Chapter XXVI

My Struggle for Life

Swirling darkness surrounded me, the pain was escalating by every second. I was soon on my knees, solid ground below me, by now the pain was exceeding everything I knew. I was at a breaking point, the curse was killing me slower than any other way of killing, yet that was probably what Arilia wanted. My elven strength could only keep me alive for so long, after that I would be dead.

I fought the inevitable for as long as my body would allow. Soon I would be pushing my limit, and I could do nothing, there was no going back, my body's natural instincts were killing me faster. I struggled on and on, until I was on my back barely breathing. I wanted help, I wanted someone to save me, to take the pain and let me die. Then, the pain was somewhat gone. It was still hurting me bad, making it hard to breathe, but it was mostly gone.

I slowly got up, getting on my feet. I went to fall, but was caught.

What happened now, came a familiar annoyed voice.

Brom?

Yes, Amber, what did you do now?

Don't say it like that, I did kill the Shade.

You killed the Shade!

Yes, however, her curse was like committing suicide. It was a recoil effect.

How long ago did you do it?

Around thirty minutes ago.

That's how long you have been fighting?

I guess so.

You are my daughter, you're a fighter.

I smiled.

I only did it because my dragon risked her life to help and save me. Now, I have let her down.

Amber, dying is not your fault, it can't be helped. You fought until you could fight no more, and you still are.

If I'm not gone, then she is, and if I am gone we both are.

Amber, you are still alive.

How do you know that?

Because you are seeing me. If you see your mother...well...

There was silence.

All I know is Ellestygia was trying to get me to the Varden's healers, then she flew too high. We couldn't breathe and she was hurt, bad, and her strength was failing, then she crashed.

Do you know why I left you in Ellesméra? came his sudden question.

No.

I left you there because you had strength like the elves, you are loyal and brave.

If I could have I would have been blushing.

Now I know where I got kindness from.

You got that from your mother, I admit.

We talked on and I told him about the battle, or things I remembered. When I stopped there was a sudden pressure against my chest. Not in a harsh way, but still hard.

Ow. What was that! I said alarmed.

They're trying to revive you.

But I thought you said I wasn't dead?

I did, but they don't know that.

Why, don't they have some way, my breathing, my pulse?

Maybe those are too weak in you now to make that defiance between life and death.

That could be true.

We started to talk on until he gave me the hardest question of all.

Do you love me as a father, even if I kept secrets from you?

Love you? Of coarse I love you! But I have a question to ask you in return. Do you blame me for your death?

I could never blame you for that, it was the Shade and the fact I couldn't get Zar'roc out to block the spear, not you.

You weren't all to blame for your own death, Eragon should have listened to you. He can be like that, but I'm not saying I blame him.

I then confessed about the hours leading up to his death. I felt better afterwords, but then I felt like I had been shocked.

Ow! I yelped, What now!

They are still trying to revive you.

UGH, REALLY! In the name of Alagaësia!

You don't want to go back.

Yes and no, not yet anyway, I can only see you this way, and I like it too much, but I know that is very selfish of me.

I'm glad that you like my company, but your brother and friends want to have you back.

Brom had told me that I would have to wait anyway, until they got me back or until my body returned to normal. We talked on about things, occasionally interrupted by my frail friends. The only thing going through my mind was Ellestygia. She was my responsibility and I let her go into harm's way. Now I felt guilt setting in, I could no longer smile at Brom, for she was the only thing I was thinking about. I knew soon, too soon, I would have to leave my father, but come back to my anxious friends.

I was soon pulled from Brom, unwillingly, but this time I saw the same swirling blackness. It was behind me, and despite Brom's words, I knew I was dead.

As I was in the swirling darkness visions flashed before my closed eyes. They were visions of events throughout my short life. They were from my point of view so that I felt like I was reliving them.

