Ramblings with Ranger: Hey ya'll! This is another Murtagh/OC. Just a simple name pronunciation guide: Siobhan is pronounced 'shi VAWN'. Happy reading!

Disclaimer for whole story: I own nothing related to this story!

Prequel

"Come on, Rayne!" the seven year old Siobhan exclaimed, beckoning for her older sister to follow her down the hill. "I see more berries!"

It was a beautiful day like no other in Petrovyn, a city lying just outside of Surda's border. The two young girls were scampering about the hillside in search of the berries that were ripe in the bushes. The breeze rustled the long, green grass and tickled Siobhan and Rayne's bare feet. Wild flowers blossomed everywhere, making the hillside appear as a patchwork quilt of blues, purples, whites and greens.

"Hold on, Siobhan! Hold on!" Rayne called after her. Siobhan slowed down to a walk, breathing hard. She bent her knees, resting her hands on her knee caps. Siobhan wrinkled her nose in disgust as a foul odor made it's presence known. Rayne halted beside her sister; she too had noticed the odd smell.

"Something is burning." Siobhan stated, fearful. They had been fortunate thus far in the year; they had not experienced any wildfires, something Petrovyn dealt with on a regular basis during the summer months. It had been a dry summer, and it would not be improbable that a fire would start. As they began to hear horrified shouting, and screams of pain, they knew that the burning was not an ordinary wildfire.

"The village!" Rayne exclaimed. Both girls bolted back up the hill, stopping at the pinnacle. Their eyes widened in shock and horror, as they took in the scene below them. Petrovyn was under attack.

Part of Siobhan marveled at the sight of the dragon, but other parts registered the fact that the beatific dragon and Rider were laying waste to the only home she had ever known. Rayne and Siobhan ran down the hill, straight into Petrovyn, desperately searching for their parents.

"Mother!" Siobhan exclaimed as she caught sight of her. Rayne, being older and possessing longer legs, quickly outdistanced her. Siobhan watched in horror as a falling timber of a burning building struck her mother and sister, killing them. Siobhan ran forward and cradled her mothers head, begging to sob. Siobhan's head snapped up upon hearing the deafening roar of the dragon.

Siobhan scrambled up, her dark blue eyes filled with terror. In her young mind, this dragon was responsible for her mother and sister's death. Siobhan ran and stood before the large dragon. "What do you think you're doing?!" she exclaimed angrily, tears streaming down her face. "How dare you!" The Rider laughed cruelly. Siobhan took a small step backwards at the sound.

"How dare I? I am Morzan! I may do whatever I please, little girl." Morzan spat. Siobhan took deep breaths. She hadn't realized what the consequences of her actions would be.

"You killed my mother and sister!" Morzan laughed again.

"All the better!" Siobhan's eyes widened. Never before had she met anyone so cruel, so heartless. "Would you like to join them?"

Morzan's dragon stretched out a claw and attempted to scratch at Siobhan's face, but strong arms pulled her back and the dragon only grazed her. It was her father. Siobhan screamed as her father was cut down before her eyes. Loss of blood from her wounds and horror quickly overtook Siobhan. She fell unconscious, the lone survivor of the attack on Petrovyn.

Chapter One

~~Eleven years later~~

Siobhan stood, dusting off her dark skirt. Picking up her basket filled with various herbs, she made her way back to her tent. It was nearing noon and the sun was rising, making being outside rather unpleasant.

Despite her young age, Siobhan was one of the best healers among the Varden, as well as the healer most trusted by Nasuada. Those two facts alone should have earned Siobhan respect among the Varden, and to some degree it did. However, that did not stop her from being an outcast among people who were supposedly tolerant and accepting of anyone who hated Galbatorix and his followers.

And what had Siobhan done to deserve this? Nothing, except to love her family enough to stand before a dragon. The gash on Siobhan's face, given to her eleven years ago by Morzan's dragon, had healed properly, but she was left with a very prominent scar, that ran from the top of her right ear to the point of her chin. For this Siobhan was rejected. She was different. She was not normal. She was an outcast.

