Eragon was still in a bit of a daze. The king was dead. He was... dead. The oppression was over. The final egg had hatched. The country was celebrating, though none so much as the elves in Ellesmera.
Not only did they celebrate the end of centuries of tyranny, but the last egg had hatched for one of their own. On top of that, they had a new queen- who happened to be the new Rider. When three fantastic events such as those coincided- they partied. And they partied hard.
Barrels upon barrels of faelnirv had been unearthed. The dwarves had sent a shipment of mountain ale with Orik. Horst had brought his finest meads. It promised to be the best booze-up of the century, and of course, Eragon's daze had nothing to do with the fact that he was a little bit plastered.
Everybody was there. Orik, Angela, Nasuada, Saphira, the people of Carvahall, the elves, some of the Urgals... the world and its wife, basically, all packed into a large clearing in Ellesmera. Only a few people were missing- well, one person and one rather conspicuous dragon.
He sighed, knocking back another drink of faelnirv. Maybe if he had enough he'd forget about the absence of his half brother. The liquor stung his throat, making his eyes water, but he felt a buzz in the back of his head and the world seemed a much more pleasant place.
He caught sight of Orik sitting beneath a tree a few metres away and stood up to talk to him. He found himself laughing as the world went all funny.
Wheeeeeeeeeeee! Everything's... shpinnin', Sh'fira.
Are you drunk, little one? You smell of alcohol.
'm not drunk. 'm jusht a bit tipshy.
If you say so...
You can't talk! Little mish "drink ALL the dwarvesh' ale!"
She was the picture of dignity as she sniffed. That was a one time event. I think I smell something coming...
Eragon snorted, even in his inebriated state able to tell a distraction when he heard one. 'm go'n go see Orik.
He staggered over to where Orik sat surrounded by empty mugs. He was glaring at Angela, crown lopsided and hanging off one ear.
"'ll beat you yet, witch! Or my name'sh not... not... Oshborne!"
Eragon laughed. "Shilly, you aren't Oshborne! You're..." he paused, trying to remember the right word. "ORIK! Ol' kingypoos of the dwarveshesh."
Orik nodded emphatically, causing his crown to fall across his face. "'shacktly! What 'e said."
Angela regarded them in slightly blootered amusement. "Shilly... dwarf! You can't beat me! A frog would have a better chance of sukshess! Even a toad would! And they don't exist!" She whispered, leaning in conspiratorially. She laughed, fingering her transparent blade. Even when drunk, Eragon knew when to get out of a situation.
He looked up, dimly aware of a whooshing sound. He was startled to see a bright red dragon loom out of the darkness into the torchlit area.
S'fira! 's... 's Murtagh!He stumbled forward excitedly. "Murtagh! Hulloooooooo! You're here!"
The Red Rider stared at him in amusement. "Obviously. Bright red dragon... sort of conspicuous. I heard there was a party and I heard there was alcohol, so I came along to do my duty as elder brother and make sure you don't get into any trouble." He noticed Eragon swaying on his feet, distant smile in place. "Oh no... I'm too late, aren't I?"
Eragon had no idea what Murtagh was saying. His mouth was just going up and down and BLAHBLAHBLAAAAAAAHBLAH.
He nodded happily when he finished, the trademark scowl in place as he gazed around in disbelief. Orik and Angela were arguing over whether or not a black dragon and a white dragon could produce a pink dragon. Nasuada was looking distinctly tipsy. The bards had only been singing songs about the Urgal victory in the desert ever since Nar Garzhvog had turned up with a barrel of ale in hand. Roran and Katrina were smooching passionately while Horst held the baby. He was throwing her up and down and letting her sample his wineskin, babbling about the best flavour for the individual palate. And Arya... was... was she singing?
"The life of a princess
From her birth is well-defined
She must humbly serve her country
Play the parts she's been assigned!"
Yep. It was official. She was well and truly gazeboed.
Murtagh sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Is there ANYBODY here who ISN'T drunk? Even the baby looks trousered!"
Eragon frowned, disgruntled. "'m not drunk! Tipshy! Ish an entirely different matter! Sho dere!" He finished triumphantly, sticking out his tongue. "'nyway, that dude is fine! No, wait... he jusht started juggling rockshes with his feets! But... Sh'fia's not drunk!"
