Rain pattered against his tent. Even with his Elvin senses, Eragon had trouble hearing anything but the water hitting the cloth material. He was, at once, grateful for the large cabinet like apparatus the dwarves gave him. It saved his clothes and possessions becoming wet when the rain seeped underneath the gaps of the cloth and ground. Unfortunately, the grass was rather bleak where his tent was, and the ground instantly became slushy as the dirt quickly turned to mud.

The murky, thick smell permeated in the air, and soon all he felt was stuffy. It was a price to pay in the hot summer weather when it rained. But he couldn't stand the feeling much longer. Sighing, he reluctantly lifted himself from the cot, laced his boots, and pulled a tunic from the cabinet. Donning it, Eragon left the tent.

Icy shards pelted his skin as soon as he stepped outside. Cold…it was too cold for summer. Then again, the world was not warm or fuzzy at the time either. Even nature was pulled into the war as the entire populations of Alagaesia had. Even the werecats were taking an interest. Solembum and Maud were far more involved than before. Something about the turn of events becoming interesting.

It wouldn't have mattered how long he stood under the water droplets, it would never lessen. Making his way to the highest tree, he deftly climbed to the top and rested his head against the large tree trunk. This forest had none of the serenity of Du Weldonvarden, but it was one solace where the Varden dare not venture for fear of losing their direction. Eragon had no problem with that.

He closed his eyes, thinking of what had transpired…or rather what had not transpired. It seemed only so long ago when Arya had fallen into his arms, seeking comfort, laying her burden on him for once, truly trusting him to take care of her.

And earlier that day…he was back to square one.

"Arya svit-kona? How is this day faring for you?"

She gave him a hard look, not questioning his reasons for asking her, nor ignoring him. It was as if she was deciphering whether she should even acknowledge his presence and whether or not the Varden would think it rude if she did not say anything.

It was a simple question, a simple greeting. Yet is sent her eyes blank.

"I am fine Shadeslayer. You should not think for my welfare. It is none of your concern. If you would release me, I have some pressing matters."

Her curt answer unexpected to say the least, but the surprise did nothing to numb the pain of indifference. Instead of confronting her, Eragon took the less assertive route.

"Very well Arya svit-kona. Good day."

Not even waiting for a reply, the Rider walked away in no particular direction. At that point, he could not even think of a legitimate task to do. He turned around, against his better judgment. But it would not have mattered, the Elvin princess was already long gone.

He meandered about, lost in his own thoughts. It was only after an annoyed Arya popped out of her tent that he realized he had wandered in her direction.

"What is it Shadeslayer? I believe I informed you that I had pressing matters."

Her voice was laced with even more anger, and barely controlled at that.

"Forgive me-" But he was cut off, luckily by Angela.

"Ah, Eragon there you are. I was wondering if you were coming or not."

The Rider glanced at the witch, but did not show any signs of alarm. He was getting better at masking his emotions. He glanced back at Arya. Her eyes were narrowed, but they softened ever so slightly.

"Forgive me Arya svit-kona for disturbing you. I did not mean to."

"It is quite alright. I did not rea-"

But he was already long gone, the anger on her face wrenching his heart in a torturous manner. There was nothing to be done. Perhaps if he started treating her as she him, then his heart would forget its relentless pursuit. Eragon proceeded to Angela's tent where he was entertained with some useless conversation.

The witch never actually explained her reasons for saving him as she did, but then again, Angela was a law onto herself.

The Rider left quickly, back in the direction he came, unfortunately. Feinster was new, and he did not know his way around that well.


A woman's voice, but not Arya's. He looked around for the source before finding it…Trianna.

"What do you want Trianna?"

She swallowed before continuing.

"I realize you and I may have gotten on the wrong foot, but I do wish to get to know you better. Please come by my tent for dinner. It will be a small…private affair. Obviously, this is something we have both wanted for a while…"

The connotations of her words were enough. He no longer desired her or her time, or anything of hers for that matter, including her body.

"I have to decline, I am not interested, nor will I ever be."

He walked away, perhaps if she was sincere, he would have felt bad about a rejection like that. But she was not, and no pangs of guilt came over him. It was then Saphira landed next to him, and they both took off for a long overdue flight.

And now he sat nearly thirty feet up in a tree, shivering as the rain pierced his tunic. This was madness, at least in the tent he was dry and cold. He climbed down the trunk and headed back towards his tent. The rain covered all the sounds around him, thunder rolled the ground beneath him, rendering the Rider absolutely clueless to the dark figure following him in the night.

