Sooo…. About this story…

I know I haven't updated it in months. And you guys think I have lost all interest in it. I hate to say it, but you're right. Between college and work, I have absolutely neither time nor inspiration to continue this. However, due to a very awesome person (Murtagalicious, that's you), I have decided to revive my interest and pop out this out. I'm sorry that it wasn't done in time for Christmas, but I did beat Valentine's, eh? Haha.

I'm sorry to all those who were interested in this story. And I want to thank everyone for getting this story to where it is now! You guys are amazing.

So, now that Lenia has died, the POV will switch to Murtagh. Just so you guys know!

Chapter Thirty-Seven:

The Final Battle – Part Two

Two seconds.

I was two seconds too late to save Lenia.

I knew without touching her that my Lenia had died, but that didn't stop me from dropping to my knees to seek for a pulse on her neck. It didn't matter that there was no gentle hum of her emotions in the back of my mind, or that no breath escaped her lips when I rolled her over. My mind couldn't comprehend that Lenia was dead. She had made it this far, so why shouldn't she make it through the final battle?

No amount of time could have prepared me for the feeling of being completely and utterly alone.

I pulled her head onto my lap and smoothed a piece of her hair back. "Please," I begged. "You can't leave me here alone." My vision became blurry and even as I held her, Lenia reverted back to her human form. Starting from the roots, brown hair covered her head and her silver dress became the simple tunic and leggings she had worn before seeking the other Keepers. I pulled her limp body towards me and whispered in her hair, "Please wake up, Lenia." One tear slid down my face. "I need you. Your children need you. Please."

But no amount of begging would return her to life.

I looked up at Galbatorix when he stood over me, chuckling. "I'm sorry it had to be this way, Murtagh." He motioned to Lenia's body and continued, "Although, I really should thank you because I couldn't have killed Lenia without you. You have done me a great service, O Son of my Friend." He lifted his Rider sword and pointed it at me. "Now I fear it's over for you as well. It's a pity really, as you could have been even greater than your father ever was." Resigned, I closed my eyes and waited as he lifted his sword to deliver the fatal blow.

Only instead, he cried out and I heard the clanking of the sword hitting the stone floor.

I opened my eyes to see Galbatorix cradling his hand with his sword glowing red at his feet. After a few wild profanities, he muttered a spell to heal his hand and turned to glare at the entrance of the throne room, but his face suddenly froze when he realized who it was. Nuria stood there with tears welling up in her eyes and her arm extending to Galbatorix.

"Nuria…?" Galbatorix whispered. There was a vulnerability to his voice I had never heard before.

She nodded her head. "Hello, Galbatorix." There was no malice in her voice, but even I couldn't bear to hear the utter sadness that rang in it. She started to walk towards me, but paused when Galbatorix took a step towards her. In all honesty, I had never seen him look as…sad…as he did right then. In fact, I've never seen him look remotely sad. But as he stared with large eyes at his baby sister, the pain and sorrow etched its way onto his features.

"You've come for them?" he inquired softly as he jerked a thumb in my direction.

Once again, Nuria nodded her head. "They are my family, Galbatorix."

"As am I."

"No," Nuria paused to swallow before resuming, "My brother died over one hundred years ago. He burned to death in my childhood home with my parents." Her eyes were glossy as she stared at him. "You are not part of my family."

If that had hurt him, Galbatorix showed no indication of it. "We share the same blood, do we not? We came from the same womb."

"Just as Lenia shared the same blood as you?" Nuria asked. "No, Galbatorix. You are not my brother, but a traitor and a murderer." One tear slid down her face, followed by another. "You killed my parents and now you have taken my daughter from me. Will you stop at nothing to cause me pain?"

I saw Galbatorix swallow. "You know nothing of pain."

"Because I didn't feel Jarnunvosk die? Because I didn't lose someone who shared my mind and soul?" Nuria took a step closer to me. "You're right, Galbatorix. I never felt any of those things. I didn't feel Jarnunvosk get gutted like a fish, I didn't feel your agony over losing him, and I didn't feel my own world end when I lost you!" Her hands balled into fists at her sides as she stared at him. "No, Galbatorix. I know nothing of pain."

"You dare mock me?"

Nuria let out a forced laugh. "Mock you, Brother? I could never mock you." Her teary eyes looked over at Lenia's dead body. "She was your niece, Galbatorix. She was your flesh and blood. You took her, just like you took mother and father, and yet you can stand there and accuse me of mocking you. Where is your heart?"

"My heart? Are you not proud of me, Sister? For all that I have done?" He lifted his hands up and gestured to the castle around us. "This… I did this, Nuria. I created Alagaësia and would have united them under one banner if it hadn't been for them." He gestured to Lenia and me. "I did this for you, Sister. For us. There will be nothing that can stop us once this war is over."

Nuria's body shook from holding back sobs. "You truly have lost your sanity… Have you forgotten everything Antigone has taught you? Everything the Riders taught you? My daughter is dead because of you. My parents are dead because of you. Countless of lives were lost because of you. This, this is what you wanted me to be proud of? A never-ending river of blood?"

