A/N: Well, after a very long absence from publishing anything (I think it's been about a year or more) I'm back, with an Inheritance Cycle fic. Thanks go to my always entertaining friend Gollum-4077, for coaxing me out of hiding and just generally being the encouraging friend she is.
Disclaimer: Oh, you recognise something? Sorry. I don't own it.
Long before the dark times of Galbatorix, long before the Dragon Riders, long before leafy halls of the elves, there lived an even more ancient order. Their origin lies in the same shrouded mists as the origins of the dragons and the dwarves, and perhaps it shall never be revealed. Perhaps it already has. Perhaps it has been common knowledge for centuries, but the meaning forgotten.
They were the Elementals.
Possessing the power over the four elements – fire, earth, air and water – they shaped Alagaësia into the land it is today, and governed the elements with benevolence. They were taught not to be corrupt, that they must be content with their lot and the element that they were given. Rarely were there any fights between the Elementals, for although they were subject to envy, they were extremely reluctant to fight, lest they tear the world apart with their anger.
Governed and taught by the First Elementals, they became famed for their calm nature, their loyalty towards Alagaësia's people and their refusal to upset the balance of nature.
But, like all societies, abnormalities existed among the Elementals. A common bloodline, forged from the children of the First Elementals, passed through the other Elementals, from mother to daughter, father to son – the potential to have a child that would grow to be a Deviant Elemental.
The Deviant Elementals were highly unusual. They did not possess a single element, but all of them. Their gift came with a price, however – until they were taught to control it, a Deviant had to remain emotionally subdued, or else their gift would wreak catastrophic events across Alagaësia. For this reason, Deviants were kept separate from society, to prevent any kind of strong emotion taking over. Deviants were only trained at the age of seventeen, a year earlier than a usual Elemental, to further enforce the values of subdued emotions.
And so this way of life continued for as long as anyone could remember. The Elementals watched the elves and the humans come to the shores of Alagaësia, develop their societies and live. They watched love, anger, fear, resentment grow among them. They wept for the lives lost in the Dragon War, and the wars among men. They rejoiced when peace fell over the land, and the Dragon Riders formed. They continued to help shape Alagaësia, as they had done for as long as their order had existed, for they knew no other purpose but this. They watched, and protected, and taught, through the horrors of the Fall of the Riders.
When Galbatorix first came to power, he stretched out the hand of friendship towards the Elementals, for friendship with Elementals would mean power over all domains. But, knowing of his misdeeds and the horrors he had committed, the Elementals refused it, declaring that they could not possibly be allied with a man who had so relentlessly slaughtered his friends.
When the king heard of their refusal, a wild rage grew within him, and he gave the order that all Elementals were to be killed in punishment for defying him.
Under the influence of this new king, his officials obeyed, and the people turned on the race that had helped shape Alagaësia since the beginning of time. All throughout the land, Elementals were hunted down, and murdered for the 'crime' of possessing the power of an element. Some were drowned, others strangled, some murdered in their beds, but most were burned at the stake in public, as a message to the peoples of Alagaësia – the new king would not be defied by anyone, not even those who held such power as the Elementals did.
So great was the sorrow of the Elementals for the loss of their kind that they retreated into their elements, and they faded into the history of Alagaësia as nothing but folklore, lying forgotten amidst tales of faeries and elves.
Yet although Alagaësia had forgotten them, the Elementals did not forget Alagaësia. Rather, they actively sought to protect themselves and what remained of their kind from the horrors of Galbatorix, by nurturing their elements and shaping their powers to remain separate from the politics of man and elf and dwarf.
And so life in Alagaësia continued, unaware of the powers that helped to preserve it. Rare though they were, any Elemental that was discovered was quickly educated to believe that it was not wise to interfere in human politics, that it was better to remain secluded from that which could bring them all to ruin once more.
But for all the gathering of Elementals, there were no new Deviants.
At least, not until years later.
There were no celebrations for the discovery of this new Deviant. Instead, she was concealed from all the peoples of Alagaësia, from the elves, the dwarves, and especially the men. The Deviant was trained to know to use her powers to assist Alagaësia. She was learned in the matter of diplomacy, warfare and healing.
Yet for all the knowledge that the Elementals could give her, she was blind to the one fault that befalls all humans at some point in their lives.
It was for love that the Deviant chose to marry and bear a child. It was for love of this child that she chose to put aside her long-standing belief that seclusion was the best option for the Elementals, and to take up arms to join the Varden and fight Galbatorix. It was for love of her kind that she sought the blessing of the First Elementals, for what better protection was there than that of the Varden with the blessing of the Elementals?
It was then that the Elementals chose to consult their policy of seclusion, and they found it to be wanting. While they might grow stronger from keeping their existence hidden, the threat of Galbatorix was too large to be ignored any more, and they gave their blessing to the Deviant and to the Varden.
The Deviant chose to assist the Varden in their war against Galbatorix. However, the First Elementals were reluctant to let her go into battle. The last Deviant had died at the hands of Galbatorix, and for another Deviant to die so suddenly would tear the chain of Elementals apart.
But the Deviant would not be swayed from her decision, and she went into battle, swearing that she would not fail to avenge the many Elementals that had died at the hands of Galbatorix.
Galbatorix had other plans, though. Moving swiftly, his forces attacked the camp where the Deviant rested her head, and decimated them. The Deviant, however, vanished from the world, leaving no trace that she had been there.
All that remained of the Deviant was her daughter, growing up with no idea of who she was or what she was capable of doing.