the proper education. Had he the chance to raise him himself…
No, he could not afford to think of such things, for they only angered him more. The years in seclusion had embittered him more. The weight of all he had lost, of what was his, and yet, could never have… even if it was for his own protection… it was too much. And then there were those bloody kids who ran about and screamed, and knocked on his door morning and afternoon asking him to speak of magic.
Surely there was a better way…
A knock on his door just made it all heat up in his head. Sighing loudly, he went to open, and found Horst there, with both Albriech and Baldor. The boys were seven and eight, and some of his most arduous listeners.
"Can I help you, Horst?" Brom asked, trying to hide his ill humour.
"Ah, Brom," the smith said, looking ashamed. "I am sorry for barging in on you, but Elain is not feeling well, and I have a big job I need to finish this afternoon. I was wondering if you could keep the boys entertained for a couple of hours?"
This was not an unusual request, and, as much as it annoyed Brom, he had to admit that at least Albriech, and especially Baldor, were a bit sensible, and did not cause too much trouble. Even if they had been other kids, to keep his appearance as bard, Brom could not refuse. He moved aside to let the boys in.
"Thank you, Brom," Horst said. "I'll come as soon as I am done. It's a big piece, and if they were around, it could be dangerous."
"I understand. You are not to worry."
He sighed quietly as he closed the door, resigning himself to another afternoon with kids.
And it was a long one, too. Somehow, as it always happened, someone had noticed that he was telling stories to Albriech and Baldor, and the kids kept pouring in, one after another, till his house was full to the brim, if that were physically possible.
They were insatiable. They always wanted more.
By the time they were gone, it was almost sunset, and he was dead tired. His throat was dry, from all the talking, and his head hurt, from all the questions and the giggling, not to mention the screaming.
'Perhaps I should have pretended to be something else…'
But what? A scholar? That would not fail to attract attention. A scholar in a small village? He was clearly hiding. No, to fake being a scholar he would have to have settled in a larger city, but none were close. Not even Ceunon. Had he settled there, he would have had no excuse to visit Carvahall often.
He was not trained in any trade, so that was out of the question, too. He was no baker, he was no smith, and he definitely was no brewer. He was a rider, a swordsman… but those were talents one could not develop in a village.
No, bard had been his only option, and he had to live with it.
He was just heating some soup for dinner, happy to be rid of all those kids, when another knock on his door came. His peace was being shattered… As it was so late, he knew it could only be an adult, but that didn't help him keep his temper down. It was all boiling over.
'Deep breaths, Brom,' he told himself. 'Like Oromis used to tell me.'
Ha! Oromis was one to talk. He probably had less patience for kids than he himself did. True, he did train a number of them as riders, but he was strict, and did not permit silliness in his lessons. He commanded authority with one look. If he had to speak, you knew you had crossed the line, and were in trouble.
'Perhaps I should have posed as some sort of teacher… then I, too, would command some respect.'
After one last deep breath, he opened the door.
It was Gertrude.
"Oh, good evening, Gertrude," he said, as pleasant as he managed.
"Good evening, Brom. Sorry to disturb you."
"How can I help you?"
She was one of those people in the village whom he did like. At least she knew how to read, and was at the service of those around her. She was caring, and compassionate. No matter how serious an injury or illness, she would do all in her power to cure it. He had to admit that she did very well, even considering she had no knowledge of magic at all.
"Just want to ask you something. The other day when you went into the woods you said you found eucalyptus trees, remember?"
"Do you remember where that was, exactly? I've just run out from what I got from Ceunon a while ago, and with this chicken pox epidemic, I'll be needing more for baths."
"I do remember. Shall I take you there tomorrow?"
"If it isn't too much trouble for you, I would appreciate it."
"No trouble at all," he said, and meant it. When it came to people like Gertrude, he helped no matter what. "Nine thirty?"
"Nine thirty is perfect. Thank you very much. Have a good evening."
"You too, Gertrude."
Being polite, he waited for her to walk away a good distance before closing the door. It was not a tradition they'd had in his hometown of Kuasta, but at Carvahall he had learned it was common use. It served to make sure the person came to no harm on their way home, and he practiced this religiously. His honour as rider required it.
