Author's Note: Hey guys. Here's the story that has been on my mind for over a week now. I'm aware it has many faults, but hey, nothing's perfect. Hope y'al enjoy it!
Disclaimer: Obviously, I don't own any of Christopher Paolini's work. In other words, I didn't write the Inheritance Cycle. Duh. I'm just here to write a FANfiction, as the name suggests. Any OCs appearing in this story however, ARE mine. So don't steal them, people! :)
Eragon sucked in a large breath of the cool morning air and smiled. He was standing balanced on the largest branch of a tall pine tree, peacefully observing the world around him. In the distance, the city of Feinster was visible, as well as the leagues of wilderness surrounding it. Lazy rays of sunlight bathed the scene in warm yellow light and a gentle wind ruffled the leaves of the many trees in the area. It was the perfect moment, in Eragon's eyes, and his mood lifted from calm to joyful.
Saphira! He called with his mind, Shall we go flying together?
She did not take long to answer. That depends. Did you want to ride in the saddle or in my claws?
And then, before he even had time to blink, his glorious sapphire colored dragon performed a spear-like nose dive dove out of the clouds, appearing in his line of sight. Knowing instinctively where he was, she automatically angled her dive towards his tree and with alarming speed she was upon him. At the last split second, right at the cusp of taking him and the tree down or halting her dive, Saphira snapped her wings back and stopped the descent. Eragon didn't have even a fraction of a second's time to process the impressiveness of her actions, for as soon as the fall was ended, Saphira already had her paw extended towards him to swipe him off his perch. He was as helpless as a mouse in the mouth of a cat as soon as her grip encircled him. Without hesitation, the dragoness maneuvered away from the tree and flew off with him safely clutched in gigantic blue paw.
Eragon sighed and shook his head in bemusement, an indignant grin upon his lips. Ha Ha, very funny Saphira. Now put me on the saddle already! He commanded, trying to hold on to whatever pride he had left.
She rumbled her unusual laugh and complied, but not after flipping upside down and doing a couple corkscrews in the air.
Was that really necessary? A very dizzy Eragon demanded, chuckling.
Of course it was.
And then they were off, rider and dragon, flying through the skies above Feinster. Eragon whooped with glee, while Saphira let loose an enormous blast of blue fire from her fearsome jaws. It seemed all was right in the world, but reality never fails to catch up to even the most happy of beings.
Saphira? Eragon asked his partner after a brief time of quiet flight.
Yes, little one?
What are we going to do without Oromis and Glaedr? He hopelessly asked, eyebrows furrowed. He could go for quite a while without thinking of them, and feeling almost content, but thoughts of their deaths inevitably came back to haunt him sooner or later.
Saphira twisted her neck around to look at him, and then to the saddle bag that held the dormant eldunari at his side. They had tried several times to get the ancient dragon's attention some time after the battle, but to no avail. Glaedr was too deep in his sorrow to acknowledge them. Heaving a sigh, she returned her eyes to her rider.
I'm not sure Eragon, She replied mournfully, But I do know that we must never give up until that snake-tongued oath-breaker is destroyed. I will tear him limb from limb for what he did to our masters through Murtagh and Thorn. He will pay, She growled.
Frowning, he looked down. I agree. I just hope Glaedr will awaken soon from his grief. We need him.
Give him time, little one.
Eragon nodded and then leaned back in the saddle to watch the clouds, melancholy in his thoughts.
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Eragon paced in Nasuada's pavilion, pondering what was said. She had called him in to tell him that her spies in Uru'baen had some important information for her. They said that Galbatorix is wary that more rider pairs had survived the fall like Oromis and Glaedr, so he's even more intent on the green egg hatching. Apparently, from the spies' message, Murtagh and Thorn are in Dras Leona, trying to find the green egg's rider.
"This is indeed momentous news, my lady." He said, astounded. "If you wish, Saphira and I could leave within the hour and be at Dras Leona in two days to capture the egg. It should be relatively easy for us, for there will not be as heavy security in Dras Leona as there would be in Uru'baen. Saphira is a better flyer than Thorn as well, so it should not be too much trouble to outrun them" He contemplated, rubbing his chin.