A roar sounded behind him as Saphira shot upright, on full alert. Two empty barrels of faelnirv lay discarded beside her. She seemed to be vibrating slightly. Then-
WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEE! ERAGONERAGONERAGON COMEPLAYWITHMEPLEASEPLEASEPL EASE DON'T YOU LOVE ME? She took off and zipped around the clearing. The slightly plastered elves applauded and cheered. Thorn bristled indignantly.
Now, we can't have that, can we?
Murtagh climbed out of the saddle to better converse with Eragon. No sooner than his feet hit the ground Thorn was off. He took a long draught of faelnirv from a nearby barrel, then grinned.
MURTAGH! I'M A SQUIRREL! CHEEP CHEEP! SQUIRRELLY THOUGHTS! WOO! S'fira's pretty! Sky-scales! He rocketed off into the undergrowth after Saphira.
Murtagh gazed after him in shock. "Thorn? THORN!" He ran a hand through his hair in exasperation. "You'll regret this in the morning. You all will!"
Eragon frowned. Murtagh was far too sober for his liking. He held out a wineskin of faelnirv.
"Lighten up, Taggiepoos! Have a drink!" He was promptly socked in the noggin by the wineskin.
"Idiot! I don't drink. This is a prime example why, and here's another!" He jabbed a finger at his own back where the evidence of Morzan's evil lay. "And..." he paused. "WHAT did you call me?!"
Eragon had a bad feeling about where this was going, so he did the sensible thing. By that, I mean pointing over Murtagh's shoulder and shrieking, "OOH! A NICE SHINY DISTRACTION!"
A surprising number of people turned around, but Murtagh wasn't one of them. He narrowed his eyes and took a step closer to where Eragon... HAD been standing. He was now dancing with Arya as she reached the chorus, bellowing out,
"I WANNA BE LIKE OTHER GIRLS!
CLIMB UP A TREE LIKE OTHER GIRLS
JUST TO BE FREE LIKE OTHER GIIIIIIIIRLS
GET TO BE!"
Murtagh blinked as she started to do the Charleston while Eragon did the Macarena. Silently, he picked up a flattish stone and imprinted the scene upon it. Some things had to be seen to be believed.
He turned around to see Angela doing a haphazard victory dance around Orik, who had a frog on top of his head and his crown across his face. He smirked as Angela started singing as well.
"Hockety pockety wockety whack
Abracadabra dabra nack!
Odds and ends and bric-a-brac
Dum, dood'ly, dood'ly, dum
Higitus, figitus, migitus, mum
Higitus, figitus, migitus, mum
He picked up another slate. He had found a new form of entertainment, it seems. He made a fairth of it, making sure to include Angela's operatic stance, then gathered up more slates in his satchel.
Nar Garzhvog was tipping back a barrel of mead as a man from Carvahall- Horse, he thought his name was- held a baby in one hand and was talking excitedly about the proper appreciation and adapting the taste for each individual. He managed to capture the image just as the Kull fell over and the man had to leap away shrieking to avoid being spifficated.
Roran and Katrina were still liplocked, doing the waltz around the various unconscious bodies. And save! King Orrin was one of the bodies, who rolled over in his sleep and got Katrina's foot in his stomach as a reward. She tripped over him, still attached by some stranger vacuum to Roran, and they fell, landing in a pile on the floor. Still smooching. Voila, one fairth.
Some woman was running around screaming like a banshee about how the flying pigs were out to eat her, as a man stumbled around after her.
"'elen! Shtoppit! No piggiesh here! Itshafe! 'Elen!"
He had no idea who they were, but this 'Elen was a rather spectacular gymnast. He made the fairth just as she vaulted over the rapidly dwindling pyramid of barrels, her husband tripping over himself behind her. She landed on her feet after executing a neat flip, stopping just in time to avoid hitting Eragon, who was seated in the centre of a ring of assorted elves, humans and Urgals, all in an equal state of drunkenness but listening with rapt attention.
"-you gotta- gotta- whassha word, whassa word, ummm... PLANT! You gotsta plant the sheeeeeeeeeds in WINTER, sho de cropshes are ready for in de SHUMMER!" He nodded emphatically, waving a flask above his head. Most of his audience were more interested in the flask than what he was saying, but it made a lovely fairth.
