NOTE: A spur of the moment piece. A fragmented sequence featuring Eragon and Arya through the duration of a hundred years, with some noteworthy snippets from Arya's past that mingles with the present. A smidge of angst here and there, a juicy twist of lemon and lime with a touch of bliss and despair, and we've got ourselves one nifty cocktail! Another long one though. I, with giddiness, rate this as my personal favourite. So far. And listening to certain pieces of music as my muse moved me further. I suggest listening to them also.
Majority of my reviewers, whom had later private messaged me after Down by the Riverside, insisted that I create a scenario in which our two woefully lovable protagonists somehow work around the reaches of eternity and find one another again and again despite what may come. So, by all that I can decree, I present this to every one of you. Feedback is always appreciated.
Howard Shore – The House of Healing (or Arwens Song, sung by Liv Tyler herself)
James Newton Howard – Healing Katniss
Disclaimer: The work of Christopher Paolini is not mine. Plagiarism is never my forte. I only make use of the author's characters, scenarios and pesky mistakes. That is all.
Through The Reach of A Hundred Years
And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.
"Humans often change their minds. In ten years, or even five, you may no longer feel as you do now… If they don't, then perhaps, in time…"
Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of their choices… a stark reality that Arya herself had soon grown to recognize and endure in spite of its cruel effect. A small comfort, but one that had to be accepted nevertheless, in time. It had to be accepted, especially when the responsibilities of those choices had entitled a constant balance of duty and dedication. It had to be accepted. For her, personal attachments were to be forsaken. Thrilling endeavours favoured over duty had to be forgotten for the very same purpose. Duty. A relentless, ever present obligation. She could never deny it, and she could never despise it. It was her privilege, her given right, and it was hers to command and uphold.
When she accepted the Yawë, she was required to abandon individual feeling to pursue individual responsibility, for herself and her people. As a Queen, it had been her lasting commitment, a seal to forever mark her loyalty. She would serve it unreservedly without question. Until her death. That was the reality she had chosen. That was her duty.
Although now, as she sighs calmly into the restful and temperate air, eyes serene and bright under the waver of twilight as the wind brushes her face, she knows now. When all is quiet and when all is magnified, when nothing could possibly forsake the pleasure of harmony. She knows now, finally, that her only obligation in life was to be faithful to herself and to be doubtless of her future.
To be doubtless of Eragon.
Sitting meditatively within a grassy knoll and overlooking the blood dew-drop horizon that levelled beautifully into the west and over the endless seas, Arya allows the warmth and ambience of the late sun to soothe her disquieted heart. Yet she cannot help the train of thought. Thinking mutely to herself, she still regards her former choices in the past to be fair, moral, yet ultimately selfless. But over the myriad of seemingly ceaseless decades exhausted in the name of duty, she is now content to dispose of it, for good. After effectively denying her personal attachments and her innermost desires, she is now urged to cherish them. What she considered improper, she finally learned to endorse without fear.
What she loved in hesitance could finally be embraced in surety.
And now, as her emerald adorned eyes drift dotingly upon the sight of two dearly loved figures laying in the grassy tendrils before her, further down from where she sits now… She is forever content to relinquish anything and anyone that stands in the way of the life she has chosen to live, forever.
And the small, innocent and youthful laugh that mixes with Eragon's within the windswept grass only strengthens her resolve to cherish it.
With the answer already known, even to him, still he asks with faith, "Would you give up your crown to come with us?" But, as she watches him carefully and perceives the small, subtle glean of hopelessness in his eyes, Arya condemns him for asking regardless. Why do you ask? She thinks, Why search for an answer you already know to be true? Eragon…
Not without sadness, she counters, "Would you give up charge of the eggs?"
Silence, and then softly, he whispers, "No," and his eyes drift upwards, beyond the clouds and away from her.
She had not known the exact course her life would undergo. No one ever did. It was impractical. Knowing ones future before they lived it… It was unnatural. But if anyone had suggested the impending outcome of her future, or even expressed it with absolute certainty that this would be her life, she would have been skeptical. More so, she would have been completely aghast. For her, it seemed unnatural, impossible even, to think that such an outcome would be conceivable. That will not happen. It never will. In all intents and purposes, she would have been discouraged. She would have condemned such a suggestion. It will not happen…
Because in the first ten years that marked her departure from The Du Weldenvarden, Arya had been reclusive and, admittedly, ignorant and intolerant of other peoples cultures and differing beliefs. This was mainly shaped- and in no plausible way- throughout the time she'd spent residing amongst humans.
Humans. Arrogant, spirited and completely stubborn, Arya's capacity to accept trivial viewpoints had been defiant. Humans were ambitious creatures. They assumed and judged. They were suspicious, and as such, they were meddlesome. Twice, amidst the course of a mere month, she had witnessed two marriages, and both had failed due to conflicts of feeling and deceitful spouses. Battles were fought and lost in name of honor. Men were lost; woman violated, and children were slaved away out of spite and glory. And for what? Duty, honor, amusement? It disgusted her. They were irregular in both thought and feeling. They could not be trusted. In the first ten years that marked her banishment, she had known as such.
She can recall a laugh, one long since faded into the crevices of time and space, skeptical and amused, but nevertheless understanding of her view. Fäolin often was amused, she reminisced, whenever she had voiced her defiance. "Learn to accept and have faith, Arya, for it is all that we can do. You may sooner find that it is we, and not them, that are just as imperfect. Who knows," he had mused, "You may find comfort in one." Yet for her, it seemed unnatural, impossible, to even think that such a thing could happen. That will not happen. Those unpredictable creatures with round ears and a plethora of faults that they could never remedy, even if they wanted to.
At forty-three years of age, if anyone had suggested the impending outcome… if anyone had told her that she would eventually choose a human as her life-mate, as a lover, she would have been utterly hysterical. Manuscripts of old dictated that such 'singular' relations between two differing species, humans and elves, were ill-fated and grievous for both individuals. Elven longevity ensured this. Human nature warranted it. Before her exile, her mother had thus begun to mould her into loathing such acts of companionship when she had recounted the story of The Menoa Tree. Humans are ambitious, she had said. Humans are meddlesome. Humans are distrustful.
"We are just as imperfect, Arya…" Let it be Fäolin, and not her mother's tarnished words of 'wisdom', to act as the voice of reason throughout the reach of a hundred years.
No one could ever know the exact course of their life. For it was, as it should be, impractical. It was unnatural. It should not be tampered with.
But Eragon had known his. He had known he'd leave despite all that had transpired. It was, as he'd said, simply a matter of time and endurance. When he decided to enlighten her on that anomaly, of what he had known would happen, it'd left her in turmoil. It was inescapable, he said. Inevitable. It only took him the better part of ten years to declare that he'd known, all along, what would become of him and his existence. A decade.
His eyes are diffident, as though unsure, and his lips are pursed just as anxiously before he opens them again, "I knew of you as well," he says now, willing for her to listen. "The facts were only partial, but I knew. 'Noble birth, noble heritage. Beautiful, wise, powerful… strong enough to outlast empires.'" He looks down, as though ashamed, away from her eyes, away from anything that passed over Arya's petrified face. "I was told that I'd find her," he whispers, the meaning behind his words shattering her. I was told that I'd find you… "In some unforeseen way," he continues now, "but I couldn't have anticipated that I'd actually…" and she watches, silently, as he closes his eyes and sighs forlornly, saddened. The words seemingly quiver upon his lips when he speaks again. "I could never have, possibly, predicted that she wanted me, too." And he's looking at her, eyes blotched and wet with unwept tears, and her breath withers in her throat as her mouth parts silently in disbelief.
"I could never have known that you'd have me, Arya." he whispers.
There's always that profound feeling of anguish whenever they're together. It leaves them both hollow and remiss for the others wellbeing. Their emotions, desires, and physical allures are always tersely experienced within the little time they are given. They're always desperate. Throughout the span of eternity, they are torn by the duties they have forsaken one another for. It was a stark reality in which they had to endure. It had to be accepted. But whatever the issue, however far the reach is between one another, still they manage to find each other no matter the distance. But again, there is always anguish. There is always desperation.
