Eragon 12 chapter
Black blood mixed with remains of brains was dropping from Eragon's sword as he was regaining his breath. Meanwhile, the battle was still raging around him. The groups of dwarves ran past him, joining their comrades and pushing the orcs' lines further.
Both he and the orcs were surprised by the rage with which the dwarves were attacking and fighting. The axes were being raised and lowered, and the orcs' ugly heads fell. The dwarves were unstoppable..
Eragon deeply breathed a few more times and joined the battle once again. Due to the chant, his blood boiled up, maybe a bit too much, and he miscalculated his strength, hitting and chopping everything that moved in his way. Now he attacked more precisely, blocking stabs aimed at him and, after finding a gap in his enemy's defense, would kill them with one accurate strike. These so-called orcs reminded him of urgals, but that they weren't exactly the same. These creatures were smaller and much more slender than urgals or kulls, the shape of them reminded him more of humans. But that couldn't be said about their appearance.
When Eragon saw them he remembered his unpleasant encounters with Nazguls. Something dark and not good was about them both, Nazgul and orcs, something that would disturb his sleep and send shivers down his spine. They were evil and had to be destroyed.
Together with the dwarves, who seemed to have no problem fighting the taller foe, they kept pushing the orcs. Brisingr, the sword which accompanied him though more battles than he could remember now, usually would cut through the poor weapons orcs brought with themselves. There was little difference between spear or sword; the sharpness of his magical sword would overcome it.
The blue steel once again tasted the blood of another orc, who after beastly gargling fell down to the ground. To his own great surprise, Eragon saw the open field behind the orc's body. Only abandoned catapults stood in front of him. It seemed that he and the dwarves managed to slay their crew and guards. The remaining orcs were trying to flee, but there was no escape for them. Sharp tips of dwarves' spears awaited every one of them. It was face the dwarves or the fire. The orcs had made the trap for themselves. Eragon grinned at that. His plan worked.
"Destroy the catapults!" He shouted to the dwarves, who nodded in response at once.
They raised their axes and slightly bowed their heads while walking past him. Eragon wanted to believe that now they showed their respect not only because of him being the rider of Saphira but also because of his works. He wanted to deserve respect, not steal the glory of his heart and soul mate.
Anyway, he might have worried about such things too early since the battle wasn't over. They had to destroy these catapults as quickly as they could and then go aid the dwarves who held the flanks and had met the greatest resistance.
If dwarves felt the joy killing the orcs, it was nothing compared to how they enjoyed the destroying of orcs' war machines. Only a few minutes passed when all the catapults became piles of wood and rubbish.
Eragon at first thought of using the catapults against their own creators, but there just wasn't enough time to learn how to use them. Nor they would help much when your allies are just a few meters from the target.
Legolas came out from somewhere while he was observing the battlefield. The elf looked especially menacing, standing in front of the firelight and with bloodstained swords in his hands.
Eragon looked for a grey hat, but the wizard was nowhere to be seen.
"They paid for what they have done," The elf said, giving the corpses a cold glare.
"True, but not all of them," Eragon reminded him, removing his own helmet and pointing in both directions where the battle still raged. "We must help to keep the flanks, but I don't know which one."
"We can split our forces," Legolas suggested, washing his swords on the dead orc.
Eragon sighed before replying. Splitting his forces was what he most wanted to avoid doing. He began to see his plan's flaws.
"I don't see any other way. Where is Gimli?" Eragon asked, but his question was quickly answered by a familiar voice.
"I am over here," The dwarf of their fellowship shouted while approaching them.
It seemed that he got wounded in the leg, but Eragon doubted that the dwarf noticed that at all due to the wide grin on his face.
"What a battle!" Gimli shouted again, raising his ax. "I assure you, I never doubted you, but for Durin's sake…" The dwarf laughed. "I never saw such a scared orc. I swear, he pissed his pants. The chant, Eragon… Did you feel it?" Before Eragon could interrupt, Gimli spoke again. "I already can hear the songs sung in Erebor's halls! I can't wait to tell Saphira everything!"
Eragon wasn't so sure of the last part, but he didn't want to delay any further. Their time was precious.