"-and then you gotsha RAKE the shoil in a CLOCKZIEWISHE direckshun. Shee?"
Murtagh rolled his eyes and picked his way over to him. The crowd didn't seem to want to move, but a simple growl of "Move." and The Glare had them scattering.
"Come on, Farmer Fred, time for bed." Eragon blinked up at him, wide eyed.
"Taggiepoos! You'sa... you'sa... POTE!"
"A POTE! I c'nbe pote too... Arya!" He shot to his feet rather quickly for one so inebriated, making his winding way towards the still singing elf.
Be anything I want to be
To dance around
In my underwear!"
With that, she dispensed with her tunic, shaking it down in her leggings and undershirt. Eragon paused for a minute, trying to remember what was wrong with that, then shrugged and proceeded forward.
"I lovesh you more than the shun you outshine, and each day I hope you'll conshentsh to be minesh! Your beauty ish the shtuff of legends to be, sho why don't you shpend today with me? I knowsh we'll have shutch a great time!" He warbled, breakdancing in the small space available that was free from bodies.
Arya blinked, smiling widely. "Errykins! Hulloooooooooooo! Dansh wiff me!" She grabbed his hands and started spinning in circles.
"I wanna be like other girls
Scrape up my knees like other girls can
Just to be free,
like other girls
Get to beeeeeeee!" She dipped Eragon, then continued. Murtagh was sure he was about to crack a rib from restraining his laughter. He had a reputation to uphold, one which did not include public displays of emotion. He made several fairths of them dancing as Arya started to go way off pitch. He winced at the sound.
"To speak for myself
To sing way off key
Marry someone I've met,
who loves me for me!" She suddenly stopped singing and dancing, gazing at Eragon. Suddenly, she threw her arms around his neck and smooched him. He seemed a bit taken aback, but got right into the spirit of it, circling her with his arms and kissing her back. Murtagh's jaw hit the floor.
"Smile!" He gleefully held up the stone and captured the moment for posterity. He examined the picture critically. He had managed to get Eragon's startled but lovestruck expression just right, and Arya's death clutch on Eragon's neck was perfect. Satisfied, he stowed it in the bag, muttering a spell to make his rapidly growing collection unbreakable. These were worth their weight in gold.
Eragon turned at the sudden noise, still locked in a lipsmush with Arya. What was it with his family and their obsession with not breaking lip contact? His hazel eyes narrowed, trying to work out what Murtagh was doing, then saw the blank slates in his arms. He frowned, a thought trying to fight through the haze of alcohol. Clearly he was unsuccessful, as he just shrugged and went back to the snogging.
Murtagh turned to go find some other amusing scene to capture. Angela and Orik were both on the floor now, still knocking back drinks. From the assortment of nearly empty bottles from which they were pouring, they didn't have enough of just one drink for entire flagons, so they'd resorted to mixing the faelnirv with Urgal mead and dwarven ale. The villagers from Carvahall had downed whatever they'd brought long ago.
Murtagh sighed. He should just go and find Thorn then leave. He cast his eyes around the clearing, but found nothing. He opened his mind out to find Thorn's conscience, then blinked. The dragon appeared to be... drunk.
Murtagh! He hiccuped, boinging in the air. I think we've been POISHUNNED!
Worry crept over him. Poisoned? What do you mean? Are you all right?
The dragon wailed. No! My head poundsh and I keep bouncing up and down and my throat doesh shumting funny and it's NOTNICE!
Comprehension dawned. Thorn! You have the hiccups! Oh noes! I'm dying, aren't I?! And I still have to beat sky-scales!
Oh noes! I'm dying, aren't I?! And I still have to beat sky-scales!
Murtagh frowned. That didn't sound good...
He traced Thorn's thoughts until he found the two dragons in a smaller clearing not too far away, surrounded with barrels of faelnirv and ale.
Never have I ever... seen my Rider drunk!
Saphira hiccuped, glaring balefully at the younger dragon. Not *hic* fair! Eragon's only a bit tipshy!
Murtagh has never even been close to tipshy. He doeshnt drink. Doesht know what 'es mishing! Thorn giggled as Saphira begrudgingly drained another barrel. Murtagh snorted in a highly undignified manner. If Eragon was "just tipsy" then he was an artichoke.
Never have I ever not drink when offered a drunk. The blue dragon paused, confused. I mean... not not accepted... my head hurts!/ She complained, swaying. Thorn frowned and took a drink.
