Chapter 32. End of an Empire
Nausada and the allied leaders gathered together in Nausada's command tent to discuss the next stage of their war. Spies had been sent out and they returned two days ago with reports on the state of affairs throughout the northern half of Alagaesia. Dras Leona had been taken over by the priests of the helgrind who forced the citizens of the city to practice their religion. In Ceanon the black hand are led by a dark wizrd named Femer. Xastell the former king of Belatona had fled to Uru'baen where he has taken the thrown of Uru'baen.
"Of all these factions… The most dangerous is Xastell… Our spies say he even has a shade working for him…" Nausada said.
"It's a good thing we have two shadeslayers fighting for us…" Roran joked referring to Eragon and Arya who was now queen.
"What of Thorn and Murtagh?" Orwick barked. "My people will not rest until his head is mounted on a pike…"
Eragon flinched, because most of the leaders had decided to wait and see what Murtagh would do but Orwick and his advisors wanted blood. "As I said Thorn and Murtagh were victum's in all this… They have no wish to carry on Galbatorix's evil… but if you pursue this matter only your people will suffer…" Elva said speaking up.
"We shall see…" Orwick responded.
"The people of Belatona have sent word that they wish to join our cause and will welcome us into the city…" When Nausada said this the gathered leaders all clapped. "When we reach Belatona we will rest for a day then divide our forces into two groups… One group will attack Dras Leona and the second will attack Kuasta…"
"May I lead the assault on Kuasta…" Eragon blurted.
His request drew looks from everyone at the table, but it was King Orrin who asked. "Why is it so important to you…"
Eragon cleared his throat; "As you all know Brom was my father and well he was from Kuasta… I may have relatives living there and I feel a certain responsibility to try and take the city with minimal or no fighting at all…"
Because Nausada was Eragon's lieglord she alone was the only one who could make the decision. She was quiet for so long Eragon feared she would say no. "I can see no reason why you shouldn't lead the attack… Very well then Eragon will lead the assault on Kuasta."
"Thank you…" Eragon said.
"Now after Kuasta and Dras Leona are under our control we will attack Teirm both from the sea, land, and air…"
"The battle of Teirm will not be an easy one…" Jeod said, "…The people of Teirm are a proud people, they may even fight down to the last man…"
Jeod's words were hard but true and a plan was made accordingly to take the city. The allied leaders planned to take Narda next then Ceuneon. Gilead had been abandoned so the only city left was Uru'baen, after three hours of planning they dismissed and prepared for the march to Belatona. It took longer than Nausada would have liked but they were finally able to leave the camp and in four days they arrived at Belatona. The citizens of the city greeted the heroes of the varden in the streets with cheers; even the urgals were welcomed. Two days later Eragon was leading a mixed army of humans, elves, dwarves, and urgals through the spine towards Kuasta. As he hoped the people of Kuatsa welcomed him especially when they learned of Eragon's heritage. After three days, Eragon learned that Brom had a brother and sister whose decedents still living in Kuasta.
Dras Leona was a different story, the priests of the helgrind held the city in a grip of fear. Their most powerful spell casters had the city shut up tight. After four days Elva and the elves were able to overcome their magic and enter the city, while Galmore fired the city from the air. On the fifth day of battle the varden were able to march into the city. Every member the order had to be killed in order to free the city from magical slavery.
("What a disgusting religion…") Elva said to Galmore in her mind.
("Yes I agree…")
Over two hundred people died both human and non-human trying to take the city. Nausada sent a message to Eragon in order to coordinate their attack against Teirm. Second day after taking the cities of Dras Leona and Kuatsa the allied forces attacked Teirm from the sea and the land with Galmore and Saphira raining fire down from the sky. Because Nausada attacked from the land it took her forces longer to reach the city; a day longer so Eragon's forces were attacking the city from the sea for an entire day. Saphira set the docks on fire while Galmore set the main fortress ablaze and as Jeod predicted the people of the city would not surrender easily. It took two weeks to overthrow the city costing the varden and their allies the most troops they had lost in battle. Once the city was taken Nausada immediately began helping the citizens restore their city. The restoration took months but it was worth it as the people of Teirm accepted the Varden's rule.
The day finally came when Katrina gave birth to her son and they named him Garrow Sloan Roransson. A birthing celbration was held and all the varden attended including a few Urgals. The celebration lasted four days and when it was over it was back to the war.
The march on Narda was a peaceful one led by Roran. The governor of the city welcomed the allied forces in especially since Xastell had been threatening to unleash his Shade Nimrod on the city. Roran rode up the street on Snowfire with his knights in tow. He rode up to Clovis' house the man whose barges he used to get to Teirm. Clovis was in his garden with his daughter when Roran rode up. When he walked up to the gate the little girl ran inside. Clovis looked up as Roran strode through the gate.
