Disclaimer: I do not own the Inheritance Cycle.

This is a story that I started writing a couple of years ago. I had about eight chapters written and ready to be posted, but unfortunately my computer crashed. I was recently able to recover a section of the prologue. And here it is. I hope you enjoy.

It was dawn; the forest was eerily silent except for his uneven footfalls and the sound of his ragged breathing. But he knew they were still tracking him, he could feel the evil aura that radiated from their gnarled, wicked, bodies. He heard the snap of a twig a few feet to his right, a hiss echoed from the left; he knew they were close now. Eragon urged his tired legs to move faster and faster, until he was gasping for air, pushing his battered body to the limits, and using what little energy he had left. But no matter how hard he ran they were still close behind.

Normally,when he had all his energy, he could have easily out run or slain this enemy. They would have been no match for his elven strength and speed. But he hadn't eaten or slept for several days, and had burned a lot of his energy when they had ambushed him back in Dras-Leona. The wounds he had received, superficial though they were, served only to slow him even more. But he didn't dare to use his magic to heal himself, not when a nearby enemy sorcerer might sense it.

And they had hunted him relentlessly since he escaped from the soldiers in Uru'baen and Dras-Leona, he had had no time to recover. The sorcerers and soldiers combed the forest constantly, causing his return to Belatona to take several extra days. He knew that he would run completely out of energy soon. He had to make a stand against the Ra'zac, and hopefully slow them enough to give him time to make it to the next city, Belatona. Arya and his elven guards awaited him there.

If he could make it to Belatona, he would be safe, and he could deliver the object of his mission to the Varden. Then he would be reunited with Saphira, and together they would kill the only remaining Ra'zac. Just ahead he spotted a small clearing. It would be just the right size for him to turn quickly and perform a counter attack, hopefully crippling his pursuers. He pushed himself even harder, he had to get there before the Ra'zac so he would have time to execute his plan.

Seconds later, with the Ra'zac close behind, he burst through the trees and into the clearing. Quickly he spun around, sword in hand, only to find that he was alone. The enemy had vanished.

Thanks for reading. I hope to have a full chapter up within the month. All criticism and advice welcome!