My head ish shpinning!
Thorn sprang to his feet. I KNOW! Let'sh go shee the hatchling!
He was overly delighted not to be the youngest dragon in Alagaesia. Saphira snorted, fixing her sapphire gaze somewhere eight inches to the left of Thorn's head.
You's shtill younger than me, kiddo!
Thorn glared at her. I could beat you at hunting any day!
Saphira stood, swaying. Could not!
They both stalked off, crashing through the undergrowth. They didn't seem to notice Murtagh staring after them in shock. He rapidly recalled the incident, fixed it in his head and transferred it to the slate, with one thought on his mind.
I'm going to kill whoever taught them to play Never Have I Ever.
With a weary sigh, he followed the trail of destruction and mayhem and the occasional drunken roar to a large tree which appeared to contain a house. Elves. Such tree huggers. The two dragons were trying to persuade someone to come outside.
I'm older than you, so you have to listen!
A younger voice answered. No! It's loud and scary out there and everybody smells like alcohol and sweat and icky stuff!
Saphira growled. I'll give you "scary" in a minute! We need you to judgshify ush hunting!
A small green nose poked out of the tree, fluttering to the ground. It was attached to a small emerald dragon abut the size of a dog. It huffed.
Your thoughts are funny. Happy-hazy-floaty.
Thorn growled. You're funny! You're shmall!
The green dragon stuck his nose up. No I'm not!
Yesh you are! Teenymeenytinymo!
You're stupid. Not you, blue one. Him. You're pretty.
Murtagh stifled a laugh as Thorn bristled. Hey! 'sh my shky-scales! Getur own!
I could squish you under one foot!
The green dragon skipped back a step. No you wouldn't. You'd look bad in front of the blue-scales.
At least I know her name! Like she'd ev'r go for a midget like you!
And you're very small!
SHUT UP! YOU'RE SHCARIFYING THE DEER AWAY! Saphira roared at the top of her voice, thus terrifying every animal within an eight mile radius into fleeing. Murtagh made another fairth.
This is the strangest night I have ever seen. Maybe I should give up being a Rider and become a professional fairth-maker. Murtagh Morzansson, artist extraordinaire! He laughed at the absurdity of that. Yeah, like that would happen. Morzan would rise from the grave and try to kill me... again./i
He made his way back to the main scene of devastation, ignoring the bickering dragons. Nasuada wobbled over to Murtagh haphazardly.
He sighed. This is all I need.
"Hellooooooo Murty!" Well, her speech was decipherable. She wasn't as plastered as everyone else. Yet. Murtagh eyed the flask in her right hand.
"Nasuada, you really shouldn't drink so much. You're supposed to be a leader."
"Arya is," she gestured to her left. Murtagh looked, and decided to look away again. Quickly. "Lighten up Murty! Here!" She held out her flask to him.
"No thanks. You know, I can honestly say I don't want to look as stupid as the rest of you!" He turned to leave, but span around again when Nasuada let out a slight whimpering sound. She looked hurt.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean-" He stopped. it was hopeless. He moved forwards and hugged her. But instead of returning it, she kissed him. He hesitated, dazed, the kissed her back. They remained like that for a moment. Murtagh was the one who pulled away. "You're drunk. I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry." He walked away, leaving Nasuada gazing after him. That was when he noticed Eragon, slate in hand, grinning at him.
Damn it. Even when drunk, he knows how to make a fairth.
Murtagh's cheeks burned, and he guessed that the colour of his face now closely resembled that of Thorn's scales. He began to look around, searching for another scene to capture in stone. It wasn't long before he found one. The smaller clearing where the dragons had been now had a tower of empty barrels. He caught sight of a small green tail disappearing down a track that hadn't been there before.
He skirted around the pile of discarded barrels and began to follow the track. The trees now leaned precariously away from the centre, as if something very large had pushed them aside. Something so large it could only have been Thorn. So this must be the dragons' hunting competition.
Any wildlife had, of course, scarpered a while ago thanks to Saphira's 'warning', so he wondered what they could possibly be hunting. He followed the downhill track a little further, until he saw the dragons. Firnen, he thought his name was, was just reaching them now.
Guizzzz! Yous shouldn't run off like that! You should come back nowwws!