The familiar noises of small children playing faded slightly when Siobhan stepped into her tent. Like everything else about her, Siobhan's tent was neat and orderly. True, the decor was rather sparse, but it was comfortable and it suited Siobhan. She stored her two extra changes of clothing and spare set of bed linens in a single large trunk that sat at the foot of her cot. Beside the head of her cot was a small wooden night stand. The only other piece of furniture in the room was a set of drawers where Siobhan stored all the herbs she gathered until she had a need for them.

Siobhan sighed. It was a dull day. There was no need for her among the healers as they had everything under control, and she had already gathered enough herbs to last them for a long while. She sank onto the bed, running a hand through her dark hair that hung loose about her shoulders.

Siobhan frowned, listening intently. She sighed. It was a dull day no longer; soldiers were returning from a skirmish, and they were bound to need her aid. She could hear Nasuada calling her name all ready. Bolting up from her sitting position, Siobhan ran from her tent, ready for whatever was needed of her, or so she thought.

The healer sputtered to a halt when she came face to face with Eragon Shadeslayer. Siobhan's eyes widened in fear and horror. She froze, memories of that horrible day eleven years ago flashed before Siobhan's eyes.

"Siobhan!" Nasuada's urgent voice shattered into her thoughts, breaking Siobhan free from her trance. Siobhan fled around Eragon.

Siobhan began surveying the causalities. She shook her head sadly; most of the wounded were young men who couldn't been much older than she was. The more seriously wounded were all ready being ferried to the Infirmary.

"My lady," Siobhan greeted solemnly. "Please be brief; some are wounded badly." Nasuada nodded.

"That is precisely why I need you." Nasuada replied with equal solemnity. Siobhan frowned.

"What do you mean, my lady?" Nasuada motioned for Siobhan to follow her. Sighing, Siobhan obeyed the Varden's leader. The two halted outside of a tent.

"I need you to do something for me, a special favor, if you will. It will be no easy task, but I would entrust it to no one else." Nasuada said. Siobhan squared her shoulders.

"Anything, my lady." Siobhan replied readily; and she meant it. Nasuada did not smile.

"There is someone who requires your undivided care and attention. He is badly wounded." Nasuada said. Siobhan nodded.

"Naturally, my lady. Do I know the man?" Nasuada pursed her lips.

"After a fashion, yes." Nasuada glanced to the side. "Ah. Here he comes now." Siobhan's all ready pale face was drained of it's last drop of color, noticing who was being borne towards her. Nasuada held up a hand before Siobhan could protest.

"You gave your word, Siobhan. I trust you will keep it." Nasuada stated. Siobhan's shoulders slumped, struggling to keep from shaking. "Murtagh is suffering from a knife to the stomach, bruised ribs and a rather nasty gash in his thigh courtesy of falling off Thorn."

Siobhan's whimpered slightly as Murtagh's unconscious body was carried past her. Nasuada placed a hand on Siobhan's shoulder. "You can do this, Siobhan. I have faith in you." Siobhan did not reply; she could not. Her voice refused to function and her legs had turned to jelly. Her head felt light, like it would suddenly detach itself from her shoulders if she did not keep a hold on it.

"I can't." Siobhan whispered. "I...I...I just c..can't!" Nasuada sighed.

"Siobhan," Nasuada began patiently. Siobhan shook her head violently.

"No, no, no! He...he looks like..." Siobhan could not speak his name.

"He looks like his father, yes. I know that. But, Siobhan, you must." Nasuada replied, a hint of begging in her voice. "Like it or not, the Varden need Murtagh and Thorn. We need every Rider we can get. Murtagh is especially helpful, because he has a working knowledge of the inner working of Galbatorix's court."

Siobhan could only shake her head; words refused to form. "Siobhan, please!" Nasuada was not attempting to hide the fact that she was begging. "For me?" Siobhan's head snapped up at the last part. "Please?" Siobhan closed her eyes. She nodded. A large smile burst out on Nasuada's face.

