Pömnuria Hjarta er medh Ono
A/N: Welcome to my first Inheritance Cycle fanfic! After finishing the series recently, how could I NOT write something about my favorite characters? It's far too hard to resist. That being said, do NOT read if you haven't finished the series. There ARE spoilers. Thank you! This idea is the brain child between me and my wonderful friend Suma Susaki. It's nothing more than pure fandom expressed in the style of a story.
Disclaimer: Nah. I don't own the Inheritance Cycle. Bummer.
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Nasuada leaned forward, rubbing the bridge of her nose. It wasn't often that the young Queen of Alagaësia showed signs of wear- she couldn't afford to have people think she was crumbling under the stress- but events of recent were enough to put wrinkles on even the most hardened of rulers. She was only thankful that she was in the presence of friends at the moment.
"I had a feeling that something was being whispered among the townsfolk as of late," she voiced. "I didn't realize it was something of this magnitude."
"Bah," Orik spat from her left. The frown on his lips could be seen through the curled hair of his thickly grown beard. "They're all fools for thinking that such a sheilven should be back on the throne of Alagaësia."
"Perhaps. But people do favor resistance over change. Even if that does mean favoring Galbatorix's rule over mine. I've seen enough of it in the last five years to know that, at least, is true," Nasuada said with a small sigh. She turned to the councilman sitting on her right. "What about the situation in Surda?"
Jörmundur cleared his throat. "We've gotten word from King Orrin that the port cities are suffering from multiple failed shipments. Speculations say that pirates are plundering the ships before they can make port, and all cargo is being lost before they can be received. The drop in imports and exports is hitting their economy hard. He is requesting for assistance in the economical side of things."
Nasuada's brows pulled together. "I cannot answer him at the moment. We're spread too thin between the rebuilding of Dras-Leona, funding the expeditions in the Hadarac and the upcoming games with the Urgals. We cannot spare the expense currently. Tell him to be patient. I'm sure we can make a few adjustments here and there to accommodate his plead."
Jörmundur nodded his understanding and scribbled her answer down on a scroll laid out before him. There was a brief moment of silence before movement in the large bowl of water set upon the center of the table they sat at caught Nasuada's attention. The water rippled before going still, a light gray image of Arya's angular face appearing on the mirror-like surface. Her hair was adorned with golden leaf amulets and dark braids twisted into her white gold crown. She looked every bit the Queen she now was, but there was a weariness in her eyes that betrayed her.
"My apologies for being tardy," she said. "Things have been more than demanding as of late. Orik, Jörmundur. It's a pleasure to see you again."
"You as well, my lady," the council man greeted.
"I hope things are going well in Ilirea," Arya spoke towards Nasuada. "The last time we spoke, you seemed more worried than usual."
"Things are probably better in Du Weldenvarden at the moment than they are here," Nasuada admitted. "We've heard word that remaining supporters of Galbatorix have started to make themselves more known. They say we lack direction and persuasive power. But I refuse to see fear as a suitable ruling mechanism. Not only that, the treaties between our city-states are growing weak and the people are losing hope with all the plundering occurring along our trade lines. I'm afraid the unrest in the people may dissolve into fighting. I ask you, not only as one Queen to another, but also as a friend. What should we do?
Arya gave a quiet sigh. "Things are not much better in Du Weldenvarden. The alliances we made during the war have not persisted through times of peace as well as we had hoped. I'm afraid this might partially be because of Eragon's departure to the Eastern Mountains after the fall of Galbatorix. People may believe that the Riders have abandoned them."
"Preposterous," Orik scoffed. "You are a Rider as well, are you not?"
"My duties prevent me from being the type of Rider the empire needs," she said distantly. There was a sharp note of longing that colored her tone. "It is not my role to uphold."
"What about Anenfel or Mendir?" Nasuada asked.
"No, they are still too young. Their dragons are no bigger than mere hatchlings," Arya responded.
"Then we must find another option," Orik spoke up. "Perhaps the exchanging of eggs should be in order? My people grow anxious for our chance to awaken a Rider."
The two leaders began to speak at length about exchanging their eggs, while Nasuada took a brief moment to close her eyes. The days were starting to blur together, all the issues of the land falling upon her shoulders at once. She had grown used to dealing with all the stress, but lately all she felt was tired. Already, she could feel the pulse of her reoccurring headache building in the back of her skull.
"I must apologize," she said, catching their attention again. "But it is starting to grow late, and I feel as though I should retire for the night." She carefully rose to her feet. "You may spend as much time as you need discussing the matters that ail you both. Thank you for contacting me on such short notice, Arya."