As her hands aggressively sought the holds of his leather garb, as she pushes him roughly against the wall of his chambers and feels his fingers intertwine within her hair… there is still, always, sadness.
They've fought together. They've struggled together. They've fallen to the threshold of death's embrace and risen just as dangerously from its fingers. But let it be the immeasurable distance, the waking thought that tomorrow she would leave him again. Leave it to those thoughts alone to shatter every pore of her being. And when she feels his fervent body press relentlessly against her own in unison over the bed, she dreads the day when their small reunions, four meagre days within the reach of two years… She dreads the day when it becomes an obligation. But still she kisses him, breathless and torn, still she holds him as he clutches her hips and thrusts in and out of her. His gentle words of adoration suppress her anxieties as he holds her to him, they always do, but he knows as well as she that these four days will never be enough. It will become a duty. Their devotion will become a task. She will leave, he will stay, as it has always been.
She moans and gasps almost helplessly as he drives within her insistently. A pant, a thrust, a hoarse whisper against her ear, "Stay with… me," and they're heedless. They breathe, propel against one another vigorously. Her breaths are sharp, his are hasty by the strain they accumulate, and together they move as though it's the last thing they'll ever do. Her hands clench his shoulders as the firelight flickers under the waning breeze, harsh yet sated breaths escaping one another's lips. His mouth rasps heatedly over her arched neck as their skin dampens. Desperation was never more so agonizingly perfect.
They will not see each other for another two years.
The first time they'd been intimate was not desperate, not initially. Arya knew the vulnerability she would ultimately place herself in. Elven women, and men for that matter, did not give themselves as naturally and as casually as humans did. She wanted to be careful with Eragon, for humans lacked the grasp of prolonged feeling. The distance that separated them warranted such caution, but it was her hesitance, her doubt in his commitment, that discouraged her to proceed with such a relationship. He admired her beyond comprehension. She entranced him, lured him in such a profound way that even she, Arya, dared to never question his devotion. But there was always a misgiving about their situation, the distance and their duties, about their commitments to one another. She wanted him, and he wanted her, but for how long? Humans change…
Yet when he touched her, whispered her name, held her and enfolded her from behind, and murmured against her ear… her body, mind and soul drowned within the sound of her true name upon his insistent lips.
It had not been desperate, not initially.
A document, a rare treat, would arrive once every few months from the Eastern Seas beyond Alagaësia, from him, within the foundation now known as Luthivíra. Months, however, soon grew longer. And now, it's become a spiteful regularity to receive a progression report once every year. Quite simply, they detailed only information regarding the establishment and bureaucracy of the Riders, nothing more. It was to be expected, of course. He was merely being dutiful. It was as it was, and who was she to question his authority now? She, who resided hundreds, if not more, leagues away from him, and he from her, across the seemingly endless and perpetual seas.
Written by his hand and his alone, he never delves into matters outside the line of their sworn duties. There were never reassurances, never written passages dedicated to their wellbeing's. They remained strict and formal. He never declares his devotion, and neither does she. Not in writing. Nor do they submit any recollections of the times they've spent together, or anticipation for their next union. She was Queen, he was an Overseer. As duty decreed, that's all they ever were. There was never room for confessions or gentle acknowledgments. No recognitions, no memories, no favours out of what he presumed to be love.
But this latest document detailed more than she'd expected to read, and she was remiss not heed his gentle words. It was a plea not for her, not for either of them, but for someone else.
Do not feel any particular unrest, Arya. He wrote on, but Murtagh has asked that he and Thorn be allowed sanction into the Du Weldenvarden in order to reconcile with themselves and Alagaësia. They have resided with Saphira and myself for the better part of a year now, and have helped us establish more than I could possibly imagine. Forgive us, for we didn't feel the necessity to reveal their presence to you until time permitted us. You will not believe the change until you have seen it with your own eyes, Arya. You are wise, as I've known you to be since our first acquaintance. Though I've never thought to admit it, it is your intellect alone that I feel makes this solution possible. One cannot truly believe, but I implore you, allow Murtagh and Thorn this chance and I will forever be in your debt. The elves here, along with the Eldunarí, have given their blessings. Their encouragement is beyond gratifying despite occurrences in the past. Murtagh and Thorn, though still very volatile given their history, especially with Oromis, feels they deserve nothing of their consolations, and this saddens me. But I beg you please, Arya, my dearest companion and friend… consent to being their remedy. It has been far too long for them.
We will anxiously await your decision.
May the stars watch over you, always.
Saphira sends her deepest regards.
Three months later, standing beneath the fickle luminosity of the fading sunlight, Arya and Fírnen received Murtagh and Thorn over the North-Eastern shores of Alagaësia.
And he has changed. "Thank you," he whispers, but there is still, always, indifference.
"Luthivíra…" she murmurs, as though testing its implication. "Oromis' birthplace." Her mind soared with ardour as the namesake became clear. "The name, it had eluded me until now. One of the lost elven cities of old… It had been his home once. You named the home of the Riders in his honor?"
"Yes." Under the linen covers of his bedstead, she feels him bestir and move against her intently. Naked, warm, and untroubled, they shift together. She can see him, as he with her, watching her curiously beneath the gentle light emitted by the overhanging candles in the darkness. "A city that was renowned for its beautiful crystals." He smiles against the delicate curve of her neck as he swept his lips over her, "Or so I've been told." She arches excitedly as he presses himself against her.
A sigh. "Yes, it was." Her hand shifts suddenly, and using three lithe fingers, she runs them dangerously and keenly down his lower torso, prompting him to rasp against her and thrust. Parting his lips over her neck, she feels him breathe in sharply over her, spurred and avid by her touch. And too soon she feels herself being compressed impulsively down and into the strewn linen covers, and the long-awaited heat of their physical activities prior to their short exchange of words encapsulates her entirely. The familiar inkling of desperation hastens their movements. Her legs opened and soon interlocked around his waist, his hands hold her and hoist her against his body. With a coy smile playing at the curve of Arya's lips, she reaches forward to take his face within her hands and feels him hastily enter her with a sated groan.
He had been sixteen. She, one-hundred and three. When her eyes first fell sight to the one they'd called Eragon, she was unsure. A fatherless boy thrusted upon a duty that called for his everlasting commitment. Eragon, Mount of Saphira, and last free Rider of Alagaësia. Arrogant, spirited, and completely stubborn… and young. Awfully young. Yet when she had been intolerant, Eragon had been persistent. Perhaps it was merely admiration, or respect for his determination, but something within her decided against ignoring his yearn for companionship. The words, We are just as imperfect, come to mind. Their friendship, though strained, had been comforting. Memory always perceived him as naive and arrogant, especially when she had first encountered him within the deepest aperture of her restless and ill mind. When he had recovered her wilted figure from Gil'ead. When he had saved her. Learn to have faith. Accept. It is all that we can do.
"Tell me your name," she had demanded, unsure yet somehow eased by the comforted disposition his cautious mind exuded.
She can recall his hesitance. The fear laced within his eager yet inexperienced mind. It allowed her to consider his commitment, to believe that he hadn't been tainted by the will of Galbatorix. Naturally, her intuition served her well.
He was strange, this human child who knew little of his purpose, yet understood far more then he intended to. Duty decreed that he had to reach out, to learn and experience, to kill. So few months, and she had seen him exceed beyond his abilities. Saphira was wise, and her insight enlightened him. He was astute, undermined by his own immaturity, and yet it was his capacity to go beyond it that captured her interest entirely. She saw him grow, and she saw him suffer, and in turn, it caused her grief. Time withered into memories, and she saw him change in ways that could not be rivalled. At such pivotal moments in time, Arya had seen something of herself within his ambitious eyes, and that had frightened her.
Arrogant, spirited, and completely stubborn…
Humans, who are easily conflicted and dependent. Those unpredictable creatures who changed just as naturally as they loved.
