Islanzadi is devastated.

"There is nothing for me to say that you don't already know." Her voice treacherously lowered, "Your race has always been infatuated with mine, begging for immortality and grace by association; but do you really think that my daughter will stay by your side forever? She will tire of you, as she tires of everyone, and will move to someone more exciting. And one day many years from now, she will find someone perfectly suited for her and she will be married. On that day I doubt she will remember your name, if you are even among the living."

Islanzadi paused to measure Nasuada's reaction. The woman sat impassive, waiting for her turn to speak. The elf continued sharply, "You are foolish to think that an elf princess would truly consider you for a partner, though I must say that my daughter was wrong to string you along for so much time. Leave her now, Lady Nasuada, before she decides to abandon this little tryst of which you've grown so fond. It will end painfully unless you take the initiative." Nasuada remained still.

The elf hissed, "Have you nothing to say?" Her long fingers gripped her chair arm so tightly that her knuckles turned white. Her pearly teeth were barred in a grimace.

"I respectfully disagree."

In a very unladylike display of emotion, Queen Islanzadi shouted, "How?" Her voice lost its musical quality as she yelled, "How can you refute the evidence before you? Explain yourself! What kind of spell has she placed you under? Prove your certainty to me!"

"May I show you?" asked Nasuada calmly. "It would be easier for you to look using magic than for me to explain."

Sneering, Islanzadi replied, "I have seen the minds of men, and yours is no interest to me. Humans lack the depth of other races."

"Then it will not bother you to take a cursory glance into my thoughts, if only to prove your theory correct."

So she reached out with a scowl and put her fingertips to Nasuada's brow. Islanzandi's mind shot forward like an arrow, not bothering to be gentle with her subject, but she felt no resistance from the young woman. In fact, the wealth of memories floated completely unprotected before the queen's eyes, and she found herself overwhelmed.

Below Farthen Dûr a thin warrior battles next to Saphira Bjartskular, completely unaware that Nasuada focuses her aim on her nearby enemies. She is protected by the archer on the walls.

A new image replaces the battle: A sting is felt when her name is spoken with anything but reverence. Nasuada mentally notes that the soldier will have latrine duty until he learns respect for the elf.

In a red tent, they are kissing and Nasuada is warm and happy. Islanzandi blushes at the human's honesty. They are entwined like a braid of dark and light, and this she finds lovely. Her wounded arms burn, but she ignores it and Arya whispers her to sleep.

Her daughter was smiling.

Only Arya understands what it's like among these warriors. She alone can keep the peace along with her authority, so Nasuada idolizes her. She is flawed perfection of the most beautiful kind.

Islanzadi feels the hot sun: Eragon takes her away, leaving jealousy and rage and fear and weakness. He was alone in the wide world, but now they are alone together. Come back. Come back without him, Arya.

They are playfully joking with each other one night, an elf and a human discovering that their senses of humor are surprisingly complementary; Arya can't say the punch line without giggling at Nasuada's expectant face.

Her daughter was laughing.

She holds her firmly now because her waking dreams have become too real, and Durza is burned into the back of her skull. Nasuada stays awake and kisses her nightmares away. They were in the red tent again. She whispers, "Breathe. Breathe, and remember that you are far from that hell." And Arya does.

They cannot tell where one body ends and another begins. They move together like clockwork, coupled with sighs and moans and needy kisses, and it is a wonder that they fit so well. It is a miracle. She blushes even harder.

Nothing special happens today, except that Arya is recapping a scouting mission to the table of war advisors in her lyrical voice; she looks sweetly to Nasuada when she sits down. Her eyes say, "You're mine," so Nasuada replies in their newly created method, "Always."

Islanzadi sees their most recent memory together: "If you asked me to challenge her to a magician's duel, you know I would," jokes Nasuada. Arya furrows her brow, trying to plaster a smile on her face as they stand outside of the queen's chambers. Nasuada sees through this mask easily. "I will not forsake you, Arya," she says, and her thumb gently touches the side of her mouth, as if wiping away her frowns. They kiss softly, and tears slide away from Arya's green eyes. "She'll try to take you away from me," sobs the elf. Nasuada shakes her head, "Can you take light from the stars? Not by any magic I have seen." She pulls away after another kiss, unlacing their fingers, and opens the door.

Ripping from her mind, Islanzadi breathed laboriously, unsure of the sadness that resonated from her body. She had never felt such emotion from any living creature, elf or human, and a small cry slipped from her lips.

xXx

A whimper floated through the corridor, and Arya wasted no more time waiting outside her mother's room. She burst through the door and her heart stopped at the sight before her.

Her mother, the ruler of the immortals, knelt with Nasauda's hands pressed to her forehead, tears streaming down her pale cheeks. The human's face was tender as the elf-queen kissed her fingers, whispering, "Forgive me, please, forgive me. I did not understand."

"It is sometimes hard for me to understand as well, great queen," murmured Nasuada. She turned her deep brown eyes to Arya, and smiled like a soldier saved from death on the battlefield. "I had only to show her," she practically laughs.

Rising from her position, Islanzadi embraced her daughter without reservations. She said, "I owe you apologies, too, Arya. My thoughts were grossly formed and my words were harsh enough for you to be rightfully angry. If you can forgive me, I will be glad to speak to you about this situation." She wiped her eyes. "But for now Nasuada," she paused to express her name with a new inflection, "has given me a great deal to think about."

The queen bowed away from them and carried herself to a secluded area. For many hours Islanzadi sat in silence, recalling the memories that brought Arya so much joy. The adoration between them was so vast, so infinite, that she could hardly wrap her mind around it. And late at night, when her psyche needed rest, she smiled wearily. Their commitment was so similar to her own beloved marriage that she was surprised to have missed the connection in the first place.

It was love, pure and simple.

XXXXX

A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed for me! I didn't expect such support from Inheritance fans, especially for a crack!ship story. I plan to write more using Mr. Paolini's characters, and I hope you enjoy my future stories, too.

Much love, guys!