Great. The little dragon was tipsy. He was just reaching them when he flew into a tree, leaving a sizeable dent. Murtagh remembered the dents in the other trees as he'd walked. That explained a lot.
Ouchiies! I keep doing that!
Yoush are a terribubble flier, teeny!
Thorn, don't teash hem, he'sh jush learnin'!
But he'sh a midgetet, sky-scalesh!
She hushed him excitedly. Shushhh, I sees the prey!
"What on earth are you all doing?"
"Hunting what, exactly?"
Elleyfantsh! Didn't you knows there was elleyfantsh in thesesh woodses? Thorn asked, genuinely confused
Murtagh decided to play along.
"No, I didn't. Where did you see them?"
There'sh one over theres! Saphira told him, pointing towards a barrel.
"Saphira, that's not-"
Shhhh! You'll scares it away! she pounced on the barrel. I caught it first! she taunted.
No you didn't! roared Firnen and Thorn simultaneously, and they proceeded to pounce on the barrel as well. The three dragons rolled around, each trying to gain control of the barrel. Murtagh made another fairth.
"Have any of you actually seen a real elephant?"
I think I shawed one earlier! Thorn chirped happily, backing away from the fight. Murtagh blinked.
Thorn scratched his head with his tail.
Errrm... I loshted track after the fifteenth barrel. Sowwy. His lip trembled. I'sh a bad excush for a dragon! Don't leave me, Murtagh! Pleaaaaaaaaaaase!
Murtagh pinched the bridge of his nose. Dragons with abandonment issues were not on his to do list.
"Shh, sh, I'm not going anywhere," he said soothingly, rubbing circles on Thorn's nose. He peered up with pleading ruby eyes.
Really? he hiccupped.
"Really," Murtagh sighed. "It's mayhem back there anyway. Might as well stay here."
Thorn purred, snuggling into him. The Rider let a small smile grace his lips, the first he had for... months, probably. He was at peace.
Eragon leapt from the undergrowth, brandishing a freshly made fairth. Murtagh nearly fell over in surprise.
"I GOTS you!" He giggled, swaying. He saw Saphira and yelled in delight, staggering over to her. He fell over, wrapping his arms arund her neck.
"I lovesh you, Sh'fia."
And I you, little one.
Thorn closed his eyes and began snoring loudly.
Lightweight, Saphira sniffed indignantly, before realising that Firnen had drifted off too. Fine. Haves it yours own way! With that she curled up in between Thorn and Firnen, and fell asleep too.
Murtagh made a final fairth. If this wasn't cause to do so, nothing was. He stored it in his bag and rested his head on Thorn's. He looked around to see that everybody there was asleep. He smiled softly.
"Goodnight, Thorn. I love you." With that, he closed his eyes and went to sleep.
They were all woken by a loud, pained moaning sound. Saphira.
"What?" Murtagh asked, a little too sharply, and a little too loudly.
My head hurts! Why am I here, anyway?
So does mine! Thorn wailed
And mine! Firnen had his paws over his head, as if trying to block out the noise.
"You all have hangovers. As will the rest of Alagaesia's population by now," Murtagh whispered, careful not to worsen their headaches. "As for what you're doing here Saphira, you were drunk. All of you were."
I know that, but how did we get here, and what are all those dents in the trees? Saphira complained
"The dents in the trees are where Firnen flew into them. And this-" he revealed the fairth of the three of them fighting over a barrel "-is why you're all here. You thought it was an elephant." Murtagh had to stifle a laugh.
Embarrassment blossomed on all three scaled faces like blots of ink on stark, white paper. An idea dawned on Murtagh, and he rose to make his way to the city's centre.
Birds sang in the sky, the sweet harmony filtering through the forest.
"SHUT UP, YOU BLOODY FEATHERED FIENDS!" Boots, shields and empty mugs were thrown into the trees as hundreds of hangovers kicked in at once. People groaned, shielding their eyes from the sun. Orik staggered onto his elbows, eyeballing the witch who lay collapsed across his ankles. He shook his legs to wake her up. She opened bleary eyes, mumbling to herself.
"-eggs is murder!"
She rubbed her eyes, blinking owlishly. "Ooh, a hangover! This proves my theory that eggs cause allergies!"
Nobody bothered to question her. They were too busy trying to work out what had transpired the night before.
