The Red Rider - the tale of the other rider, the first son of Selena; mirror storyline avec missing pieces. MxN.

I really wish someone had commented on how, in the previous chapter, I made a point of having Murtagh say SEVERAL TIMES how in spite of being a Dragon Rider, Eragon is really just a kid. I mean, REALLY!

Throughout the whole series everyone sees Eragon as some sort of god even though he makes so many mistakes out of sheer naiveté and inexperience. And Saphira totally feeds his hero complex, ugh. At least in HP, Harry knew he was average and didn't try to be anything but modest. Seriously, Eragon needs to get off his high horse, er, dragon. #murtaghfan #isitobvious

xoxo —ei

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 6, Legacy

I watched as tear slid down Eragon's listless face and evaporated in the sunlight, leaving a salty crust on his cheek. He closed his eyes and absorbed the warmth of the setting sun. With a fingernail, he aimlessly scratched the sandstone.

Why? was slashed across the sandy surface.

"How are you?" I asked quietly, looking away and skewering a pair of rabbits I had snared earlier.

"Very ill."

"Will you recover?" I asked, my manner businesslike.

Eragon shrugged.

Words were bubbling to my mouth almost irrepressibly. So many questions and yet this was not the time for most. But even after a few minutes of reflection, I could hold my tongue no longer.

"I dislike asking this at such a time, but I must know…Is your Brom, the Brom? The one who helped steal a dragon egg from the king, chased it across the Empire, and killed Morzan in a duel? I heard you say his name, and I read the inscription you put on his grave, but I must know for certain, was that he?"

"It was." A troubled expression crossed Eragon's face.

Here it was again, the lurking suspicion that would only grow stronger that when I told him whose son I was. he would lash out out at me, just as everyone else had.

"How do you know all that?" He asked slowly. "You talk about things that are secret to most, and you were trailing the Ra'zac right when we needed help. Are you one of the Varden?"

I scoffed derisively at the mention of the resistance. "I'm running away, like you. I do not belong to either the Varden or the Empire. I owe allegiance to no man but myself. As for my rescuing you, I will admit that I've heard whispered tales of a new Rider and reasoned that by visiting the Ra'zac I might discover if the rumors were true."

"I thought you wanted to kill the Ra'zac," said Eragon.

I smiled grimly. "I do, but if I had, I never would have met you." But Brom would still be alive… I sensed he thought this, too.

Eragon scrutinized me and just as I began to regret bringing the topic up at all, I felt a feather-light touch graze my consciousness. Instinctively, walls shot up. Seamless iron-hard walls shot up, fortifying my entire mind.


I stared at him blankly, measuredly. I could sense that his mind was still weak, easily penetrable. Forget the ancient language, I could easily have overtaken him, but that wouldn't have endeared me. And there was still the dragon who no matter how young was infinitely strong than I.

I did not look away, until he resigned his attempts.

"Where is Saphira?" Eragon asked finally, tiring.

"I don't know. She followed me for a time when I went hunting, then flew off on her own. I haven't seen her since."

Eragon rocked onto his feet and returned to the cave.

I followed.

"What are you going to do now?"

"I'm not sure."

He rolled up his blankets and tied them to his horse's saddle bags with a grimace that intimated his pain. I continued to prepare the rabbits, keeping one eye on the boy. He shifted things in his bags and pulled out a long slim sheath.

The red scabbard glinted brightly as he unsheathed a longsword. With a shudder he pulled off his bow and belted on the sword.

With a jolt, I realized where I had seen the sword before. I had known it intimately; it had left marks on my own body. Viscerally, I touched the base of the long, running scar on my side.

"That sword, may I see it?"

Reluctantly, he nodded and handed it to me.

I examined the runes on the sword keenly. The red sheath glimmered and I wondered how many foes' bloods had turned it this menacing burgundy tone. I scrutinized it longer than necessary—I had recognized it immediately, of course.

"Where did you get this?" I asked stiffly.

"Brom gave it to me. Why?"

I shoved it back to him, crossing my arms angrily, breathing angrily through my nose. "That sword was once as well-known as its owner. The last Rider to carry it was Morzan, a brutal, savage man." My voice shook with emotion. "I thought you were a foe of the Empire, yet here I find you bearing one of the Forsworn's bloody swords!"

