Chapter 1: Heroes of Old

The wind rushed passed them, sunlight reflecting off them, dragons and those riding them, free and magnificent.

Vast mountain ranges lay before them, supporting forests teeming with life spread out as far as they could see. Many kinds of creatures walked the lands below, some familiar to the riders and dragons, some were not. Enormous waterfalls dotted the cliffs of the mountains spilling water and mist onto the grounds below.

Their destination was the great city which was built in only five years. It stood tall and proud on the highest mountain in the region, (which would have been dwarfed by the smallest of the Beors) the capital of the new riders, Mirandel. The mountain itself, Zenith, was flat at the very top where Mirandel stood. As the two riders and dragons approached Zenith, they noticed multitudes of animals walked upon its sides and base, but only birds and dragons could live near the top.

Still far away from Mirandel, the two riders and the dragons upon they rode had traveled for weeks. There had been much unrest in their homeland Alagaesia for years after the war, but now that land was calm. Finally after all this time, these four beings were able to visit Mirandel without qualms. A man with black hair and proud blue eyes, rode upon a mighty red dragon. To their left, flew a smaller, but no less fearsome green dragon. The one riding this dragon was a queen, a slim silver crown resting on top her dark black hair. The irises of her slanted eyes were as green as the dragon she rode. Angular was her face, and her ears were shaped like thin triangles, which ended in sharp points at their tips. Together, they all rode onward to meet those who awaited them in the still distant city.

The man and the red dragon were awed by what they had seen and decided to comment on it. Speaking with his mind to the queen, the man said Arya, this land may be the most beautiful Thorn and I have ever flown over. Is it anything like you and Firnen imagined it to be?

Arya, responded saying When Eragon and Saphira described to us these lands, we thought of a dull and tasteless version of what we see now. It is as you say Murtagh, its beauty rivals that of Du Weldenvarden itself.

Firnen, her dragon, then added Here the land is rich with life, life blessed with peace and bliss.

Thorn then said to them all It is the perfect land for the new riders to flourish, no one can ever tire of these places.

For several hours they continued to fly, as soon as the sun began to descend behind them, they were above the base of Zenith. When they reached its top, their jaws dropped at the new sight that lay before their eyes. Green planes extended far along the top of Zenith, not much trees grew there, allowing them to spot Mirandel. Though they were still far away, they could see that each building was colossal in size. Each one could fit at least three decently sized dragons in them. Almost all of them were made of ore gathered from the mountains, giving the buildings many colors from dark gray to cobalt.

Around a dozen dragons flew above Mirandel, their scales reflecting the sun's rays to the ground below. Some dragons lay on the city's buildings, while others plunged down the mountain in search for game. With her keen eyes, there was one dragon in particular, that grabbed Arya's attention. The greatest of them all, in terms of her size, age and prowess, the great blue dragon Saphira. She lay upon the tallest building in the city, stretching a league into the sky. It was the great Shurtugal tower, and there Saphira watched all her kin fly.

Upon noticing this, Arya said to the others "It is Saphira, look to the tower!" The rest all shifted their gaze to the tower's top, only seeing a blue speck, for Arya's eyes were much superior to theirs.

"Good eye Dragonslayer! We must announce our arrival!" Murtagh said.

Thinking of the great times they all had together all those years ago, the four beings gave a shout with their minds and their tongues.

"SAPHIRA!" bellowed Arya and Murtagh, Firnen and Thorn roared so loud it was a wonder the mountain didn't collapse.

Arya saw Saphira jerk slightly, then she repositioned herself, lying with her belly on one of the ramparts of the tower. A small figure climbed up her and rested on her back, and immediately afterwards the dragon dove off the tower, letting gravity take her. After a few moments, she repositioned her flight, allowing the momentum to carry her forward and glided as fast as she could. It was clear that she had heard their cries, for she was flying towards them. After waiting for years on end, the six heroes of old were to finally be reunited.

Thorn and Firnen tripled their speed, flying as fast as they could with the energy they had left. Having not flown all day, Saphira's speed was much greater, and it was only a couple of minutes before they all met up. All the dragons landed gently onto the grassy planes, each rider dismounting.

Eragon slid off of Saphira, his gaze immediately turning to Arya, and she to him. For a few moments, they just stood there, the eyes of man and elf fixed. Then something seemed to tug at them, and they advanced towards each other. And once they were close enough, Arya and Eragon embraced tightly. His deep brown eyes and dusty brown hair contrasted with Arya's features. Though he had a similarly angular face and pointed ears like hers, they were not as sharp and fine.

These two stood like that, with their heads resting above each other's shoulder, eyes closed. It felt to them as if the other had been brought back from the dead; and so both were overcome with emotion. After a few seconds of this they drew back and looked at one another, their faces only inches away.

"Even after ten years, your feelings are the same then?" Arya asked him.

"It is as I said, they never will change" Eragon told her softly.

"Eragon," she said.