"-gods, I feel dreadful!"
"Did I really get outdrunk by a human woman?"
"Why am I lying in my own vomit?"
"Where's my tunic? Why am I in my undershirt?! This is hardly queenly behaviour!"
A dark laugh rang out from under a nearby tree. Eyes snapped to it as Murtagh stepped out of the shadows. "I believe I can answer a few of your questions."
"As you were all far too inebriated to remember, and indeed, too blootered to remain upright, I took the liberty of preserving your antics for future generations. Here's a lovely image of Eragon! Or, as he was last night, a lecturer on the life cycle of a wheat field and the importance of good raking." Eragon turned puce, making a grab for the slate.
"Leave it, little brother," he chided. "This is the least incriminating fairth you'll see all day. Arya, you dispensed with the tunic because you wanted to, and I quote, "-Get dirty, act silly, be anything you wanted to be, to dance around in your underwear, to be like other girls, to scrape up your knees like other girls, just to be free like other girls get to be, to speak for yourself, to sing way off key, and marry someone you've met, who loves you for you." Let me tell you, you managed the getting dirty, acting silly, dancing in your underwear, singing off key- waaaay off key!- and, if the smooching was anything to go by, marrying somebody who loves you for you could be in your future." He pulled out the fairths of her dancing the Charleston, dancing with Eragon in her undershirt and thoroughly snogging Eragon and laid them in front of her. She turned bright red with embarrassment as people turned to stare. She met Eragon's bleary eyes and blushed all the harder.
"But you weren't even the star performer! There was you, Roran, and Katrina, running around with sickening public displays of affection! By the way, to answer you earlier question, you aren't lying in your own vomit, it's Vanir's. You're just lying in it." She squealed and rolled over, backing away from the puddle as he demonstrated the fairths. She joined Arya in the competition for Best Impersonation of a Beetroot.
"I have no idea who this is, but let me tell you, lady, you should be in some sort of gymnastics team, because you pulled off some spectacular leaps trying to evade the "flying piggies". By the way, Thorn is a dragon and does not enjoy being pointed at while you scream "GODS ABOVE! THE PIGGIES HAVE COME FOR ME! SAVE ME JEOD!"
He scanned the crowd for the reddest face, seeing "'Elen" standing beside Jeod and trying to look dignified. It was a miserable failure.
"And the people of Carvahall doing a flash dance. I think it was the Cha Cha Slide, but it's hard to tell." He squinted at it critically as half of the crowd blushed. The other half blushed as he unearthed another fairth. "And here are the elves trying to enforce a group hug! Pity the villagers got paranoid and tried to fend you off with sticks. Even that wasn't the main event. Allow me to present Nar Garzhvog and Horst, who succeeded in juggling three wineskins and a baby all at once! Congratulations!"
A shriek rang out as Katrina saw the fairth. Eyes bulging, she rounded on a shamefaced Horst.
"YOU JUGGLED MY BABY?!
"Err..." He trailed off, taking a step back. Murtagh tsk-tsked.
"Katrina, Ismira is hardly innocent in all of this. Look!" He pulled out yet another fairth, this one depicting baby Ismira happily sucking on the neck of a full wineskin. Katrina paled.
"I feel a bit sick..." She muttered, sitting back down. Murtagh smacked his palm off his face.
"Right, sick! Here's one of Angela and Orik in a drinking contest at the start. And here's one when they're making cocktails with faelnirv, Urgal mead and Horst's ale. And here we have Angela holding Orik's crown while he vomits into the bushes. Stay away from there for a while, by the way. It looks nasty, doesn't it?" He commented, inspecting the fairth.
"Allow me to introduce the star performers- Thorn, Saphira and Firnen!" He brought out a thick wad of fairths, flicking through them pensively.
"Thorn and Saphira playing Never Have I Ever with faelnirv- and, by the way, if I find out who taught them that, you better pray that the blood will wash out-" He glared around the sheepish congregation. "Moving on, here they are trying to get Firnen to play adjudicator as they have a hunting contest to determine who the biggest pillock is. Oh, wait, here's Lady Nasuada! How did that get in this pile?" He shrugged, then held it up. "There you are, my lady, slightly drunk but not too bad. And here we have-" He unearthed Eragon's fairth, then went to stow it away. "Never mind, that's not important!"
