What if a small girl from Teirm became a dragon rider at the same time as Eragon?
I picked up the large white rock, looking at it closely, and using the edge of my dress to scrub off the dirt of years, until it shone as pure as the new snow around me. I rapped on the stone with my knuckles, surprised to hear a softly echoing tone ring out. It was almost like when I tapped against the glass orbs that father sells to the merchants, but it was lower, and more musical. is it hollow? I wondered. it has to be. Nothing solid could ever make such a sound. At that thought, I held it out at arm's length, and wondered what it could be. It certainly wasn't like any stone I had seen before- and that was quite a lot considering how often her father mingled with the traveling merchants. As a glassmaker, he was always getting called away on long trips to Kuasta and Bullridge, and even all the way to Surda when he wanted to check up on his old apprentices. I had taken my strong mare into the Spine a few days ago, and I suspected I was somewhere near Carvahall, a little town that I had been told of by my tutor and best friend, Jeod. I wonder how he is, anyway. He looked like he was coming down with a cold when I said goodbye. I pondered for a minute more, before I shook my head clear and got up, carrying my stone with me to my horse.
I got back onto my dapple-grey mare, the stone safely stowed in a pack on my back, which I had reinforced with double stitching and padded with clean wool.
By this time, I hadn't a shadow of a doubt about the hollowness of the stone; -if a stone it was- I would never have been able to lift it with such ease were it solid. The shiny veins running along it's surface were like sunlight playing on the floor of a fountain, and were nearly indistinguishable from the pearly color of the rest of the stone.
I lead my mare northeast- I never much liked the city of Narda, and I was hoping to run into Brom in Carvahall. He was a nice old man, with his graying black hair and beard, and his tales of Riders and Dragons.
I didn't have a doubt that they were true- their existence was reinforced in the many books that Jeod had had me read and copy. I prided myself on my literacy; it wasn't something that many young women could boast of, what with their tittering on about the washing and their husbands and what the milkmaid did last week with the porter's son. I had more valuable things to think about, like finishing that blasted Elvish book.
Domia abr Wyrda was proving difficult for even me to finish, and I was normally able to gobble up hundreds of pages within hours.
I continued through the Spine for a few more days, before I had to stop and let myself and my mare rest, my legs stiff and sore from being in the saddle for so long, even at a walk. I had put on pants for the time being, as they were warmer to wear in the mountains than skirts were; and I had decided not to ride sidesaddle, as I had always found it difficult and slid off often by accident. As I stumbled to a stop by a half-frozen stream, I made a snap decision to take a bath. I really could use one. my nose wrinkled as I turned and sniffed at my shoulder.
I gathered up my pot and filled it with water, setting it to boil as I undressed and began washing my clothes. I had a clean spare set to change into, but I did not like going around carrying dirty clothes.
I took the white stone out of my pack and set it amid my clean clothes on a tree stump, while I swept the snow off a place on the ground so that I could stand on bare feet without getting cold-burns on them.
When the water began to boil, I put the pot in the snow, cooling off the water just enough, and began washing myself with jasmine-tinged lye soap, and took special care to wash out and rinse my hair properly. It was almost to my elbows, long and a near-white color. Nobody I knew had my color of hair, but everyone said my mom had hair just like mine, as well as my eyes, which were a greenish-silver color. I suspect I might have some sort of Elf blood in me somewhere; I have always been a little stronger, a little faster than the other girls. Otherwise I am a mostly normal fifteen-year-old.
My name is Farina Drinasdaughter. I hope I earn some sort of notable name. I don't like being known for who my parents are.
I wrung out my hair and put it in a braid before redressing in a pair of cotton underclothes, the thick padding on my chest piece fitting the curves of my body. Over that I put on a brown knitted-wool tunic, the sleeves extending all the way to my knuckles and almost to my knees.
I also put on a pair of tight cotton leggings under a pair of leather trousers, which would keep me from getting blisters from riding my horse. I didn't want my toes to freeze off, so I put on my warmest pair of boots; a water-proof pair with the inside lined with rabbit fur. On my head I put nothing, but around my neck I wrapped a length of knitted cotton, shielding my neck, lower face, and ears against the biting cold. I also put on rabbit-skin gloves, and a long, deep green wool cloak before unfurling my hammock and stringing it up between two trees about four feet away from the fire. When that was done, I ate a small supper of rye bread, dried figs, and water before curling up in the hammock and falling into a deep, restful sleep.