Without warning, it pounced on him, pressing his face into the mud, a large knife held drawing blood against his throat. An elf, no doubt. But he was stronger too. A quick movement pried the knife away from his bleeding skin and in one smooth movement he caught the elf around the waist and flipped their bodies over. He pinned the attacker's hands down and looked at him…or her, and not just any her. Arya.

He apologized profusely before getting off of her. Debating on whether or not to give her a hand up, he stretched one out anyway. He was pleasantly surprised when she took it.

"Shadeslayer, forgive me. I did not know it was you. I thought it was a spy."

Eragon shrugged his shoulders before moving to leave. The burning on his neck where red liquid flowed shamelessly was nothing compared to the one in the pit of his stomach, but it was the only burning he could do anything about. Pressing a hand against his neck, he bowed slightly and walked away.

A hand stopped him in his tracks. Arya walked in front of him, prying his hand away from the cut, examining the damage. She muttered an apology before moving to heal it. Would this endless charade never cease? Unable to take the unstableness of her affection, Eragon stopped her and healed the wound himself. He never once took his eyes away from hers, but neither did he show any ounce of emotion above nonchalance. Dropping her hand, he moved away once again.

But she was faster, and he was stopped once again.

"Will you walk with me?"

He nodded slowly, not trusting his voice. She led him to a denser part of the forest, a place where the rain could not penetrate through the thickness of foliage. She led him silently deeper and deeper, not once did he question her judgment. Arya turned to him and pointed to a large furry beast on the forest floor.

"I could not heal her, she would not let me. Silent growls told me otherwise. I believe a Rider would have better luck with her predicament."

Eragon shot her a quizzical look before walking over to the creature. It was a large wolf, its leg was broken, blood was oozing from the wound. It had lost a battle with another creature.

"I was walking, and I found her. I thought the attacker was still around, animal or man, and when you jumped from the tree, I believed it to be you."

He shrugged again, another sign of nonchalance. Bending over the animal, Eragon carefully ripped his tunic and tied the wound. He stopped the bleeding, but did not heal it further.

Arya looked at him questioningly.

"If I heal her fully, the animal will believe wounds heal that way, and she will stop caring for herself. Saphira taught me that, the minds of animals. This way, it will heal naturally, and the animal will retain its battle instincts."

She nodded in satisfaction of his explanation. A howl sounded in the night, Eragon shuddered in response.

"Are the wolves still bothering you?"

Her question did not hint at her emotions, but he answered it anyway.

"I believe you know what wolves have bothered me."

He gave her a troubled look before finding his way out of the forest.

"Are you that eager to leave my presence? You have been seeking at exit at every turn."

"Is there anything else you wished of me?" The pit in his stomach was growing, he could stand the gnawing any longer.

"Walk further with me."

Even in his torture, he could not deny her anything. He walked obediently to her side and waited for her to continue walking.

"How are you doing Shadeslayer? The events as of late have been…discerning."

"If their deaths is what you want to discuss, you need not have to be wayward about it. I have Saphira to cope with, and we are doing fine, and we will be better."

She looked away, the rain hiding evidence of tears of her face. Or that's what he assumed.

"Do you miss them?"

"Very much." His voice was barely above a whisper, but her Elvin ears picked his sentence up.

"How are you not crying at their loss?"

"Experience. Garrow, Brom, Ajihad, Hrothgar, Murtagh in a sense…it's quite a list."

"Were you close?"

"Murtagh and I…yes, we were friends. I trusted him the most. He was my companion since my father. A brother even before there was blood between us."

"And now you must kill him."


"Do you not feel like breaking?"

"I feel nothing but pain Arya svit-kona. Pain is easier to deal with, endurance is all that is required. I have no moral qualms with killing him…not anymore at least. I gave him options, he took none."

He glance around his surroundings, they were in an unfamiliar part of the forest, well, he was. Eragon was sure Arya knew exactly where they were, and more importantly, how to get back.

She frowned at this answer, obviously displeased with his reasons. Maybe Arya was under the impression he was still the man of the same moral character as before. Yes, he did trek across Alagaesia to save a man's life because he was not a danger anymore, but it was not that he felt it was the right thing to do, but he knew that it was the right thing to do. Well, more of if he could feel anything, he knew what would have been the right thing to do. The rain had reduced itself into a lighter drizzle on the ground. The river no longer raged underneath the sky's tears.

