Please drop me a line about the story, good or bad, I need to know. Ah, and there's no possible way for me to reproduce the accents used in the book. I've tried, but on my PC it isn't happening. This was born out of the ashes of Arya's Secret, Eragon's Love. It takes place directly after Murtagh's capture at the end of Eragon.

Murtagh was dragged through the corridors of Galbatorix's palace from his cell by two guards. Apparently, Galbatorix wished to speak with him. Eventually they were facing two enormous doors that suited the palace of Galbatorix perfectly. If it were possible for doors to be evil, then these particular doors would be the top of the list; 'One Hundred Most Evil Doors in Alagaesia.'

One guard removed his arm from Murtagh, and he slumped to one side. The guard didn't seem to notice, but his partner did. He had to take Murtagh's full weight.

The doors began to creak open slowly. Obviously they weren't used very often. The guard once more took hold of Murtagh -weak because of the rigours of his journey. No one had told the Twins not to harm the prisoner- and the two hauled him into the throne room of the king.

All three shuddered involuntarily. The room was cavernous. It was a long room though it wasn't very wide. There wasn't much light despite it being mid-morning- this was due to the near complete lack of windows.

A black carpet stretched up the centre of the room, between the pillars that supported the roof. The three men couldn't see what was at the end of the room, and they all shared the desire to not do so. However, none of them had a choice.

The guards started independently of each other, so Murtagh experienced the unpleasant sensation of having one arm tugged hard on one side, and resistance from the other. In a few seconds they managed to get in synch, and they proceeded up the carpet at an extremely slow pace.

The king was seated on a throne carved out of black stone and was slumped in it. He stirred as the guards approached with their prisoner, and they gave an involuntary start as they beheld him.

His skin was stretched far too tight over his skull; his eyes were deep in their sockets. His skin had an unnatural pallor that one usually associated with illness. And yet, Galbatorix gave off the sense of extraordinary power. He was the Conqueror.

He sat up properly and focussed on the prisoner in front of him, and then opened his mouth to speak. Murtagh fully expected a raspy, whisper of a voice but his appearance deceived him once again. "Murtagh, you've…disappointed me." His voice was strong and rich, and throbbed with a powerful passion. Murtagh remembered why he'd been fooled before.

"Now is the time to repent of your crimes, son of my most loyal servant, and take your rightful place." He gestured vaguely to the right, and his dark eyes rested on Murtagh, clearly expecting a response.

Murtagh lifted his chin, and summoned all his courage. Then, he looked Galbatorix straight in the eye and shook his head, unable to force himself to utter a syllable. Galbatorix's smile that had rested on his face twisted and he murmured, "So be it." Then he flicked his hand, and Murtagh fell to the cold stone floor as indescribable pain swept through him.

There were many phrases, he considered, that existed to describe extreme pain; 'one thousand knives going through me', 'as if hot lead ran through my veins' but none came close to the agony he was in. Even as he thought the word 'agony' a smile graced his lips. Agony was a spectacular understatement.

Suddenly it stopped, leaving Murtagh feeling a very centimetre from death. The pain had been all-consuming. "Take him to the cells."

The guards once outside the room supported him to a greater extent than they had in front of their king, somehow sympathising with him after witnessing the torture. The journey to the cells was quite a long one, and at one point Murtagh's legs failed completely. The guards then carried him for the rest of the journey.

When one of the guards opened the door to the dungeons, it was clear that the prisoners weren't meant to be able to derive enjoyment from the sunlight. The place was, like the throne room, devoid of light.

There was a window in the two largest cells -probably meant for the more privileged prisoners- and it was in one of these that the guards put him in. They laid him on the bed and retreated out of the cell, locking the door behind them. One guard walked away, but the other guard remained, presumably to guard him. He simply lay on the bed for some time, unable to do anything else. But eventually he recovered a degree of strength and was able to devote that to thought.

He wasn't entirely sure how many days had passed since the disastrous episode with the Urgals, Ajihad and the Twins, but he knew that the journey to Uru'baen had taken at least a few weeks.

His thoughts drifted to Eragon and Saphira and he wondered if his friend had forgotten him. The idea upset him so he pushed it far from his mind and allowed himself to slip into sleep.

Three days passed and on each one Galbatorix exacted his terrible, mysterious torture on Murtagh. And each day he repeated his demand that Murtagh join him. Quickly Murtagh grew much, much thinner. His cheekbones became sharp in his thin face, his ribs prominent.

On the fourth day, he seemed to double the strength of the spell, and Murtagh not only collapsed to the floor, he also lost consciousness. He came back after a few minutes, no doubt owing to Galbatorix.

He looked up at the king with his hate for him radiating out of his face. But there was a deep fear there too. He couldn't possibly go on like this. There was no way he could survive if this was to continue, and Murtagh knew that Galbatorix would never stop.

"Where are the Varden, Murtagh?" Galbatorix asked in soft tones, sending a chill through everyone unfortunate enough to be in the room. Murtagh's gaze had fallen to the floor, and he didn't raise it now. He murmured a silent apology to his friend, knowing that if Eragon were ever to meet Galbatorix, he would understand. He couldn't let go of life, not now.

"Farthen Dur, in the Beor Mountains. The Dwarves house them." he said, his voice barely above a whisper. He wasn't capable of producing more.

"Eragon, where is he?" "With the Varden." Murtagh gasped, a dry sob racking his body. "His loyalties lie with them?" "It seems so…"

"He'll learn." Galbatorix muttered to himself, looking directly in front of him. "Now you," he began, directing his gaze at Murtagh who made no effort to hide his repulsion and disgust of Galbatorix. "will now swear to me in the ancient language. It wouldn't do for you to be able to betray me now would it?"

Galbatorix seemed unperturbed at the complete lack of response from Murtagh. With a flick of his hand (and a twisted smile) he dismissed the soldiers. "You'll repeat after me…"

I'm personally a little disatisfied with this chapter. Not sure why. Anyway, things get better from here. This story is actually the manifestation of my frustration at Murtagh's enslavement, and also an exploration of what exactly happened. We only ever saw things from Eragon's side, and he wasn't with Murtagh during that time. So I'm attempting to fill that blank.