And those words again, Fäolin's, Accept. Have faith…
Thus he began to weaken and fracture her emotional barriers. When she condemned his affections, he remained dutiful out of the respect he bore for her. It was his purpose to stay unaffected, his obligation to remain emotionally detached to ensure that he wouldn't be diverted. He ensured it, and so did she. They've crossed the land and upturned expectations, shared experiences and salvaged themselves from the brink of destruction. Despite her attachment to him, it had been difficult to understand it. What was once condemned was soon cherished, and she knew with certainty what these feelings meant.
But when he at last left her for the Eastern Seas and nameless lands beyond their own, she was remorseful. Regret, something vaguely felt over the duration of eternity, had consumed her entirely. When he had wanted her, when he was ignorant, she had told him, "No." A year and a half later, when he was so unlike himself, and he had asked her, "Come with me…" she was forever dejected and miserable by her condemning nature and instinctual behaviour.
For the words, "I cannot," had never felt so ashen and lost within her mouth.
And now, as her eyes cast forlornly over the perpetual and endless seas far off into the east, she is forever mournful. Beside her, Fírnen resides just as desolately. Together, with thoughts and feelings intermingled within one correlating formation, together they think without doubt or delay: We should have gone with them…
Alone, she lifts her hand in silence, and looks upon a fairth constructed out of her own image. A reflection of herself. Beautiful, wise, and powerful. A mirror likeness of herself, through the eyes of Eragon. What he sees, and what she cannot. His fairth, his own image of perfection, that he had left for her so long ago.
In silence, with cold thoughts of anger and despair slowly mingling into misery, she weeps. No tears, no whimpers, merely soundless hollers of regret.
But it's there, and she allows it to consume her. Mentally, physically, she is broken.
Only Fírnen can sense it, feel it, and soothe the grief when Arya's desolate wail meets the bitter air and penetrates the silence.
"We're peculiar to them, aren't we?" He asks suddenly, eyes curiously hesitant and glum. He's standing resilient and completely taken by the gentle light emitted by the moon, eyes abroad in silent wonder as he leaned against the large and ocular windowpane of his chambers. He's looking over the seas, again, and she cannot help but stare at his eased disposition. But when she frowns and reveals her puzzlement in regards to his question, he explains further, "Our relationship. It's strange for them, for the world, to see us together when so few have managed to do what we've done for the past four decades. They question our ethics. The influence we bear, the power we command. They cannot accept it."
Until now, it has always eluded her how astute and intellectual Eragon truly is. Naturally, she'd always admired him, but even now he never ceased to amaze her. Arya had always assumed, because of his absence and dwellings beyond the realm of Alagaësia, that he was merely concerned with matters amidst his own province. His authority, his word, was law here. He was no king, but he was seen as a sovereign nevertheless, much to his own displeasure. The Riders respected him, some even adored him (those young, human females were often testing her brittle nerves, and too often she found herself making that point abundantly clear). He was a guiding principal of leadership and knowledge, a beacon. He, along with Saphira, had created a foundation, a place most sacred. It was only natural that he'd question things beyond his own rule.
Regarding his question, however, she cannot say that it didn't surprise her. It was, through the far reaches of the eternity and space, his duty to know what proceeded beyond his own dominion. So why then, despite her knowledge of this, why then did it startle her?
"You should not let sullied rumours or assumptions steer your mind, Eragon. It is beneath you." she says, although the unease within her voice discourages whatever reassurances she had wished to relay to him. From where she sat, residing timidly beside his desk where countless scrolls and indoctrinations littered its wooden mass, she notices immediately that he's heard the anxiety mingled under her politeness.
He smiles sadly, looking down, "But they're not rumours, Arya." He paused. "At least, not anymore." And she knows now, disquietly, that she had unintentionally revealed the answer he'd been searching for. She could no longer hide her sentiments when it concerned Eragon's. He was right, of course. She herself had pried into the dwellings of Alagaësia, as her duty entitled. Rumours did often circulate. Two Riders, human and elf, both monarchs of their own people, immortal. Two individuals with an incalculable amount of power and influence. Two prominent entities who could tip the balance of peace and tyranny, and they were together.
And it was just that, was it not? They were together.
From what she could discern now, Eragon was willing to accept that people weren't content with the quantity of authority and power they possessed. What astounded her, however, was the fact that he was more disheartened with their attitude in regards to their union.
"Must they find it so… alien?" He asks now, but his question is lidded crossly with mockery. This aggravates her, though she cannot help it. "You'd think they'd resort to acceptance, at least, for all that we've accomplished," His voice rises, "For them and their own!"
"It is not unnatural for a human and an elf to retain a relationship with one another, Eragon." The irony of it, she thought, as her mind recalled a doubtful moment in time when she had strictly condemned his adoration and sentimental value for her. She sighs reclusively in the bitter-cast night.
"No, not unnatural." He shifts somewhat, arms crossed and eyes resolute, choosing now to stare unreservedly toward her without hesitance. He's looking at the jewelled diadem over her forehead, the seal of royalty and Queenship. Stubborn, spirited, the pinnacle of her own personality she notes. How easily he could mirror her without even intending to. The moonlight, though mingled within the small dispersion of firelight, was eerily natural over his elongated figure, and his eyes are sad when he speaks slowly. "Just rare," he murmurs, and turns back to the window intently, looking halfway to anywhere. "We spare so few moments for ourselves, Arya. Less then I'd like." His voice alters passively as he chooses his next words carefully. His eyes are suddenly besieged in shadow. "Perhaps it is as others proclaim it to be…" He sighs. "Fated to end in turmoil."
The silence, though warranted, became unimaginably deafening with the absence of his voice. Dispirited suddenly, heavy-hearted and without forethought, she whispers, "It doesn't have to go on, you know." Her eyes are deliberately averted, her shoulders weighed. Her disillusioned words are remorseful, and she cannot help them as she allows herself to withdraw and linger within a quiet and spiteful woe of their predicament. "The benefits of not being within a martial relationship of wedlock, is it not?"
Moments of silences pervaded them once again. She could feel his stare, his deep gesturing gaze upon her turned head. Though she declined to look at him, she knew his eyes were upon her, prying her apart and scrutinizing her very being. Was he… was he actually considering her words? The very breath within her withers at the expense of their refusal to speak to one another as her last words echo soundlessly in their ears, and when it was further preceded with his silence, she feels herself begin to tremble with unsated resentment. Humans are ambitious. The antagonizing words simmer like a malicious frenzy within her inert heart. Humans are meddlesome. Humans are distrustful. She can see herself, young and naive and completely arrogant, forty-three years of age and intolerant of others. She can see herself smile mirthlessly as the words of her mother toll definitely within her waking thoughts. They will tear apart the heart.
"Is that what you desire?" he asks suddenly. There is nothing in his voice. It's cold, numb, and… gone. She can barely discern it over the sickly beat and pulsation of her own anger. "If people are so… adamant that we should be removed from one another, then…-"
Rage. The malevolent wrath slowly simmering within her suddenly poisons her rationale, and she cannot oppress it any longer, not now. Purposefully, she slams her hand abrasively over the desk and stands suddenly. "Their assumptions can be damned, for all I care!" she seethed, turning irately toward the other side of the room and deliberating whether or not to leave him to squander in his own disillusionment. "If you're going to question our morals, so be it! Do not stand there and imagine that we're predestined to end in chaos because they say so!"
"You, of little faith! You would assume as such, wouldn't you? Only you!" He argued, eyes livid and utterly determined, meeting her anger and asserting himself towards her aggressively. She grew tense and ultimately incensed with annoyance as she met his glare from across his chambers. Stubborn, spirited, the pinnacle of her own personality…
A sigh of impatience. "And what would you have me do?" Her agitation is pitiless, voice lidded with venom. "Provoke them into believing otherwise with an iron fist and callous resolve?"
"No!" His sensibility bristles feverishly as he lividly directs his finger to the ground. "Stay here!" He yells, signalling erratically between them. Arya's anger began to wither as he started to tremble under the strain of his temperament. "Relinquish your duty as Queen and stay here with me!" Nothing could have prepared her for his next words. "You never wanted it!" he spat, "You never desired it! So why? Why persist in this pointless, forsaken obligation of which you've clearly had no love for!"