"Their deaths were necessary!"

Nuria bowed her head and inhaled deeply. "Just as yours will be." She closed the distance between us and kneeled beside her daughter's body. "Forgive me, Galbatorix, but you leave me no choice anymore." She slowly lifted her hand and twirled her pointer finger around in a circle. I watched in amazement as a ring of fire appeared around Galbatorix and rose up ten feet into the air. It swirled around him and we could hear his shouts to stop it, but he couldn't touch Nuria's magic.

She gentled moved a strand of hair out of Lenia's face before saying, "Go wake Eragon now. I can't hold him in that for very long." She grunted in pain and lifted her left hand to show a nasty burn. "He's using the curse to his advantage."

I looked down at Lenia's pale face and held her tighter in my arms. I couldn't move even if I wanted to.

"I can't…" I whispered. "I can't leave her…"

"She's not here anymore, Murtagh," Nuria responded evenly. "There is nothing more you can do for her. But there is something you can do for Eragon, unless you wish the same fate upon your brother." I looked up at Nuria's sympathetic face. "It's hard Murtagh, but you can't let this cripple you. We need you to stay strong; Lenia would want you to stay strong."

A few more tears slid down my face. "How can I?" I looked down at Lenia and gently caressed her cheekbone. How could I leave the one person who never left me? Even when I was considered evil, she remained faithful to me. Never did she allow the thoughts of others affect her own opinion of me. Even though she was not physically at my side, she was always there. So how could I leave her when she needed me the most?

My thoughts were broken when I felt a sharp sting on my cheek. I looked up at Nuria and saw her leaning towards me, cradling her injured hand, while her other one was poised back to slap me again. I cringed in expectance, but she pushed my shoulder harshly instead.

"Go get Eragon now, Murtagh," she ordered. "Stop this foolishness. Lenia is dead! She isn't going to come back! Jeanette and Tristan already lost their mother. Don't take their father away too."

"How, Nuria?" I begged. "How did you not perish too? How did you keep yourself alive?"

Nuria placed the hilt of Zar'roc into my open hand. "You fight, Murtagh. You fight back." She pulled Lenia from my arms and gently laid her on the ground. If I had been a bystander, she looked as if she was sleeping and that only made my heart heavier. Nuria grabbed my now free arm and yanked me to my feet. "Go wake Eragon." She pushed me away from my wife's body and then cried out. She fell to her knees and I watched as the tips of her burned hand turned black. "Go now! Hurry!"

Somehow I got my legs to move forward and I raced over to where Eragon's limp body had fallen. I skidded to my knees beside him and, after seeing the wall of fire containing Galbatorix start to thin, I grasped his shoulders and shook hard. "Eragon!" I screamed. When I realized that wasn't working, I quickly said a spell that forced adrenaline into his body. Within moments, Eragon's eyes popped open as he cried out and jumped to his feet.

"What'd you do that for?" he demanded. His breath was coming out in pants.

"You wouldn't wake up," I replied with a shrug.

I watched his eyes scan the room and finally single in on Lenia's body across the room. His face fell. "Is she—?"

"She's gone, Eragon," I interjected. I found his sword a few feet away from where he was laying and picked it up. "I was too late."

Eragon reached out to take his sword and just as his fingers touched the hilt, we heard Galbatorix's enraged scream and the fire wall Nuria had created exploded. The heat wave that came off it sent everyone outside the ring to the ground and I groaned when my body crashed into the stone floor. The debris that had fallen flew towards us and even parts of the roof fell. Galbatorix stood in the middle of it all, laughing, as he watched us all rise shakily to our feet.

"Is this the part I'm supposed to fear? Where the great Dragon Riders finally defeat the evil king?" Eragon and I exchanged glances. Galbatorix threw his head back and laughed. "You two couldn't even kill a pesky rodent."

"You should really learn to count, Brother." We all looked at Nuria as she stood proudly beside Lenia's body with the remaining three Keepers beside her. "This ends tonight, Galbatorix."

"For you anyway," Lillian added with a smirk.

Galbatorix laughed in response and picked up his sword with his uninjured hand. "I'm shaking in my boots. Shall we continue this then?"

"Pride comes before the fall," Ira whispered. I watched in amazement as vines forced their way through the stone floor. They slithered their way over to Galbatorix and began to wrap themselves around his legs. He used magic to break their hold on them, but more vines continued to twirl around him. Charlotte raised her arm and twirled her finger, a small smile stretching across her face. Within moments, a soft breeze picked up out of nowhere and became harsh – throwing loose rocks around and whipping everyone's hair and clothes to and fro.

I watched Nuria's face as a tear escaped her eye. "I'm so sorry, big brother. I never wanted it to come to this." She closed her eyes and bowed her head as another ring of fire appeared around Galbatorix. It was smaller and only reached to his chest, but it slowly inched closer to him and with the vines working their way around his body, he couldn't escape.

"Eragon, your sword!" Lillian cried as Galbatorix barked a spell that cleared his body of the vines.