He was just about to close the door when he saw it. His sight was better than a normal person's, so he became aware of it all the sooner.
He sighed. It was a child huddling in a corner two houses away, and it was crying.
'Why don't parents take care of their little trouble makers? Would give us all some peace!'
Still, he could not just close the door before making sure whoever it was wasn't hurt. Leaving the door open, he walked over to the child. He realized it was a boy, but it was still too dark to see who it was exactly, and he did not much care.
"Go home, boy," he said brusquely. He had found that it worked better than being all soft. "No use crying in the da…"
The word died in his throat when the boy looked up at him, his eyes bloodshot, and his face streaked with tears.
It was Eragon.
Torn between what he knew he must do, and what he wanted to do, he just stood there, looking at him. The boy looked back, still trembling. He had to make a decision, soon.
"Get up, I'll take you home."
"No…" the boy protested, and buried his face in his arms again, which rested on his bent knees. "I don't want to go there…"
"You need to go home. It's dark."
"I don't want to go!"
How could his child be so impolite? How could…
Heck, he did not care at the moment. All he wanted was to find out why he was crying, and make him stop. Not because it annoyed him, but because it pained him to see his son suffering, no matter because of what.
And so he broke one of his most important rules, kneeling in front of Eragon and passing a hand through his hair, kindly. The sudden action made the boy look up, as stunned by the contact as Brom himself was.
And while he was at it, he went ahead and broke another rule.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked. When Eragon nodded, the last of his golden rules was shattered, for he guided his son to the house. He had told himself over and over, that spending time alone with Eragon was one of the worst things he could do, but, at the moment, nothing seemed too rational to him.
It did not matter.
"So, what happened?" Bron asked him, once he had him seated across from him at the table.
Eragon choked on his words.
"She's dead…" he said… sobbing.
"Who's dead?" Brom stood up, alarmed. "Marian?"
"Ah," he sat down again. "I understand."
"No, you don't!" Eragon started crying hard anew.
"You've lost your mother, I understand."
And then the boy said something Brom was not expecting at all.
"She was not my mother…"
"Excuse me?" Of course, he knew that was true, but he had been under the impression, as everyone else in Carvahall, that Garrow and Marian had told Eragon he was their son.
"She told me… just before she died. She said… she said my mother came… had me… and then left, never to be seen again…"
"Why did she tell you that?" Brom was appalled. How could Marian do that to a child so young? It was cruel.
"Said I had to know that they weren't my parents, and Roran wasn't my brother..." At times it was hard for Brom to understand what he was saying, for he was crying so hard. "She did not want me…"
"Well… neither of them… my mother left me… she did not want me either."
At that moment, all Brom would have wanted to tell him was that Selena had wanted him. They had never talked about it, but he was sure of it. If she hadn't wanted him, she would not have protected him in this way. Of course she had wanted him, but he could not tell him.
Not knowing what else he could do, he took Eragon by the chin and made him look up. The boy's eyes trembled.
"Shall I tell you a story to make you feel better?"
The suggestion confused Eragon, and Brom could see that even for a child it seemed like poor amend for what he was suffering. And yet, after the initial surprise wore off, the boy nodded, leaning his elbows on the table, and resting his chin on his small hands, ready to listen.
"May I choose the story?" he asked.
"Not today, Eragon. I have a very special one for you."
"Have I heard it before?"
"I do not believe you have, for this is a story I have not told the children of Carvahall. Not even the adults, I think. So pay attention."
The exclusivity seemed to raise Eragon's spirits a bit, and rouse his curiosity. It was then Brom knew he was doing the right thing.
"Let me ask you something first," Brom said, as a way of starting his story. "Do you know where your name comes from?" Eragon shook his head. "Ah, you should! Your name is very special, and if your mother gave it to you, it can only mean that she loved you very much."
"Does it have a good meaning?"
"Well, I wouldn't know about that, but I can tell you who your namesake is."
"Namesake… what is that?"
