Eragon, Brom, and all of Alagaesia belong to Chris Paolini (:

Brom walked slowly through the village, heading back to his house. Not home, He thought bitterly. Nowhere had ever really felt like home since before Saphira has been killed, so many years ago. His heart ached and he heaved a sigh.

There was still no news from the Varden. There hadn't been any news for so long; Brom had a rather hard time not being lulled into a false sense of security. All the dangers were as real as ever.

His thoughts, as they always did when he thought about the Varden, turned to Saphira and Selena. He thought of all the terrible things Galbatorix and the Forsworn had done. All the lives that had been taken. All the pain they had inflicted on humans, dwarves, and elves alike. Brom yearned for revenge; he wanted to do something, anything. But he sighed again. He must stay here, to keep himself alive to train the new Rider, whenever he or she might have need of him.

But he still had his doubts. Maybe the destined Rider for the egg had died. Maybe the destined Rider would not be born for many more years. It was extremely frustrating, just waiting here.

But it was also peaceful in an odd way. Just living like any ordinary person in an ordinary village. In all his years of being a Rider, and in all his years of seeking revenge for his loss and helping the Varden, he hadn't ever really had the chance to settle down like this. Still, the frustration and irritation at sitting and being idle far outweighed any peace he might have in Carvahall.

A group of children ran past him, shrieking and laughing. He moved out of their way and continued walking. However, one of them slowed and came to a halt in front of Brom. Brom stopped as he recognized 5 year old Eragon: his son.

"Hi, Mr. Brom!" Eragon exclaimed, giving Brom a wide grin. Brom couldn't help but smile back at him, his mood considerably brightened. It's wasn't very often he got to talk to his son, and he cherished every minute. He always tried to be honest with him; he could see that, like so many other traits, he had inherited from himself the wish to be taken seriously. He remembered from his own youth the frustration he had felt each time some adult had looked down on him and told him to run along and go play. That was one reason he had been so joyful to be picked as a Rider: he would finally be more than just some little boy.

"Hello, Eragon." A shiver ran down Brom's spine. If only Eragon knew…If only- He pushed the thoughts away fiercely. No, this is how it has to be… It's the only way. I must keep him safe… He began walking again, and Eragon kept pace with him, trotting along at his side.

They walked in companionable silence for a few minutes. For a five year old, Eragon is really quite patient. He hasn't even started to bombard me with questions yet…

"Where did the elves come from, Brom?"

"They sailed from far across the ocean long ago," he replied with a slight smile. I guess I spoke too soon…Here come the questions…

"So they're real?"

"Of course they're real!" Brom exclaimed, amused. "Just as the dragons were, and the dwarves." Eragon's face lit up.

"So it's possible we could meet one?" he asked excitedly, his child's voice ringing with hopefulness. Brom glanced down at the boy cautiously. It would be cruel to let him get his hopes up for something that will likely never be...

Eragon continued to gaze up at him, waiting for an answer, his eyes shining with excitement. Brom's resolve softened, and he finally relented.

"There's a chance. A very small one, but still a chance. The elves are a race that prefers the solitude of their own kind." Eragon nodded to himself, deep in thought.

"Eragon! Come on! Mother wants us home soon!" A slightly older boy called from across the street. Brom recognized him as Roran, Eragon's cousin. Of course, they believed each other to be brothers. Marian and Garrow had not told him yet. For that, Brom didn't know whether to be grateful or resentful.

Eragon sighed quietly and turned to Brom.

"One more question."

"What might that be?"

"Have you ever met a Rider? A real, true, Rider?" Brom swallowed. Of this information, he could not tell anything.

"…No, I can't say I've had the honor to have met one."

"Is there gonna be another rider someday, Brom?" He hesitated. The egg would have to hatch eventually, but it could be many more years, decades, even centuries, before there might be a new Rider in the land.

When Brom didn't give any indication that he would answer, Eragon's face fell a little and he started to walk reluctantly towards the retreating figure of his cousin. Brom knelt on one knee and put a hand on Eragon's small shoulder.

"I will tell you this, Eragon. The time of the Riders and dragons and elves will come again. Of this, I am certain." Eragon studied his face seriously for a moment.

Standing, Brom said gently, "Go on home, now. Your mother will be worried about you, and it's almost dark." The boy departed, running to catch up with Roran. Before disappearing behind a house, he turned and waved to Brom, a smile on his face. Brom waved back, the dark cloud of his fears and sad memories gone for awhile. He continued his walk home, accompanied by the sound of Eragon and Roran's laughter and shouts in the distance.