I am backkk :) With the sequal to Loss and Gain I might add :D I have finished the second book and I was inspired to write, so I did. And I finished :) I hope you guys enjoy this story like you did the last!
A Keeper's Pain
Three days since the battle had occurred in Farthen Dûr, home of the rebels known as the Varden. Three days since my husband had left with Ajihad, the treacherous Twins, and many dwarfs to hunt the remainder of Urgals that had escaped. I occupied my time with the recovery effort, but with my newborn baby, I was unable to help all the time. At least until Abby, my loyal friend and mother-like figure, had found a way for me to do both. She tied a blanket diagonally across my torso and fit the small baby on my back so it was safe from falling and protected from the smoke-filled air. At first, the baby hated being inside the blanket because she squirmed and wiggled to free her face but after Abby adjusted the blanket so her face was only partly covered, the baby seemed to accept that.
Eragon had recovered enough for him to walk around and try and help, but somehow the scar my father, Durza, had given him gave him horrible pains. Three times he had tried to help, and three times his back troubled him. Arya, an elf and Saphira's carrier, and Angela, a herbalist and a witch, told him that there was nothing wrong with him. But Eragon and I knew they were wrong, he still hurt.
I had taken a break from helping the recovery effort and walked with Eragon and Saphira with my baby on my back. It was strange how the necklace Abby had given her entranced her. She never ate it or put it in her mouth, only stared at it with large, brown eyes. Murtagh's eyes.
"What honor exists in war?" I asked, stepping over yet another body. The battlefield was littered with men, boys, and Kull, which was another race of Urgals. Blood soaked through the soles of our boots with each step we took and the sight of limbs, dismembered heads, and cut open bodies made me want to be sick. What glory could people get from this? A war where their loved ones or friends die. Where is the honor?
"Fighting to protect the ones you love," Eragon answered quietly. He bent down and plucked a molar from the ground, bouncing it on his palm as we walked another circuit of the battle field. We paused when we noticed Jörmundur, Ajihad's second in command, running towards us. When he came near, he bowed and declared, "I'm glad I found you two in time." He clutched a parchment in his hand tighter as he continued, "Ajihad is returning, and he wants you to be there when he arrives. The others are already waiting for him by Tronjheim's west gate. We'll have to hurry to get there in time."
Eragon glanced at me, knowing the growing excitement that I felt, and we dashed off towards the gate with Saphira beside us. We had learned that Ajihad's daughter, Nasuada, had secretly defied her father's orders and fought among the Varden, enraging her father. Although he didn't know, Nasuada did a lot more for the Varden then her father realized, but she kept that secret from his as well.
When we rounded Tronjheim, a small group became visible in the lantern light by the timber gate. I noticed only Orik, a dwarf that befriended Eragon, Abby, and Arya. Eragon and Saphira walked over to Orik but I strayed to where Abby stood. She greeted me with her normal smile and when I asked, she helped shift the blanket the baby stayed in to the front of my body so the baby was rested against my chest. She squealed, wiggling around in the blanket. Abby and I only laughed at her reaction and then stared at the tunnel Ajihad was supposed to come out of.
For half an hour we stood, waiting, for Ajihad to come out of the tunnels. Abby grinned when she heard the thoughts of the men and pointed to the tunnels. I smiled when I saw ten men climb out from the tunnels, then help ten dwarfs out as well. One of them, which Abby told me was Ajihad, raised his hand and the warriors assembled behind him in two straight lines before they continued to march proudly towards us.
I felt my heart beat faster as they moved, each step drawing Murtagh closer to me. I couldn't wait to be in his warm embrace again, to see his face light up with a smile when he held his baby. How I missed him…
Abby snarled with outrage. "Urgals!" she roared, quickly phasing into the dragon I had rode after I had a discussion with Charlotte, the Keeper of air. I climbed onto her back and she took flight with Saphira beside her. They moved quickly, but even with the speed we flew, we had to watch helplessly as the Urgals killed four men before the warriors noticed them. Everyone gathered around Ajihad to protect him and swords and axes clashed as the groups pressed together. A flash of light left one of the Twin's hands, killing an Urgal. For a moment it seemed that we would resist against the attacking Urgals, but then a swirl of mist produced, blocking our vision. When it cleared, only four people remained: Ajihad, the Twins, and Murtagh.