The next morning I packed everything up, rolling up my hammock that I had hung near the fire, putting out said fire, and feeding my horse before taking out the stone for some inexplicable reason.
I set it on the tree stump, and squatted on the balls of my feet, eye-level with the mysterious object. Imagine my astonishment when said stone began to rock back and forth. With gurgles and squeaks permeating the snow-muted forest as my heartbeat escalated, no doubt joining the slowly growing din.
There is no possibly way it could be… I gaped like a fish for a moment at my half-formed thought, and sat out in the pre-dawn gloom before the sky began to turn a rosy pink, the sun not quite up over the mountains yet.
The stone-but-not rocked back and forth, the squeaks and chirps growing more… determined with each inch it moved.
Then, as the sky began it's change from pink to gold, the pearl-colored object seemed to explode, the large pieces splitting apart, the smaller ones flying past her. One mid-sized piece 'thunk'ed on the middle of her forehead, startling her, and knocking her off balance and onto her rear end. She scrambled back up, her mare having backed away to a safe distance as soon as the stone started moving.
"a dragon!" I whispered, peering over the edge of the tree stump in awe.
It hatched for me! Does this make me a Rider? thoughts flew through my head at the speed of a lightning strike as I observed the small creature. It was the same pearly white as it's egg had been, and it was oddly angular for such a young creature. oh, it's just it's wings. I thought as the hatchling flapped it's wings about, the cool air rushing past my face as I smiled. "I'll name you Aiedail. The morning star." I felt a happy feeling brush against my mind- a feeling I had learned to recognize. Whenever Brom had come to Teirm, Jeod had summoned me and I had undergone mental exercises, learning more every visit, and gaining strength little by little as I practiced with Jeod whenever Brom was absent. I gave a gentle hug to the new, jumbled mind as I entered what must have been Aiedail's newborn consciousness. 'are you male or female, small one?' I thought, and although I didn't get a straight answer, the pearly white hatchling sent me a distinct impression of her femininity.
Aiedail's nostrils let out a small stream of steam, and I reached out, aiming to reach the side of her neck- to run my fingers along my newborn other-half's scales, wondering if they would be warm as a fading ember, or cool as the winter sunrise. But as soon as my fingertips touched her hide, the moment the first golden ray of sun shot over the mountains, a thunderclap rolled through my mind, and a burning; a white hot sensation flashed through my nerves, shooting up my arm and reaching my head, at which point I promptly blacked out.
When I came to, my left side was soggy and sore from where I had landed and lain in the snow, but thankfully my woolen outer garments had repelled most of the near-freezing moisture. A small nudging sensation woke me fully, and I looked towards my feet to see Aiedail curled along my thighs- I had bent my knees some in my unconsciousness/sleep, forming a small alcove at my hips. I looked towards my right hand, the one I touched Aiedail with. My palm now was a shining silver color, the gedwey ignasia bright on my palm. I beamed at it- despite the initial pain it had caused me, it had forged the bond between I and my dragon, a bond that would never be broken. I would give my life for Aiedail, and I'm sure she would do the same for me, once she was older and learned the significance of the action. I stood up now with a new purpose. I had to get to Brom. He would know what to do. He could help me. It would be too dangerous to return home to Teirm now- the city was crawling with soldiers, and it housed a plethora of nosy people, strangers and neighbors alike. It would not do for a dragon and rider, particularly a pair as young and inexperienced as Aiedail and I, to be under such observation. I didn't want to end up dead because of Galbatorix, as so many riders had, nor did I want Aiedail to have any sort of rumor flying around about her until she was big enough to defend herself, and preferably old enough to fly away from the danger if the need arose. From what I had read, I could not expect her to have a flame until after her sixth month of life, but I think I should encourage her to fly before that.
I slowed my pace considerably after Aiedail's hatching, stopping and making camp often. I always left my mind open now, the better for her to learn with. Her constant mental questions amused me; she sounded like a human toddler with her newly found voice ringing out every other minute, 'what is that?' 'a tree' 'what is that?" 'that is snow. It falls from up there. Up there is the sky.' I pointed, and her curious gaze followed my finger, her eyes becoming awestruck at the expanse of the sky and stars.
'What are those in the sky?' 'those there?' I sent her a mental image of the stars. 'yes. What are those?' 'those are the stars. They change over time, in a large circle.' I drew a circle in the snow with my finger, and she looked between the shape and the sky curiously.