"Yes, that is exactly my plan." She nodded. "But you have to keep in mind that this is a stealth mission, Eragon. I do not want you to be seen, nor for your to have any use of your sword at all. Use magic to make yourself invisible and when people are lined up to touch the egg, take it. I trust you can accomplish this task with minimal bloodshed?" Nasuada asked.
"Of course. We will do as you command, my lady." Eragon replied. Saphira nodded her consent with the plan as well.
"Good. Off you go then, but be careful Eragon. I do not want you to be hurt." She almost commanded him, her dark brown eyes looking at him seriously. After a pause she added more softly, "Now safe travels, my vassal."
Touched at her concern for his welfare, Eragon twisted his hand over his sternum and bowed. He left the pavilion.
Once outside, he turned to his dragon and grinned.
Are you ready to capture the green egg Saphira? He asked eagerly on his way back to his tent.
Yes, although this mission is on extremely short notice. She harrumphed, distaste foremost in her mind. Nasuada's plans usually aren't like this-so easily formed and rapidly carried out. It gives me an uneasy feeling in my bones.
Oh you be quiet, you old worry-wart! He laughed at her. We'll be fine. Everything will work out. I promise.
Eyeing him, Saphira paused and then finally nodded. Fine. We should hasten our speed then. We are tarrying. Hurry up and get your supplies so we can be off! She replied impatiently, puffing a cloud of smoke from her nostrils.
He grinned and patted her on the cheek. Yes, yes I know. But first I wish to ask Arya if she'd like to accompany us.
Good idea, I would enjoy having green-eyes-black-hair-she-elf by our side. Now go! Saphira answered, nudging him with her snout in the direction of Arya's tent.
Eragon chuckled, and then ran across camp to Arya, his Elvin speed surprising those on his way. He arrived at her tent within two minutes of his departure from Nasuada's pavilion and knocked on the pole. He was anxious to see her, for they had not talked since the battle several days ago.
"Arya, may I talk to you for a moment?" he called out excitedly.
Seconds later, the tent flap was opened revealing a slightly annoyed Arya, her beautiful green eyes flashing.
"Yes, Shadeslayer?" she inquired curtly.
Unperturbed at her irritation of being disturbed, he quickly and quietly told her of what transpired in his meeting with Nasuada.
"Would you like to come with us?" Eragon asked, his brown eyes hopeful.
Arya sighed, and her face hardened into an emotion Eragon couldn't decipher.
"Are you asking this of me in order to spend more time with me because you cannot control your childish infatuation? If that is the case, then no, Eragon I will not come with you." She said harshly.
Eragon froze, his animated smile breaking off his lips. Utter shock and hurt bounced around in his mind as he comprehended her words.
How could possibly she think that? He asked himself numbly.
The answer never presented itself. Eyes hardening, he recollected his thoughts.
"No. You are mistaken, Arya." He said coldly. "I ask you this only out of friendship, for both Saphira and I care for you and wish to have you at our side as a friend and fighting companion. Is it so wrong to want another person to watch our backs? I am not pressing my suit with you by asking this." He gave a hollow, humorless laugh. "In fact, I made an oath to myself, you, and Oromis a long time ago that I would not pursue you anymore. I'm sorry that you think I'm so very childish, for wishing to have someone who I thought was my friend by my side in this endeavor. I guess I misunderstood that you returned my feelings of friendship." He finished, his voice cold and unfeeling.
With that, he strode away angrily, but not before he noticed the look of guilt and shame flood into Arya's eyes. She called after him, but Eragon ignored her and returned to Saphira. Later, it would occur to him that he had caught Arya in a very bad mood indeed to have said what she said.
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Saphira snarled in surprise and anger as Eragon relayed his memory of his confrontation with Arya to her. They had just set out for their destination, and Saphira asked why Arya was not coming.
Emerald-eyes must have not been right in the mind to insult you in that way. Haven't you proven to her that you are a good friend, and that you have given up your pursuit of her? I am ashamed of her actions.
And I'm hurt that she would think of me that way. Eragon added, dejectedly. His heart felt like it had been trampled on by a horse, and every breath he took was laced with distress at Arya's accusations.