"The battle isn't won yet. I need you to lead half of the dwarves to aid the left flank. Their success or failure will mean our defeat or victory. Do you understand?" Eragon asked him very seriously. He wouldn't have talked with the dwarf in such a manner, but he wanted to be sure that the dwarf understood their still-fragile situation.
Gimli steadied down and nodded.
"I swear with my ax, I am not going to fail you, nor the dwarves of Moria," He said and called to his kin, who started gathering around them.
It was again a surprise for Eragon how disciplined the dwarves were. Instead of giving up for the battle's zest, they waited for their commander to give the orders.
After Gimli's command in his native language, half of their forces followed him towards the left flank, just before Gimli turned back towards Legolas and shouted. "13 already." Forcing the small grin appear on elf's face.
The rest remained, looking at him and waiting for any command he was going to give them.
"We did our task, but the battle is not nearly over," Eragon said to them all, trying to outshout the surroundings. He noticed a few dwarves translating his words to their comrades who didn't speak the common language. He continued. "I don't know if we are going to win our victory now or await the sunrise, but you all have my gratitude no matter what happens. It's an honor to fight beside you tonight."
He bowed towards them before putting the helmet on once again.
Before the dwarf could react, Eragon took a blue flag from him and ran towards the direction where the swords and axes were still battering, breaking spears, bones, and shields.
The dwarves followed him, chanting his and Saphira's names, but Eragon didn't wait for them, running faster and faster. He held in one hand Brisingr and the flag with Saphira in the other hand. His Saphira. Even if she wasn't with him tonight, he brought her in his heart and hand, fighting in her name.
The day may come when we stain our claws and sword together with our enemies' blood. That day they shall regret that they heard our names. Because there is no force in the world that could stop me from being with you. From your first breath to my last- I will be with you...
Wherever and whenever I will follow you, my little-one. Till the end of times...
He needled through the lines of dwarves, knocking down the first orc in his way, stabbing another with the pointy end of the flag, and barely blocking swords aimed at his chest. He found himself surrounded by orcs, but it quickly changed because, after his appearance, the dwarves attacked with new strength.
The orcs were being slaughtered. They were not ready or capable of stopping the new force and taking the lead of the battle, which seemed for them almost over. For every 50 orcs, only one dwarf would fall. So Eragon was shocked when in front of his eyes 4 dwarves were taken down at once.
The orcs had made a wide circle around the creature, and Eragon did not question their choice. The gigantic mace in its hands dangerously was swinging to the sides, and the creature's little, dumb eyes showed that it barely could recognize its allies and enemies. Its size could even make the kull feel small.
I guess this is the troll, Eragon thought bitterly.
With the arrival of the creature, the orcs regained their confidence and returned from the panic they had been in. The charge stopped and Eragon found himself between shields, together with dwarves trying to push back strengthened enemies.
The troll continued to mow through the lines of dwarves. Eragon could count another 10 dwarves who fell from its barbed mace. A few spears were thrown at the grey creature, but that only angered it more than it did some serious damage.
Someone needs to deal with it.
Show it what we do to our enemies.
Eragon shouted his sword's name and separated another three orc heads from their bodies with one swing, blood still boiling from the open wounds. The anger within him at the deaths of the dwarves woke up Aren. It shone in brightly blue light. Some energy rushed through his veins, but this time Eragon didn't try to push it back completely, more borrowing the strength from the ring, but not letting it overcome him. It wasn't reliable, since Eragon still didn't know when Aren could decide to attack fully. Gandalf greatly advised against it, but Eragon believed that now he needed this additional strength.
The flames rose high from Brisingr, and the orcs retreated from Eragon, howling and cursing him in their language but not daring to attack.
"Don't like the light, do you?" Eragon smirked towards the orcs, before shouting at the troll. "Hey, you. Ugly head. Do you know who am I?"
Eragon wasn't sure if it was his words or Brisingr's flames, but the troll turned his head towards him, forgetting the dwarves below it. Eragon walked closer to the creature, while orcs stayed away from him , screaming every time he pointed Brisingr at them.
"I am Eragon Shadeslayer," He said again for the grey creature, not being sure how much it truly understood. At least it was smart enough to accept his challenge. Or stupid. "Bane of Ra'zacs and the rider of Saphira Brightscales. I believe you heard these names."