"Arya," he said to her. At this time it felt like they were the only people in the world, and something was pulling at them. They were drawn to one another, their two faces approaching, about to make contact, until….

"Eragon have you really forgotten your brother after all this time?" Murtagh asked Eragon. He may as well have shouted this to him, for that is what it felt like to Eragon. Startled, he broke away from Arya and turned to face Murtagh.

Getting his bearings back, Eragon responded "Of course not brother! You are among my only family, why should I have forgotten you?" Eragon walked towards him, and grasped Murtagh's right shoulder, Murtagh placing his hand on Eragon's left shoulder. Grins formed on each of their faces, and they laughed merrily.

"It really has been far too long hasn't it?" Murtagh told him. "And it should please you to know that our small family is growing, Roran and Katrina have borne three children!"

"That's great!" Eragon responded to him. Murtagh then turned his attention towards Arya again, whom was watching Saphira, Firnen and Thorn fly around each other far above.

"And I suspect," Murtagh shrugged towards Arya, "that our family will continue to grow?"

Eragon looked back at him, saying "I'm not sure. What of you? Have you found a lucky woman in Alagaesia?"

Murtagh's expression turned sour as he said "I will tell you about that later, I refuse to speak of that now, it would ruin this moment."

Nodding to him, Eragon then turned his attention to their dragons hovering above them. The dragons talked only among themselves, on topics he suspected that only dragons could understand. Him and Murtagh joined Arya, and began to converse amongst each other again.

"Have you earned the trust yet of Alagaesia's races?" Eragon asked Murtagh.

Instead of him speaking, Arya talked instead, saying "He and Thorn exiled themselves for two and a half years. At this time we were still reviving our forests, some of which were damaged in the war. They came to us, and assisted us in singing a few new trees and plants where some used to grow. After this, Thorn and Firnen trained with each other, both learning things about their race and improved themselves. In return, I taught Murtagh everything I knew of the sword and of magic. What they have done for the elves will not be forgotten, and have more than earned our trust."

"Thorn and I thought it was our duty to help all the races recover from the war" Murtagh said. We spent years helping rebuild cities in Nasuada and Orrin's kingdoms. Alagaesia is now finally the way it once was."

Addressing Arya, Eragon asked "What is it like to rule the world's strongest and most powerful race?"

Surprising him, Arya laughed at his question, saying "Eragon, you of all people should know that the elves aren't the most powerful race of this world. You and Saphira are the ones who rule over the most powerful race, not I."

"Aye! You are right!" He laughed himself for a moment, then replied "Raising dragons is not easy, it has taken us years to get where we are now."

Visibly impressed, Arya said "To answer your question, being queen is difficult, answering to the pleas of the people, doing what needs to be done. It can be mind numbing, at other times rewarding. But please tell us, how did you and Saphira manage all of this?"

Sensing his thoughts, Saphira said to Eragon, Do not answer them without us, Firnen and Thorn need to hear this also. And so the dragons descended, eager to hear how Eragon was going to answer Arya's query.

Everyone was silent as Eragon began saying "This will take a while for me to explain everything, but here's all that happened: First off, we built the entire city out of rocks from the mountains using the eldunarya and the help of Blodgarm and the elves. I'm sure you two remember this" he pointed to Murtagh and Thorn, "you both came here to take a couple of eggs, one to the urgals and one to the dwarves. Eventually after that, two new riders came here to greet us and they helped with the construction as well. One an urgal named Luxor, and the other a dwarf named Grifka. Fraethr was the name Luxor gave his velvet male dragon, and Jileen was the name Grifka gave to his female orange dragon. Saphira and I raised a wild dragon each, then entrusted a wild egg to the elves and one to each rider and dragon. Once all the wild dragons were old enough, we gave themselves wild eggs, and from then on they began to raise their own kind. The next thing that happened you all know of months after this. Luxor, Fraethr, Grifka and Jileen left with two bonded eggs back to Alagaesia, giving one egg to the humans and one to the elves. They came back to Mirandel, and it took another year for the next rider and dragon to arrive. The next rider was a human, Mathias, his silver female dragon named Kes'thara. They told me that you two," he pointed again to Thorn and Murtagh "had trained them initially. Our first two riders and dragons left again to Alagaesia, taking another two eggs. While they were gone, our newest rider arrived, this one trained by you other two." He pointed this time at Arya and Firnen. "Lyra gave her turquoise female dragon the name Emerith and that brings us to where we are now."

After hearing his tale, everyone was silent, digesting the information. Until after a while, Thorn spoke out to them saying Kingkiller, you have yet to show us the city and these people you speak of.

If things continue the way they are, we will be here the whole night jabbering away Firnen added.

Let's go on little one, they came here to see everything we have built and have accomplished, Saphira said. They didn't come to listen to you talk all day.

"Ah yes, let's go on then! Everyone follow us!" Then Eragon bounded up Saphira's side, getting onto her saddle in around three seconds. Saphira then immediately launched herself into the air, the others following them towards Mirandel.