AN: My first, rather bad, attempt at an Inheritance Cycle ff. Hopefully, you all like it and I improve soon.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Inheritance Cycle (though if I did, I think we all know how it would have ended). CP does.

The life of an elf is long, but the life of a Rider is longer, for even when the soul is willing to depart into the void, the body is forced to live by the strength and love of their soul mate, by the dragon that has shared everyday of their life since its hatching.

For Arya, far too much of that time had been spent alone.

Alone, not in mind or company, for Firnen was a constant companion, even when his presence was pushed to the back of her mind, and she was always surrounded by elves that needed her help or advice, but a loneliness of the heart, for even after centuries had passed, her body still tingled with the remembered sound of her name, her true name, falling from his lips. Even after all this time, even after years of silence except for a few spoken rumors about his well-being that she managed to gather from the Riders that returned from training, she still longed to shed her responsibilities and follow Eragon over the sea and to the new world he had found especially for the dragons.

Now was finally her chance.

Even the elves, the species least likely to accept change, knew that, eventually, it was needed. So, when her advisers had started dropping subtle hints that her reign as Queen, while a long and prosperous one for all the races of Alagaƫsia, should begin drawing to an end, she had gracefully and gratefully accepted the chance to finally be free, to finally answer to none other then the heart that beat in her chest and the thoughts that raced through her mind, a sentiment that Firnen agreed with. He too had longed for his missing mate, and so was more then eager to finally go after her.

Within a few months of the first hint that her time was up, the throne had peacefully changed hands, going to a young cousin that, though they only met a handful of times before, she knew would be good for the elves and the peace they lived in. Two days after his coronation, she and Firnen were off, sailing away on a boat that the elves had sung for her to carry them on their journey.

For months the two of them sailed, going wherever the wind saw fit to take them, following the memories they had borrowed from some of the other Riders who had made the return trip home from their training grounds. When the wind was calm and the weather fair, they would fly together, rising above the clouds to see for themselves that which Eragon had once told them was true, that the world was round and the sky hollow. And eventually, it was while on one of these flights that they found their home.

It was simply breathtaking. But something was wrong.

Dragons of all sizes and colors flashed their scales against the morning sky, their roars making the very air tremble from miles away. Some bellowed fire as they rose and fell above the clouds, vaporizing them into billowing blankets of steam that hid the ground below. Others silently hung their heads in sorrow as they just barely moved their wings, allowing the currents of air to keep them aloft, though more then a few were quickly rescued from crashing into the ocean by another. Just audible was the sound of wailing and grief from the inhabitants of the island below, but no words could rise above the howls of the dragons enough to be heard. When Arya opened her mind to demand what was going on, the only thing she received instead was a rush of emotion that turned into one word, a word so full of grief that tears blurred her vision and soaked her cheeks.


It didn't take too long before Firnen was able to find a gap large enough for him to fit through the mass of mourning dragons, a path he quickly took to reach the land below. She was swiftly greeted by a handful of guards as the two of them landed, their eyes wary as they took in the newcomers. Finally, after a quick conference between them, one of the guards stepped forward and extended his hand, helping her to disembark from Firnen's saddle onto the ground below before speaking.

"Lady Elf and Dragon, why have you come to the land of the Riders?"

"I've come to see Eragon," Arya replied instantly, her eyes scanning both the air and ground for sight of either the man or dragon she sought. Their reactions to her answer, however, were not what she expected.

The moment she said his name, fresh tears began to trickle down the guards' faces, a deep sorrow that none of them tried to hide overcoming their normally mask-like facades. One turned away as a whimper forced itself between his teeth, but all the others stood firm, allowing her to see the grief that entrenched them. Finally, the same man who had spoken before raise his voice above the slight keening that had begun, though his words were mumbled and soft.

"I am sorry, Lady Elf, but your journey was for naught. Just last night, our leader passed into the void."

For a long while, Arya just stood there, her body frozen as her mind tried to make sense of the words she had just been told, tried to deny the message she had just been given even as her tears began to fall anew. She knew it couldn't be, but it was. Turning, she buried her face into Firnen's scales as his own voice rose to join with those above, his grief deeper and stronger then any she had felt before. Unashamed, she allowed the tears to flow, for there was nothing but mourning to be held on that day.

She had finally come for him, but she was far too late.