The only response he got was roaring and an approaching mace. With new force in his hands, he knocked off the cudgel with Brisingr, setting it aflame. The troll dropped it, shaking its hand as if wanting to wash away the curse. Finally, it eyed Eragon, but as he suspected, the creature wasn't smart enough to be afraid or understand when it was outmatched.
The troll this time tried to grab him with its hands but instead was greeted by the hot steel. It howled from the pain when a huge paw fell to the ground. But it didn't have much time to suffer, because Eragon ran past it and, not being able to reach the top of the creature, threw Brisingr where he suspected to be the heart. The troll groaned one more time before falling backward with a big rumble. Eragon took back the sword from the unmoving body, which already started to burn where Brisingr had pierced it.
It seemed that with the troll's death also died the last fighting spirit of the orcs. Their attack stopped and only their number didn't let the lines break up. Eragon let the dwarves beat the broken enemy while he concentrated on trying to quench Aren, finally putting out Brisingr's flames. Only after all these times when his father's ring shared its powers with him, Eragon finally started to sense something familiar, but at the same moment a very strange feeling covered Aren. Every time the energy would retreat from his body, the urge to use it again became stronger. And it wasn't only the need for a new wave of strength the ring provided.
He was so into the inner conflict that he didn't notice the dwarves had already pushed the orcs far from where he stood. Now on the hill were only him and a strange elf. Eragon wondered how he didn't notice him earlier. There was something off about how the elf looked at him. Unblinking and with hostility in his glare.
Shrugging it off as another elven oddity he didn't know about, Eragon spoke to the elf while rubbing his ring.
"I believe this flank won't have any further problems. In this case, I am not sure…" He couldn't finish his sentence because with a quick movement the elf took from behind his back a… dagger?
Only fortune and his own unnatural elven speed, given as a gift by the dragons, saved him from the blade that this elf had thrown at him. He fell to the ground, feeling hot blood running through his cheek.
Eragon rolled on his back only to stop the sword aimed at him a few millimeters away from his neck. He kicked the elf with his foot and used the moment to stand up and face his new foe properly, straight back and with Brisingr in his hands.
Before the elf attacked again, Eragon had a few moments to observe the opponent. Not counting a half-mad look, his expression was calm and very concentrated. Wide shoulders and a firm stance meant that he was a great warrior. Differently from other elves, his hair was shortly cut, making him look even more dangerous. The double-edged longsword, instead of reflecting the light absorbed it, telling for its victims only one thing - death. On his back hung a longbow. An angular ring with a jewel on the elf's finger didn't slip past Eragon's eyes either.
"Do I know your name?" Eragon asked, but the elf only smirked and with lighting speed swung his sword at him.
Steel rung after the blades collided and sparks danced from a powerful hit, but Eragon kept his stance and attacked. With ease that worried Eragon, the elf blocked Brisingr to the side. It was going to be a hard duel.
They danced around, only observed by fires and the disappearing stars in the sky, trampling bloodstained ground below their feet, waiting for opponent's mistake. But however Eragon would try, the elf always knew where he was going to strike or what trick he used. Every time the black sword blocked Brisingr from reaching the elf, while he struggled to defend himself. Not counting his still bleeding cheek, he got wounded in his shoulder and wrist. Small wounds, but annoying ones, and dripping blood only hindered him. That and a widening smirk on the elf's face only angered him more, while Aren on his hands seemed to explode soon. Eragon doubted that he would be able to control its power if he released it.
The elf pushed him further, and Eragon used his last trick; he called the blue sword's name, just when it was near the elf's face. Flames arose and the elf had to lean in trying to avoid them, but in the middle of the action lost his stance. It was only for a second, but that time was more than enough where the speed and agility of elves were concerned. Eragon leaned forward quickly as a viper and thrust through the elf's stomach armor as easily as if it was butter.
The elf grinned his teeth from pain and performed another attack, less precise, more of despair. Eragon blocked it and retreat from the foe, feeling some glint of pleasure looking at the blood, pouring from the elf's wound. It wasn't a fatal one, but it was something. At least the elf wasn't going to escape this duel unscratched. Meanwhile, he tried to steady his breath, blinking rapidly when another drop of sweat got into his eye. He didn't think he could last longer like this.
