Chapter 33 –Eitha Eka Neo
"Everyone leaves. 'Tis like my curse, is it not? All the ones I love leave me, all the ones I adore die, my companions are slaughtered before my eyes. Maybe that is what made me so cold. Maybe that is why I'm afraid to love anyone. Afraid that they'll die and I won't be able to do anything like all those who I have already lost…"
~Eragon Shadeslayer, Bromsson, last Free Dragon Rider, Heir Lord of Vroengard, Lord Master of the Hands of Death, mate of the former Lady Mistress Sarissa
Arya rummaged through her desk, pulling out the strange, old journal, opening it to where she had left off the other night.
The early Dreamwraiths and the Riders created a great Hall of Prophets. Legend says that the hall houses the spirits and souls of prophets and seers who prophesy to all who enter. The cover the walls with their omens and foretelling, bad and good, evil and pure. Though it was said to have been lost eons ago, my companions and I have found many leads to its location… I feel it is near.
She stopped with surprise at the next entry.
We found it. The sheer… energy, the power, the strength and magic this place houses… 'Tis incredible… I cannot believe beings of such power could exist to house the souls of the dead in this world…
She kept reading.
The prophesies… are strange. All of them foretell the rebirth of one who shall bring balance to the powers in Alagaësia… one of many bloods, ancient royalty, the seafaring warriors, a race beyond the seas, and Alagaësia… They speak of a great war and his rise and fall, his battle between him and a black king. They make no sense, the last war was the Dragon War, could they be speaking of Lord Rider Eragon? But the prophesies still lie here though Lord Eragon has fulfilled many of them, yet many of them he has not… Their titles for him are just as endless… Some call him "The Son of Dragons," others refer to this child as the "Heir of a Thousand Kings," Bringer of Fire, Peace Bringer, Warrior of All, King of Hearts, the Banner, Lord of the Blade, Warrior Lord, Slayer of Darkness, One Who Walks in the Light, the Last King, the Coming Lord… There is not a single prophesy not tied to this man…
She narrowed her eyes.
Bringer of Fire. Son of Dragons.
She shook her head, going onto the next entry.
The prophesies warp and change…. This hall is incredible, the prophesies are alive, they are not set in stone, they change… Yet… There still is not a single one that does not sing of the one who will bring balance… Who is this one?... And… This "Slayer of a Thousand Balances"… They still do not come easily to my mind, my companions have agreed we must journey to the great library in Ilirea when we leave. Perhaps this one shall appear in records.
Slayer of a Thousand Balances.
"No, it couldn't be," she muttered.
I am starting to receive visions… Frightening visions. Visions of fire. Death… Pain, betrayal. I see the great stronghold of Gilad'val aflame, huge serpentine creatures slain… No, dragons… Dragons slain… Hundreds of them… Blood, so much blood…
I saw… him.
The child. He was in my dreams! Brown-haired, the most wonderful hazel eyes, in the arms of a beautiful lady and a king-like man. I heard the sky thunder, announcing his birth, the changing of the tides, the birth of the child who shall become freedom's banner… Out of chaos, order, out of the darkest night, a fire to light the candles of a million brave souls… I can feel the stars tremble in his presence… The oceans roar in anticipation. The eldest of the world soar the skies and depths, awaiting his birth. This world waits for him, their leader and Lord, through the depths of death and the sea, through fire and ice, through rain, pain, and the burning hells of this world, he shall be born.
Eragon's eyebrows furrowed as he felt the general discomfort of the atmosphere around them as they rode northeast, their horses at a light trot. The rain didn't help. Somehow the rain hadn't stopped for the past two days, drizzling, the dark mood made him more uneasy. He hadn't seen the sun since they had set out from Sílthrim, and for a desert, that was slightly unnerving.
Bladesinger warily stopped her steed upon the road.
"Dire wolves," she growled.
Eragon looked up ahead, his sharp eyes picking up the huge, dark forms sulking towards them.
He wheeled Starwind around just to find another group of dire wolves stalking them, their dark, wet fur rustling like a bird would its feathers. Water droplets turned to blood, a trail of small liquid rose petals of the dead following in their wake.
Bladesinger leapt off her horse, drawing her sword.
"Run. Ride. Ride away as far as you can, stop for nothing."
"My vow did not include abandoning you to overgrown wolves," he said, slid off Starwind as he drew Brisingr.
