I own none of Christopher Paolini's characters or his books. I merely admire The Inheritance Cycle and wish to write my own sequel to it. Personally, I believe the book ended with too many "loose ends" and left room for so much more. I hope you enjoy my fanfiction, Rise of Misfortune. This story is set after Paolini's last book, Inheritance. I love feeback and I would love to receive some. :)

Chapter Three

Rauthr awoke to the sun's fingers caressing his face, the rays stretching far across the room and illuminating the wooden floor and white-washed walls with a warm glow. His blue eyes fluttered open and his mouth parted with a well-needed yawn. He wasn't sure how long he had slept but his body felt like melting butter, and he had to dig the sleeping sand from the corners of his eyes. At first he wasn't sure how he had gotten into the room. Was he still dreaming? He blinked, surveying the room in the light of the morning.

The room was small but cozy, better than any place he had stayed in years. Light-colored curtains framed a small frosty window and in the corner of the room was a large bucket, filled with water. He emerged from the bed reluctantly, stretched briefly, and then walked towards the bucket. He grabbed a soft wash cloth that was draped over the bucket and a white block of soap made from animal fat which was placed on the floor. He sniffed the block curiously and smiled with delight. It smelled faintly of mint and some other spice, it was a pleasant smell.

After he had washed his body, including the pink scars that were like raised ropes on his legs, he replaced his clothes. He frowned as he observed their tattered state. He left his gloves for last, which had fallen to the floor as he was putting on his cloak. The old leather was still coated with blood which was beginning to flake off. He grimaced at them before throwing them in the bucket of water that was no longer clear, but murky. After he had gotten rid of them he sat at the foot of the bed and ran his fingers through his light, damp hair.

His eyes strayed to the corner of the room where the black dragon egg continued to rest. It looked as if it was being choked by the sheet wrapped around it, and it contrasted greatly against the white pillow that it sat upon. "Were you comfy?" He cursed how foolish he had been to have left it out in the open like he had. He should have covered it better. Rauthr stood up from the bed and walked towards the egg, picking it up gently. He looked over it, surveying it for cracks or any other form of harm. He marveled over its stretching red veins before murmuring more softly, "I guess we better get you back home."

After placing the egg carefully back into the leather bag and making his bed, something that he had learned from the old lady that he once lived with, he left the room and made his way to inn's entrance. His eyes searched for the man that had given him the room but all he could see was an older woman standing behind the counter, her face hidden by a book. Her dusty eyes raised to his and she quickly bent the corner of her book before placing it down. "Leave the key on the counter," she said with a smile that caused the skin by her eyes to crinkle into deep crevices.

Rauthr handed the key to her and smiled back, "Could you leave a message for me for the man that worked here last night?"

The old lady's eyebrow raised, "So you're the one who Alduin gave the free room." She raised a finger towards him warningly, "You better not have a made a mess. I'm too old to be cleaning those rooms for clients that aren't even paying!"

Rauthr shook his head, "Could you tell him 'thank you' for me, and that I promise to someday return the favor?" The woman nodded, yet her expression remained irritated as she dove back into her reading. The boy could hear her muttering something about her son being too kind as he opened the door and walked back into the chilled air.

It was cold, but the sun shone down and warmed his head with its rays. He breathed in deep, the air smelled of wet dirt and of rotting straw. The streets that were once empty as he searched for an inn during the sleet were now filled with people, horses, and figures whose faces were hidden by the shadows of buildings. Rauthr wasn't sure how he would find an elf, but he knew where he could begin his search. The problem was in who he could and couldn't trust.

He made his way towards one of Gil'ead's lesser known taverns. The trees around the stone building loomed over it like giants, casting shadows across the ground. Rauthr held the leather bag protectively to his chest, draping his cloak over it. He then knocked on the door of the tavern. The door was large and foreboding, the wood blackened as if it had been burned. The door creaked open and a pair of golden eyes examined him. The man's voice was hoarse and low, "State yer business."

"I'm looking for someone," Rauthr replied nervously. His fingers strayed to his dagger which he had cleaned in the bucket of water, it gleamed brightly after the blood was washed away. It was if the sin had been erased by the water.

"Yer too young to be in here boy, now go back home to yer mommy." The man chuckled darkly before his eyes disappeared and the door closed with a loud 'thud,' the smell of mead escaped into the air. Rauthr hit his fists against the door angrily until sweat ran down his brow, but the man failed to open it again.

His warm breath turned into puffs of smoke as he turned his head away from the door. As he turned his watery eyes came upon a tall shadow of a figure leaning against the side of the tavern. His hand went to the dagger at his side, readying himself.

"If I were an enemy I would have killed you long ago." The voice that came from the figure was light and musical, yet was also laced with something dangerous and truthful. The voice invoked a sense of familiarity in Rauthr. Before he could reply the figure took a step into the light.

The boy's blue eyes widened at the woman's fair face and features. Her eyebrows were high and slanted down sharply, and the soft looking hair that poked out of her hood was the color of exquisite silver. Her lips remained in a straight line and were pink, lightly colored like the rest of her features. Her eyes focused on him without blinking and were the color of fresh honey.

His mouth parted to speak, to question the woman, yet closed as his brow furrowed with puzzlement. "You've been following me?"

Her eyes finally blinked, an indication that she wasn't just a lifeless and beautiful statue. "Yes," she said simply as her voice chimed like a bell in the air.

Rauthr's mouth turned into a frown and his hand remained on the dagger. "Why?"

The woman waited a minute before speaking, as if mulling over her answer. "You have something that isn't yours. It is under my protection."

She knew about the dragon egg. Rauthr gazed at her nervously, his heart pounding like a captured butterfly. She had been at least following him since he had killed the thief and had stolen the egg. She must have watched him kill the man.

"Do not grieve for him. He would have died by my blade if you had not killed him first. I was watching him." She smiled, her voice turning quiet and dangerous. "Few can steal from us and live for very long."

One of her hands went to the hood of her cloak and removed it, revealing two largely pointed ears which poked through her metallic hair. A familiar presence prodded at his mind, reassuring him. It felt like the same presence he had felt before he had killed the thief, the presence that urged him to go on.

He became angry and confused, his fists turning into balls. "That was you!"

The elf remained calm as he displayed his aggression, her eyes watching him like a flightless bird that had fallen from its nest. He was as much as a threat to her as an ant in her path. "I wanted to test you." Her brow raised higher than he thought would be possible. "You were a little messier than I would have been, but you passed."