Oh little one, Saphira sighed, feeling his hurt. I know you are upset, because I am too, but do not let this encounter ruin your regard of her. We both know that she is most likely torn up about the deaths of our masters, and not in her right mind after the fight with Varaug.
I guess you are right. Eragon admitted. But why do you think she hugged me after I announced Oromis and Glaedr's demise?
For support, I suppose. News of the demises of two friends had just reached her ears. Naturally an embrace would help steady a two legged after such a horrible revelation, correct?
Eragon pursed his lips. Correct. But-
But nothing. And as for her actions today, I personally think that she is confused about her feelings for you, so she wanted to reassert herself as only a friend. You caught her in a bad mood so she reasserted herself rather badly.
The blue rider froze, shocked.
You-you think she is confused about her feelings for me? I don't understand...
Saphira shook her head sharply.
That's beyond the point. Never mind I said anything. What I'm trying to say is to not be too put out with green-eyes right now. Forgive and forget, little one. When we return all will be well.
I suppose you're correct. Like always. He said in resignation.
And when am I not? She answered playfully. Well let's just put it out of our minds for right now little one. We have a mission to complete. Saphira said.
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The next afternoon, Eragon and Saphira were resting in their makeshift camp. Saphira had flown on through the rest of the day and into the night before starting to get tired the next morning. She flew for a few more hours until Eragon finally convinced her to stop and sleep. He did this not only for his dragon's wellbeing, but for the want to time their arrival at Dras Leona perfectly so they would begin the mission by night and leave at night.
After several hours of resting, the duo set out again. It was almost sunset by that time, so they knew the next time they stopped, it would be outside Dras Leona.
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Eragon waited in the shadows, silently observing the city. A gigantic wall provided a barrier from the city and its surroundings, proving to be a formidable obstacle in his path. The gates were closed for the night, so he could not use magic to make himself invisible and just sneak in. A different approach was necessary. Around twenty guards dotted the top of the wall, acting as sentries for the city. It would be difficult to get past them, Eragon concluded. But he wasn't worried. He had a plan.
Saphira now! He called to her with his mind.
At his words, Saphira crawled out from her hiding place in the woods close to the city and blasted a torrent of fire onto a gigantic pile of brush and dry wood that Eragon had created a little under half a mile away. Her flames did their job well, and made a blazing inferno that the guards on the wall could easily see from their vantage point.
As Eragon expected, the fire was quite a surprise for the guards, and they all gathered together to confer about what it was, why it was there, and what they should do about it. Eragon smiled as he saw that they were no longer thinking about their duties looking out for intruders, but trying to decide if the fire was a threat to the city.
Indeed it is, Eragon thought wryly as the huge fire steadily ate up the prairie grass in front of the city. He regretted killing so much wildlife with the flames, but it was necessary. Soon, the fire would be so close to the walls that the guards would have to do something about it, or face the consequences.
While the guards were distracted and bickering amongst themselves, Eragon started the long trek of climbing the city's walls. It would be a nasty climb but he was confident he could accomplish it with his heightened Elvin abilities. Hand over hand, the blue rider dutifully scaled the vast amount of bricks above him.
Several minutes later, Eragon was safe upon the top of the walls and the fire was dangerously close to the city entrance. He saw that half of the guards had departed to inform everyone of the fire, or to put it out. The other guards stayed where they were before and looked down, helplessly.
Saphira, the plan is working perfectly! He said to his partner with glee. Now I am going to go look for the egg. I will be back soon.
Alright, but be careful Eragon! If you don't come back soon I will tear apart all of Dras Leona to find you. Saphira warned, and Eragon knew it was no empty threat.
Unseen, Eragon quickly and quietly went to the other side of the wall and jumped onto the roof of a house on the inside of the city. From there, he jumped off the roof and into an alleyway, startling a skinny cat hunting a mouse. He was successfully inside the city.
Eragon reached his mind out carefully to a random passerby in the street. The man was not trained in the ways of minds, so he did not notice Eragon's presence. Then, Eragon flipped through the man's memories until he found the one he wanted. The location of the egg.
It ended up that the man had a son that desperately wanted to become a dragon rider, so the man brought him to center of Dras Leona where the egg was. The egg did not hatch so the man and his son returned home.