"J...Just...please...I need a...a moment." Siobhan managed, trying to take deep, calming breaths. Nasuada gently squeezed Siobhan's shoulder before departing. After taking a moment to steady herself, Siobhan entered the tent. The tent that held the son of the man she hated most.

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Murtagh moaned, slipping back into consciousness. He could feel searing pain in his abdomen and right thigh. His head was exploding as well. He moaned again. The gentle hands that had been working over his abdomen stilled. Murtagh opened his eyes groggily.

"Where am I?" Murtagh asked horsely. No response. As Murtagh's eyes became more focused he noticed that the person standing over him was a young woman, roughly his age, with dark brown hair and was staring at him like she had seen a few ghosts. "Who are you?" Murtagh half expected the girl to bolt from the room upon his last question, but she didn't.

The woman paled and staggered back as if slapped. That's when Murtagh noticed the scar that ran along her cheek. It was obviously not new, but it bothered him. Whatever had caused the would have been large. He wondered how a person such as she ever received such a wound.

"Where am I?" Murtagh asked again, his voice stronger this time. The young woman seemed to find her voice.

"T...the V..Varden." The woman stammered out. Murtagh frowned. She was obviously scared out of her wits. Murtagh was used to this, however.

"Thank you. And you are?" The woman shook her head, flatly refusing to answer directly.

"I..I'm a...a h...healer." The woman had her hands clasped behind her back, but Murtagh could tell she was wringing them nervously. This was nothing new. He was used to people being like this around him. It came with the stigma of being a traitor, despite the fact that he had rejoined the Varden after changing his True Name.

"I see. Why won't you tell me your name?" Murtagh replied. Another shake of her head.

"N...not I...important. N...Nasuada... told me to... to help y...you." The woman said. Well, it was progress; she only stuttered out half of the last sentence.

"Why?"

"She o..only trusted m...me." the woman informed. Murtagh sighed. Her stuttering was growing weary.

"I'm not going to bite you, you know." Murtagh stated. The woman's eyes only grew wider and her skin paler. Murtagh sighed again. "What exactly is wrong with me?" The woman seemed to gather some of her wits as she was able to form a coherent phrases.

"Knife wound in your stomach, bruised ribs, gash in your right thigh and various bruises, scratches, and minor lacerations." The woman stated. Murtagh nodded. That's why he ached all over. He was pleasantly surprised when she went on to ask a few questions.

"Do you remember what happened?" Murtagh nodded.

"We were in a skirmish and Thorn moved suddenly when I was dismounting and I fell." The woman said nothing, but Murtagh gathered that he had answered correctly.

"D...do you remember your name?" Murtagh frowned.

"Of course I do!" The woman stiffened.

"What..." the woman took deep breaths. Whatever question she was about to ask was obviously taxing to her. "What was your father's name?" the woman whispered. Murtagh clenched his teeth.

"Morzan." Murtagh spat the name out like poison to his lips. The woman took a small step forward and began to speak in a rushed manner.

"I...I've bandaged your chest and thigh and...an washed all o...of your cuts. I...my n...name is Siobhan. Do not move! I will be... be back shortly!" Siobhan rushed from the room. Murtagh frowned. Did he see tears in her eyes?

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Siobhan took deep breaths. "I don't think I can do this!" Siobhan murmured, wiping tears from her eyes. Murtagh looked too much like his father. She could still see Morzan's cruel eyes. She could sill hear his maniacal laughter, taunting her. She could not do this.

There were too many memories, too much pain. Too much had happened. "I can barely even look at him!" Unbidden, her mothers voice floated through her mind.

Courage, daughter. One day, Father and I will not be here with you. You must have courage. Courage to face whatever trials come your way. Courage to overcome your fears. Courage and hope.

Siobhan glanced behind her at the tent she had just fled. Inside lay the last person she ever wanted to see and the one person she had to. Courage to overcome your fears. Siobhan took a deep breath, squaring her shoulders. She would get through this or she would die trying.