"What are you looking at?"

Her voice brought him out of his thoughts. He had unimportant things on his mind, things he did not mind if Arya knew about.

"I was simply observing the drizzle."

"But you were contemplating something…"

Eragon frowned at her, "What do you mean Arya?"

"Your exact words, what were you thinking?"

He moved the question her again, but the intensity in his eyes told him this was important to her, and by default, important to him.

"I was thinking that the river no longer raged underneath the sky's tears."

The princess let a hint of a smile show through, "I knew you were a poet."

He gave her a quizzical look, it seemed common in their conversation that he do so. Well, perhaps not so common considering this was the longest he had ever spoken to her since his masters' deaths. That was another unanswered question, why was she even speaking to him? The constant swing of the pendulum mimicked their relationship. Eragon never knew when they were on speaking terms.

She glanced at his face and clarified her statement, "Most people would say that the river no longer raged because of the sky's tears, but you said the river no longer raged underneath the sky's tears. It is an observation versus a cause and effect, and that observation would generally lead to a deeper meaning or significance common in poetry."

He chuckled, "Your reasoning has a flaw in it."

Now it was Arya's turn to look surprised, whether it was because he laughed at her observation or had actually summoned the strength to contradict her, he knew not. What he did know was that she was looking at him with narrowed eyes and a look so intense that he prayed he was not wrong.

"I have not thought of a deeper meaning behind the river no longer raging under the sky's tears."

Her voice turned curt and unemotional once more, "Perhaps."

Her only reply. Maybe their relationship was so fragile that a simple ignorance on her part seemed to belittle her in front of him. Of course, no action of Arya's could ever belittle her in his eyes, but he could never tell her that or he truly might find himself on the permanently cold side of a broken pendulum.

"If that is the case, then think of one."

She was baffling to him. There was no observation he could make of her without it being completely slashed in the next second. Why was she pressing this matter further than necessary? But she did make a request, so he thought, long…hard, and finally came up with a suitable answer.

"The connotation of the sky and the river as actual entities with feeling gives the sense of the a relationship. The river's rage and the sky's tears are somehow interlocked. So metaphorically, we can assume that the sky's tears becoming lighter signifies a closer bond, or at least a relationship moving in the positive direction. As the sky's tears are lessened, so is the river's rage. And both entities are both benefitted by such an occurrence. The relationship is still rocky, but it very well maybe a road to a long and beautiful relationship."

"So your tears have lessened and so has my rage."

He stopped abruptly, looking at her in horror at her words.

"I am sorry Arya svit-kona, I never meant it that sense. It was a simple observation and for the sake of time I came up with the most reasonable explanation, nothing more than that."

Eragon looked to the ground, he really had screwed things up, and he didn't even mean to. Well, it was no surprise what was to happen next. Before she could send him off on his not so merry way, he might as well do it himself.

"Forgive me Arya svit-kona, it seems my words were, once again, out of line. I shall take your leave, please enjoy your walk."

The Rider turned to leave. He wanted an arm to come out and stop him, but none came. It was to be expected and so he kept on walking.

"If you keep taking every possible turn to leave me in the middle of the forest, I might actually believe your sullen face is an act, you are happy, and you truly do want to leave me here."

There was a slight laughter in her voice, but her face held no emotion. Reluctantly turning, he stood his ground not fifteen feet from where he was previously standing.

"What would you have me do?"

It was an honest question. He didn't know where he stood with her, and he was tiring of it quickly.

"What are you speaking about Eragon?"

The Rider glanced angrily at the skies, a flash of lightning illuminating his raged eyes.

"What do you want from me? Yesterday, I was a stranger to you, someone with no right to even speak to you. Today, I am your companion on a needless journey through the forest. Will I be a friend tomorrow too? Or will I be some man you met some year ago and never really bothered to find out his name? At least tell me so I can be prepared for I am tired of these charades."

Her expression never changed, then again, it rarely ever did. Eragon shook his head lightly, "Goodnight Arya svit-kona, may the stars watch over you on this stormy night."

Turning to leave, the half elf, half man felt the twigs crunch under his boots.

"I'm sorry…" Arya waited until he faced her once again. "I have not been myself lately. I am sorry for that, I thought I would try and make amends tonight, but I should have known some occurrences are irreversible."

She finally dropped her gaze, seemingly finding anything but his eyes of the utmost importance. His boots crunched the leaves as he walked back over to her.

"This occurrence is not one of them. Let us continue."

