This is basically a filler chapter but I thought it would be fun to write about. Let me know how you think I did. Thanks and R&R.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Inheritance Cycle
Flight and Fight
Arya visited Eragon the day after their early morning rendezvous just after he finished his noon day meal. Saphira was resting in her bowl while Eragon worked on the project he would present during the Blood-Oath Celebration when he heard a knock on the trap door of his tree house.
"Enter." He called to his visitor as he drew a bed cloth over his project. He knew it was not Nyiain for he set her the task of contacting all the riders in Alagaësia to inform them to be diligent and stay watchful for anything out of the ordinary.
Must to his surprise and delight it was Arya that strode into his house. "Good day Eragon." She said as Fírnen landed on the balcony and snaked his head inside. Saphira greeted him with a low growl and flicked her tongue out to catch his scent.
"The same to you Arya and you as well Fírnen, what can I do for you?" He asked.
It was Fírnen who answered. Will you and Brightscales teach Arya and me air-combat? To better explain he showed Eragon a picture of himself, Arya on his back with Támerlein drawn.
Eragon thought for a long moment then looked to Arya and said. "Am I correct in assuming that you have never trained to fight on dragon back? And that you Fírnen have no other knowledge of combat other than what your instincts have taught you?"
"You are correct, we have studied the theory but we could not practice what we learned." Arya answered for both of them.
Saphira? He sent a questioning thought to his partner. What do you think?
I will not deny that they both need the knowledge, Fírnen more so than Arya but they both would have a lot to learn. It will be a difficult process because Fírnen is so set in his ways it will be hard for him to bend his pride and his will to take instruction. It may anger him to be criticized on those things he does wrong. Saphira said to him a thoughtful tone.
Arya was standing beside Fírnen and both were quiet while Eragon conversed with Saphira. When they were done he turned to the pair. "We can teach you but it will be difficult. Fírnen, without proper instruction when you were a hatchling this will be even tougher for you. Will you both agree to follow instruction at all times without argument?" He asked.
"We will." Arya said in the ancient language.
We will do as you say. Fírnen replied sealing their promise.
"When will your duties permit this training?" Eragon asked. "This will not work if we can only train for an hour at a time. Though Fírnen can work with Saphira while you're busy with court we will still need many days to make good progress."
Arya nodded as Saphira directed a question towards her. Have the two of you ever flown together with your minds closed to each other?
No Brightscales. Arya and I have always flown openly together.
When we are training without our riders you will close your mind to Arya until I tell you otherwise. While you have mastered functioning as one, you do not know how to function without your rider. This you must learn. Saphira said.
"But you Arya will know everything Fírnen is taught, the same goes for you Fírnen, when I am working with alone with Arya." Eragon said to them both.
"When can we begin?" Arya asked of Eragon. "I have the day free if you are willing?"
"Very well, I must change and saddle Saphira; we will meet you on the Crags in twenty minutes time." He said.
"We will be there." Arya said as she jumped up to her dragon's back. Fírnen was preparing to take flight when Eragon spoke once more.
"One more question." He paused. "Why do you want this?"
Fírnen looked back at Arya and it was a moment before she spoke. "We have become complacent while inside the borders of Du Weldenvarden and it shames me to admit that if a threat were to arise we would not be completely ready to face it as a dragon and Rider should. Also Fírnen wants-"
I want to be able to protect my Rider and also my hatchling when it comes into the world, I want to be a strong sire for him or her. We have been remiss in our duties and I to my race. We intend to remedy this flaw. Fírnen said inside Eragon's mind. He just nodded in reply and watched as the great green dragon took flight.
This should be interesting. Eragon said to Saphira.
Yes it will but I agree with Fírnen, he is not ready to become a Sire. That was one reason I got so angry when he spoke of betrayal after finding out that I laid an egg. She replied.
Yes I understand but there is nothing to be done for it now, we can only move on from here. Eragon said as he strapped his saddle to Saphira's back. He changed clothes and place Brisingr in its place. Jumping to the crook in her foreleg and up to her back, Eragon settled into his saddle and Saphira took flight.
Eragon smiled a joyous smile as the wind whipped through his hair and the feeling of freedom took hold in his heart. This is where we are meant to be. He felt Saphira hum in agreement. She was content to fly at a steady rhythm without any need for aerial stunts. She would save those and her energy for their training session with Fírnen.
They arrived on the Crags of Tel'naeír a few short minutes later, Arya and Fírnen were there and waiting. Eragon's heart clenched when he laid his eyes upon the hut in which Oromis once lived. Similar feelings were coming from Saphira but they both pushed them aside to prepare for the coming task.