I saw myself in a sapphire wave, Ra'zac falling below me. Then I saw Ellestygia burst from her egg, her big dark-blue eyes fixed on my eyes. I was now receiving Akarclio. Then I was sitting upon a grown Ellestygia's back, taking my first flight. Then I was in the Hadarac Desert saving Christal and Friciey. I was teaching Christal about magic. Then Ellestygia took her first breath of fire. Now I was reliving one of my worst memories, I was before a dying Friciey all my strength failing. I knew now that Brom was my father. I had my first encounter with certain death. Christal was in my arms bawling at her dragon's death. I was then taking my first gaze at Saphira her bright, silver scales uplifting. I was wandering in Urû'baen with Arya. I was holding the most important of all dragons' egg, Arnora.

A new set of visions came on. I was in Urû'baen surrounded by Thorn and Cyindr, getting ready to die. Ellestygia had saved me and I was back with Christal and Tobascco. I was now looking at the trees of Ellesméra from Ellestygia's back, returning to it. I was now learning Akarclio's name and then struck by lightning. I saw Arilia telling me of the curse that was killing me right now. Arnora had come forth from her egg and Christal receiving her second gedwëy ignasia. Eragon and Saphira were now leaving to their destruction. Christal and I were now discussing Christal's new sword and training. It was the next day and Christal and I were laughing at me boxing Christal in Akarclio's ice. Fire was all around and Arilia had made Christal enraged with her past. I was again close to death from my connection to Arilia.

I was yelling at Ellestygia about saving Eragon and Saphira. We had started our journey to the Varden. I was tied to that column looking at Ellestygia in chains. Arilia was face-to-face with me, poisoning me. I was being saved by Saphira and Brom. I was facing the effects of the poison and cured by Brom. Ellestygia and I were on our way back to the Varden. I was being healed and hurt at the same time, by people trying to help. I was seeing Arnora beat Thorn at the waterfall. Arya was telling me about Dauth Manin.

Marie was making our armor, Christal elbowing me to shut it. Nasuada was telling us of the war to come. A frightened Marie telling us the Shade had been spotted. Me fighting soldiers of the Empire. Arnora saving my life. Ellestygia taking the soldier up and grabbing me to fight alongside Arnora. Ellestygia and I fighting Thorn. Cyindr in fiery chains. The sundablaka being created. Arilia trying to bring down the sword on me. Ellestygia's face as she ripped the sword from Arilia. Ellestygia hanging limply in the sundablaka's teeth. Arilia as I killed her. Ellestygia desperately trying to save me.

All the visions then faded and there was just silence. I was alone.

Chapter XXVII

Resolution

Is she alive?" came a girl's voice.

This confused me, I thought I was dead.

"I don't know," came a guy's voice.

"Oh I hope she is alive, it's my fault," said the girl,"wait, Arnora, can't you heal people."

Now I knew the girl was Christal, but who was the other.

"You don't know how to use them, okay, Eragon, what should we do?"

"I don't know that much, Christal."

Eragon, he's alive, he's there, I need to wake up! I thought.

I had to think of something. Then I remembered what I did when I first arrived at the Varden.

Vankna, I thought.

My eyes slowly opened. I was now gaining enough feeling to know I was on my back. My vision was returning and soon I saw Eragon sitting by me.

"Eragon!" I cried pulling him into my embrace.

He hugged me back, "Amber, never do that to me again."

Christal ran over, "Amber!" she cried, "You're alive."

"A second ago I thought different, but I'm here," I said.

"Amber, you killed a Shade, I can't believe it! My best friend killed a Shade. Amber, not many people kill Shades," said Christal.

"I know. Eragon, I thought you and Saphira were severely injured."

"We were, but the Varden have good healers."

"Christal, I saw you fighting off Thorn and Cyindr, you were amazing," I said.

She blushed bright pink, "Arnora did most of it."

Oh don't be like that, you did most of it.

"I guess I underestimated you, Christal, when I said you weren't ready for battle."

"It's alright, I mean you never saw me fight that much so how could you know?"

"Know what?"

"Know that my parents were great fighters of the Varden."

"How do you know that?"

"Eragon told me."

"Amber, you were the most amazing, do you know where they found you and Ellestygia?"

"No, where, or do I not want to know."