The truth pricked at her spine. It tainted her mindset. It terrified her. She's standing before him, eyes darkened under the abyss of her own bitterness. By his tenacious words, she is silent once more. Whatever argument or rational motive that stood behind her behaviour suddenly dispersed and faded into nothingness. As she stared and pried into his livid eyes, and watched him carefully under the dim firelight, she is finally at a loss. Neither dared to speak as both inhaled and exhaled just as dolefully, staring intently and without forethought to the others subsiding temper. Moments passed. She stared, and so did he, and still their silence prolonged as they began to grow calm. Breathing heavily, Arya watched as a flicker of uncertainly crossed his face cruelly, and then he was sighing. He was ashamed, and by his melancholy, she is still.
Gradually, she watched cautiously, wretched and torn, as Eragon suddenly fell to his knees before her like a beggar priest to his god. Resigned to whatever turmoil that pulsated within his head, he is quiet. Shame befell his eyes before he casts them down to the floor, and then nothing, only stillness. Taken aback, silent and remorseful, neither moved until finally Arya permitted herself to stir. Releasing a wavered sigh and reaching forward tentatively, she intertwined her fingers through his hair and held him to her. She could feel him against her. The fervid skin of his cheek pressed longingly against the clothing of her stomach. His hands sought her. As he lifted them and enwrapped them around her, together they held each other within a soundless embrace of compassion. She'd never intended to push him away, but her behaviour only emphasized how deep her emotions ran, and how easily they could be broken.
He braced himself against her. Fingers kneading the delicate skin of her back, he murmurs quietly, "Stay with us." He pleaded. "Stay here, with me."
His words prior to their quarrel mingle sickeningly within her head. The influence we bear, the power we command. She could feel his slow but tempered breaths against her stomach as his head resided steadily against her. They wavered in one another's grip, but neither released their hold. She grasps him close, resigned and dejected, and closes her eyes. They cannot accept it…
"I cannot," she whispers desolately.
Upon the cold dawn of the fourth day, Arya, along Fírnen, returned to Alagaësia. Every two years, as duty decreed, they would come again. Four days. Four days to sanction her duties as a Rider. Personally reviewing Luthivíra's affairs and indoctrinations, preserving the connections between Man, Elf, Dwarf, and Urgal. Four mere days within the duration of two years to share with Eragon. She will leave once again for Ellesméra, to resume her obligations as a Rider there. She will resume her obligations as a Queen, as duty decreed.
She will leave where he would stay, as it has been for forty-three years.
Politics were aggravating. Arya had thought, despite on-going queries into her dedication, that it would be less troublesome as the years withered into eternity. Whenever an issue rose, and then soon ceased, another came forth to take its place. Naturally. It'd become a constant, irritable routine to ensure no petty individual with the capacity to wield magic would suddenly rise up and declare themselves dominant. They thought themselves superior. It wasn't enough that they had to deliberately inflict panic within the land, but they had to pride themselves into thinking that Rider's were no longer adept enough to uphold the stability of the land. Galbatorix had been a Rider, a King, and a tyrant. It only took a murmur, one simple Word from her lips, and they were apologetic. "It will not happen again," they say, "Mercy, Rider," and they're soon on their knees, begging for their pitiable lives, comparing her to Galbatorix.
Arya was a Rider, a Queen, and was thought of as a tyrant.
No matter her resolve, or the countless reassurances and petty acknowledgments, it still irritated her.
The elves, as well as the humans, question her dedication nonetheless. The Urgals held no quarrels, the Dwarfs were only 'somewhat' concerned. The Riders, including Eragon, acknowledged the matter as concerning, and the Werecats… the Werecats couldn't care less. Queen Arya Dröttning, Rider of Fírnen. A Queen, and a Rider. It was an immeasurable amount of power that no living individual should wield. It destroyed Galbatorix. It was slowly destroying her.
"Eragon refused to be King." Nasuada looked weary. She was no longer youthful. Her skin was devoided of youth and horribly pale. For such a dark and vivid complexion, it was deathly worn. Her eyes are fatigued, her body weak. She could no longer meet a foe whenever one decidedly climbed to the task. Her advisors had always objected to her insistence to do so anyway, long ago… when everything seemed less complex and… younger. They fought together for sixty-five years, but these last nine have seen her wither into a frail, dispirited woman. "He knew it was too much power for a single individual to bear alone." Her words, though audible, are slow and gapped, as though it was a struggle for her to mouth every syllable.
There's a grievance lidded deeply within her words. Despair for Nasuada's fading health fills her with misery. "Do you doubt my capacity to rule my people, Queen Nasuada?"
"No," Her eyes close delicately, and she lingers lethargically in a drowsiness Arya had never known her to possess until now. Her heart, though calm, aches suddenly at the sight. She's enveloped within thick, woollen bed clothes. Heat was a necessity. Her body was failing. Her hair is untied and long and grey with age. Beside her sits her eldest daughter and heir, Princess Arianna. Beautiful, dark under the shadow the firelight bore. A strong resemblance to her beloved mother was apparent. Vibrant and youthful in both appearance and nature, but weakened by sadness. The occasion called for it, of course, and Arya could see within her eyes, her father's eyes, that she knew her mother's life was quickly fading. Such a strong child would soon grow into a vital leader.
Arya is speechless. Her mouth parts sadly before whispering, "Nasuada." She's unable to help the agony that encapsulates her voice. The sight of her brittle disposition unnerves her, and she cannot help the tear that escapes her eye. Her dry throat seizes abruptly as her treasured friend and comrade slowly opens her eyes once more. Within those few short seconds, she had seemingly aged another year.
"Arya…" she says now, her voice weak and utterly drained. The sound of her name, without any given title or lineage, is barely enough to keep her from dropping the helm from underneath her arm. Her discerning ears suddenly perceive the heavy footfall of boots coming to stand beside her. Her eyes, however, remain over Nasuada's as she opens her mouth once more. "I only… worry." Her voice shakes, "The greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. I would not have had the happiness I've had for the past seventy-four years if I had not risked. Please… know that…" Arianna moved to clutch her mother's feeble hand.
Sighing dejectedly and bowing her head, she allows the tears to fall freely without forethought. She cries, yet her face remains composed as though stone had beset her features. She looks up suddenly, choosing now to cast her eyes to her left, where Murtagh stood wretched by the sight of Nasuada's emaciated being. Murtagh. His eyes are hollow, wet, and his face is ashen and utterly horrified. He's exhausted himself sustaining the life of Nasuada's daily, but death was only naturally befitting for one so worn as his beloved. She had lived, and now, she would die. Nasuada will die. There are shadows beneath his despondent eyes as he trembles silently beside her. The realization was beginning to set in, that he could do nothing more to save her. His lips, pale and quivering, part in wordless melancholy.
He has not aged. Not physically. Neither of them have, not he or Arya, nor will they ever.
Nasuada's death, though imminent, was soon marked by the tortured wail of Murtagh's voice as it echoed wretchedly throughout the night.
Living amongst humans had altered her judgement. With age and experience, came wisdom and consideration. Humans lived more, felt more, and understood more than any elf could within fifty years. Their short existence called for such awareness and acts of responsiveness, and she found that judging them inconsiderately for over seventy years had left her impassively hollow, especially where Eragon was concerned. They were the same. They were as imperfect and ideal as any Elf, Dwarf or Urgal. Her mother had been incorrect, she had been incorrect. Fäolin, naturally, had been right, and with his death…
With his death soon came understanding. His passing further caused her to consider things she would have otherwise ignored.
She could never have guessed that Fäolin was imploring her to be diverse, to be open and to share a friendship with someone other than him and their kind. Some dormant part of him knew that he would not live forever and that she would be alone. Let it be him, let it be his voice to console her whenever she thought of letting Eragon go.
"Learn to have faith, Arya. Accept. It is all that we can do."
It was quiet now, idle and subdued by the silence as they leant offhandedly against the parapet wall within the gardens of Ilirea. The night was bleak and spitefully without comfort. Dejected, bitter, and agitated, she remains still and consumed with pale anguish, though typically, it is not shown. And beside her, sitting just as dolefully within a thinly worn tunic pitied against the cold, bootless and remiss, Murtagh resides in horrid despair.