"Listen to me, fool!" she growled, the two horses prancing nervously as the wolves got closer, barking and yipping at each other.
"Why should he, sister? Afraid I'll kill him like I killed everyone else?"
The dire wolves parted as an explosion of dark mist and lightning let a man enter their vision.
The man nearly had darkness rolling off of his pitch-black armor. He didn't even have a shadow as if his presence drew all the darkness to him, defying the sun.
His crimson, feral eyes smiled as did his lips, curling back to reveal sharp teeth.
"Bladesinger. Beautiful as always. May I have this last dance?"
Arya picked up the last page that had ripped off and fallen to the ground.
They are here. Me and my brethren lords cannot hold for long. The demons grow restless. We cannot defeat them all. We alone cannot slay Lord Dathrys. The traitor has grown powerful. Náonin, Bladelord of the Highlands, where is she… She is the last. We are a dying order. The one. He shall bring balance. Náonin, if you ever read this, find him. Protect him. Bestow him our code and strength. You know what you must do.
Dathrys, brother, what turned you to the darkness… I loved you, my brother… Perhaps in your search for Sister Náonin you may find this journal… Perhaps you may read my words… if you do… Brother, I am so sorry I could not save you from the shadow that consumed your kind, beautiful soul…
Now you stand at my doorstep with an army of demons, demanding for a peaceful talk. One I know I shall not return from.
This world shall never know of my death, as it should be.
I, Bladelord Sivan, Lord of the Order, bid thee farewell.
Bladesinger uneasily stepped in front of Eragon, "Lord Dathrys. Unexpected, as always."
He bowed gallantly, "You know I cannot help it, Lady Náonin. Ah, you must be the famed Eragon Shadeslayer, even from the darkness I could hear the dying souls whispering your name. It is an honor to meet you at last."
Eragon looked at Bladesinger unsurely.
"Dathrys, keep him out of it. His destiny is tied to yours more than you would like to admit."
The warrior shrugged nonchalantly, his greatsword casually drawing in the dirt.
"Wolves. Deal with him."
Eragon dodged the wolves as another one crashed into Bladesinger, throwing her forward in front of the stranger.
"Bladesinger!" he shouted, kicking out to snap the neck of a wolf as it leapt at him.
She ran at him, only to be stopped by a wall of growling wolves. "Eragon!" she snapped, hurling her sword to him.
He grabbed the one-hand grip, spinning their blades to create a quick shield as he danced through the wolves.
And Bladesinger turned to face her literal demon of the past.
"Do you remember the last night you saw me?"
She crouched into a ready position, watching him warily, "It would be hard to forget, brother. You killed them all, Dathrys. Why. We loved you, you were our brother! What madness got into your soul that made you slaughter those who called you friend and brother?"
His handsome face contorted with anger.
"Brother… Who loved me? Who cared for me, Náonin? Tell me!" he roared.
"Sivan! He adored you like he would his own son! And yet you stabbed your own blade through his heart, his heart that wanted nothing but the best for you! Ava, whose hands bound your wounds that fateful night the demons attacked us, who taught you to dance! Cáloin, your brother-in-arms, the man who fought side by side with you every single battle, telling you jokes, stumbled home drunk together, the man who taught you how to wield that sword! Raviel, who bound your soul to your blade, making you so powerful, the one who sacrificed herself to save you from the darkness you embrace! I… I loved you! You were the one I trusted most, the one I cared for, the one who held me when I cried, when I broke apart! You were the one that taught me to never love again! The one who taught me to trust no one, to never believe a word that came out of someone's lips! For leaving our order, I learned I could never trust a living soul again! You, I hated you for all these decades, all those long years I waited for you to return and say sorry and to ask for me to take you back in my arms, to hold me again! But you, what did you do?"
His blood-red eyes shimmered.
"No, you never returned! No, you left and without even a goodbye! No, you slaughtered those I loved, you… You! The one person I thought would always be with me, you murder every single one of our Order, and what, save me for last. You should have killed me first. You should have taken that damned blade of yours and put it through my chest first."
She grabbed his collar, "Just do it right now!" she screamed. "I won't fight, I won't stop you! Just kill me!"