His eyes darted over to where we stood and he shouted, "Malthinae!" as Eragon took a step towards him. I grunted as I felt the toes of my feet go numb. The numbness worked its way up my body and before it could reach my face, I countered the spell with, "Brakka du vanyalí sem huildar Eragon un eka!" Just as the feeling reached my lips, it vanished.

"Lillian, the air!" I ordered. Her face light up as she realized what I was taking about and she moved both of her hands to grab her neck. I heard Galbatorix gag. "Thrysta vindr." His eyes bulged as he tried to inhale air, but nothing came to him.

Just as the thought occurred to me that this might finally be over, Shruikan crashed through the ceiling and collapsed onto Galbatorix's golden throne. It only took a second for the magic to be unfocused for Galbatorix to free himself from the confines of our magic and send everyone to their knees. He paid no heed to the bloody dragon a few yards away from him as he stalked over to where Eragon and I were kneeling. He bent down between us so he was level with us.

"I told you before this ever started that I would never lose," he sneered. His eyes turned to me. "You have managed to kill my magician, Murtagh. Perhaps there is more to you than I thought there was." He looked at Eragon. "You have always been a pain in my side. I will take great pleasure in killing you." He backed away. "In killing you both."

"There's just one problem with your plan, Galbatorix," I grunted as the pressure on my bones intensified.

"And what is that?" he inquired as he picked up his sword that had fallen in the vines.

"It's not just him," Eragon answered for me. "And it's not just me."

Galbatorix laughed. "Who else did you manage to employ in your futile task?"

"The dragons!" we cried. I heard Thorn and Saphira roar mightily as they pummeled through the roof. They landed with an echoing thunder on Shruikan's dead body and roared once more at Galbatorix. Before the tyrant could mutter a spell to protect him, both dragons opened their jaws and blew the scorching fire from their bellies; however, just before the fire reached his body, it bent so it went around him on both sides – keeping him completely safe.

My eyes found Nuria's. "Not this way," she sobbed.

Thorn and Saphira closed their jaws and snarled at Nuria. How could she save him? He had killed everyone she had ever loved!

Galbatorix seemed just as surprised as we were. He turned to face his sister and genuinely smiled. "Has my little sister returned to me?"

"Eragon," I murmured through frozen lips. His eyes went to the corner to see me and I motioned with my own eyes to where my sword was laying a few feet away. I heard him mumble a spell and the sword wobbled, but remained on the ground. "Try again."

This time I said the spell with him and Zar'roc flew off the ground and into Galbatorix's heart through his back. He grunted and looked down in surprise. The spell that confined us to the ground lifted and we all stood. I watched as Galbatorix turned to face us and tried to say a spell, but the only thing that came from his lips was blood. He fell to his knees and grabbed his chest. When he fell onto his side, Nuria let out a sob and raced to his side. She pulled Zar'roc out of him and cradled his head in her lap.

Tears streaked down her face. "Galbatorix! Can you hear me?"

"Help…me…" he gurgled.

Her watery eyes found me and another sob escaped her. She leaned down to press her lips to his forehead and whispered more words to him before placing a shaky hand over his eyes. "I love you, big brother. I'm sorry." She looked at Eragon and we watched as he picked up his fallen sapphire sword before walking over to where she was. He placed the tip at Galbatorix's throat and I watched as he jerked his body in an attempt to get away but Nuria held him still. In one swift move, Eragon thrusted his sword into the king's throat and ended the war that plagued Alagaësia for years.

In one final move, the shackles that bound everyone to the Empire's crest dissipated.

My feet moved mindlessly and I fell to my knees beside Lenia's body. I pulled her to me and felt the empty feeling in my chest intensify. Her skin was cold and her arms dangled limply as I held her to my chest. My eyes welled up with tears as I realized she would never experience Alagaësia finally being free. She would never see how things would turn out with the Varden in charge. She would see nothing.

Because she was dead.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and I looked up to see Ira's eyes softened with compassion. I followed her gaze to Nuria and watched as she gently rocked herself and her brother's body. I watched as Galbatorix's body started to slowly disintegrate in her lap before becoming a pile of ash. She looked up at me as another tear slid down her ashen face.

"What do I do?" I whispered.

A sad smile came to her decaying lips. "Keep them safe," she answered. Before I could ask what that meant her body turned into a pile of ash and crumbled to the floor.

And that's it.

The End.

It's not the best way to end this story, but I couldn't think of another way to end it. Nuria loved her brother, so forgive her actions of trying to save him.

As for the remaining chapter and epilogue I was supposed to write, I'm not sure if that's going to happen. However, I feel it's a bit mean for those of you who still actually like this story for me to completely end it without telling you what happens to everyone, so here's what I'm going to do: I can post a summary of how I was going to end this story, or I can actually write it for you (Keep in mind it'll be awhile haha). I don't think I can manage an epilogue, but if I get enough incentive and inspiration, who knows?

So if you want it to end here, it'll end with this chapter.

If you want a summary, tell me and I'll post it.

If you want an actual chapter, tell me and I'll work on writing it.