"I couldn't marry her." His voice is hollow, his eyes fouled with grief and despondency. A frigid chill befell her body whilst Murtagh's forlorn gaze remained unswayed over the cold moonlight of night. "By the wretched voids that took her and the flaws I bear, I wanted to nonetheless. I'd have her hand if I could." He breathed in, clamping his fists to retain his mounting anger. His ability to remain composed before her was slowly disintegrating. Regardless of his inner-turmoil, he contained it well enough.
"I bear no ill will toward you and your own," He started now, "But a Rider ought to remain as such. A Rider. Shouldering thrones and reigning in negligent old fools who call themselves noble is too much for one to bear." His eyes grew damp with grief. "If I had… if we had married, her people would have revolted. A Rider monarch alongside his Queen? Never." His sudden laugh, though forced and bleak, unnerved her. "That cretin fool, Orrin, ensured our conviction. His simpleton mind and dull-witted morals," he spat, "His jealousy nearly had him slain by my own hand. The engagement would have been an affront to the order of things, he said. He knew it to be true. I knew it… she knew it. My only regret is that he died an old fool, and not by my own hands." His eyes fell to the ground. "I regret nothing else."
A grievous edge befell her suddenly and tainted her mindset. Murtagh had lawfully refused to marry Nasuada out of spite for those she once ruled with honour. Despite the late king Orrin, they still could have married. But they didn't. He deliberately denied himself the Kingship that was legally his if he chose to marry her. But out of fear for themselves and Nasuada's subjects, they couldn't. Orrin would have declared war. Murtagh, Son of Morzan and Rider of Thorn, former peer and servant of Galbatorix. Yes, thinking mutely now, Arya could understand the lands, and Orrin's, trepidation to accept him.
But that didn't mean she wasn't sympathetic to Murtagh's plight. Marriage, to her, was needless. It was unnecessary and narrow-minded. Her view was passive, and as such, her opinion of it would not change. But looking cautiously over Murtagh now from where she sat beside him, the Red Rider that was once her affirmed enemy, she finds herself growing more and more compassionate for his predicament.
He had truly loved his Queen. Aside from Thorn, Nasuada had been the consciousness that guided him within his period of hardship, and now she was gone.
"In confidence," he murmurs now. "We remained companions regardless. If marriage was forsaken, so be it, but we would not be separated. Not even her mortality, or my immortality, could stop us. Our children, they could not be denied their heritage." And then, as though a dividing light had sparked within his minds-eye, he smiled evenly. "I will remain here." He says defiantly, seemingly reconciled with his demons and growing calm under the coldness hampering their bodies. "Arianna," He sighed with reverence. "She cannot bear this task alone. Though I myself can do little to ease her burden, I will not abandon her. Nadara is still so little, and now she is without her mother. I will not leave her to squander away with some council elected governess. And Selena," He pauses, deliberating something unseen to her. "Selena," he continues, "She will remain here until I return to Luthivíra, when the time is right. She is… curious about its establishment." Another laugh. "I perceive her to be a Rider at heart. Spirited, daring, and completely arrogant. Politics are not her forte, and she is beneath the duties entitled to a Princess. She doesn't want them, despite the on-going persistence and resentments of the council." He shook his head. "I have a mind to have Thorn char them to ashes and scatter them to the winds."
"Perhaps, by your will, we can arrange for her to leave sooner," she says suddenly, referring to his second born, Selena. "A Dwarf by the name of Cehlar, and her dragon, Aegon, are scheduled to depart for Luthivíra in three months. They've been tasked to oversee the docking vessel. My people would be most accommodating if she were to depart with them. They would see her safely there, if she so desires."
"She bears no Sigel entitled to a Rider." He argued. "I do. I can see her there. I will see her there."
"And she is Eragon's niece," she counted. "She will be sanctioned passage. I'll ensure it, and so will he."
"Eragon." Murtagh's opposing voice grew grim at the mention of his half-brother. "He has not said anything as of late. Surely Nasuada's…" He pauses. In the darkness, Arya can perceive his anger lividly compress him into misery once more. "Surely her death," he continues quietly. "Surely it would have reached his attentive ears by now."
Indifferently, she murmurs. "It has been a fortnight since her passing." She feels herself growing distressed by the recollection of her friends passing. Regardless of her sentiments, she holds her own as Murtagh's doubtful stare pried into her wellbeing. "He knows." Although, she herself is unsure of her knowledge regarding this.
"Yet he's persistent to remain where he is until the day of his wretched undoing." Loathing, however scarce it was, enveloped his voice. "He should be here."
"He cannot." She discerns herself amidst her own thoughts suddenly, seeing something different, as she remembers the grievous words she'd once spoken to Eragon. I cannot… Looking now into the grim and starry night, feeling the coldness hamper her body, Arya feels herself growing miserable once more. Numbness encapsulated her. Mind, body and soul. Seventy-four pitiless years, and still it condemned her very existence. Those ashen words, its implication, and its condemning significance. "You know he cannot." She says finally.
And then, once more, she witnesses the callous, apathetic laugh that makes her sympathies for him seem completely and markedly useless. "That means nothing to me."
There is still, always, indifference.
"Roran is… ill." She cannot distinguish the emotion lidded within his voice. Apathy? Sadness? Anger? As of late, he was an enigma, one of which she couldn't solve. Eragon's hands suddenly fall dejectedly by his sides, the parchment held between his withered fingers slipping from his grip. It fell without a glance. He sighed, frustrated and stricken with helplessness. "Is it not enough that I cannot see him?" he asks suddenly. "But when I'm given the chance to see him, his life will plummet before I even get there. I… how…" Parchments littered his desk. Leather-bound books, indoctrinations, scrolls. Aggressively, he wipes his hands over the desk and everything suddenly falls with a resonating crash. He grips the panel of his desk before arching forward weakly, head falling limply and lips parting at the expense of his own desolation.
She moves quickly and without delay. Her arms sought him instinctively, and when at last she felt his damp cheek chafe her neck and he fell into her embrace, it's not enough to keep her from crying. "The pitiless consequences of immortality," he seethes hotly, arms tight and unrelenting over her body. "I was too late with Nasuada. I receive word that Orik is near his passing, and Roran…" His fingers tremble over her back. "Roran is already lost. I cannot… I…"
Her voice is strained when she promptly interrupts him. "… You will learn to accept and have faith, Eragon." Fäolin's words, long since faded and stored within the deepest aperture of her mind, suddenly echo resolutely under the strain of her own voice as she relays them to Eragon. She closes her eyes, murmuring. "For it is all that we can do. It's all we can ever do."
"Ismira…" he began.
"…has her mother and her family. They are not without affection or empathy. Find comfort in that, Eragon." Accept it, please, Eragon…
She feels him shiver involuntarily against her, as though cold and wet with despair. "I will never see him again." Roran…
It hurts. By the stern resolve within her and the caring temperament she bears for him, it hurts. But lying to Eragon, deliberately inflicting deceit when it was not needed, it was beneath her. "No," she says passively, cursing herself for her indifference. "You will not." His heavy-hearted soul could afford no more agony. By her words, he is weakened. Trembling and subjected to his anger, he soon allows it to overwhelm his better judgement and, holding her against him, he releases a long and lamenting scream into her neck.
He doesn't hear her when she whispers, "Stay with me." His anger drowns out her voice when she says, again and again. "I'm here." And he never perceives her words, cannot understand her through his own agony, when she murmurs, "I love you."
"Elven children a rare," Islanzadí had affirmed with sadness. So long ago now, so far gone into the crevices of time, and still Arya could recall with perfect clarity her mother's formidable teachings. Her now deceased mother had not been accommodating to her daring nature and unpredictable allures, nor did she accept her keen curiosity for adventure and independence. Her mother had been stern, calculating, and devoted to the lessons decreed by her resolve to sway Arya's once wayward mind. As a princess, it was her given right. Her duty. Even if she had been merely twelve.
