Invitation

Eragon sat in the center of a grove of ancient oak trees. It was a quiet, peaceful place where he felt as if he could drain the tension from his mind and body. The grove was one of the few areas on the island where the oaks outnumbered the pine trees. The island Eragon and his companions landed on is roughly three times the size of the island Vroengard. The island consisted of a vast forest with a triangle formation of mountains in the center.

At times the pines reminded Eragon too much of Du Weldenvarden and all he left behind when he departed Alagaësia. The smell was even a constant reminder of Arya. Even after all these years he could feel the ache in his chest, like a throb that would only at times subside but never completely fading. It had been nearly two centuries, one hundred ninety eight years to be exact, since then night that troubled his mind on this spring evening. It was not the memory of The Battle of Uru'baen that haunted his mind. The anniversary celebrations held for that battle took place several months previous as they do every year.

No. The image that burns in his mind is of Arya clutched in Fírnen's front paws flying away from him. Eragon has not seen Arya since that night. The memory he recalls as if it only happened a moment ago. The feeling of her fingers on his lips, soft as a feather. The sensations that ran through his body when she spoke his true name still send shivers through his spine. Tonight when the moon rises it will have been yet another year passed since they last meet.

When Eragon and his companions first arrived in the forest that surrounds the mountains, they all searched the area for miles in every direction so as to be positive they were the only beings around other than game for the dragons to feed on when the hatching started.

The elves were particularly happy with the location. It reminded them of their beloved forest; only the trees were not nearly as big as the ones so close to Ellesméra. Eragon and Saphira had spotted this island while they were flying far above the Talíta only a fortnight after their departure. Over the next year the only time Eragon had left the forest was to fly to the edge of Alagaesia so as to figure the distance others would have to travel to reach them, whether they be messenger or new Rider and Dragon. Eragon then contacted all the monarchs of Alagaësia to make them aware of the place in which the Riders would be reborn.

For the first few years after he and Saphira made their home in Du Fell Hljödhr, The Silent Mountain, Eragon kept in touch with Arya, Orik, and Roran. After the first two years Arya and Eragon only spoke through servants or retainers on each other's behalf.

The forest around the small cluster of mountains is where they built their halls and named Du WeldenSköliro, The Shielded Forest. Much like Ellesméra; the pine trees were sung into shape to suit the elves style of living. They sung halls as grand as any in Ellesméra, some even more so. The paths that ran through the city were made to accommodate even the biggest of dragons. They named the city Vroengard simply because it was where the Riders of old were trained so it seemed fitting to keep it so.

To keep the eggs and the Eldunarí safe, Eragon with the help of Cuaroc and the strength of the Eldunarí tunneled deep into the base of the mountain. After a half of a mile they created a chamber similar to that of the Vault of Souls. Over the next few months Cuaroc dug out crevices in which to store the Eldunarí and eggs.

Six months after they arrived and decided this would be home, they started the rebirth of the wild dragons. Six hatched within the first year and slowly over time the rest made their way into the new world. The wild dragons are rarely seen by the Riders anymore unless they are sought out, which rarely happens. Another formation of mountains that ran along the northern edge of the island is where the wild dragons reside. The older of the Eldunarí that were once wild dragons in the flesh assured Eragon that this is how it should be. The only times Eragon has sought out the wild dragons was to seek Rider eggs. Perhaps only one egg every five years is granted from the wild dragons.

Since they had settled Eragon has trained two and twenty Riders to date. Ten are elves, seven human, three dwarves, and two are Urgals. All of which made excellent students. Nyiain and her dragon Islingr were the first Rider and Dragon to join them. Islingr is a fierce male dragon whom Nyiain named for the fire in his eyes. They arrived seven years after settling and are now Eragon and Saphira's right hands pre say. They are in command of the affairs of the Order while Eragon and Saphira are otherwise occupied. It was she who Eragon felt approach. The melody of music within her mind held a touch of apprehension.

"Come Nyiain. What is it that troubles your mind so?" Eragon asked. It has been many years since she had been uncomfortable to approach him with anything that may trouble her.

"Ebrithil I am sorry to disturb your meditations." Nyiain replied. "You are needed in the meeting hall to receive a message from the scrying mirror in Ellesméra."

"Where is Blödhgarm?" He was the ambassador for the Riders and received messages from those in Alagaesia. "Did he not receive the elf that is scrying our hall?" Eragon asked Nyiain.

"Yes Ebrithil, he requested that I seek you out for the message is yours and yours alone." She replied. Eragon shook his head. It had been many years since he had been requested to receive any sort of messages. The only reason he could think of was that maybe something has happened to one of the Rider eggs. Eragon long ago turned the duty of keeping track and ferrying of the eggs to Yaela, one of the spellcasters that fought beside him throughout the Empire. It is not likely she would fail her duty.

"Very well, I shall be there in a moment." Eragon said. Nyiain bowed, her silver hair falling on either side of her slim face. Her eyes, the same color silver as her hair seemed to be wary, Eragon could not help but to think he would be receiving bad news of some kind. It seemed as if Nyiain was not sure of how he would react. That was strange. She was his first pupil and he watched her grow from a child to a mighty warrior. He would ponder this at a later time for someone was waiting upon him.

Eragon got up from the fallen tree log on which he sat and made his way back towards the base of the mountains in the middle which they had built their home. The forest inside and around the small cluster of mountains is where they built their halls.