"Abby!" I screamed as the Urgals blocked my view from them. I felt panic, horror, and fear convulse through my veins as I watched helplessly. Before we even landed, the Urgals streamed back into the tunnel, leaving only the dead bodies behind them. Abby landed and I slid off her quickly, scanning the bodies for him. Abby phased back into herself and placed a hand on my shoulder.
Murtagh wasn't here.
I took a step towards the tunnel, with the intention of following the Urgals, but Abby's hand moved from my shoulder to my arm, holding me back. I wheeled around and tried to break free but her grip was strong and unyielding. I struggled and hissed, "Let go, Abby."
"What do you think you would accomplish? You know nothing about the tunnels, you would only get lost. How would that save him?" she asked in a calm voice. I stopped struggling, knowing the truth in her words. I would only get lost and instead of worrying about saving Murtagh, Abby would worry about saving me. She pulled me over to where Ajihad laid, his breastplate displaying numerous gashes, surrounded by five Urgals he had slain. Eragon and Arya kneeled beside him, their heads bowed. Arya whispered words in the ancient language before saying, "Alas, his death will cause a strife. He is right, you must do all you can to avert a struggle for power. I will assist where possible."
I kneeled beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder. He looked at me, then at the bodies surrounding him. His eyes widened when he realized Murtagh was not among the dead and turned back to me. I nodded my head and felt a single tear roll down my cheek.
"This doesn't make any sense," the elf whispered, frowning.
Eragon glanced at me, then asked, "Will you pursue them?"
"Wiol ono." For you. She raced forward, sword flashing in her hand, and disappeared in the tunnels. I turned to Abby, she sighed and raced after Arya, shifting into a wolf to keep up with the elf.
Eragon sat cross-legged beside Ajihad's body and scooted closer, wrapping my arms around his shoulders. It seemed to comfort him a small bit, as it only comforted me a small bit. We looked up when Orik approached with men behind him. When the dwarf saw Ajihad, he stamped his foot and cursed in his language, swinging his ax into the body of an Urgal.
"Ah, now a hornet's nest has broken; we'll have no peace among the Varden after this. Barzûln, but this makes things more complicated. Were you in time to hear his last words?" Orik asked.
Eragon glanced at Saphira before answering, "They must wait for the right person before I repeat them."
Orik grunted. "I see. And where'd be Arya?" Eragon pointed to the tunnels and the dwarf cursed again, shaking his head.
Jörmundur soon arrived with twelve ranks of six warriors each. The warriors paused outside the radius of the bodies as their leader continued alone. He bent and touched Ajihad's shoulder. "How can fate be this cruel, my old friend? I would have been here sooner if not for the size of this cursed mountain, and then you might have been saved. Instead, we are wounded at the height of our triumph." Eragon quickly told him about Arya and Abby and the disappearance of Murtagh and the Twins. I felt a pang in my chest as he said my husband's name.
"They should not have gone," Jörmundur declared as he straightened. "But we can do naught about it now. Guards will be posted here, but it will be at least an hour before dwarf guides can be found for another expedition into the tunnels."
"I'd be willing to lead it," Orik offered.
"No, Hrothgar will need you now; someone else will have to go. I'm sorry, Eragon and Lenia, but everyone important must stay here until Ajihad's successor is chosen. Arya and Abigail will have to fend for themselves… We could not overtake her anyway," Jörmundur declared. Eragon nodded while I only sat there. My husband was in there and the Varden weren't going to do a damn thing about it. The thought enraged me but I took a calming breath, knowing it would be unwise to lose the small control I had left. "Ajihad has died a warrior's death! Look, he slew five Urgals where a lesser man might have been overwhelmed by one. We will give him every honor and hope his spirits pleases the gods. Bear him and our companions back to Tronjheim on your shields…and do not be ashamed to let your tears be seen, for this is a day of sorrow that all will remember. May we soon have the privilege of sheathing our blades in the monsters who have slain our leader!"
The warriors knelt, baring their heads in homage, then stood with their leader on their shields. Many of the Varden already had tears crawling down their faces and into their beards, but never once did any of them disgrace their duty and allow Ajihad to fall. Eragon and Saphira began to follow them back to Tronjheim but my legs refused to move. I stared at the mouth of the tunnel, hoping to see Abby and Murtagh, but none came. I looked down at my baby when she let out a small cry and held my hand to her, careful not to let any tears fall on her.