But there was that moment, in time, when Arya had asked with subtle hesitance about the anatomy of elven life, why she had been the only child to be born of her generation… why there were no children at all, other than herself.
"A notion long forsaken. It is as it is, I'm afraid, because relations are scarce with our kind." Her mother had said, delicately curling a stray hair behind Arya's small, tipped ears. "We, who are of a higher disposition, are powerless to bear children as naturally and as effortlessly as any Human, Dwarf or Urgal. Alas, it is only natural for us. Immortal, yes, but blighted by caution and doubt. It may take years, if not longer to conceive." And then, slowly, she leaned down, inclined her head, and very tenderly placed her lips over her forehead, whispering fondly, "But fortunately, we are blessed with the life of a child every so often, and for that…" A smile, "For that, we are eternally grateful."
Her short but tempered breaths begin to ease as she wills herself to relax. Shivering and unnerved, she forgoes the need to call someone to her chambers. Aid was not her suit. Asking for help was unnecessary. Her hand quivers somewhat as she lifts it up to wipe her mouth, groaning suddenly and feeling utterly fatigued by the sickness harbouring her state of being. Her eyes, two bleak emeralds crudely reflected in the water of her basin, stare up at her feebly. Pale, weary, and apprehensive for her health, she falls back against the edge of her bed and sinks to the ground. Her head lolls back weakly, and she resigns herself to staring up at the intricate patterns decorating her ceiling suddenly as she breathes.
"Fírnen…" She calls out, voice thick and laced with warning. Fírnen!
You are unwell. His antagonism was apparent as she felt him bestir easily within her thoughts, but beneath the criticism for her discretion and her refusal to call for a healer, there was concern. I will inform your advisors, as well as Lord Däthedr, he amended promptly. And I will call for a healer, regardless of your pride. Through his spiritual minds-eye and by the connection they shared, she could see him traversing above the woodland peaks, heading rapidly toward her. He would see to her soon. He would get to her before she slipped. Arya… he began cautiously.
Forget the healer. She exhaled slowly, feeling her sickness begin to alleviate with each calming breath. But notify Däthedr, as well as the counsel. I wish to convene with them immediately. Have them amass in the hall. I will be there soon.
Arya… By the tentative tenor of his voice, she is still. Her pair-bond was unnerved. What are you doing? He asks suddenly. She could sense, once more, that he was growing nearer.
Her eyes strayed precariously from the ceiling. Again, she breathed in, eyes closing, opening, and then widening as she fixated them before her in determination. She has never been surer of her resolve when she declares suddenly; I am going to renounce my duties as Queen. A smile played at the wry curve of her ashen lips as the spoken words held more and more significance to her mentality. I intend to fully acknowledge my responsibilities as a Rider and I will therefore relinquish my ties to the throne. She feels herself growing content, shifting now and moving to stand, albeit unevenly. I will thus choose to remain in Luthivíra, for good.
He was descending rapidly; both mind and spirit alight within a sudden fervour for her words. What…?
And then she smiles, bright and luxurious, a most becoming sentiment that soon drapes her under a golden light of ecstasy. "I am with child."
"Are you… sure?" he asks now, following her curiously into the thicket of dense woodland with casual, amble strides. Enveloped thickly under woollen cloaks, together they traversed the secluded forests of Luthivíra, where they roam the moss strewn heaths by Arya's insistence. He was puzzled by her suggestion, more so shocked by her unexpected yet welcomed arrival, yet he follows regardless.
And with a feeling akin to serenity, Arya listens intently and openly as Eragon freely saunters behind her. "It's been an hour." He says, "Are you certain you've not lost your way? You've never scaled the forest summits until now." She could detect the subtle tenor of amusement under the quiet inlet of his voice. Regardless of his meagre concerns, he still followed her forth, and she remained silent and watchful as she guided him further and further into the eerie abyss, unsure of the destination.
Shadows besieged through the last remnants of light flickered and danced over the foothills and moors, sprung by the vast and ocular trees over the mountainous peaks, which swayed and rasped delicately into the westerly winds above them. A soft, luminous light befell the grove. The last particles of warmth seeped away. Swathed in draughtiness and cold by the breeze, Arya wraps her arms around her abdomen and pulls the cloak tighter as they descended into a lush, leaf-strewn glade. Trees were hampered with foliage, the soiled ground beneath them littered with vegetation. The flora was fresh and verdant. All was quiet save for the gentle rasps of branches and distant bird calls. Everything was beautiful.
Not before long, when a pale gold illumination dappled the woodland floor, he spoke again. "Now you have me anxious." A small gist of hilarity still harboured his voice despite his apparent confusion. Selecting to ignore him once again, she heard him exhale loudly. "I don't know why, or what purpose permitted you to drag me out here, but we can cycle back to the moors if you're lost." He indicated, "I know the way. If we head east, we'll come to the foremost point just past the stream-"
"I'm staying, Eragon." She said suddenly, cutting him off before he muttered another word regarding their location. She smiled at his concern. Behind her, she heard his amble footsteps suddenly grow quiet.
Back turned, she hears him ask doubtfully, "What?" and everything became stagnant as his query lingered between them. "What did you…-?"
And then she was upon him. Quick and lithe as the woodland floor permitted, she whirls around sharply before grasping the folds of his cloak, silencing his qualms, and then swiftly throws him back against closest tree. He stumbles, taken aback, and her lips are soon upon him. Whatever questions he bore were soon hushed. By the drive of her lips against his own, he is drowned. Hard, insistent, and utterly desperate, she pulls him against her roughly before muttering hotly over his parted mouth, "I'm staying." And then bites his lower lip as she whispers it again under the ancient language.
His breathless exclamations are soon obscured by her mouth once again. She allows him nothing, yet gives him everything. Clinging to him, she holds him against the moss-strewn tree as she feels his eagerness grow in unison. He comprehends… I am staying… and soon, he is ruthless. Ultimately, as her lips part and gnaw at his mouth, she registers his sudden vigour. His hands rummage her body through the garbs that constricted her. Her face, her shoulders, the suave curve of her hips as they press insistently against his groin. When he groans, her lips part blatantly as they gasp together. I'm staying here, with you… I'm with…
Eragon muttered something incomprehensive over her lips. The words she'd intended to tell him fumbled in her throat. Their skin grew hot and fervid beneath their clothing. His breathing rough and tempered, she suddenly felt his hands curl boldly over her thighs as he hastily hoisted her up and against him. Sharp, sated exhales resounded thickly under the soaring pines. She reigned upon him. His mouth titled upwards to capture her lips. They grinded against one another, breathless and desperate for the others touch. She clutched at his neck whilst he kneaded her thighs. He pulled her against him, and biting her lips suddenly and returning the animalistic gesture she'd marked him with beforehand, he turned her roughly and propelled her against the tree. It hurt, but she cared not. Registering the position, she intertwined her fingers through his thick, auburn hair and dug her nails into his skin, feeling him suddenly push and thrust against her in response.
We're staying, with you… forever.
She pulled at his clothes, as he did with her. They tore, they rummaged, and they acted recklessly with little forethought to their woodland surroundings. His fingers groped at the leather of her leggings. She pried at the knots securing his cloak. As they bent and swayed against one another's adamant body, pulling and tearing at the fittings they wore, she whimpers into his mouth and gasps almost relentlessly.
Suddenly, he's fallen to his knees before she manages to absorb his intent. He abrades her exposed stomach with his mouth, pulling at the linen that covered her upper body before griping her leggings and wrenching them down to her boots. Arya's head arches back and collides with the hard surface of the tree as she cries out. The pain was soon dulled with pleasure. He kneels before her, cranes himself against her. His lips are torturous. Groaning against her bare skin, he holds her to him as he quickly reaches down and unthreads her boots. Her hand clutches at a branch above her as she feels him bite, lick and kiss her in and around her thighs. The leggings were gone, her boots discarded. It was too much. Crying out helplessly, she snaps the branch above her and moans.