Eragon walked into the meeting hall, took a quick look around and found Blödhgarm speaking with an elf near the end of the hall. The mirror was one of some thirty ranging around the room that are used for scrying the land. As he moved around the table towards Blödhgarm and the messenger he spoke with, Eragon took in the room in full. He always marveled at what they had accomplished here. The table he and seven of the original elves with him had sung from the surrounding pines was of an oval shape. Made to sit sixty beings, it was where they held feasts and their Rider counsels. Eragon's seat was one at the head of the table with the high back chair to show his place as the Lead Rider of the Order.

Blödhgarm noticed his arrival and spoke quietly to whoever waited for an audience. He turned towards Eragon and said "Thank you for heading my call Eragon-elda. There is a most important matter needing your attention." Eragon kept his face impassive as he answered. "What matter needs be discussed?"

By now Eragon was almost upon the mirror and as he stepped passed the wolf-like elf and saw who awaited him, he froze as he realized it was Queen Arya. Shocked that he was looking upon her face once again, all he could do was stare. After all these years of longing to see her again it was actually painful. She was still as beautiful as he remembered, maybe even more so but it was painful to see what he could never have.

Eragon was vaguely aware of Blödhgarm excusing himself and still he stared. He kept his face impassive so as to not let it show how hard it affected him to see Arya. Eragon was so caught up in the beauty of Arya's emerald eyes he almost did not realize she seemed to be waiting for something.

It seemed she was waiting for Eragon to greet her first as was the custom in elven culture. Eragon knew he should greet her first out of courtesy but as he was the leader of the Rider Order his station was of equal to the Queen of Elves.

Finally after what seemed to be many wasted minutes, Arya touched the first two fingers of her right hand to her lips and said "Atrá esterní ono thelduin, Eragon Lead Rider."

Eragon returned the gesture and replied "Un du evarínya ono varda, Arya Drötting." As this was not a formal occasion or as Arya did not deem it necessary, she did not finish with the third more formal greeting.

"To what do I owe the honor of this meeting Arya Drötting?" Eragon paused then added "As I know this cannot be simply a social call, is something amiss in Du Weldenvarden?" Arya seemed to consider him for several moments before she spoke. "No, this is not simply a social call but neither is it for formal purpose. The Agaetí Blödhren is almost upon us once again."

Eragon cocked an eyebrow "We will hold celebrations when the time comes to reaffirm our oath to the Dragons as we did the last century. Do not worry; we will do so again when the time comes." Arya had listened all the while her eyes never left his but it seemed as if she wanted to interrupt.

"You misunderstand Eragon. I have no doubt that you will reaffirm your oath. I am scrying to invite you to Ellesméra so you may participate here within the shadow of the Menoa Tree." Arya said.

Eragon remained impassive on the surface but was reeling with shock at the invitation. Why now? Arya never sought to invite us to the last celebration. I am sure Saphira would like to go, if only to see Fírnen and I would love nothing more than to see Arya again. Arya seemed to notice his line of thinking for she said "It has been too long since you have come to Alagaësia Eragon. The Riders under your command have come many times over the years but never yourself. Will you accept my invitation?"

Eragon thought for a moment, and then reached out for Saphira who was training with two of the younger dragons she was mentoring. Eragon saw that she was in the middle of a backwards corkscrew so he waited until she was finished before interrupting her training. When she was finished Eragon ran through his recent conversation with Arya. He felt her excitement at the thought of seeing her mate again. Of course we should go Little One! Saphira said.

Why didn't she invite us to the last one? He asked her. It is like she is just remembering we exist. It has been almost two hundred years since last we spoke. She has never sought to visit our stronghold and she is a Rider! The thought made Eragon feel like he was having the knife that represented his feelings for Arya twist and lodge even deeper in his chest.

I do not know Eragon. Perhaps pointed-ear- Queen Arya has other duties she must attend to. Saphira replied.

To Arya he finally spoke "You can expect us six days from today. We will be bringing my second in command Nyiain and her dragon Islingr. As my eldest students it is only right that they experience the original Blood-Oath Celebration. Can you accommodate the four of us?"

"We can accommodate you all. Is there anything else you would have from us?" Arya responded in a curt tone, as if she did not like the thought of extra company.

"Yes there is one more thing I would ask of you. Will you contact Rhunön-elda and ask if I may speak with her at one point during my stay?" Eragon asked but not revealing his reasons for the meeting. While digging the tunnel and the chamber where the Eldunarí were to be stored, Eragon and the elves chanced upon several rocks that looked to Eragon to be Brightsteel. Over the long years they have come to find several thousand pounds worth. Eragon wanted Rhunön's opinion on whether or not it was truly Brightsteel.

Arya responded that she would indeed inquire after Rhunön. "I look forward to speaking with you in person Eragon. She gave him a small smile and added "It has been far too long."

Eragon also gave her a smile and said "Yes. Yes it has. Good Day to you Arya Drötting." Eragon ended the scrying spell in a much better mood knowing that he would at last see Arya.

Eragon reached out to find the mind of Nyiain and nudged against it gently to gain entrance. When granted he said "Pack for a journey to Ellesméra, enough rations for yourself and me." He could feel that her thoughts were somewhat troubled but soon realized why. She has often seen inside his living quarters and must assume his feelings for Arya. Though he has never spoken of them, the fairths can almost paint the perfect picture of his feelings towards Arya.

Nyiain answered "Yes Ebrithil. I shall gather enough rations for the both of us. You wanted to take with us some of the Brightsteel, correct?"

"Yes." Eragon answered. "I will be in the vault for some time while you are busy with those tasks. Make sure you rest well tonight. We leave at dawn." Eragon withdrew from her mind and made his way out of the meeting hall and towards the tunnel that lead to the vault, where they stored the Eldunarí, the eggs, hundreds of Riders swords, and many precious gems that had been mined while building their new home. While he walked Eragon could not help but smile. He and Saphira were going back!