The elf seemingly wasn't against a small break as well, observing his wound attentively as Eragon was only a few feet away. He felt the urge to try and attack the elf while he wasn't watching, but something said to him that it was not going to work. So instead he glared at his own wounds and how much harm was done. His preliminary premise was correct. They were only superficial wounds, easily healed with such a simple spell as Waíse heill. Or at least that would have been the case back before when he still had his magic.
Finally, the elf looked away from his wound straight at him, but there was none of the anger Eragon expected to see, only a terrific amusement instead. Not exactly what person in pain would feel.
"Your name is Varion," Eragon stated because the elf remained silent.
''Yes," Varion shortly answered. His voice was smooth and equal, almost emotionless. Then he bowed in a mocking manner. "While my name is not so famous as yours, Eragon Shadeslayer, the Rider of Saphira. I almost lost the count how many times the dwarves chanted your name tonight. Almost."
Something was calm and perilous about this Varion. Brom, his own father, once told him that the most dangerous type of enemy is a madman. Galbatorix had been crazy in his own way, but he still was a... human. Now his rival was an elf. That didn't promise anything good. Eragon decided to continue the conversation, with a hope to find more about his enemy. There was also a better chance of his allies noticing his absence.
"You seemed not surprised to meet me," Eragon stated again.
"No," Varion replied, stretching his neck. "Though, I thought of meeting you after the task was done. I admit you and your dwarves interfered in my plans quite a bit. Nevermind, it can be accomplished later, after I kill you."
"What task?" Eragon asked.
The elf lifted an eyebrow, as if he had asked about the most obvious thing in the world, and then laughed.
"You are not going to fool anyone, rider of Saphira," Varion suddenly spit at the ground, for the first time looking really angry. "I know exactly why you are here, but you can't stop what is inevitable. Now prepare to meet your fate."
Varion without warning charged and they again joined the dance between life and death. Even wounded, the elf didn't slow down in attacking, not was he willing to let Eragon take the upper hand. Eragon most of the time had to defend and block the elf's stabs aimed at him. The elf was powerful, very powerful. Not Arya nor any other elf he had a chance to cross the swords with could attack with such speed and strength. His foe was even too strong for an elf.
Eragon didn't notice the corpse of an orc, which he hit while retreating backward. As a result, another wound adorned his body, this time on the leg. He limped and Varion smiled triumphantly.
"I will try not to enjoy this, but no promises," Varion mocked, making rings in the air with a sword as beheading someone's head.
I can guess whose head he is imagining he is cutting, Eragon thought, trying to hold the sword straight.
Was he really going to die somewhere in the middle of the bloody field, in the foreign lands by the hand of the enemy he only learned about today?
Whatever happened to him wasn't as bad as... Saphira. He didn't even have an opportunity to tell her again how much he loved her. That only now he understood that she was the only person he ever truly needed in this world. This was what he was going to regret most of all if the worst happened to him. What was very possible to happen.
The elf approached, and Eragon wasn't sure how many more blows he would be able to block. The only thing left for him was...
Little-one, A voice, so familiar that his heart skipped a beat, sung in his head. He forgot everything in this world. Now there was only him and this voice that he wouldn't forget in thousands of years. How could he forget one who was part of himself: the one who was the love of his life?
Relax and let me inside you. Let me help you. Let me fight with you.
Eragon closed his eyes, calming down his uneasy thoughts and aching body. Everything felt as clear as water. Then he felt as the energy from Aren slowly and gently flooded his body. He didn't try to fight with it. The energy was part of him, and he was part of it. They were one.
Then he opened his eyes, seeing the approaching sword of his enemy, only this time it was moving very slowly.
Raise your hand.
He did so. The black sword hit Brisingr and slid away.
Now aim at his shoulder.
Eragon, faster than an arrow, stretched out his sword hand and felt as Brisingr went through the meat and bone. The elf's eyes widened from the surprise and new wave of pain. He retreated but this time Eragon didn't let him take a moment to collect himself. Feeling new energy in his whole body, he went only forward. His every movement was precise and fast. And every time there was a voice guiding him.
Lean down. Attack. Block his hit. Aim at his legs. Don't let him regain his stance. Knock off the blow aimed at your head. Now let him approach you. Turn around, raise your sword, and kick his feet.