Eragon grinned. "Let's see it!" He grabbed it out of Murtagh's hands and looked at it, a laugh falling from his lips as he stared at it.
"Look! It's Murtagh!"
The females "awwww'd" at Murtagh's startled look in the picture as Nasuada kissed him. That is, before it was tugged from Eragon's hands and used to smack him across the head.
"OW!" He groaned, the world spinning as the headache added to his hangover. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Serves you right, grabby hands!" He scowled, the faintest trace of a blush on his cheeks. "Here's Thorn, Firnen and Saphira tracking down an "elleyffantsh"! Or, as we might call it, a barrel. And here's another you don't need to see-"
It was tugged from his hands by Eragon. The boy really needed a smack in the face.
"Look! Murtagh is smiling in this!" It was the fairth he had taken of Murtagh and Thorn curled up beside each other. "And you said it couldn't be done, Orik! That's five crowns you owe me!" The dwarf swore, digging in his pockets. "Don't they look cute?" The women squealed as they saw the two snuggled together.
"They're so sweet!"
"Stop squealing, my head hurts!"
"Everybody's head hurts!"
"You shut up!"
Somebody threw a wineskin into the crowd, a spark which lit the inferno. It descended into a brawl, with screeching, spitting, gouging, punching, kicking and yelling. Eragon groaned, clutching his head.
"Oh, my poor head..."
You think you have it bad? Saphira grwled, ploughing her head into the dirt. Thorn snorted as Murtagh happily made another fairth.
He has no idea what we're going through.
The little green dragon turned blue, his version of going green. He staggered off to vomit in the bushes.
"Firnen!" Arya cried, tugging on her tunic. "Snookums, are you all right?"
My character is exploding out of my jaws... He groaned, falling on his stomach.
Saphira growled. ENOUGH! She roared, effectively stopping everybody in their tracks. Orik fell over mid punch.
I HAVE A THUNDERING HEADACHE AND I FEEL LIKE THERE IS AN ARMY OF WILDEBEAST PLAYING THE BANJO IN MY CRANIUM! I am NOT happy, so do yourselves a favour and SHUT UP!
Silence reigned, until the light chords of a guitar filtered through the clearing. Murtagh relaxed. Maybe some music would calm everybody down. That is, until he heard the bard start singing.
"-as he slew the Shade
The most evil creature ever made
His noble form was rent in the back
As he was left with pains that rack-"
It was the recently extended Ballad Of Eragon Shadeslayer. The Shadeslayer in question lunged for the bard, but Murtagh held him back.
"Just leave him, he's only a bard. Come on, I'll get Angela to find you a hangover cure." He tugged the unresisting Blue Rider away as the crowd began to dissipate, griping at each other about their hangovers. He sat the younger boy down and began to negotiate terms with Angela. He ended up bribing her with one of the fairths of Arya acting like an idiot, because as Angela said, "Something needs to remind her not to be overly proud of herself."
Murtagh, don't get mad... Thorn was nervous about something. Murtagh instantly perked up.
What's the matter?
i/ Umm... have you ever heard the full version of this ballad?/i He hedged, dancing around the issue.
Murtagh frowned. Hardly. I haven't exactly had many opportunities to. He became suspicious. Why? Have you?
Murtagh hated guessing games. Then what's the problem?
Well... just listen, and don't get too mad, okay?
Instantly wary, he listened more intently to what the bard was singing.
"-the traitor and the Varden leader
Were pushed together, as he did need her
He healed her wounds, she made him whole
And us aware that he had a soul- ARGHHHHHHHHHH!"
"Idiot! You- *thud*- know- *thud*- nothing- *thud*- about me! *thud* *thud* *thud*!"
Eragon stared open mouthed as Murtagh leapt on the bard in a stunning feat of agility and began throttling him while hitting his head off the grassy floor. He smiled weakly, holding up one of Murtagh's discarded blank slates.
AUTHOR'S NOTE- Well, hullo! My first foray into the Inheritance fandom, and hopefully not my last. This was inspired by a picture that admin Arya posted on the Facebook page "The spirits actually did it! They gilded the lily!"- Eragon.
I love that page. Anyway, we were speculating over what would happen if Saphira got drunk on faelnirv, and it sort of... spiralled. We cowrote this over Facebook and this is what came out.