"Of course," the elf Queen acknowledged. "Slytha mor'ranr, iet vinr."
Nasuada smiled and repeated the familiar blessing for good sleep before taking her leave from the room. Jörmundur followed her out, graciously offering his arm for her to hold. She slipped her arm in his with a small smile. The door closed softly behind them and the guards waiting patiently to escort her to her room fell in step with them as they made their way down the castle hallway. She didn't particularly enjoy their constant company, but after the high number of assassination attempts after her first year of rule, she didn't fight the extra protection, if only to ease the Council's uneasiness.
After the castle's distraction during the fight with Galbatorix, Nasuada had spearheaded the reconstruction herself, aiming to include more windows and glass if only to make the place seem less dark. Yet, despite the elaborate draperies and reflected lights that brightened every room, dark shadows still haunted what was left of the place and reminded her that this place once housed a tyrant of unimaginable strength. And even though she did not enjoy the company of her guards, it eased her nerves just enough to allow her some peace in a place that still housed some of her most painful memories.
There were some things that could not be forgotten, and even five years later, she still woke in a sweat from the nightmares that plagued her mind at night. Nightmares that played with her mind and made her second guess whether or not her reality was real. Nightmares that pulled her back to a time where reality and fantasy were only distinguishable by the timid touch of a gentle mind.
A gentle touch she could use at that moment.
Somedays she felt as though she couldn't sleep. The days were long and the nights even longer, and most days she was more tired than she needed to be. Her lack of sleep led to chronic headaches that reared its ugly head when she grew too stressed or overworked herself. She ignored the pain for the first year of her rule, but as the agony grew unbearable, she employed the herbalist Angela to make a mix of powerful medicine to help suppress her headaches. She was uneasy, and her discomfort added to the strength of her headaches.
Giving a small sigh, the Queen tried to ignore the pressure building at the base of her skull. Jörmundur, more attuned to his lady's actions, leaned closer to her ear to ask, "Are you feeling ill?"
Nasuada swallowed thickly, setting her chin. "No more than usual."
He didn't look convinced. "Try not to push yourself too hard, my lady."
The young Queen smiled slightly at the worry in his voice. "Thank you for your concern, Jörmundur," she said softly. "But I will be fine."
He gave a quiet sigh and nodded, accepting her thanks. They continued a few paces before Nasuada thought of another thing to say to him. But as she opened her mouth, she felt a foreign mind gently probe at hers. A sudden rush of panic dropped into her stomach like a lead brick and she threw up the iron defenses around her mind she had perfected over the years. She waited for a long, tense moment, but the gentle touch remained. The longer it lingered, the more familiar it became. Her panic gave way to uncertain excitement, recognition so staggering that she nearly lost her footing.
"My lady! Nasuada! Are you alright?" Jörmundur asked in a panic, gripping her shoulders. She pushed him away without a word of explanation and took off down the hallway, her mind set on a single thought.
Her feet carried her down the grand hallway until it broke away to a shadowed alcove, where she could barely make out his figure leaned against a wall. His arms were crossed and his stance defensive. His hair was long and jagged, as if he cut it himself, and his chin was rugged and unshaven. He wore heavy, travel-worn clothes of a neutral color with thick leather guards along his forearms. Gleaming at his hip, just under the cover of his cloak, was the jeweled hilt of the infamous blood-red Rider sword.
She looked him over slowly, as if she couldn't believe he was really there. When their eyes met- brown to grey- she saw the storm of emotions brewing behind the steely color. All the words unsaid, all the emotions hidden for so many years. He pushed himself away from the wall and took a single step between them. The space left lingering felt charged with emotion so strong, Nasuada nearly swayed on her feet. Slowly, his lips lifted to a small, but genuine smile.
"Hello," he murmured.
Before she could find the words to respond, her guards and Jörmundur came running up behind her, and she turned just barely to address them as the came to a halt beside her. The guards jumped to their defensive stances, spears uncertainly pointed in the direction of the unknown man.
"Who are you? How did you get in here?" the guard closest to them shouted.
"Stand down!" Nasuada said sharply, leveling an authoritative look amongst her guards. "He is a friend."
The guards were uncertain, but didn't feel comfortable enough to ignore their Queen's command and shuffled uncomfortably on their feet. Jörmundur pushed through the perplexed guardsmen to face his Queen and their new guest. His eyes narrowed and his lips pressed into a frown as he observed the red Dragon Rider standing beside his lady.
Thanks so much for your interest in this story! Let me know what you think thus far, and as always, stay tuned for more!
Slytha mor'ranr, iet, vinr: Sleep peacefully, my friend
Pömnuria Hjarta er medh Ono (the title): My Heart is with You