After the last movement the elf already lay on the ground, with Brisingr's tip at his throat. Disbelief was clear on his face.
Well done, little-one, The mate of his heart and soul praised him.
"I prepared for this for decades... how?" Varion gasped, seeing as everything was falling apart.
Tell him that he should be careful when threatening a dragon and her rider. Blood might be shed and a few elves burned. Take that as advice which might save your life one day. Just say it, little-one, The voice gently assured him, after sensing some doubts of his.
Eragon repeated the words and almost felt sorry for the elf. Varion became shocked and confused; this phrase certainly meant something to him.
"Surrender now! Your armies are nearly completely beaten, catapults destroyed and you yourself aren't in a very pleasant situation. You are not going to conquer the elven kingdom today or ever!" Eragon told him.
Varion might have tried to kill him and, according to others, Saphira as well. But the thought of executing the elf was hardly acceptable for Eragon after everything he went through and what he was thought by his masters.
Varion spat red saliva.
"This is not about the elven kingdom. They just were in my way to reach what is hidden in Lothlorien."
Eragon recalled something like this said between Elrond and Gandalf back then in Rivendell.
Ask him what is hidden in the elven kingdom, Eragon.
"And what is hidden in Lothlorien?"
He asked this in a manner which said that he wasn't going to repeat himself. He pushed Brisingr against the elf's throat, letting a few drops of blood drip.
The elf looked at him narrowly before speaking up slowly.
"You truly don't know, are you?"
Eragon rolled his eyes.
"Obviously not, why would I ask about that otherwise? Speak, or I will cut your throat if you continue this game."
Varion considered what he said and then erupted with a cold, cruel laugh.
"It seems that it is just a damn coincidence. Well, everything just becomes more interesting," Another wave of laugh interrupted his words. "Let me give you a question. Now you know that conquering Lothlorien wasn't my exact purpose. What else could I seek?"
Eragon felt that his patience was almost gone considering the elf, but he still answered.
"To kill Saphira. To kill me. I don't know what a madman like you could want."
"A madman you say. Perhaps. In the dungeons of Dol Guldur anyone can become one. You are not completely right. Death, nah," The elf grimaced. "That's what orcs and other dumb creatures do. They only kill. No imagination. I came up with a plan…"
"Get to the point or…"
"You kill me? Fine, I don't expect any other fate when the elves and dwarves lay their hands on me. But I am going to enjoy the time left for me." Varion shrugged as confirming his reconciliation with his fate.
"You won't have much time if you don't give me answers."
"Very well. I won't dare to disobey the rider of Saphira," Elf mocked before becoming serious again. "What I sought in Lothlorien was the heart of hearts of your dear Saphira. Her Eldunari. Two names, the same thing. Call it however you want."
Eragon pushed Brisingr even stronger to the neck of elf, forcing him to lay his head to the ground.
"Who told you about it?!" Eragon hissed, trying to cover his shock and horror.
It was very secret. Nobody except the dragons and their riders knew what an eldunari was. And if Saphira's heart of hearts was in Lothlorien while she wasn't, it could only mean that… no, it couldn't be true.
But it is, my little-one.
"Is that important who told me?" Varion asked, seemingly enjoying his opponent's confusion and, in some ways, misery.
Another push to his neck showed his answer very clearly. Eragon wondered why he still didn't cut the elf's throat. He still needed information though.
"Saruman. He told me some years ago. I don't know where he found out about this, but he was in the white council. Saphira and others probably trusted him enough to entrust him with this secret," Elf replied, gasping for air.
Eragon was going to demand more answers, but the air was trembled by a horn. Dozens of them.
Keeping an eye on the elf, he looked at the noise. There, from the same bushes he and the dwarves it seemed just a moment ago had charged, marched lines and lines of orcs, enlightened by the brightening sky. But these orcs were different than the ones he fought tonight; they were taller, more muscular, and clearly with far better equipment. Their shields and helmets were marked by a white hand.
"Speak of the devil and he will appear. Not only the elves have allies." Varion smirked, and Eragon well understood his confidence.