'stars move?' 'yes, over a long time. They always come back to how they are, though. Every season.'
'season?' 'there are four seasons. Spring, summer, fall, and winter. It is winter now. Snow falls in the winter.'
It went on like this for days, as I explained the seasons, nature, time, the sky, the fire, my clothes, the concept of heat, gravity, and many other things. Once her tide of questions calmed and she gained a general, if not common perception of the world and it's workings, I explained to her the difference between genders, and the names associated with the different genders according to role, position, and age. and she nodded her pearly-scaled head to show her understanding. When she asked why I was explaining that, I told her that we were going to see a friend of mine- a man. 'we're going to see a man-friend of Farina's?' she asked curiously. 'yes. His name Is Brom. He knows even more about the world than I do. He will help me teach you \, and he will teach me as well. He will teach and help us.'
'Brom-Farina-Man-Friend will teach us? He will help us?'
'yes.' I smiled at her, and she smiled slightly, the corners of her mouth pulling up in a reptilian grin.
We arrived in Carvahall when Aiedail was six weeks old. She was now about up to my hips, and her wings each as long as I was tall up to my shoulders. Her green eyes beheld the world with as much understanding as sharing the mind of a fifteen-year-old girl could give her. I even taught her what little of the Ancient Language I was sure of. I looked at my prized possession- a diamond no larger than my thumbnail, set into a silver band which I wore on a chain around my neck. I had started a long time ago on what I was sure Brom did with his ring, Aren. I had ferreted away every last bit of energy I could twice a day, once before I went to sleep, and once when I first woke up. It was then that I decided to cast my second-ever spell. (my first was the stenr rïsa spell that proved I had any sort of magical potential, even before Aiedail hatched for me.)
Drawing on the diamond's energy, I worded the spell as carefully as I could, and I brooded for a full five minutes before deciding on the precise wording of the spell, so that Aiedail did not become blind, nor did anyone who looked at or around her. I worded it perfectly, and before my eyes, the light that reflected off of her began to slowly but surely move around her, rendering her invisible.
'I cannot see myself, Farina!' came the alarmed thoughts of my dragon.
'it is okay, Aiedail, do not panic. Do you remember how I told you about there being an evil king?'
'Galbatorix, and his black-male-dragon-Shruikan.'
'yes. If they know about you, they may seek to kill us, or enslave us both. We can't let you be seen by anybody but Brom, Jeod, and the Elves. And if Brom thinks it is okay, we'll take you to the Varden to help them.'
'Brom will explain. hush, we don't know who else may be able to hear you once we reach the village. Will you put your head underneath my hand? I want to know where you are so you don't get lost from me.' I asked and told respectively, and soon enough, I felt her scaly head fit into my right palm, and I stroked her before resting my hand on her crown. Taking my horse's reins in one hand, and keeping the other on Aiedail, I made my way into the city of Carvahall.
I passed the butcher's shop, and I stopped in to chat, asking him in a roundabout way where Brom was.
"oh he's over there. Got himself a string of gross this morning, why dontcha see if you can get him to sell 'em to me?" asked Sloan, and I smiled and nodded.
"I'll see what I can do. It was good speaking with you, Sloan!" I waved as I left, Aiedail by my side, off to where Brom was.
When I got there, I saw him being confronted by a few Imperial soldiers.
'they are going to try and steal from Brom. Come on Aiedail, we need to stop them.'
I sauntered up to the group, Brom sitting on a stool, and the guards standing menacingly over him. Brom was about to deliver a witty comment about where he got the birds, which was where I stepped in.
"Hello there Brom! Guards! How are you all this fine day?" I let go of my horse for a moment to sweep to the side the skirt I had put over my trousers.
"Stay out of this, missy. This here man has stolen these here birds."
"oh no, sir. I gave those to him! My older brother shot them down in a contest with my cousin, and he gave some of his to me. Of course, I don't like gross very much, so I gave them to Brom here. He's a friend of my tutor. Would you like a few? We would be happy to share. Especially with such a…" I pretended to flirt, looking him up and down. "handsome soldier such as yourself."
I winked at him, and a flush came up his cheeks as I unstrung three of the six birds. Handing them to him, I smiled, showing all of my teeth, which were a full set as white as my dragon's scales. "I'm Sasha by the way. I hope to see you around Carvahall sometime."