He's against her again, catching her quickly before they both plummeted to the ground. She feels him grind against her, propelled by the placement of their quivering bodies, and she meets him eagerly. Dexterous hands clutching at his waistline and above, she pulled at the leather garb knotted over his tunic and hastily releases it. His cloak had fallen at his feet. The material fastened over his tunic soon dropped to the forest floor in a loose disarray, and she was free to meander her hands aggressively over the flesh of his body beneath the now loosened tunic before lifting it over his head. Her lower body bared and open to him, she hoisted a leg over his hip and arched against him, smiling crudely against his lips as he groaned impatiently. A smile, a taunt, an urging.
She felt his hands draw sharply over her upper body suddenly. He tore at the fittings and pried it open with his fingers desperately, revealing her skin where the articulate blouse opened. He cupped her through the linen, his hand quick and cold over her breast as he kneaded the tender flesh. Mouth parted soundlessly by the feel of his hands, lips crimson and wet with desire, she slips her hand down his abdomen and reaches for the fastenings of his breeches. He's kissing her shoulder when she releases him, hard and ready. He shifts, bites her teasingly, and he's insider her before she can even voice her impatience.
A hoarse yell penetrates the air, her voice. They're not gentle. There is still, always, desperation. But this time it's different. They're not plagued; they're not harboured by doubts. There is no mistrust. There is no question where the answer is already known. There is, finally, tranquility. Frantic, rash, and heavy with rapture, they move with little regard to their position. Desire for the other consumes them. Through the torn and disordered clothes hanging from her body, she feels the coarse surface of the tree chafe her back with every rough drive that's generated. She cries out, nails adamant and digging violently into his shoulders. He seethes at the touch, the reckless graze that provokes him to grow frantic. He creates an erotic cradle with his body. Pressed against her and grunting almost erratically into her neck, she feels one of his hands over her hip as he holds her tightly. The other fastens behind her, over the tree, as his thrusts grow harder, faster.
Against the tree, they are heedless. They roll and sway into one another roughly, helplessly, an instinctual urge that held them both in wanton lust. The crave was agonizing. Arya was overwhelmed by his relentless desire. His quick, impulsive drives, her arching back and groping hands. He was everywhere, and she welcomed him eagerly.
Thrusting, he forces her harder against the tree, eliciting a small cry of surprise from her gaping mouth in between pants. His fingers interlace within her long, strewn hair when she arches back, gasping and moaning and feeling him pillage her body again and again. She's bucking helplessly. Maintaining her hold as well as her balance, she feels him stagger as they move in sensual unison, keeping her aloft, keeping hard and pinned against the tree.
Wavering into one another, she feels him convulse suddenly. Reason itself begins to elude her as her skin grew damp and soar. His thrusts grow brash, animalistic and wild, and it becomes a challenge to equal his drive when his insistence evades her resolve to remain in unison. To be taken so recklessly and passionately, it thrilled her to no end. Quickened by his desires, she feels his hot, winded breath rasp over her skin. The sounds that seep from her mouth, the resounding whimpers and trembling moans. Their unruly voices are the only sounds she could perceive under the haziness of their crave for one another. She meets him, pants with each quivering thrust he musters, and holds him without measure. Not before long, her shaky fingers are clutching at his matted hair, and she's pulling him forward. Their lips are tiresome in their urgency to consume one another. Against her lips, he whispers her true name, a fervent sigh of want, and she feels herself slipping uncontrollably. The shiver of familiarity destroys her.
"Ar…" He thrusts, mouth parting over her lips, and groans, "Arya…"
And she cannot help it. Her throat aches, her body withers under the euphoric strain of their urgency. The only words, the only sound she can generate is a coarse, breathless, "Ah…!" before she hears her name again, her true name, rasped repetitively over her lips. She hears him, again and again, and she's alight. Her toes curl, her legs grown tense and tight over his hips as the tremors began to rock throughout her body. Violent, shivering pulsations consumed her. She arches into him desperately as she feels him convulse again. He thrusts, again, again, deeper, and harder. And with a guttural moan, another thrust, and with a withered sigh and loud grunt against her shoulder, he lets go. She claws down his arms as their grating voices mingled under the trees in cohesion.
But she's unrelenting. She pushes back against the tree suddenly. The drive within her is still ablaze and thick with need, and with a sudden urge and shift of her lithe body, Eragon staggers backwards and falls over his discarded cloak. He releases a started howl as they fall to the ground together, but his voice is soon muffled by her lips once more. Atop of him, she moves, and watches with a coy sense of satisfaction as his brow crinkles in concentration. Tired, yes, but not finished.
Her hips grate against him with long, torturous strokes. His strained voice, an eager response provoked by her sensualism, staggers almost helplessly from his mouth. By the press of her body and the sounds she procures, she feels him respond in determination, quick and hard. Her head lolls back as a moan penetrates the air, feeling his hands clutch at her hips and pull. He brings her against him, arches back and thrusts within her. Her own hands are restless, quivering as they were, they seek leverage regardless. They're against his chest, pulling at his tousled hair, supporting her above him as she moves up and against him. Another moan, long and laboured by his deep, impulsive thrusts, and then his hands are at her shoulders. Instead of holding her, he's pulling, aggressively. He's ripping whatever remaining articles of loose clothing she bore. He discards it, abandons it, and leaves her bare. And when she leans backwards, whimpers, and reaches back to support herself over his rigid thighs, he's upon her.
Sitting up rapidly, pulling her roughly and thrusting, he draws his open mouth hotly against her exposed neck and bites. She falters against him, urging herself to quicken her movements. Their lips, parted dependently against one another, do not meet to kiss. They breathe, inhale sharply and exhale hoarsely into each other. She feels his hands move around her. His fingers dance wildly over her juddering back and reach for her shoulders. Simultaneously, her arms drape frantically around his neck, and she moves heavily and hastily against his hips. They grunt collectively by the drive they muster. His teeth, eliciting a startled sound from Arya, suddenly grazed her jaw and chafe her collarbone. Panting, feeling his deep, sated thrusts coerce within her, she feels herself growing fervent and desperate for release. She watches under the eerie light as his face contorts, strained and equally desperate, wanting, always wanting, and pressing for their ecstasy. Overwhelmed, she reaches for his knotted face with trembling fingers and holds him.
Fulfilled, heavy with want and breathless, she parts her mouth over his perspiring forehead and whispers his name. The quaking awareness, liberated by his true name, pulsates hotly under his skin. She can feel the response, the edge, and the passionate yearning simmer abruptly by the intimacy of her voice. Joined, unbroken and withstanding of anything that sought to destroy them, they are unshackled. They reach the final pinnacle together. The resounding thickly beat and pulsation of blood within her grew livid as she cried out, feeling his release and letting herself go as the pleasure pricked at her being. His own, long and winded, is muffled within the delicate curve of her neck.
Their staggered voices mingled together and then soon dimmed. The ocular and large trees of the glade rasped into the wavered breeze. The fickle luminosity fell against their glistened bodies and sheltered them in both golden ambience and shadow. They held each other without sway or measure, levelled against one another and panting restlessly. For a time, basking longingly without mistrust or fear for the comings of tomorrow, they wait. They ease themselves together. In accord, they fall jadedly against the ruffled cloak strewn with leaves and dirt, but neither care. They are drained.
They breathe, they wait, and soon, they are calm. Her eyes are closed when she hears him murmur, "You're staying." And she feels herself smile against the fabric of his cloak.
It's when he holds her, enfolds her from behind and presses himself against her, that she finally reaches for his hand. Silently, deliberately, and anticipating his reaction with eagerness, she places their intertwined hands against her abdomen, and whispers, "We're staying." She can feel his breath against her neck, the long, drowsy intakes of air. She can fill it suddenly wither and grow short as he comprehends her gentle words. We're staying.
Even amidst their wearisome state, she still recoils and jerks in surprise when he elicits a startled cry of disbelief, and laughs boisterously against her neck.
Her father often thought she slept. Evander, with the sleeping child. When he reaches for her, lifts his hand and feathers her little face with three delicate fingers, he assumes she's drifting within a dreamlike realm only children can envision. Yet her subtle smile, her small, infantile laugh is enough to make him assume otherwise. He tells her to lay still, to be quiet so that her mother cannot discern her beautiful voice. Laugh in your sleep, he tells her quietly, Not when your mother can chide you for disregarding your rest. As he soothes her, quietens her, he caresses her again. Three gentle fingers, three comforting brushes over her nose, and too soon her eyes slip closed and she's lost again.