Eragon and Saphira began to teach Arya and Fírnen the ways of combat while on dragon back.
Eragon looked at Arya and said. "The first thing you must learn is how to fly with your minds closed as Saphira said earlier. You must become accustomed to each and every maneuver Fírnen may make during a battle. It is easy to fly together when you are in his mind and know beforehand what he is preparing to do but it is something else entirely when you are unprepared. So let us begin with that, Saphira and I will lead while you and Fírnen follow. Keep your mind open to me so I may instruct but closed to Fírnen."
Saphira added. The same to you as well Fírnen, open to me but closed to Arya. Now come!
With that Saphira launched herself into the air, she flew up to a thousand or so feet then began to bank right and left so Arya could become accustomed to the feelings of confusion while nof being in contact with Fírnen. The Lead Rider and Dragon having taught these lessons many times knew the routine.
Eragon felt Arya firmly latched in his mind and began to coach her. Feel the way he moves, the way his muscles tense and release when he banks right then left. Also use your eyes, watch how his wing joints pivot and how it effects his movements. Commit these to your memory and it will help you devise his plans without the need for mental contact. Fighting like this is no different than fighting with a sword. As Glaedr-elda once told me, you must learn to see what you're looking at and the way of the warrior is the way of knowing. It all applies here; once you learn the look and feel of Fírnen underneath you then you will be able to anticipate his movements then ready yourself for them.
Yes Eragon-elda. Arya said in reply to his teaching. So all four of them continued on for another two hours with Saphira leading Fírnen through increasingly difficult aerial maneuvers while Eragon taught Arya how to lean and shift her weight through the complex positions. Finally Saphira slowed and hovered fifty yards away from Fírnen. They were several thousand feet above the forest so Eragon thought the time and place was ripe.
What do you think Saphira? Should we? Eragon asked the mighty dragoness.
They must learn sometime and though Fírnen could use work on his overall flying skills, I think they have experience to spar in the air. Saphira answered.
Eragon drew Brisingr and had to shout so Arya could hear him.
"Are the two of you ready to put your skills into practice?" He said as he dulled the edge of his sword. He then cast wards against physical harm on both Saphira and Fírnen so they would not hurt each other with their claws.
In answer Arya drew Támerlein and dulled its edge. No sooner then she was finished, Fírnen shot towards Saphira with as much speed as he could muster in the short distance intending to pass on her right side and allow Arya to strike at Eragon.
Saphira tucked her wings, rotated to the left and Fírnen passed almost directly over Eragon. This allowed Eragon to reach up and smack the flat of his blade against Fírnen's tail. It was hardly a blow which would hurt the huge dragon but it was enough to make him feel it and know that had Eragon been an enemy without a dulled blade his tail could possibly have been crippled.
Saphira continued rotating until she faced Fírnen once more. She speed towards the green dragon who did not move in an attempt to face Saphira head on. Flaring her wings so she did not hit him with her full weight she struck him just above his shoulder joint. The force of the impact still threw Eragon forward in the saddle. Saphira then grabbed Fírnen's right foreleg in her front paws while she let her momentum carry her hind legs towards his tail which she also locked onto with her rear paws.
Eragon was in no position to attack neither Arya nor Fírnen so he allowed his partner to control the situation. He felt a sharp pain in his left shoulder and realized that Arya must have struck Saphira in the same manner.
Good. They are learning. He thought. Eragon did not want Arya to only concentrate on him and Fírnen to do the same as Saphira. They needed to attack as one.
The blow from Arya caused Saphira to release Fírnen's front leg and he spun to grab Saphira's underbelly but she was too quick. She released his tail, flared her wings to catch the wind so she was pulled free of him all together.
Just as Fírnen was about to right himself and face Saphira, she dove and caught him in the right flank. She was stretched out along his entire length; her snout faced his tail while her tail was draped over Fírnen's neck. Saphira grappled to get a firm hold on his hind leg and when she succeeded this put Eragon and Arya in a perfect position to exchange blows.
Arya was ready for him and swung a powerful blow at his sword arm to which parried. They continued to exchange a blows sacrificing power for speed when Eragon felt Saphira flex her tail downwards at the same time she pulled Fírnen's hind leg inwards to her chest. She was trying to roll him into a ball. Using her raw strength Saphira brought Fírnen's head down, though he tried to resist he could not match Saphira's strength and his head shot down causing Arya to pitch forward. Eragon saw the opening and took it to place Brisingr on the back of Arya's neck.