With this information in mind, Eragon set off to the direction of the center of the city, carefully avoiding being noticed. When he arrived there he stood hidden in the shadows of an alley way and observed the situation.
Thorn lay in the center of the square, his wine red scales glittering in the torchlight. Murtagh was beside him, but on a wooden platform, and he was holding the green egg. In front of him was a surprisingly long line, even though the sun had set. Eragon gave a small grin and began to work.
Fifteen minutes later, the blue rider had joined the line of people waiting, but in disguise. He changed his hair color to blonde, softened his Elvin features into human ones, and changed his eye color to blue with magic.
I look like a whole new person. He said to himself with a grin.
After what seemed like forever, Eragon finally got to the front of the line. He bowed his head respectfully to Murtagh, as any normal peasant-boy would do to a person as powerful as him. And then the moment he had been waiting for finally came as Murtagh handed him the magnificent emerald egg. As he held it, in the back of his mind he noticed that it was roughly the same size as Saphira's had been, and that it glistened just like hers had too. Then, he acted.
Rapidly, before Murtagh or Thorn could even process his intent, he drew upon his reserves and spoke the spell of invisibility while back flipping off the platform and into the street. Thankfully, he landed on his feet and sped off to the direction of the gates of the city. Thorn roared in surprise and rage, while Murtagh jumped on his back. Thorn jumped into the air and they fruitlessly searched the streets for Eragon.
Meanwhile, Eragon had ran until he got in range to talk to Saphira. Calling out to her, he explained what was going on and what he needed her to do. With an annoyed growl, she stubbornly complied, but not before telling him he was a risk-taking idiot and it was a wonder he wasn't dead by now. Eragon smiled at that.
By that time Murtagh had told the police and guards of the city that there was a thief on the loose and to try and find them. The emergency horn was blown and soon the whole city was in a frenzy to find Eragon. A few times he almost felt Murtagh's searching mind upon his own but before he could be found out he shrunk his consciousness back out of the way of the enemy rider's. His heart beating wildly at his luck he hurried on.
A few minutes later he sprinted into the alley that he had jumped into at the start of this whole mess, and lunged onto the roof. There, he released the invisibility spell so Saphira could find him. He was not disappointed. Only seconds later, Saphira dove out of the clouds, much to Thorn's helpless fury, and extended one enormous paw for Eragon. She picked him up in a fluid motion and put him on her saddle. Then, she jumped into the air and sped out of Dras Leona with Thorn in hot pursuit.
Eragon laughed in triumph as Thorn could barely keep up. Saphira had incredible flying talent that Thorn could not match. But he did have more bulk, and with that, strength, so Eragon warned Saphira to be careful. She responded to him with a preoccupied flick of her thoughts, and he knew better than to say anything else to distract her.
Several minutes of chase later, Thorn finally realized he could not catch her and finally gave up. He hovered in midair and roared so loudly and furiously that Eragon shivered despite himself. Then, he heard Murtagh speak.
"Do not think you have won, brother! Thorn and I will be back to regain the egg, and we will succeed." He thundered, voice magically amplified.
"As if we'll let that happen," Eragon said sarcastically and Saphira harrumphed in agreement.
With shaking hands, the blue rider reached into one of the saddle bag and took out a hunk of bread. He gobbled it up eagerly as well as delved into the energy in Beloth the Wise, trying his best to replenish the strength lost with the mission.
Saphira made a tsk sound in the back of her throat.
You expended a large amount of energy in that mission, Eragon. She said sternly. You could have gotten hurt, or worse. That was dangerous.
But necessary. He argued. It was all that invisibility spell, anyway.
Humph. I still dislike the idea of you going places alone, even if that particular mission was a success. My scales were itching with worry the entire time you were gone.
I'm sorry Saph. I'm safe now, however. And so is the green egg.
The blue dragoness twisted her neck around so her head was facing Eragon and the egg. She nuzzled him and looked adoringly at the egg.
It is. Good work little one. She said, humming deep within her chest.
And you, beautiful queen of the skies, He responded, stroking her scaly cheek.
Thus the journey back to the Varden began.