It seemed that the dwarves still were dealing with the remains of orcs. Eragon even could see a couple of trolls alive. Soon he and the dwarves would be surrounded between the fire, orcs and a new army, just like Eragon planned to trap his enemies. There was nothing he could do about this; he let himself curse in his mind.
"I think it is me in the end who will be victorious. I like when events turn unexpectedly in my favor," Varion continued enjoying himself.
Eragon knew that he couldn't stand here like an idiot and give up to the panic and despair. If he could bring the dwarves together in time to face the new enemy, and if they somehow are able to deal with Varion's orcs before being surrounded... If, if, if! But however positively Eragon was trying to look at their situation, he had fought enough battles to realize the true end of this one.
Have you always given up so easily? The teasing question sounded in his mind.
Eragon shook his head.
"I am not giving up. I will fight to the last breath despite the odds, till the last day."
But it shouldn't be the last day in this world for you. Say, little-one, do you trust me?
"More than anyone. More than myself."
He felt her approval before he glared back at the elf beneath him.
Then I need you to listen to me one more time. Now you need to kill the elf.
Varion shifted under Brisingr as if he knew what thoughts were crossing his mind. Even if Varion said that he wasn't afraid of death earlier, now the shadow of fear appeared on his face. Eragon rose up the blue sword for the deadly blow, but when finally it was time to do what was necessary, his hand stopped.
Eragon hesitated and he hated himself for it. He killed urgals, humans, and even dwarves before, most of the time without stopping for a moment longer when the danger threatened for him and Saphira. What made elves better than others? Maybe it mattered that he was executing his enemy, not killing him in the fair fight, and that was what was making things more difficult for him.
Varion watched him, sunk deep in inner conflict before he decided to act. The elf jumped, trying to grab Eragon's sword-holding hand, but the dragon rider avoided his grip and with cross-guard punched elf in the head. His foe fell down to the ground unconscious, burying his face into the grass.
That will work as well. I suppose, she said thoughtfully and Eragon nodded in agreement. He wanted to do that for some time.
Brisingr suddenly lighted up, and Eragon blinked in surprise. He didn't recall saying his sword's name.
Don't worry, it is just me, She chuckled. We are one, do you remember?
"I will need to know how you have done it, but it can wait for now," He said, not being able to stop the grin crossing his face.
Eragon turned towards the approaching army, which now was really close. He already could pick out their facial traits. He couldn't help but wonder what he was going to do alone in the field and what was her plan.
His enemies finally noticed his lonely figure, and a squad of them left the formation and started running towards him.
"Whatever you want to do, do it now," Eragon said, not hiding his worries anymore.
Raise your sword towards the sky. I don't want you to burn your eyebrows.
Eragon stopped himself from questioned her, instead doing as she said. The energy erupted from Aren, so powerful and strong as the river during the spring.
It flooded his body and ran towards his right-hand straight into Brisingr. The flames, in different colors, from blue to white, rose high into the sky, making the forest fire look like a mere match compared to it. Eragon trembled and he believed he would have fallen down if not of the energy holding him. The heat was almost unbearable as well.
Only a few moments passed until she spoke again with him, but he already knew what to do. He grabbed Brisingr's grip with both of his hands and, after straining with all his strength, thrust the steel into the soil.
Eragon felt as the ground beneath his feet seemed to explode. From the place where the blue sword stood, rolled the wave of fire, roaring and destroying everything in its way in front of him. He had to close his eyes because the flames were too bright. Eragon could feel the grass burning around him from the fatal heat, but it avoided him.
The power continued to flow from Aren through his body. He would have released the sword, but he was too weak to do that and resist the traction. He didn`t see it but could hear, behind the noise made by fire, the shouts and yelling of orcs. But none of them were spared by the flames. The fire was so scorching that swords and shields melted together with the owners melted and burned their swords and shields. Such scorching the fire was. But Eragon didn`t have much time to think about it. The power from the ring was literally killing him. He wanted to stop the stream, to make it stop, but it wasn`t for his strengths. He started to fear the worst when the magic steel of Brisingr heated up so hot that it was now pure white. The last time he saw his sword in such color was when it was forged in Ellesmera with the help of Saphira`s fire.