Tears streamed down her face, her beautiful blue eyes nearly glowing with sadness, tears, pain, want, regret, fury, acceptance of her fate. Rain mingled with the salty sorrow, her soaked hair sticking to her neck and face, the rain just coming, and coming…
"Kill you…" Dathrys whispered…
"Kill me," she begged. "Just end it…"
His eyes flickered.
Then she felt the piercing pain in her abdomen. The iron taste of blood in her mouth, the warmth spreading from her stomach.
She knew that sound. The darkness. The stench. The smell of death rising once again.
"Dathrys, what have they done to you…"
Eragon slammed Brisingr down into the last wolf, the yelp being the last sound from the dying animal.
The smell hit him before the sight.
He looked up, wiping blood from a gash on his temple, finding himself face-to-face with something he wish he could un-see.
He wasn't sure what it was, but it was not alive. Nothing alive could be missing half its face and have it replaced by maggots.
He yelled with surprise, instinctively lashing out with his foot, making the thing stagger back a few steps.
Bladesinger ran in, leaping above it as he threw her sword back to her, the warrior grabbing it midair before bringing it crashing down into the thing's back.
"Demons," she growled as the thing cackled, stopping when she twisted her blade violently and harshly..
She spun around, meeting the attack of another one, this one having blood dripping down its empty eye socket, maggots bathing in the liquid. The man stood at the top of the hill, his arms outstretched, demons rising from the ground, limping and running to join the fray.
"Dathrys!" Bladesinger shouted. "Dathrys, stop this!"
"I cannot!" he snarled. "I cannot stop what death has willed! This world shall tumble into darkness and eternal shadow, as it should! The celestials were wrong to create such a ruined, marred, fragile world! Death sees all, and all shall fall!"
"Brisingr!" Eragon snapped, turning a demon aflame, the cackling becoming a roar, and then nothingness as the thing fell to the ground, unmoving before the worms came out of the body, basking in the decay.
"Rise, brothers!" Dathrys thundered. "Burn the world of the living!"
Bladesinger cut down another demon, charging up at the man standing at the head of the procession of madness.
They toppled to the ground, the onslaught of demons ceasing as Dathrys concentrated on the threat in his face, the two exchanging blows, swords forgotten as they grappled with each other, Eragon hacking through the demons. He weaved through the undead, drawing his katana as he used it to behead a demon, disarming the headless monster and then cutting it into a dozen pieces, trying to get to Bladesinger.
"Bladesinger!" he shouted. "Náonin!"
She heard her name but she only focused on the being she used to love that lay in her grip.
"Traitor," she whispered hoarsely. "Murderer. Liar…"
"Why protect a world that hates you for protecting it?" he rasped. "Why? Why! I'm doing what is right, Náonin! Let this world burn, join me!"
"Give this world a chance, Dathrys," she begged. "Join me…"
Tears. No… Blood… His tears were blood… Stars, what did the darkness do to him…
"Tears hurt in the shadows when you are alone," he whispered. "No, Náonin… It is too late for me…"
"It is never too late, brother," she pleaded. "Dathrys, please…"
He hauled her up to her feet, his fist flashing across her cheek, splitting skin and drawing blood.
She turned, just to see his sword flashing towards her.
Blood streamed down his face.
"Forgive me, Náonin," he murmured. His pendant found its way into her hand. "I deserve this not…"
His kiss tasted of iron and rain…
Of vanilla and… of the last night…
She almost smiled, the arms around her dissipating with the blood drenching her ruined body.
Eragon's throat would have gone dry from his scream.
An arrow sprouted from his leg as he stumbled, grabbing a knife from his thigh, throwing it as the knife jabbed into the archer thing's forehead, toppling over the abomination. Gritting his teeth, he snapped the arrow, yelling with pain. Forcing himself to accept the pain like Sarissa had taught him, he half-crawled up to Bladesinger, Dathrys vanishing as he rushed to catch his friend.
"Náonin," he managed weakly, cradling her head in his arms.
She coughed up blood, her hand weakly grasping his. Blood coated her fingers, her own lifeblood, slowly dripping away with the seconds, her life trickling away with it like the last few grains of sand in an hourglass.
"Go," she whispered. "Tell… Him… tell.. Wolf… I forgive him… Give him my sword… Promise me…"
"No," he protested, tears rising unbidden to his eyes. "No, no! Give it to him yourself, tell him yourself! Live, dammit, no more! I'm not strong enough, Náonin, I'm not strong enough, I'm just not! I can't lose you, I can't lose any more people I love… Please… Leave me not… Eitha eka neo…"
She smiled weakly, kissing his hand.