He held a hand out in some arbitrary direction. The Elvin princess met his gaze once more, a smile in her face, before leading him onward into the thickest of the forest. They were rocky at best. The tension between them, the pangs of his heart were essentially becoming nearly unbearable. It seemed as if the air physically thickened around him, and he was finding it very hard to breathe.

"Shadeslayer, I noticed you have another scar on your neck. I believed all the scars to have been removed from your body during the…transformation if you will."

He swallowed, mustering the courage to trust his voice once more.

"They were, this is a recent scar. I did not think to heal it, I was preoccupied."

Her eyes narrowed, "You are not a child to not think of your own welfare first. In what circumstances did you deem such ignorance necessary."

Her voice was laced with anger and annoyance once again. Could he not go a few minutes without her anger? Or was this fated to be so? Curse fate and its occurrences.

"Varaug had me by the throat as well. I was lapsing between Glaedr-elda's experiences and quailing under Varaug's constriction of my throat. That was when I was cut by his spells. They mimicked a knife being pressed into my throat, unfortunately the injuries were on par with the feeling. However I stopped him before he could do any significant damage and attacked him mentally. You were losing blood, and I had some strength left, so I healed you. This wound eventually stopped bleeding and healed on its own. I was busy with healing the others to think about it much. The pain went away, it was a minor injury."

"Forgive me, I did not know."

He smiled a bit, his cheeky remark no doubt getting him into trouble.

"No, I will not. If you did not know, then how can you be forgiven. Usually you need to be sorry for something to be forgiven, and if you did not know, then you are not sorry, then you cannot be forgiven. So no, I will not forgive you."

A hint of a smile played at her lips, but she responded with little else.

"What did Angela want?"

He furrowed his eyebrows, "Nothing too important. Just talking about Elva and her progress as a healer's apprentice. Solembum's recent activities, and a few other problems some of the Varden are having."

"And Trianna?"

Eragon was surprised her voice went quiet. But a quiet before the storm or a weak quiet he did not know. Again, her tone was masked.

"She wanted another chance with me. A relationship."

"And did you accept?"

"No, I do not feel anything for her and she feels nothing beyond loving the power I behold."

"Was there no other reason?"

"There was another."

Arya turned to look at him, her gaze fully on him, her eyes never shirking from his.

"What is it?"

"Saphira already disapproved of her. And whoever I chose to fall in love with, Saphira must also accept. Trianna was not accepted by Saphira or I for that matter."

The princess turned her gaze away and kept walking. The Rider swore he saw a hint of disappointment, but it was stormy, and storms threw off even Elvin senses. If he knew Arya at all, and for the sake of argument, he did…then the princess brought him here to talk about something fairly important. The density of the forest proved to be a great cover for personal topics, but then again, elves truly loved their privacy…personal or not.

The princess looked the skies, or rather the dense canopy the trees provided. She quickly jumped up and grabbed on a branch before swinging from branch to branch to her desired position. The Rider saw her look down at him, but Eragon already had quickly followed behind her too his seat on the branch beside her.


"What is Arya svit-kona?"

Her voice remained balanced, "Agile as elves are, most cannot do as you and I have just done. It took years of practice to achieve the feat of climbing a tree with jumping. And you have achieved this in simple months."

Eragon shrugged, there were easy explanations.

"I was always agile as a human, the transformation most likely enhanced those abilities as well. Nothing of my doing."

Arya looked to skies as they flashed brightly once again, "What were you like? As a human I mean."

"Simple, looked forward to the little pleasures in life, I suppose adventurous. I hunted in the Spine when everyone else did not. I was trusting, still am…naïve, many would say I was naïve. And angry…I was very angry."

"Anger did not strike me as a characteristic of yours."

"I was not angry at everything, but rather at a few. Namely the lack of a maternal figure in my life, and the fact that my father had abandoned me. One of which will always remain true and the other that will always remain false. I did not know who I was, and missing an integral part of my identity, my parents, I was a lost and angry child. However, I quickly grew out of that when my responsibilities grew."

"Are you still angry?"

"Nay, rather disappointed."

"Disappointed? Why are you disappointed?"

He smiled at her before continuing.

"It is strange, is it not? Why I would be disappointed. I feel as if there is a lack of options in my life. The outcome of this war will be his death or mine. If I should win, then it is a matter of when I leave Alagaesia. In any case, I will not remain here, nor will I ever come and visit."