"You do, they found you by the Beartooth River."

"What!"

"Ellestygia held on long enough to fly over the lowest point of the mountain's wall and fly to the Beartooth River."

"But I thought it was impossible to fly over the mountain, even the lowest point?"

"It is, but, Amber, you have done a lot of things people believed to be impossible," said Eragon, "even me."

"Where is Ellestygia?" I asked suddenly.

They were both silent.

"Where is she!"

"Follow me, Amber," Eragon said.

He got up and walked over to Saphira who had walked up while we were talking. They talked, but I couldn't hear them. Saphira walked off and Eragon came back, "Come on," he said.

Christal and I followed him out the door and through corridors. He turned sharply, putting his back to a closed door.

"Amber, this may shock you," he said.

"Go ahead."

He opened the door and the first thing I saw was Saphira.

Little one, sometimes winning means losing...

I looked at the floor thinking the worst, then I hear a rustling of wings. Saphira moved and I saw Ellestygia standing her wings relaxed back.

But sometimes winning is only what happens, Saphira finished.

"Ellestygia!" I said running to her side.

You fought hard for the thing most important to you, young one, and you were rewarded, she said.

"What happened to you?" I asked seeing the black scar down her neck.

That? When I was fighting and the sundablaka had me in its grasp I had been gashed by one of its poisonous fangs. The healers hadn't healed anything like it, but they are good at what they do.

"I'm grateful to them for saving what is most important to me."

Amber, now I know I know I made a right choice.

"You never answered my question. Why me?"

We chose our Riders for their courage and fear.

"Why fear as well as courage?"

Since courage can not be with out fear, and thus our Riders are picked.

I believe you forgot one thing, Ellestygia, said Saphira.

What might that be?

We also chose our Riders for how much they love and are loved by others.

"You didn't tell me that, Saphira," said Eragon, "so you chose me for my bravery courage and love for Roran and Garrow?"

Saphira growled at him.

"What?" Eragon said.

You loved someone even more.

"Brom," Eragon and I said together.

We both were silent because Eragon had been expecting to avoid that and I really didn't expect it at all. I quickly pulled away from the subject.

"So what happened to me after we hit the ground?" I asked.

"With you killing the Shade and Christal driving off Thorn and Cyindr the army was vulnerable so they fled, but Nasuada knew something was wrong. When Christal came back she said she had only seen you as you left helping her to kill the Shade, Nasuada and I started to search for you. We had searched for hours before Saphira told me to let her help. She had gone outside of the Varden, and we thought she would never find you out there because it was impossible for Ellestygia to have gone over the mountain's wall. Within a few minutes Saphira came back telling us the unbelievable and lead us to you. When we found you and Ellestygia, you were breathing hard and not moving, and Ellestygia was trying to get to you though she was injured more."

I think not, Eragon, Amber could have died! Ellestygia interjected.

"What?"

I then realized I had not told Eragon of my curse, and neither had Christal. I took the opportunity to explain.

"Eragon, I don't think I told you, but the Shade cursed me. She made it so that if I ever get knocked out or fall asleep my heart slows so much it would kill me."

Little one, Saphira said softly.

"It's alright I have lived this far, haven't I?"

"Just barely, Amber," said Christal walking in.

"But how?" said Eragon dumb-founded.

"She cursed me, and just like the scar Durza gave you, it's not gone even though I killed her."

"What about Agaetí Blödhren?"

"Eragon, look! I am already blessed by Agaetí Blödhren, nothing can help me, it is permanent! Besides I enjoy it, sometimes."

"Are you insane, Amber, you could die!" exclaimed Eragon.

"I do see someone I usually don't see, someone special."

Amber, tell him, I know, but why didn't you tell us?

"Because your Rider was too eager to get to the Varden, and I didn't learn of it until you were gone."

I am sorry, little one, tell Eragon.

"Eragon, I will tell you who I see, but it is bad and good because it means I might die."

"Tell me."

"Brom, I always see Brom, but it is also bad because I don't know if I will be pulled back."