Eragon was sure that after a second he would pass out, when suddenly all energy retreated from his body into Brisingr, leaving him completely exhausted. The now-white sword trembled one last time and, with an ear-splitting noise, exploded into countless pieces. The energy stopped flowing right away, the flames vanished, and Eragon, finally released, fell on his knees.
He stared in shock at the empty grip in his hand. He didn't believe what he was seeing at first, but the longer he looked at the remains of what had been a great sword, the surer he was that it was true. Brisingr, his sword, was gone, permanently shattered into a million pieces. He only could hold the useless grip and stare at it.
The voice called him, so distant and quiet that at first he thought he imagined, but the voice kept calling him. He slowly turned his head towards the voice, but even such a small task was extremely hard for his drained body.
What he saw was the grey wizard, who looked at him worried. Eragon blinked a few times trying to wave away blurriness. Gandalf seemed to want to come and help him but instead remained standing, pointing his staff in front of him in a defensive manner.
Eragon managed to turn around and see at whom the Wizard had directed his staff. Somehow Varion woke up after his punch and now stood with a drawn bow in his hand. Two arrows were on the string:ne arrow pointed at him and another, as Eragon assumed, towards the wizard.
"Eragon, can you hear me?" Gandalf asked him, dragging his attention.
Eragon didn't trust his voice so he just slightly nodded.
The wizard made small steps towards him, but suddenly stopped after the elf made a threat.
"One more step and I kill him," As if confirming his words, Varion strained his bow even more.
Eragon knew that he had to do something, but his limbs didn't want to listen to him so he remained kneeling on the ground powerlessly.
"Please, Varion. Let down your bow. Do that and I promise you will be let go," Gandalf said, keeping his stance.
Eragon just heavily looked at the elf waiting for his response. Varion was bleeding at the shoulder and he looked in bad condition, but the determination on his face showed that he paid little attention to it. The wizard`s words were left unanswered.
Varion just kept glaring from him to Gandalf, when suddenly the elf`s eyes stopped at him. Varion released the string and two arrows shot. Eragon only could watch his approaching certain death; he was too weak to move and his legs still refused to obey his will. He just closed his eyes to meet his end.
But no arrow pierced him. Instead, he heard only a crackling noise followed by a hushed yell.
Eragon opened his eyes. In front of him were the remains of smoke or what was left from the arrow. He turned his head and saw the grey wizard stumble to the ground. A black arrow with white feathers protruded from his chest.
Eragon grabbed a shield off a fallen dwarf and then, with shaking legs, stood up. Varion looked utterly frustrated.
"Damn it, cursed wizard. You always have to be where you are least needed," Varion spat.
If Eragon hadn`t known better, he would have thought that the elf regretted what he had done.
Varion then looked at Eragon, who was trying to look firm and not faint. Eragon already could hear approaching voices, possibly belonging to his allies, giving him hope. The elf seemed to overhear them as well.
"You are to blame for what happened," Varion spoke to him. "I will return; you can be sure of that. Today you were stronger, but don't cheer for long. I am going to destroy you, and then I will destroy everything you hold dear."
With these words, Varion turned aside and ran towards the burned area where some minutes ago had stood army of orcs of which only ashes were left, blown to oblivion by the wind.
As Eragon saw his enemy running away, he lowered the shield down, leaning on it with all his weight. Blinded by exhaustion and pain, he walked with stubborn determination and the shield aiding him towards the fallen wizard . He fell near the wizard, who was hardly breathing. He felt relieved seeing that Gandalf was still alive.
Eragon slowly stretched his hands towards the wound, but the wizard grabbed his hand and stopped him.
"It is too late for me," Gandalf whispered.
Eragon was surprised how weak the wizard's voice was, compared to the strength and power his voice usually had.
"Did it hit you?" Gandalf asked.
Eragon shook his head, and Gandalf closed his eyes for a few long moments with a sigh before opening them again.
"After my all mistakes at least today I made the right decision."
Eragon began to speak, but the wizard spoke first.
"Varion's arrow had dark magic which I cannot stop from sapping my strength. I see death already waiting for me. There is no way to stop it."
His words sunk deeply into Eragon, now finding himself in a similar situation to what he had once before on the day he lost his father even if he didn't know that then. Eragon felt hot tears gathering in his eyes. Maybe not everything was lost.
