The first time I saw her was when she came to me in a dream. A dream that was not quite hers, but not fully mine. She pleaded for my help, claiming to be imprisoned. Naturally I was a fool and obliged against the better wishes of my companion, the old story teller.
He objected, claiming that my life was more valuable than yours; that I was throwing away the hope of a nation. Instinct is what I called it, I knew there was something about you, something than just beauty that a sixteen year old boy could appreciate. You were more than that.
We found you, barging into the complex with swords drawn on an incredibly foolish rescue mission, but we prevailed, prevailed at the cost of my father and Rider. I grieved for his loss, but deep down rejoiced. Rejoiced that my dreams had meaning, that I was not being deceived. After a few days Saphira and I became worried, you had not stirred since we had retrieved you from Durza's ministrations.
We feared for you, and in my foolishness I tried entering your mind. I was dissuaded from ever attempting such a thing ever again; your response was a probe that tore and cleaved, causing pain. The moment you realized who I was, there was a sense of regret, before you quickly informed Saphira and I of the Varden's location before quickly succumbing back into unconsciousness.
Saphira carried you in a makeshift harness while I continued across the plains of Alagaësia, often glancing at your limp form while we made camp. I don't recall my thoughts, but know that you were often their focus, long before we had spoken a word. Saphira noticed but did not admonish me, she knew long before I did, but yet she remained silent.
Before long last we reached the Varden, where you were given care and I was paraded in front of a bunch of ragged men, hailed as the hope of Alagaësia, a banner for our cause. Our cause. I realize now that I never really thought through what happened, merely following along.
Upon hearing you had woke, I rushed to your bedside unsure of what to expect but excited all the same. You acknowledged my presence, spoke a few words of gratitude and ignored me. I was crushed. Saphira comforted me, she was my rock, my confidante throughout it all. My focus was drawn by impending war, and before long we were under siege.
As the Urgals poured through the tunnels, I stood tall with my sword of brightsteel gleaming. A sight that bolstered the ranks of men that called me captain. A teenager with delusions of grandeur led them, fighting the numberless hordes that fought with one purpose, to extinguish the free people of Alagaësia.
He came. Durza, a shade in the service of the King, a combatant beyond all that were present surely meant our doom. A smarter man would have ran, but in my youthful ignorance I did not see the danger that stood before me. I engaged him in combat, and quickly realized I was doomed.
You came to my aid, providing the distraction I needed to end him. Shadeslayer they called me, my deeds of that day spread across the land. The title did little to sway you, my youth all that you could see. It was that moment I realized I was in love with you. My victory was hollow, for as great as my deed may have been, for as much praise as I gained, it was you that I wanted to acknowledge it.
Some would call it a crush, an obsession. Perhaps they would be right. I knew better, and for as long as I fought I clung to it. On the eve before I faced Murtagh I spoke to you of my feelings, against Saphira's better judgement. You rebuffed me gently speaking of the impossibility of our union.
Perhaps you were right, I was naive, inexperienced, and immature. I was all of these things, but in seeing my flaws you missed out on who I was. I was not Eragon Shadeslayer, last of his name, the Hope of the Varden and Dragon Rider. My titles spoke of me, but who I was on display in front of you day in and day out. Yet it did not sway you, my flaws ever present and all that you could see. In this I knew that no matter what I accomplished, no matter my victorys I was lost to you.
In this realization my heart grieved but did not change. Saphira knew I was foolish, but did not fault me. I loved you. The war progressed and we continued to fight, train, and travel together. My feelings did not change and your reasons remained as concrete as ever.
We fought him and won. After Urû'baen I knew I could not stay, knew that my duty was to the Riders, not to my heart. I spoke to you by the lake giving you my true name, a name that spoke of the depths of my love. You clung to your platitudes, telling me yet again of the impossibility.
Over the next year I came to terms with my affections. I knew you would never be receptive, or I told myself that. I still longed for you, longed for you to share with me any form of affection. I buried myself in my duties, training the new order of the Riders, spending my days in the yard with the sword or on the back of Saphira.
It was then my feelings for you began to fade, culminating when I met a young woman. Her hair was golden, her dragon red. I trained her, and in mentoring the young Rider I felt feelings. Feelings that had only been for you. At first I suppressed them, the wounds still present. I told myself any number of excuses, claiming that it would be a dereliction of duty.
Saphira, the one who had remained loyal and supportive throughout our time together blocked our link. She blocked it for three whole days. I felt like I was dying, lost without the one who had been half of my being. She caused herself pain, pain and loneliness in a tremendous show of willpower. It was during that time I came to my senses. She was teaching me a lesson, showing me what I was trying to throw away.
My feelings realized I shared them with her, and we were shortly wed. My thoughts no longer strayed to the dark haired elven princess. I was focused upon the Rider with golden hair that shared my bed, the mother of my children, the sole recipient of my affections. We were happy, truly happy.
The Riders embarked on a trip to Ellesméra, all three score that made up our ranks. It was then that I saw you, as I held my daughter. Your eyes were transfixed on my children, to my wife, and finally to me. I saw the jealousy, the look of longing you held. All I had was pity. I knew, knew better than anyone the pain of unrequited love.
It was fitting, that in denying me all those years ago, you had denied yourself. Know that in rejecting who I was, you had lost me. Not the Shadeslayer, not the Dragon Rider, but Eragon. Eragon who desired you above all else. For that I can offer you no solace, no shoulder to cry on. May you find bliss Arya Dröttningu and know that I once loved you, once would have made you my wife and my world.
A/N: Companion One Short to Gaining the World and Islanzadí's Lament.