Eragon smiled, "I would like to see him too, but if it meant my life and Saphira's, I would rather not."

"I have no choice, but it seems as someone always saves me."

"I just remembered, Nasuada wants to see you," he said suddenly.

"Okay. Ellestygia, are you allowed to leave?"

I think so.

Eragon led me, Christal, and the dragons back through another corridor. When Eragon came to the doors, I recognized them. They were the doors that I had gone through many times before.

"Are you ready for praise beyond imagination?" he said.

"What?"

"They- the Varden- are going to praise you, I mean, it's not every day someone kills a Shade, not even a Dragon Rider."

"Right, I knew that, and, Eragon, are they going to call me...you know?"

He laughed, "No, I think that is for Arya and I only."

"Good, that's your name, the elves will come up with something to call me, I'm sure."

Eragon pushed open the doors and blinding sunlight filled my sight. When my eyes adjusted to the bright light, what I saw astounded me. There stood at least half the Varden -if not all of them- on either side of a pathway they had cleared. When Eragon had walked halfway down the path he beckoned for me to follow. Christal and I, with the dragons in tow, took one step out of the door and the Varden bowed at the same time. I stopped, frozen in nervousness, until Christal nudged me.

"Go on, Amber," she whispered.

I started to walk again.

We walked down the pathway and at the end stood Nasuada. The guards beside her bowed to me as I stopped. "Okay, Nasuada, why are they treating me like you?"

She laughed,"Everyone is very grateful to you, Amber, every single person here. The Shade reeked havoc on the Varden for two years before you learned the destiny that was laid before you, now she is forever gone, and for that we are thankful."

"I...I don't know what to say, I just didn't want the Varden to fall under Galbatorix's wrath. I only wish for Galbatorix to remember why his dragon died and then maybe he will realize..."

"Galbatorix will never realize his wr..."

"Nasuada, I have seen Galbatorix eye-to-eye. He is completely horrifying," I looked Nasuada in her eyes, "and I completely understand, but, Nasuada, there was hurt in those eyes, deep hurt."

"You saw Galbatorix?"

"Well, kind of. When I was taking Arnora's egg he was in the distance, but I had Ellestygia's sight so I could see right into his eyes. However, I hope that is as close to him as I get until the battle that will come soon, the one when he will show up. The one we will try our very hardest to win, and to defeat him forever."

Nasuada looked at me with final understanding, she also looked aghast.

I looked around for Arya, but couldn't see her anywhere among the crowd.

"What happened to Arya, where is she?" I asked.

I heard laughing,"Right here," said Arya putting her hands on my shoulders.

"Amber, you risked your life for us, for the Varden and for Ellesméra, you were very brave. I truly believe you are Brom's daughter, he was just as brave, to the end."

I smiled, for once I realized I was just like my father, brave, wise, and rash. I would have done the same thing Brom did, sacrifice my own life for the hope for a free future. A future free of Galbatorix, free of harsh, ruling armies, and a future where destiny isn't a crime, where it can take its course.

"Thank you, Arya."

"On the contrary, Amber, I should be thanking you."

"Please, don't, not about the battle. I don't deserve all the credit, Christal, Arnora, and Ellestygia helped me, I could have never done it."

"Well, thank you, Amber, Christal, Arnora, and Ellestygia," she said," for defeating the Empire's forces to free us all."

"That, I am afraid is not the end," said Nasuada,"this is just the start. We have to still deal with Thorn, Murtagh , Cyindr, Zoey, and Galbatorix before it is truly over."

Arya looked at Nasuada,"This we know, however, for now the Empire is suffering under yet another defeat."

"We-Amber, Ellestygia, Arnora, Christal, and myself- will soon return to Ellesméra to inform Queen Islanzadí of the war," she continued.

"Excuse me, Arya, but when is 'soon'?" I asked.

"In a couple of hours after all of this is over."

Nasuada nodded then turned to the Varden,"As you know we have recently won another battle against the Empire."

The Varden roared with cheering.