"Well I was wondering if I would see you again…"
"So was I… I wronged you and I came to make amends…"
He grunted; "Did you rescue that redheaded lass from those monsters…"
"I did…" Roran climbed out of the saddle and walked up to Clovis holding a leather satchel.
"What is this?"
Roran smiled; "Open it…" When he did Clovis gasped, because it was filled with gold crowns.
"That is the money I promised you and then some… There is enough there to rebuild your business…"
"I can't take this…"
"Yes you can… Especially after what I put you through…"
As Clovis thanked Roran his wife came out and fell to her knees when her husband showed her all the gold inside.
"We need to ask for more volunteers…" Nausada said four days later in the fortress of Narda. The Varden were planning on marching on Ceuneon next.
"More Urgals will join us when we reach the city… the clans are willing to cooperate more since Galbatorix's defeat…"
"Well done Nar Garzhvog…"
"Raising more conscripts will take time…" Orrin said.
"Time well spent… especially when we reach the gates of Uru'baen…" Nausada replied.
"As you say… I have another force of fifteen thousand troops marching here they can join us at Uru'baen…"
"What about Gilead… We should send a small force to take the city…" Arya offered.
"My knights and I can handle that while you gather more volunteers…"
Five days later the Varden was on the march again towards the city of Ceunon where Lord Femerr Boun of the Black Hand ruled the city. He stood on the balcony addressing his troops. "Galbatorix is dead… Now is the time of the black hand…" They had adopted as their banner a black hand on a white background with the words the hand of power written in the ancient language. "…We will forge our own destiny in the blood of our enemies!" A thunderous cheer went up as they prepared for the upcoming battle.
Femer and his underlings used their power to create super soldiers. Men who possessed the strength of ten thousand and whose bodys could heal from any injury so long as their heads were still attached to their bodies. Their bodies were fueled by both sun and moonlight; their eyes were red like crimson. These men could also roar like dragons and even breath fire like one. The leader of these men was a veteran warrior by the name of Talnus. He let out a thunderous roar and lead his men to the gate when they were five feet from the gate they jumped over the fifty foot gate in one leap. As they cleared the wall and landed on their feet, the varden charged the wall.
Talnus looked at his men then he sucked in a deep breath and unleashed a torrent of flames. The wards erected around Nausada protected her but some of the men beside her were cooked alive. A man dove under the flames and attacked the leader, but Talnus grabbed him by the throat hoisting him into the air breaking his neck. He threw him to the side as the front lines of the varden bravely charged the enchanted men. Some of Talnus' men used their hands to fight while the rest used swords or axes. Talnus grabbed the blade of a sword that was swung at him and snapped it as if it were a twig. Then he struck the man in the face breaking his skull and killing him. An elf charged Talnus as well, but he picked the elf up and broke him in half.
Saphira and Galmore were in the air when Trianna summoned both Eragon and Elva. The two dragons dove towards the ground and when they neared the ground both Eragon and Elva leapt off their saddles attacking the knot of soldiers. Eragon ignited his sword brisinger and stabbed a man in the gut. Elva decapitated her opponenet.
("Eragon the only way to kill them is to take their heads… They have been enchanted…") she said with her mind wielding Skolir.
In response Eragon spun around and decapited the man he had just stabbed. Saphira roared in pain as five of the men attacked her and wrestled her to the ground.
"Thrysta!" Eragon screamed in the ancient language. Because of his eldunari enhanced power he was able to over power the wards protecting the soldiers.
("Thank you Eragon… they are unnaturally strong…")
("Right I have an idea…") Eragon contacted Trianna and told her to have the varden pull back. As they retreated Eragon began mouthing his spell. His spell levited several hundred rocks into the air and transmutatted them into steel. Then he sent the steel pieces flying into the heads of the soldiers killing them all. It was Elva who pointed a clawed hand at the gates and ripped them off the hindges and threw them a mile away. The varden charged into the city with Roaran and Nausada leading the charge. Eragon and Elva jumped onto the backs of their dragons and flew towards the fortress to deal with the black hand.
Lord Famer stood on the balcony as the two dragons flew towards him. In the ancient language he said; "I am a servant of Lord Galbatorix who was killed by these infidels… I now call upon the power he bestowed upon me as the leader of the black hand…" After reciting the spell Famer grew a pair of dragonlike wings his chest became an armor of scales and his back grew spikes and finally a tail sprouted from his lower back. He leapt into the air spewing red flames from his mouth at Galmore.
"What manner of sorcery is this?" Eragon yelled.
("The evil kind… I shall rend this false dragon to pieces…")
Saphirra was still bigger than Famer and when she got close enough she batted him with her right paw. He tumbled through the air, looped around and attacked Saphira from the left. Famer was about to attack from the side but Galmore slashed him across the back, but the wound healed. Famer pushed off Saphira's side and lunged at Galmore.