"Daddy will come back," I whispered to her. "We'll see him again." I looked back when Eragon called my name and followed him towards Tronjheim after glancing once more at the dark tunnel.
It was late evening when Abby and Arya emerged from the tunnel. They found us in the room Eragon and Saphira were staying in, a large, dark room with a low ceiling. They walked slowly into the room, Abby more reluctant, and Arya handed Eragon one of the Twin's purple robes; it was torn and bloody. My breath quickened when Abby handed me Murtagh's tunic and his leather gauntlets and I held them in my shaking hands, far beyond the pain of tears.
"We found these," Arya explained. "They were strewn along the edge of a black chasm, the bottom of which no tunnel reaches. The Urgals must have stolen their armor and weapons and thrown the bodies into the pit. I scryed both Murtagh and the Twins, and saw naught but the shadows of the abyss." She paused, glancing at the two of us. "I'm sorry, they are gone."
Her words shattered my heart. I felt like someone had taken a hammer and brought it down upon my beating heart. I felt numb, as if I was frozen. Every fiber in my being screamed in agony, but I shed no tears. I was far beyond that pain. So far beyond. He left me. He died and left me all alone. How could he? How could he do that to me? Didn't he love me?
"Lenia," Eragon called. I shifted my clouded eyes to him and he motioned to the shirt that was in my hands. I looked down and noticed the shirt had turned to ice, along with many things in the room. Abby took a step towards me as the ice shirt slipped from my hands, shattering against the ground. It was then everyone covered their eyes, gasping.
I heard thunder crack from above and soon I was no longer in the room but outside above the mountain. Rain had already begun to pour, hitting everything with an angry force. They fell down like needles, piercing anything and everything they touched. Lightening lit the black sky, striking the ground below and starting a fire. Though the rain quickly put out the flames before they got dangerous. The wind blew everything over, even large trees. I could distinctly hear a tornado being formed but when I looked, I saw the spiraling object move around the base of Farthen Dûr, sucking up everything it could touch.
Eragon stared at the space where Lenia had been. Bolts of lightening appeared out of no where and struck down where she stood, making her disappear. Abby growled and threw Murtagh's gauntlets to the floor as Arya only stared into the distance. The red head turned to the elf, her features etched in fury.
"Have you no respect?" she growled. She turned to Eragon, her eyes blood-shot, and barked, "Follow me, Shur'tugal. We have much mending to do in a small amount of time." She stormed out of the room, Eragon and Saphira following her closely, until she reached the battle field where dead soldiers laid. She stopped and took a deep breath to calm herself before turning to Eragon and saying, "You are her only reason, Eragon. Her mind is blocked and her emotions are beyond what any normal human can control. I want you to talk to her and calm her down. She will not listen to me but you, perhaps there is a chance. I can fly you up there, for it is far too dangerous for Saphira." She paused as the sapphire dragon growled, letting lose smoke from her nostril. "Saphira, you are of more importance than me and all would perish if this would happen to end badly."
"What can I tell her that you can't?" Eragon asked.
"Eragon, you know her pain more than I. You can relate to her because of the loss you have experienced. Think of Brom, of Garrow, of Marian. Relate to her through that," Abby explained. "But please, we must hurry. The longer she remains like this, the harder it will be to get her under control again." Eragon nodded his head and Abby morphed into the dragon she had been earlier that day and Eragon scrambled onto her back. "Keep in contact with Saphira, Eragon. Just in case you fall and I can't reach you, she can." With those words, she took off at an alarming pace. Eragon quickly grabbed onto her neck with strong arms to keep himself from falling off.
"Be prepared for much more than my speed, Eragon. Hang on as tight as you can," Abby warned as she reached the peak of the mountain. Eragon's grip tightened when they entered into the raging storm. Rain pelted him like a rain of needles and the wind nearly made him fall off Abby's back. The red head quickly dodged a bolt of lightening as it shot down and weaved her way over to the glowing figure standing on a dark cloud. She stopped when they reached Lenia and commanded, "Now Eragon!"
Eragon struggled to find words. "Lenia! I know you're in pain. I have once felt it too. But it's nothing one can't get over. You have so many people to help you through this. You're not alone!" He waited a few moments but the enraged Keeper made no move to release her spell on the weather.