"But only with the help of our Dragon Riders Amber and Christal and their dragons Ellestygia and Arnora. I will stress that you please don't ask them any favors, for they have already done enough. However, with their permission you may talk to them before they leave. Lastly, I want to inform you that this is not the end, but the beginning of a long war against the Empire that will last possibly for years. So, the Riders will not be gone for good."

"Yes and please feel free to ask me questions, for I don't mind," I said.

I waited then Eragon came up behind me as the first question came, "Should we fear a quick come back attack?"

Eragon answered for me, "Yes, as Nasuada said, there will be another attack, but we do not know how long it will be."

"When will you return, Riders?" came the second question.

"Whenever the Varden needs us," said Christal.

The last question no one knew, but me, "Are there more eggs at Urû'baen?"

"No, we are not sure of tha..."started Arya.

"Yes, there are, I was retrieving Arnora's egg I saw two eggs. One purple, one ice-blue," I said.

The Varden looked at me in awe, their eyes wide in non-belief. Even Nasuada looked at me in the same manor. Christal, Arya, and Eragon did too, but I turned to Arya, "I don't know if you remember, but you were there, Shruikan was asleep and once I took Arnora's egg he woke," I whispered.

"Amber, I was hurt, but I do remember some of that."

"That means there may be new Dragon Riders to come and hopefully on our side."

"Thank you, we wish you a safe trip back to Ellesméra," said Nasuada.

"And we wish you safety until we meet again," said Eragon.

We mounted the crouching dragons, Arya ridding behind me.

Tell Nasuada I am thankful for her generosity and admire her courage, Ellestygia said.

Me too, said Arnora.

So I conveyed the messages from the dragons to Nasuada. Then, the dragons walked back through the crowds who backed away as the dragons passed. Once the we were back in the tunnels Christal, Eragon, Arya, and I dismounted and walked next to the dragons.

As we were walking Ellestygia's tail wrapped around my ankles and I fell.

"Ouch, thanks," I said getting back up.

Sorry.

"Uh, that's fine, I'm okay."

When I got back up I saw Christal smiling,"It's always you, isn't it?" she said.

"Very funny."

We kept walking and I noticed Ellestygia was swing her tail side-to-side blissfully, she was happy, and that made me smile.

We walked miles in the corridor, before something happened that, though I didn't know, would change the future. I saw a girl who looked about twelve standing in the corridor. As we got closer I recognized the girl's long, silky, black hair and deep-green eyes, it was the messenger Krissi.

"Amber!" she exclaimed," you're alive! They said you might die, but you didn't, I knew you wouldn't, not you!"

I smiled, "Thank you."

"Amber, I heard all about the battle, I wish I could fight, but as they did when I was only a few years old, all the women and children were ordered out to Surda."

"Nasuada is right, battle is no place for young children, but I used to dream of the same things. Sometimes dreams can come true."

"Amber," said Arya.

Wait,said Ellestygia.

We stopped and Ellestygia lowered her head down to Krissi's level. She nuzzled her gently, then pulled her neck back up in an instant. I felt her shock.

What's wrong? I asked.

Nothing is wrong, but something is right.

What is it?

She has the destiny to be a Rider.

A Rider?

Yes.

I was completely bewildered, this little girl could be the next Rider to the eggs in Urû'baen, and I knew her. In fact she was like a little sister to me. She had come to me before the women and children were ordered out just to wish me luck, Arya said Krissi had cried when she told her that I might die, and now she was overjoyed to see I was alive. If there were more people in Alagaësia like this little girl evil would be over-powered.

When I came back from my thoughts I heard Krissi talking.

"Amber, will you take me to Teirm?" she asked.

Christal looked at me with wide, questioning eyes.

"And why do you want to go there?" asked Christal.

"I want to return to the place I once called home, before Galbatorix started targeting Teirm out of the blue."

Christal looked down at the floor and played with her dress.

"Okay, I will take you, but does Nasuada know?"

"Yes, I told her what I was going to do and that if I didn't come back that it means you had agreed."

"Okay, get on."

I used my magic to put Ellestygia's saddle back on, then I helped her on and strapped her legs into the saddle. I swung up behind her as Christal and Arya got on to Arnora.