Then, as the soldiers left, I turned to Brom. "Hello there, Brom, how've you been?"
"What are you doing in Carvahall, Farina? Does your father know you strayed this far from Teirm?"
"well it's quite a long story, and I would prefer it if we talked in private." I raised my eyebrows and he nodded, standing and unhitching the rest of the birds.
"my house is this way." he lead me to a small home, with books piled everywhere, and his red sword, Zar'roc, sheathed amid swathes of velvet.
I had left my horse outside, and I sat down on the edge of one of the tables, as Brom fussed around to make a pot of tea.
"Brom, I have had something of monumental proportions happen to me."
"oh really, what was that?" he asked without turning around.
"Brom!" I hissed, and he turned to look at me.
"What, Farina, what could possibly merit such a harsh tone from you of all people?"
In answer, I held out my right hand, fist closed and palm up. In response, his eyes narrowed, and he strode over to me, taking my hand in his and uncurling my fingers.
The Gedwëy ignasia shone bright on my palm, and Brom's gaze snapped to my face.
"Her name is Aiedail." I said softly, and he promptly closed my hand and went rummaging through his things until he found a fingerless, thin, black cotton glove. "put this on. Never take it off unless it is absolutely necessary."
"where is she?"
"here." I patted Aiedail's head, much to her annoyance.
Brom looked at the space Aiedail occupied, and muttered a spell counteracting the one I had cast, rendering her perfectly visible once again.
"A white dragon?" he growled out in his deep voice.
"Yes, Brom a white dragon. Dragons come in every color under the sun, you said so yourself. What is wrong with Aiedail's coloring?" I bristled at the criticism of my other half.
"No, no." he mutters to me as he begins pacing. "you misunderstand, Farina."
"How is that?" I ask, Aiedail now curled in my lap as best as she could be, her wings folded neatly, meticulously groomed scales glimmering in the candlelight.
"Galbatorix killed every dragon and rider, and smashed every dragon egg in Alagaësia
. Except three. A red egg, a green egg, and a blue egg. The blue egg contains what was believed to be the last female dragon in existence, the green and red containing males."
"Aiedail's egg was half-buried in the Spine, and it looked like it was left there for a thousand years." I said cautiously. what was he getting at?
'I don't know.' came Aiedail's answer.
"The Varden had broken into Gil'ead, and were successful in stealing one of the eggs back from Galbatorix. It was the blue one. The carrier, Arya daughter of the elven queen Islanzadi has been captured by Galbatorix's ally, a Shade named Durza. She sent the egg somewhere through magical means, and it has been missing ever since. That was about a week ago."
I gaped. "There is a dragon egg missing somewhere, containing the only female dragon in existence besides Aiedail? I've got to find it."
"NO. you and your dragon will be accompanying me straight to the Varden. it is too dangerous for you both to be living out here unprotected, and even moreso in the spine with Urgals and the Ra'Zac mulling about, in search of the egg." he began packing up even as he spoke, and I shook my head vehemently, Aiedail's tail flicking about in similar agitation.
"No, Brom. Although Aiedail isn't mature yet, I can fend for myself to an extent. I have to find the egg, it's my responsibility as a Rider! I'll go with you to the Varden once we have secured the egg. Then Aiedail and I will arrive wherever they are, as well as the blue egg."
"I am your elder and you will do as I say; It is for your own good! The blue egg hasn't even hatched yet, while Aiedail and yourself are already Dragon and Rider!" he hissed, pulling the age-old 'im older and therefore the boss' speech.
"Brom, I will find the blue egg. I am the Rider and as such I have a certain amount of authority!" I didn't really mean it, and I hope he realized, but I couldn't rest easy knowing that the blue egg was lost to us and vulnerable to Galbatorix's recapture.
"Fine! Go off and get yourself killed! Only the entirety of Alagaësia will suffer for it!" he roared at me, and I cowered, cringing back and hugging Aiedail to my chest.
"GO! Leave me in peace, as it is like to be the last peace I enjoy!" the rage and hurt in his voice sparked tears in my eyes, and I stood swiftly, Aiedail landing deftly on her feet as her resting spot turned vertical.
I concealed her once more, and I shot one last hurt, pleading glance at Brom before sweeping out of the small structure and into the forest once more.
So? Second story uploaded in the same day! WHOOO! X) *is proud of self*
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