The next day, I packed everything up and moved on. I didn't feel we were deep enough in the forest to go unnoticed for very long, so we walked towards the sea. I knew for sure we were somewhere in between Kausta and Belatona, so to stay out of sight we walked through a deep valley full of drop offs and terrain so rough I had to go around deadly falls in some places. By the end of the day we hadn't even made it to the bottom. I found an area of rock that jutted out into open air, but it was sturdy. I made a small fire and a bed big enough for my dragon and me out of pine needles and moss before I finally went hunting.
"Stay here." I said in a slow voice. Dragons, of course, were brilliant creatures, but I was still afraid he would follow me and get hurt, being as young as he was. He was only a day old. I studied his face for a full three minutes, and if I didn't know better, I would say he rolled his eyes. He turned and lay down on the makeshift bed, instantly asleep.
I sighed and walked into the woods reluctantly with my bow. I found a small herd of deer not far off and killed a medium sized buck. I walked back to my rock and was relieved to see my dragon hadn't left. When he saw me he walked to where I was standing and laid down, ready for his meal. I took one of my throwing knives and skinned the deer with quick, deft moves product of experience. I cut the tenderloin into smaller strips and gave them to my dragon. I cut some meat off for myself and put it on a flat rock in the fire. While that cooked I cut off a few more pounds of meat and sliced it thin to smoke later. Jerky was a good thing to have in the woods. I laid the remains on a rock for my dragon later. I wiped my blade and put it back in my bodice when I was done.
When my meat was cooked I ate it quick while it was hot and had a chunk of bread. I took a drink of water and sat cross-legged by the fire. My dragon was eating his last piece of meat, and when he was done he walked over to me and curled up in my lap. I put my arms around him ad scratched under his chin.
He was practically purring when I stopped. He gave me a dirty look and tucked his head under my arm.
"I need to name you." I said to no one.
My thoughts made him pick his head back up and stare at me, even though I didn't think he understood me yet. I eyed him back and voiced some names off the top of my head.
"Vrael? No. Too simple. You need a noble name, but not any King's name, or a past rider or dragon. Something original. I don't want you to have a name of the ancient language, I have a feeling that could be dangerous…Maybe Fang? Or does that sound ridiculous?" I cracked my knuckles and smiled.
"Eragon's dragon Sahpira goes by many names. Bright Scales. Skulblaka. Firetongue." I patted his side.
"Maybe when you're older a name will be easier to find." I said at last. I stood up and went to my bed. After I put my sword within reach I got under my blankets and pulled my dragon to the warmth of my stomach.
That night I had a fitful sleep full of nightmares.
I was standing in an open field covered in bodies. My armor was dripping red blood onto the dirt around me, making a gory, crimson patch of mud. For some reason I bent down and used the mud for macabre war paint. I felt like it empowered me, as soon as it was on my cheeks I felt energy surge through me. I felt, rather than saw, my dragon sidle up behind me. He was big enough to ride now, and he had a small saddle of deer hide on his back. It was only big enough for one rider, and it looked like it was made for speed rather than comfort. I put my hand on his thigh—it was the only part of him I could reach easily.
I felt his presence in my head, and he was bloodthirsty. Something was wrong…
Someone covered in blood, not unlike myself, approached us from the sea of bodies. Rage ignited in my belly and fire burst forth from my dragon, so hot I felt like my eyelashes were being singed. The next thing I saw was my dragon striking forward like a snake, covered in fire. The center of the blaze was deep emerald, which faded to yellow and then red. He grabbed the soldier in his maw and threw the lifeless body to the side quickly.
More and more soldiers splurged forward relentlessly. My dragon and I threw ourselves into the fight with deadly grace, dispatching more and more soldiers as the fire grew larger until it covered me also. I didn't burn in the inferno; no. I thrived. Nothing could stop us.
Another dragon joined us, along with its rider. He was a muscled young elf with a sword that burned like the fire of my dragon.
We were winning until yet another dragon appeared: this one familiar. Murtagh burst forward through a throng of soldiers and Thorn was snarling at me. I stopped fighting and froze, unable to move.
I couldn't hurt Murtagh.
Someone yelled my name, but the fire began to burn me. Something seemed to cover my body and harden like a rock. I was burning in my mind; the massive presence of my dragon filling me completely. His power ripped through me like a wild fire and his thoughts burned through everything in its path. He wished me to move, and it was done.
He overwhelmed everything in me and soon he was me, and I was him. And I knew.
I sat up in a cold sweat to find my dragon staring at me, practically smiling.
"You are Blaise." I whispered.
A knowing look spread across his scaled face and I felt an unmistakable sense of rightness. In my mind I heard three words.
I am Blaise.