We soon approached the waterfall entrance. I took a calming breath as I realized that I was leaving the safety of the Varden for the danger of the Empire. I told Krissi to hold on tight as Ellestygia got ready to bound into flight. With a powerful push from her back legs Ellestygia flew through the waterfall and out of the Varden flanked by Arnora. Once we were clear of the waterfall Arnora flew beside us as we rose higher into the air.

Krissi was laughing and yelling with excitement as Ellestygia flew faster. I smiled at her excitement, Too bad she doesn't know this might be an every day thing later, I told Ellestygia.

She will learn soon enough.

How did you know her destiny is to be a Rider?

Saphira told me how to tell if people are or not. She said that she told Eragon you would be a Rider, but he didn't want to believe it.

Why didn't she tell me?

It would be wrong and the person might try to change destiny, which would be bad. Hold on!

I told Krissi just in time to hold on before Ellestygia took a sharp, left turn. I soon saw Teirm.

Ellestygia you and Arnora stay here, now land!

Ellestygia and Arnora went into completely vertical dive, then landed in the sand with a last flap of their giant wings.

"Ellestygia, you, Arnora, and Arya stay here, Christal and I will go."

I grabbed my cloak from Ellestygia's saddle, I was sure I was wanted, just like Eragon. After escaping Arilia, she would have told Galbatorix and he would have raised a search for me. Christal grabbed her cloak as well, and we walked with Krissi's hands in either of ours to Teirm.

It took an hour to reach the city because Christal couldn't keep up with my speed if I ran, otherwise I would have ran carrying Krissi. We had to walk, but it was okay.

Once we were in the city I told Krissi we couldn't go far. She understood, then I realized something.

"Krissi, where will you stay?"

"Oh, my grandmother lives here. She has sent messages to the Varden by bird, so I sent her a message back telling her I was coming."

"Okay."

At once a young boy came up to us.

"Krissi Bursangsdaughter! You grandmother told me you were coming, now I have someone to play with!" he said excitedly.

I smiled at the two, Krissi seemed to be happy as well. I told Krissi she could go if she wanted.

"Will you come back?" she asked.

"Not here, but most likely...to the warders."

"The..oh,okay," she said understanding I meant the Varden.

After Krissi had left Christal and I were walking back when a boy Christal's age came up to us.

"Christal? Christal Arinngsdaughter, I know that is who you are," he said.

"What do you want, Qurrie?" Christal said hiding her face by looking at the ground.

"Ah, I knew it was you. Why are you here?"

"Visiting," she lied.

"Who? Last time I checked both of you parents were killed."

"Be quiet!" she yelled. "I was visiting a relative!"

"Oh, sorry, I..."

"Go away! Or I'll..."

"Christal," I intruded."The horses are waiting, they don't like it here, so let's go."

We turned and walked away from the boy, leaving him standing there. We got back to the dragons faster than we did going to the city.

"Let's get out of here," said Christal urging us to go.

We mounted the dragons, Arya ridding behind me. The dragons turned their backs to the city and bounded once into the air. They gained full speed, straightened their paths, and flew for Ellesméra.

As the last league of the Hadarac Desert came into view I was certain of one thing;I would have more challenges and fears to face, but I also knew I had people who will always be there for me. People who are like family to me, and Ellestygia, who is like my life. That was the best thing I knew.

The End

Atra du evarínya ono varda

All the copyrights of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr go to Christopher Paolini and Knof publishing.

I wrote this book to be based off of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy, which got me into liking fantasy and books. Truly, Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr are -and always will be- one of my favorite, if not my most favorite, series I have read. Thanks to Christopher Paolini and his genius books I have taken my skills in language arts to a whole new level: this book.

Thanks for reading!

T.

Author's note,

This may be my first book, but ,trust me, Amber's adventures don't stop there. Book Two, Return of the Riders: Resurrection continues Amber's wild adventures in Alagaësia, but they get even more -if it is possible- nerve racking, so if you enjoyed this book, keep reading!