Dead. Eragon said in Arya and Fírnen's minds. Let us land.
They both mentally nodded and Eragon could feel the disappointment emanate from their consciousness. When they landed the sun was just peaking over the tops of the great pine trees casting purple and orange shadows throughout the sky as it descended. Eragon jumped down from his saddle and stretched his stiff leg muscles.
"You both fought well for your first time training in the air, their is not much left to learn, you only need practice." Eragon told the pair.
If you would like to hone your flying and grappling skills Fírnen we can always continue without our riders. Saphira said.
Yes Brightscales. I am not as good as I should be at my age and size. I thank you.
Saphira nipped his neck in return then both dragons walked several yards to the gurgling stream to refresh themselves. The sight made Eragon smile, when Saphira is happy, he was happy as well. He turned to Arya and noticed a slight frown on her face.
"What troubles you Arya?" He asked.
Arya opened her mouth several times but no words came out and she just heaved a sigh. "I do not know Eragon, Fírnen and I should already know these things. I think it is shame I feel because we do not."
"You have no reason to feel shameful. No one is Alagaësia could have taught you these skills after I left. If anyone is to blame it is me, I should have sent someone years ago to teach you." Eragon said looking at her intently. "There is something else bothering you as well."
"You have grown perceptive as well as wise." After a slight pause she said. "After you told me your name it made me realize how little I have really accomplished since I became queen, how little I have accomplished since becoming a Rider as well. Your name put a great many things prospective."
"Arya you did what was right for your people. They needed a leader they could trust, someone they could look to for answers and who better to fill that roll than one who has spent her entire life devoted to her race?" Eragon said in an attempt to ease her burden.
"Yes it was the right thing to do at the time." Then she added very softly. "But is it the right thing to continue doing now?"
What does she mean by that? Eragon thought somewhat shocked.
Well little one, I think she means she is tired of wearing the round-metal-crown on her head. Saphira said to him.
"You're the only one who can decide that Arya but it is not a decision you want to make over-night and certainly not in response to who I have become." Eragon said softly.
"Yes you are right." She said.
Eragon was not convinced. He had a feeling that her mind was already made up no matter what he said, which thrilled him and horrified him at the same time. He did not want her to give up her crown in response to who he had become.
"Do you wish to continue this training?" Eragon asked in an attempt to bring the conversation back to the matter at hand.
"Yes of course we do. No matter what we decide to do with our lives, this is an essential part of being a dragon and rider, we will see it through." She said while looking at Fírnen.
"Good. Fírnen will continue to work with Saphira to hone his flying skills; you and I will join them when we both have free time. Is this acceptable?" He asked Arya.
She nodded so Eragon continued with a different subject trying to draw Arya out of her thoughts. "Yaela should reach Ellesméra this evening with the remaining two eggs. Will you have someone inform the elves who wish to be tested that we will proceed with the ceremony an hour after the sun rises tomorrow?"
Arya seemed to shake herself. "Yes I will have Däthedr send out a runner to the few elves who wish to be riders." She sighed heavily. "I do not look forward to such a production; having to greet every elf and use our fabled courtesy can become tiring."
"That is the dragon in you, bonding with Fírnen has changed you fundamental make up. Those few subtle outbursts of anger I have noticed since my arrival come from him. A dragon would not stand for being ordered about, you have much self control to keep that side reigned in as you do." Eragon said and smiled at Arya.
Arya laughed her musical laughter. "Yes I have noticed. Fírnen does not agree with such courtesy but tolerates it for me. I guess it is more noticeable than I thought. Well shall we return to the city? You need to greet Yaela and I must speak with Däthedr." She asked him.
Eragon looked up and noticed the sun was fully hidden behind the trees and darkness was upon them. He wanted to stay here with Arya forever and get lost in her company but unfortunately his duties stood in the way. He looked at the hut he spent so much time in during his own training. I should bring Glaedr here so we can all pay our respects to Oromis. He sighed remembering the kindness the elf had once shown to him and Saphira.
He looked back to Arya. "Yes I suppose we should return. We have been absent for many hours."
They both climbed into their saddles and took flight. Eragon was lost in his thoughts. If Arya was to hand down her crown maybe she would see fit to join us in the Silent Forest. Eragon let himself daydream of such a possibility but he would not let himself hope. To hope of such a life, a life with Arya by his side only to have that hope crushed could possibly destroy him. He could feel the change in the air and smiled as they all continued the journey to the pinewood city.