"Try harder, Eragon. You can do this."
The blonde Rider struggled for more powerful words. "Losing Murtagh…is a shattering pain only you know the extent of, Lenia. But I have felt the same shattering pain. I lost someone close to me as well. I lost Brom. I lost Garrow. I lost Marian. I know the pain you feel. You feel like your whole world has turned upside down and that you feel so shattered, death seems the only way out. I made it out, Lenia, and so can you. Your daughter already lost one parent, don't take her mother away too. Don't take the last thing she has away from her." The cloud Lenia stood on slowly turned so she faced Abby and Eragon. The glow seemed to dim enough so the two were able to look at her without shielding their eyes. Then, ever so slowly, she began to float downwards back into the mountain as the weather cleared. The rain and wind slowed, the tornado disappeared, and the clouds disappeared so the sun was able to shine once more.
"Well done, Eragon," Abby whispered as she followed Lenia back into the mountain. When they touched ground, Abby changed back into herself and the two stared up as Lenia lowered herself to the ground on a cloud. When she touched ground however, she fell to her knees as a choked sob escaped her lips. Abby pushed Eragon forward, motioning for him to do something. The boy glanced back at her then kneeled beside Lenia, placing a hand on her shoulder. Her body shook from the sobs that escaped her, her tears falling to the dirt below them. Eragon slowly wrapped his arms around her, lending her his comfort. She moved so she was able to cling onto him and continued to cry, her tears mixing with his soaked shirt.
"We can make it through this, Lenia. You still have me. You still have your brother," Eragon whispered to her. Her sob was his only answer. He gently brushed her soaked hair with one hand while whispering comforting words to her. He looked up when he heard murmurs coming from many different people, realizing they had drawn a crowd. Abby motioned for him to follow as she and Saphira turned in the direction of the quarters he was staying in. Eragon slowly stood up, aware of the arms that clung to him, and walked with Lenia back to where he stayed. He directed the weeping girl over to the bed and laid down with her, like they had done when they were kids. She clung to him and cried into his chest as his arms wrapped around her in comfort. Abby came up behind her and kneeled beside the bed, brushing the girl's hair. Tears of her own had gathered in her eyes but the woman was careful not to let any fall.
"Let her stay here tonight," Abby whispered. "She needs you."
"I wasn't going to let her to leave anyway," Eragon murmured back. Abby nodded, a smile crossing her face.
"I just hope what is to come you can sooth as well," Abby said in a small voice, almost as if to herself. "I'll bring the baby tomorrow morning. It may help." Eragon nodded once and Abby leaned over, kissed Lenia on the head gently, and left the room, closing the door behind her.
The next morning Eragon woke before Lenia. Her tears had dried sometime during the night as she slept and Eragon soon fell asleep after. Her grip on his shirt had loosened so he was able to remove himself from the bed without waking her. He walked over to Saphira and placed a hand on her shoulder, waking the dragon from her slumber. The two exchanged a few silent words before Abby came into the room with Lenia's daughter in her arms. The baby was awake and made a noise that Abby quickly quieted.
"When did she go to sleep?" Abby asked in a small whisper when she had reached Eragon.
"Sometime in the early morning," Eragon answered. He glanced at the baby and smiled, receiving a smile from the child back. "What did you mean by what you said last night? What will happen in the future that she'll need to be soothed again?"
Abby shook her head. "Endings work in mysterious ways, Eragon. Some last longer than others, and some die before others. I know naught what it to come, but I only worry for her. Losing Murtagh…is really killing her. The pain she feels you cannot imagine. If something were to happen to me or you, or even her daughter, there is no guarantee she will survive that."
"What are you trying to get at, Abby?" Eragon asked.
"Nothing in particular. Just be ready for what fate brings us, Eragon," Abby answered slowly. She stared down at the baby and smiled. "She is so cute."
"Aye, she is. Did they ever decide what to name her?"
"Lenia wants to name her Ella but I'm not-" Abby started but she was cut off by Lenia's scratchy voice.
"Jeanette. Her name is Jeanette."
So now you know the name of Lenia and Murtagh's baby :) Jeanette. Anywho, I hope you guys enjoyed the first chappie!
Please review :)