His face is alabaster under the moonlight, ashen, but contently serene. Sleeping, she believes, aimless and buoyant under the lyrical strain of his waking dreams. She reaches for him under the darkness, spurred by a sudden recollection, years ago, of three delicate fingers touching her face under the night. And now, as her hand slowly whisks through the air and brushes down Eragon's undisturbed face, she feels the sleeping child within her suddenly, excitingly, bestir under the budding swell of her stomach. Soundless and without opening his eyes, she feels his hand shift and level gently over her stomach. And when he smiles impishly, she allows herself to laugh aloud without fear of her mother's chide.
Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of their choices…
But even amongst anguish, the dimmest light under the darkest night can kindle and grow brighter with the simplest of choices. And through the startling reach of a hundred years, when all is finally quiet and when all is magnified, when nothing could possibly forsake the pleasure of harmony… the simplest words whispered without doubt or despair can ignite the soul.
He speaks of love and adore, for both her and the sleeping child that grows within her. His simple words provoke a lasting sentiment, and it never ceases to her entice her. Within the months that spanned after her return, she knew nothing but his gentle words. Too often he would affirm their happiness, and too often he would murmur, "Would you give up your crown to come with us?" as though to tease her of the past that had ultimately shaped their future. He does this when he feels particularly mischievous, knowing her spiteful retaliation would cause only amusement, from both him and later, from her. She had been naive to leave where he would stay, she concludes. A century since their bittersweet separation on the banks of Alagaësia, and still she thinks herself ignorant for ever refusing him.
Fírnen is inclined to disagree. With coy merriment, he tells her that she was merely being arrogant. To that, she is accepting and inclined to agree. She had been.
Luthivíra has thus become her sanctuary, a foundation. Rumours no longer encumber their mindset whenever tidings from Alagaësia meet their pry. Arya's resignation from the throne has since been the cause of such stillness. Orik's passing, a quiet yet mournful death, had inevitably caused sadness. Eragon's silence did little to alleviate her own misery at the news, both at the expense of losing a friend, and by having to watch the grief consume his heavy-hearted soul again. She still finds him, on rare occasions, lost within the dystopia of Roran's death, so long ago now. Katrina too, barely five years ago. He mourns their passing, he despises himself for having to abandon them, and he seethes at his own negligence when he is reminded of Nasuada. When he falls under the pain of remembering, she is there, always, calming him and beseeching him to have faith. Accept. Have faith. It is all that we can do. But there is still, always, sadness.
Glimpses of Murtagh and Thorn are scarce, but their sporadic arrivals and quick departures were only naturally befitting for ones such as them. They had affairs elsewhere. Murtagh, under the spiteful illusion that the term 'like father like son,' had become his reality, is not motivated to forsake the lives of his children as easily as his father had before him. He attends to them as a father would. Loving, astutely affectionate, and encouraging. And as he perceived, Selena, his second eldest, did become enamoured with the Riders. She was welcomed, just as Arya had perceived, and she was loved. Although he was hesitant, Murtagh ultimately left her to the teachings of Eragon so he could effectively see to Nadara, his youngest, whilst Queen Arianna reigned with the spirit and vitality of her mother. All was as it should be.
Time withered. Months escalated onwards. Word was soon received from Ellesméra. A subsequent monarch was nominated, and then soon elected. Political consensus and democracy no longer harboured her being, but she was largely pleased with the established outcome. Time went on, things changed.
The resounding wail of a newborn, fused with the echo's of Arya's pain-ridden cries, was soon embraced into the luminary world.
There, just beyond the horizon. Carefully, anxiously, she sits and watches with untroubled thoughts. Her curiously optimistic eyes draw evenly toward the clouds as she glimpsed two seemingly dancing silhouettes beneath the gleam of the withered sun. There, within the broad and distant sphere of twilight and shadow, she earnestly glimpsed Fírnen. His massive grandeur vaguely shifts and spurs in accordance to the tiding winds, declines in the distance, and then angles fluently under the starry haze of the fading luminosity. Her heart swelled with unbridled pride. She could see him, even from here.
And in cohesion, as though framed and unable to persist without the other, the magnificent splendour known only as Saphira, danced with him. Together, they were virtually inseparable. Two corresponding fragments pulled and fastened together and collected in the last, beautiful remnants of light. But something else gains her attention suddenly.
Their collective laughs amidst the grassy-knoll sustain her entirely. They mingle, linger beautifully within the air, and reverberate in and around her until she knows nothing but their animated laughs and smiles. Arya watches, ever dotingly, as Eragon materializes above the long tendrils. She can see his eyes, his spirited face and calming disposition, even from here. As she sits within knolls and mediates upon his exhilaration, she is remiss not to cherish this moment forever.
For within his arms, laughing and crying out in jubilancy and utterly taken as her father spun around and held her close within his arms… echoed their daughter's youthful, innocent shouts of merriment.
Their daughter, their little sleeping child who retains the alluring spirit of her parents. Young, spirited, and notably arrogant when Eragon suddenly feigns defeat and soon collapses into the grass. Arya perceives her daughter amongst the grassy knoll as the wind ensnares her long, auburn hair, watching her carefully under the fading sun. But it's her eyes, those similar emeralds cast under the gleam of twilight, that glaze over in that same, determined resilience, that suddenly catches her sights. She sighs knowingly, watching her intently with reassuring gentleness. A newfound emotion stirs within her, and then she's smiling. She looks, and so does she, two pairs of inquisitive emeralds reflected within their images of perfection, and collectively they stare without measure or thought.
Their daughter, already growing astute enough to perceive things beyond that of an ordinary child. But her astuteness is soon diminished. It's forsaken when Eragon suddenly leaps up once more, reaches for her quickly, and confines her within his arms. Arya stares, warmth swelling beneath her once inert heart. They fall backwards, heedlessly and with little care, but neither are fearful. Fear was nothing but a figment, a particle lost to the reaches of oblivion. They collapse listlessly within the grass, their voices interlocked and laughing freely as the burgeoning winds carried them halfway to anywhere.
Breathing in, she feels herself grow calm and stilled by their distant laughs. She cannot perceive herself within another life apart from this. It seemed impractical, unnatural even, to think that another life existed beyond that of her own. Her reservations in the past, her doubts and instinctual behaviour, seem trivial now. She had to be doubtless. She had to be liberated from her own condemning nature. When she at last feels serenity, there is peace. There is a feeling unlike anything experienced beforehand. It's utterly profound, it's unyielding, and it's driven by the resonating laughs ahead of her. As it is, she is forever grateful.
She could feel the latent air upon her face as she breathes in languidly. She could smell and perceive the distant fragrances as well the redolence of the natural vegetations amongst the area. All was quiet, save for the whispers and small giggles within the grass. All was well.
Difficult times have lightened her conscious. To have felt and experience comfort throughout the difficulties they've faced, it seemed absurd. But those moments spent in despair have made her understand. How beautiful life is when everything suddenly becomes agonizingly perfect. Life has thus become more infinitely rich and wonderful and held within a luminary light of awe. The unreachable becomes reachable. The unfulfilled becomes fulfilled. The unattainable, attained. Within the perpetual and seemingly endless span of a hundred years, everything is finally as it should be.
Everything is beautiful.
I intend to finish Sweet Silent Thought soon, just bear with me guys and I'll get there. But I am rather anxious about this one. More so anxious for your thoughts. That little sentence you see down the bottom, the right ol' nifty one that says Review This Story? Tempting, is it not? Those charming little things called reviews are what motivate me to write. No, my life is not centered on FanFiction. It's merely nice to come home after a rather tedious day of work and compulsory education and see that yes, people appreciate the effort. When that happens, I go and write for my career (which is smashing, by the way, absolutely groovy!)So, yayah. You're doing more than you think.
Have a terrific Easter. I wish you all the best. And if it's no longer Easter where you're from, then... well. How about that weather?