'Language…' Brom reminded himself. 'He's a child, after all.'
"A namesake is someone who had your same name. The person you were named after, so to say."
"Am I named after my father?"
"No, Eragon. You were named after the first dragon rider."
The boy's eyes widened in surprise. He was not new to rider stories, for those were some of the children's favourites, and Brom told various of them often. That his name came from a rider seemed a surprise.
"His name was Eragon, too?"
"Exactly. He was a boy, just like you, but he was an elf."
"An elf?!" The excitement was clearly growing. "Really? I was named after an elf?"
"That's right. And this Eragon was a very brave boy, who, when a dragon hatched for him, felt such a great attachment to it, that he was able to end a war."
"A war? He ended a war?"
"Yes. Long ago, elves and dragons had a mighty war, in which many from both sides died. But Eragon and his dragon became friends, and through their friendship, the dragon riders were born. They had a connection like no other. Their mind was like one, and they took care of each other."
"Were they very brave?"
"Aye, that they were. They were mighty warriors, but what is most remarkable about them is how deeply they cared for each other. For, you see, there is no relationship stronger than that between a rider and his dragon."
"Why is that?"
"Because once a rider and dragon were united, nothing could take them apart. They shared thoughts, they shared feelings. As I said, they were like one. And this connection is precisely what helped them broker the end of the war, and helped both sides reach the agreement that gave birth to the dragon riders."
"It's too bad they don't exist anymore, isn't it?"
"Very bad, indeed…" his words trailed.
"So… why did my mother give me this name?"
"I daresay she expected great things from you, Eragon. Garrow and Marian may not be your parents, but you have that legacy from your mother. Treasure your name. It's what she left for you."
"She is Garrow's sister, you know? He told me her name is Selena. I hope one day I can see her… maybe she'll come back for me, right? She might come back with my father, and they'll take me to live with them."
The hope in his son's eyes was too great for him to bring himself to shatter it. He knew it was impossible, for Selena was dead, and he could never assume fatherhood of this boy for his own sake. No, if word got out he was alive, and that he had a son, Galbatorix would surely hurt Eragon to get to him. So no. The answer was no. Still, he found himself saying:
"You may yet cross paths with them in the future."
"I hope so."
With the boy calmed, Brom shared his dinner with him, before offering to take him home again. This time, Eragon did not refuse, and so Brom put on his cloak and walked him back to the farm. There was no physical contact between them, but he felt closer to his son than he ever had. It was not a situation to repeat, not at all. He could not afford to be so close to him, but he would treasure that evening forever. Of that he was sure.
When they were just outside the house, Brom knelt in front of him. Looking him in the eyes, he said:
"Do not be resentful towards Garrow. He may not be your father, but I can guarantee you, he loves you as such. And be supportive of him, with your aunt gone, you and Roran are all he has left, and he will need you. Do you promise you will do this?"
"I'll be brave, like the dragon rider."
"That's what I wanted to hear. Now in you go. Your uncle must be worried."
The boy nodded again and went inside.
Brom's acute hearing allowed him to hear things he otherwise wouldn't, and so Garrow's voice reached him. He had indeed been worried about Eragon's absence, and he was very sorry that he had had to find out in such a way that he was not really his father.
"I still love you very much."
"I love you, too," Eragon said. "Very much."
Garrow might not have been giving him the education he himself would have given his son, but if there was something Eragon did not lack, was love. For that, Brom was grateful.
All he could do was watch from afar as his son grew, and stand the constant annoyances from the local kids knocking on his door for more stories. Still, he appreciated more the days when Eragon was of the party, being able to spend time with him, albeit in a very reserved way.
"Tell the one of the rider with my name!" he encouraged him one afternoon a couple of months later. "They haven't heard that one."
He could not refuse him.
Of course, the reaction to the story was noisy and agitated, with kids demanding stories of riders with their own names. They probably did not believe that a rider had carried the name of Eragon, a boy of no consequence, and wanted the same attention to themselves.
'Bloody kids…' he thought, but instead of letting his annoyance boil over, he winked at Eragon, reassuring him that the story was true, no matter what others believed.