Eragon arose a bit from the wizard and stretched his Gedwëy ignasia hand towards the wound in the chest. He concentrated all his thoughts and attention towards this task, searching inside himself for any glint of magic, which not so long time ago flowed through his whole body. When he thought he was ready, he said the spell. It was simple one, one of the basic healing spells, ordering for an arrow to leave the wound and for the wound to heal.
When it didn't work, Eragon frowned even more and tried another magic word. No change. He tried again and again until he was screaming out loud spell after spell, not caring if someone saw him. He couldn't just surrender.
"Waíse heill," Eragon finally shouted and collapsed forward, not seeing anything through the tears.
He was so angry at the world, but mostly at himself. Another person was dying in his hands and he was not able to do anything about it. Another person who sacrificed himself for him. The thought was burning him from inside.
"Eragon," Gandalf spoke, dragging his attention.
He forced himself to look up, meeting the wizard's understanding and weak smile.
"Don't blame yourself for anything," Gandalf said, reading what was on his mind. "I did it for you and Saphira. It had to be done, there was no other way. For Middle-Earth and all its people's sake... Sometimes sacrifice is necessary. It is the hardest when you are the one who is making this sacrifice. I don't have much time." He quietly added, taking off something from his finger.
Gandalf gestured to take it and Eragon soon found a beautiful ring with a ruby in his palm.
"Give it to Galadriel. The new master of the ring must be chosen."
Eragon could only nod and take it.
"I have another thing for you," Gandalf said, this time even more softly. He lowered his hand and from under his cloak pulled out a scabbard with a sword in it. Eragon, seeing that it cost great strengths from the wizard, quickly took the sword, looked questioningly at him.
"Take it. I saw that you lost your own sword. Protect her with it. I will rest easier knowing that it is Glamdring which will accompany you in the battles to come. Bear it with my blessing."
Eragon knew that he had to say something, but no words came forth. Every time he wanted to speak, the words just looked meaningless to him.
The shadow of guilt crossed the wizard's face.
"You must know something else. That's about Saphira. Her…"
"I know it," Eragon interrupted, making Gandalf look at him with some surprise, though it was clear that the wizard was becoming weaker with every passing moment. "Varion told me," Eragon said, answering the questioning look.
Gandalf nodded, closing his eyes for another painfully long time.
"Sauron did that. In Dol Guldur. I don't know how…"
Eragon felt a sudden urge of anger arising inside from the mention of what and who done this to his heart and soul mate.
"I will kill him. I will them all," He assured with all the strength left in him.
Gandalf looked at him softly, even if he seemed to be suffering.
"Don't seek peace in revenge. You are not going to find peace there. Better look for it in your friends and those whom you consider dear to you. They are the most important thing in the world. After you realize it, I hope you understand why I did what I did today. I hope…"
Eragon, seeing that the wizard was sinking into the eternal sleep from which there was no way back, looked around desperately, hoping that someone, anyone might help, but deep inside he knew that he was just fooling himself that there still was hope.
A weak touch returned his attention to the wizard.
"Eragon… protect her. Now you are the only one left for her. I hope you will find happiness. Both of you. Give her my regards and apology. I will see you at the opposite shore of the sea where the sun lands..."
With these words, the grey wizard left the world. Eragon felt nothing but an empty numbness inside. With Gandalf having passed away, Eragon lost his last reason to continue to fight with fatigue. He just fell to the side, Glamdring and Narya still in his hands, and finally gave in to his exhaustion.
So it is finally here. I wanted very much to finish it before the autumn, but life said no. The conversation between Eragon and Saphira was a mix of halocinations and actual part inside him.
I just realized one thing and I felt extremely ashamed because of that. There are 3 persons who helped me a lot writing this story and made it more pleasant to read for all of you. The biggest gratitudes and shoutouts for toothlessgolfer, Hugo L.R. Reed and Leviathan54. toothlessgolfer has incredible LotrxHTTYD crossover while Leviathan54 is writing EragonxSaphira fanfiction. If you like TMBTW I bet you will like their stories. Hugo L.R. Reed has pretty good Harry/Daphne fic if anyone is interested in this fandom.
As always it would be great to get your feedback. :)
See you next time, à bientôt, iki kito karto!