("Galmore look out! Don't let him bite you…") It was too late, Famer grabbed onto Galmore's front left leg and bit him injecting venom into his veins. Saphira stretched her neck out and snatched the dragon man with her mouth. She crunched down hard and shook him until his spine snapped. While Famer was still in her mouth Saphira spewed fire roasting him then she released the man dragon. Famer's corpse fell from the sky like a falling star.
Saphira landed next to Galmore as Elva tended his wound, the venom was working its way through his body. "How is he?" Eragon asked.
Elva raised her tear soaked face, "He is dying and nothing I do heals him…"
Eragon knelt beside Galmore and placed his hands on him, Elva watched nervously as Eragon combined every word for healing and even a few he had learned from Jaerden, but nothing worked. "I… I don't know what to do…"
Arya and the Elves gathered around the poisoned dragon and began singing in the ancient language. Eragon added his voice to the musical spell. Saphira stood up and spread her wings as she began to moon over Galmore. Her scales began to shimmer as if they were in water. Elva added her voice to the musical spell the fang wounds began spewing the venom. The wound closed and Galmore was healed, but he slept.
("Go and finish those monsters…") Saphira said, ("I will watch over him…")
Elva stood up drawing her sword Skolir, "Take care of him Saphira… I will return shortly…" As Elva ran towards the fortress Eragon patted Galmore on the side.
("Go little one we shall be fine…")
"Eragon go my Elves will guard them safely…" Arya said.
Eragon drew Brisinger from its sheath as he smiled at Arya. Then he fought his way through the city towards the fortress. When he arrived Elva stabbed her sword into the main gate and used the energy stored in all four jewels to blow the door apart. She rushed in killing any and everything in her path. By dawn the next day the siege was over and the city was under control of the Varden.
("Don't you ever scare me like that again…") Elva said to Galmore.
("I shall try not too… I knew what he was and I was afraid he would bite Saphira…")
Two days later Nausada met with her advisors and the leaders of the other races to discuss their attack against Urubaen. The city of Gilead was being used by the varden to open up trade again over all the lands except Uru'baen. The plan to attack the city envolved Eragon and Elva spying out the city for any and all magical traps on the gates and walls. Then they would open up the gates of the city and the Elves would lead the charge into the city followed by the Dwarves , Urgals, and finally the humans. It was Eragon who would hunt down and kill the Shade Nimrod. With a plan in place the Varden marched out two days later. Ten miles from the main gates of Uru'baen camped the Urgal reinforcements along with the fifteen thousand conscripts from Surda. As the days passed more and more troops arrived, volunteers from all over the lands of Alagaesia. When the final warrior was counted Nausada commanded an army five hundred thousand strong with the bulk going to Dwarves.
It was sunrise on the tenth day and Nausada rode her horse to the head of the line where Kings Orwick and Orrin awaited her. also waiting was Queen Arya and Nar Garzhvog.
Trianna sent the signal to Eragon and Elva, when they received it Saphira and Galmore leapt into the air flying towards the city gates. As they approached two figures flew from the the fortress, two wind serpents enhanced with magic. On one Xastell road and on the other the shade Nimrod.
("So we are going to have some fun after all…") Elva said to the others with her mind drawing her sword Skolir.
("Galmore… Elva… do not underestimate those creatures they are very dangerous…") Saphira said explaining with flashes of images from her mind.
("We shall take Xastell…") Elva replied.
("The Shade is ours…") Eragon said drawing brisinger.
Saphira collided with the wind viper and it began coiling itself around Saphira, but Eragon stabbed the snake in the side. The Shade and the Viper tried to attack Eragon and Saphira's mind but they could not break through or immobilize them.
("Are you ready friend of my heart?") Eragon asked.
Eragon and Saphira combined their minds and assaulted the Shade and the Wind Viper. Saphira paralyzed the Viper so that it could not flap it's wings and Eragon attacked the Shade. As they plummted out of the sky Saphira dove along side it. "Brisinger!" Eragon screamed and stabbed the Shade in the heart. He howled as his entire body burst into flames and the trapped spirits flew away. The Viper flew off when Saphira released it's mind.
Eragon took a look at Elva and Galmore as they continued their ariel duel against Xastell and his Viper. The Viper was chasing Galmore through the air. Elva jumped off the saddle as Galmore went into a loop. She tumbled through the air and as Xastell passed her she lopped off his head.
With Xastell and the Shade dead Eragon and Elva turned their attention to the vast amount of wards and spells protecting the fortress of Uru'baen. It took several hours to counter, remove and circumvent a centuries worth of protetction spells. When it was safe to enter the city Eragon contacted Trianna who passed the message on to Nausada and Roran. The allied forces fought their way through the streets of Uru'baen all the way to the steps of the palace. Elva and Eragon were fighting back to back when at the main gates to the palace when Nausada and her forces arrived. Roran joined the fray and so did Arya. It took all day to weed out the last pockets of resistance, then the arrests started. Pages were sent to every corner of Alagaesia crying: "Uru'baen has fallen… Uru'baen has fallen!"