"This hand will slay the king," she whispered, taking his other hand. "This hand will raise a great ruler, just and fair. Hold me Eragon… I long for warmth…"
He enveloped her in his scarred, bloodied arms, gentle and powerful, the iron muscles toned from months of training and battle, scarred from his pains and his fights with this world.
"When the world fadeth from thine eyes," she murmured, feeling his gentle touch against her cheek. The pain from the gash their eased, no doubt due to his magic. She knew it was draining him. And yet he still tried his all to make her comfortable. "When the rain ceaseth… When thou feeleth the first warmth in eons…"
She opened her beautiful, beautiful eyes, looking up at her brother.
"Thou knowst life shall endeth well…"
Smiling, she closed her eyes, nestling her shuddering head deeper into his embrace.
She didn't speak again.
But as the rain drifted away as if feeling they had given him enough sorrows, they let through the first touch of light Eragon had felt from the sun in days. And he knew her soul had begun its journey down the starlit path.
As if her spirit heard his last words to her, a gentle wind graced his body with warm air.
Farewell, brother. May the grace of the stars be ever in your favor.
He closed his eyes, letting the breeze flow around him.
When the world fadeth from thine eyes… When the rain ceaseth… When thou feeleth the first warmth in eons… Thou knowst life shall endeth well…
Deep breath, Eragon… Let it all out…
And the long-held cry of anguish, the cry of a man who had seen too many loved ones pass on, the cry of one left behind too long, the cry mourning a thousand souls rang across a blood stained field filled with the bodies of the underworld that would never be at peace.
Roses. Hundreds upon thousands of blood-red roses rained from the sky, softly falling about him, the silken petals caressing his skin.
Good evening, Eragon.
He looked beside him to see Bladesinger—no… He knew her true name now. Náonin. That was her name. She walked alongside him, wearing a shimmering dress of white, the fabric as beautiful as a swan's coat of feathers, flowing, wondrous. She smiled at him.
He looked around him.
This is a dream…
Are you happy?
She took his hand, pulling him gently through the storm of flowers.
Then it is a good dream.
They walked through the flying petals, the velvet lips of the flower-leaves kissing his arms and neck and face, settling on the shoulders of his formal tunic, pure white and gold.
What is this dream for? he asked softly.
Does a good dream need a reason? Náonin asked in return.
He had no words to reply to that.
Dance with me, brother, she smirked, gently spinning him towards her.
He couldn't help the small grin that graced his lips.
With pleasure, sister.
And the two danced, blood-siblings, bound by pain, bound by companionship and a promise. They danced through the falling roses, the bright red contrasting to their white clothes, the ground covered in the flowers. The ruins of a once-great building surrounded them, but it was lost in their slow, easy dance. They swayed and twisted to the music of their lifesong, dancing in tandem for their blood sang as one.
You are the last now, Eragon. The last of many things, she whispered into his ear, her head leaning upon his strong shoulder.
I always was, he sighed.
Even more so now. I am sorry I put such a burden on you… But it will make you stronger. You are strong enough, Eragon, I promise. I will always be with you.
She gently stopped them, taking a ring from her finger, milky-white, like the soft silver light of the moon on a cloudless night. Slipping it onto his finger, she unclasped the pendants she wore, two identical symbols, one blood red like the roses, the other the brightest blue like her eyes.
As Lord of the Order, I name thee, Eragon Shadeslayer, my successor. Farewell, brother. I love you to the ends of the world and back, she murmured, leaving a sweet, vanilla-tasting kiss upon his lips.
Don't leave me, he pleaded weakly.
I will never have left you, Eragon. Not in your soul and heart.
Translation: Eitha Eka Neo (title) – Leave Me Not
TN: nothing's mine surprisingly xD
AN: And you got the weakness you were waiting for… and a little bit more of Bladesinger/Náonin's past. I promise this won't be the last time you see her ;) she'll make her appearance even in whatever sequel I write because she, like I told someone, is like Eragon's second Brom. She will always come back, because just like Eragon begged her not to leave him, she will never leave him~
Wondrous-Serendipity – thank you! and I hope my email explained everything!~ lol I decided I might as well upload while I have time
ReadingForHours – That'd be right now xD thank you!~