He stared at Zar'roc with genuine shock. "Brom never told me where it came from," he said. "I had no idea it was Morzan's."

Brom must have taken it from Morzan after they fought in Gil'ead.

"He never told you?" I asked, a note of disbelief in my voice. "That's strange. I can think of no reason for him to have concealed it. But then, he kept many secrets."

"Even so, I'm going to carry it. I don't have a sword of my own. Until such time as I get one, I'll use Zar'roc."

I turned away, disgusted. "It's your choice."

When the meal was ready, Eragon ate slowly but thoroughly, meticulously scraping his bowl clean of all food particles.

As they washed out their bowls, he said, "I have to sell my horse."

"Why not Brom's?" I asked, my voice still a little cool from our earlier discussion.

"Snowfire? Because Brom promised to take care of him. Since he…isn't around," he said delicately. "I'll do it for him."

I set down my bowl. "If that's what you want, I'm sure we can find a buyer in some town or village."

I wasn't sure the sentiment was quite worth the possible trouble, but it wasn't as if we could hide forever. The Ra'zac had surely reached the King and mentioned Eragon, the new Rider, and the fact that I was with him would hardly have escaped Galbatorix's notice.

"We?" asked Eragon.

I looked at him sideways in a calculating manner. "You won't want to stay here for much longer. If the Ra'zac are nearby, Brom's tomb will be like a beacon for them."

Eragon looked startled at the thought. Clearly, he had not considered this. The boy still had so much to learn if he was going to oppose the King.

"And your ribs are going to take time to heal. I know you can defend yourself with magic, but you need a companion who can lift things and use a sword. I'm asking to travel with you, at least for the time being. But I must warn you, the Empire is searching for me. There will be blood over it eventually."

Eragon laughed weakly and grimaced in pain. Once his breath was back, he said, "I don't care if the entire army is searching for you. You're right. I do need help. I would be glad to have you along, though I have to talk to Saphira about it. But I have to warn you, Galbatorix just might send the entire army after me. You won't be any safer with Saphira and me than if you were on your own."

Challenged accepted. "I know that," I said with a grin. "But all the same, it won't stop me."

Saphira crawled into the mouth of the cave and Eragon met her. They greeted each other tenderly, trying to renew each other's spirits. They talked in their silent manner for several minutes. Finally, Eragon turned back to me and related their conversation.

They planned to go ahead to Gil'ead to find a woman named Dormnad who would direct them to the Varden.

Saphira laid her big blue head on the floor heavily so that several stalactites fells to the floor with a crash.

"I see. Then, if you find this Dormnad and then continue on to the Varden, I will leave you. Encountering the Varden would be as dangerous for me as walking unarmed into Urû'baen with a fanfare of trumpets to announce my arrival."

"We won't have to part anytime soon," protested Eragon. "It's a long way to Gil'ead." His voice cracked slightly, and he squinted at the sun to distract himself. "We should leave before the day grows any older."

"Are you strong enough to travel?" I asked, frowning.

"I have to do something or I'll go crazy," said Eragon brusquely. "Sparring, practicing magic, or sitting around twiddling my thumbs aren't good options right now, so I choose to ride."

So I doused the fire, packed, and we led the horses out of the cave. At the mouth, he handed Cadoc's and Snowfire's reins to me, saying, "Go on, I'll be right down."

I began the slow descent from the cave as Eragon struggled up the sandstone, resting when his side made it impossible to breathe.

Several minutes later, the sandstone in the air glittered and hummed, turning clear with dancing silver highlights. I watched in wonder as tendrils of white diamond twisted over the tomb's surface in a web of priceless filigree. Sparkling shadows were cast on the ground, reflecting splashes of brilliant colors that shifted dazzlingly as the sandstone continued to change.

With a satisfied snort that carried, Saphira stepped back and examined her handiwork.

The sculpted sandstone mausoleum of moments before had been transformed into a sparkling gemstone vault—under which Brom's corpse lay.

Eragon knelt, his head bowed.

Then Rider turned to Dragon and together they turned to the face the rising sun.

This is kind of a sappy chapter although I have a soft spot for the ending. Anyway, hope you liked it. Sorry, I know it's shorter than usual, but I just had to get something out today, or I would lose it » If you would like me to post more often, send me money I can buy a computer, or, you know, you could just REVIEW!