She looked at him quizzically. "What are you speaking of? Leaving Alagaesia when the war has ended."

"If it ends."

"No, when it ends. What are you speaking of?"

"Angela prophesized that I shall leave Alagaesia forever and never return. Her predictions always come true."

"I never thought you to be a man who fell so easily to someone else's words."

He chuckled, "Arya svit-kona, if you only knew exactly how true all those other words were, then I believe you would also believe them."

"What were they?

"Angela predicted a war would rage around me, a member of my family would betray me, I would have a long life to live, and…among other things."

He paused in between, hoping she would not catch he was about to say something else.

"And what?"

She had, curse fate. And he would have no choice but to answer.

"And that the woman I would fall in love with would be very beautiful, of noble birth, and I would have an 'epic' romance. Although I am not much for romantic stories, so my interpretation of an epic romance could be highly skewed."

The princess laughed at his statement.

"I believe there is a God. I have finally gotten some emotion besides tears out of you."

"Stop it." Her conviction was half hearted as she playfully punched his arm in retaliation. Her expression quickly sobered and her lips pursed once again.

"And when you found out I was the princess of elves, you believed the prophecy to mean me."

Eragon tensed, this was why he should have never opened his mouth. Lying was not in him, and so he could not.

"No, actually, when I pursued you the prophecy was the last thing on my mind. In fact I had forgotten about it until Murtagh showed up and proved the betrayal from my family to be true. Even then I do not make a point to sit and ponder it. Whatever happens will happen, with or without my effort. And I have better things to do than sit around and mope about a prophecy."

"Then why did you pursue me?"

He looked to the ground, for the first time realizing how high he was from it.

"Arya svit-kona, I do not feel comfortable talking about this."

"I only asked a question to learn the answer. If you do not wish to answer, then so be it."

He could deny her nothing.

"I pursued you because when others showed disdain, you showed me friendship. When others stood in awe, you showed me normalcy. You cared for Eragon, not the Rider, not Argetlam or Shadeslayer. Just Eragon, Son of None." He laughed darkly at that. "You were…still are very beautiful. However I have seen beautiful women with none of the kindness or courage you possess. There were times when your eyes would fill with so much sorrow that I felt it gripping me."

His chocolate brown eyes met her emerald ones, "You asked why did I pursue you? How could I not?"

A final sound of thunder indicated the lessening of the rainstorm. The drizzle reduced to a light mist.

"It is getting late Arya svit-kona. I shall see you in the morning."

Eragon jumped from tree branch to tree branch. Tears threatened to overwhelm him, he had really bungled it up this time. Arya would never even accept the proposal of friendship from him. Why could he not just keep his mouth shut and let her talk? It was better than this…absolute isolation she would no doubt put him in.

He heard light footsteps behind him, the soft crunch of fallen twigs and branches. The sounds were too loud for an elf, and far too loud to be those of his former companion. It was no doubt some Empire assassin. He drew a hunting knife, making a mental note to never forget his sword wherever he went and turned around.

The Elvin princess he ungentlemanly left behind stood before him.

"You never gave me a chance to reply."

Her words were a statement, a fact, as if she did not look for an answer. But her eyes stated otherwise.

"What is there left to say? You do not feel as I feel for you, and I have once again placed our friendship in jeopardy because of my words."

She shook her head, "If you remember correctly, it was I who sought the answer, simply to learn the answer."

"What do you wish of me Arya svit-kona?"

"Listen to me and do not speak. It would make this more difficult than it already is."

He silently nodded and kept his mouth shut.

"Twenty years ago, I took a mate. Faolin. He was my companion in everything. I loved him…very much. I lost him to Durza, this war, and I was devastated. I placed myself in my shell, refusing to life again. And then you came, you saved me, you…healed me. And I felt the pangs of something strangely familiar, and I became angry with myself. Angry that I could heal so quickly from the death of my mate…angry that you could heal me so quickly from the death of my mate. It was then I talked with my mother after years of separation. It was then I learned that Faolin had never truly loved me, but rather loved the idea of becoming King one day. With those notions in mind, he tricked me, he believed he loved me because of the opportunities I would have given him. His friends in Ellesmera told me this. They believed that I should know the truth behind him. I felt betrayed, and I hated him for it. I hated everything in general, especially you. I hated how easily I could believe the words of someone else regarding my mate of twenty years, and I hated even more how I believed your words when I had meet you less than a year ago. I trusted him and even after I felt as if I could not trust anyone else, I found it difficult not to trust you. And then you told me you loved me, and for a second I believed that it was possible. But the reality of situation dawned on me. Faolin was lured by power, his own friends turned against him for the sake of some reward or honor for their information. Elves are not what they seem. Inside their words lies the ability to mask their intention, mask the desires of riches and power. Elves are like humans, they have the same weaknesses. Only elves are better at hiding them. And unlike humans who discover the meaning of life and what is truly important because of their short time on this land, elves have immortal lives, and they will forever be ignorant of what is truly important."

Arya looked away, as if she was ashamed of her naivety. The Rider walked up to her, laying a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"I am truly sorry for what you have discovered Arya svit-kona. And for the manner in which you have discovered it by. I can only say that you are lucky. He did not deserve you, he never did."

When she made no move to speak, Eragon saw the slight shuddering of her body. He frowned, and lifted her chin up with two calloused fingers. Silent tears were streaming down her face, her emerald eyes were searching for something other than his own eyes to rest on.

"I was gullible, years of experience did nothing for me."

"Arya svit-kona," Eragon waited until she truly looked at him, "it was not that you were gullible, you had no reason not to trust him, and so you did not. You were loving and caring and that is all that matters."

When she made no move to stop her shuddering, the Rider took a chance. Stepping closer he engulfed her body with strong arms, embracing her sorrow as his own. Stroking her long raven black tresses, he soothed her breaking heart. The princess stiffened slightly with the contact, but her resolve was quickly crumbling. Finally, Eragon felt Arya lean against his body, her hands went around his broad chest and wrapped around his waist as if she would never let go. He was in physical pain from the force she was gripping him with, but the princess never heard a word of complaint from him.

They remained locked in embraces until the Elvin princess's shudders were caused by the occasional droplets from the canopy above and the only moisture on her face was the condensation from the thick humid air against her colder face instead of tears. It was only after ensuring no remnants of distress were left did Eragon step away from the embrace.

"Are you alright Arya svit-kona?"

Trying to smoothly disengage, he found he could not. Her hands were still tight around his waist, holding him steady. Eragon shook her slightly, asking again if she was alright.

Her only answer, "Do not leave so soon." She buried her head in the nook of his shoulder. "It has been years since I have felt safe." He looked around the forest. The moon was at its highest, no one would be traveling around this late. Even the guards would be easily persuaded to look the other way. He lifted the princess in his arms, carrying her as she her arms locked around his neck.

The Rider weaved through the trees with relative ease. The animals told him the way out, and they were easily believable. His feet carried him mechanically across the same pathway he took this morning, and went to her tent. He moved inside and gently laid her down on the thick woven cot. He kneeled next to her, unsure of whether she wanted him there or not. Her eyes finally opened.

He was at once transfixed, they seemed to penetrate through him, finding every small secret, finding every dark desire he possessed. They were unrelenting, sending him into a constant restlessness.


Could she see the havoc she wrecked on him? Were his feelings just as obvious to her as they were painful to him? Her name resounded in his head, he couldn't bring himself to say it out loud.

"I forgot to tell you."

"What?" His voice was breathy, his mouth dry. His question barely above a whisper.

"I truly believed that we could never be because of the elves. They would have sacrificed the safety of the land for power. They would have harmed you, and I could not let that happen to you. But it had changed, they fear your power, they fear Saphira. They fear the Rider you have become, and suddenly I am not so apprehensive."

Eragon closed his eyes, not believing what his ears were hearing.

"There was another reason I rejected Trianna. How can I be with her when my heart belongs to someone else? I had no love to give her, I had already given it to someone else."

He felt her long delicate fingers rest on his cheek, lightly caressing his stubble.

"Tell me who."

Eragon shut his eyes, forcing them closed, "You. It has always been you."

The whoosh of air sounded on his ears and moments later, he felt Arya's lips crash against his. Her mouth moved fervently against his, her body was held up by an elbow, her only attempt to sit straight. Eragon pressed against her, his own lips pressuring and nipping against hers. Of course he didn't know what he was doing, any coherent thought was sent out of his mind as soon as her lips touched his. And before he could protest, she pulled away.

"I love you Eragon."

Her words in the Ancient Language seemed to be a dream, but he prayed to Fate it was not.

"I love you Arya svit-kona. And I promise to never betray your trust."

She smiled, a true, beautiful smile and pulled him closer against her. Whispering on lips lips, she muttered, "I know you won't." And delved deeper into their kiss.