Ch.1 Strange encounter
It had been months since Eragon had talked to another humanoid. For the longest time, he had only known the salty spray of the ocean on his face, and the hard leather that composed his saddle, and he began to wonder if splitting off from the ship had been such a good idea. After leaving Alagaesia, they had had very little luck in finding new land. Yes, they had come across several isles and archipelagos that served well for replenishing supplies, but they were all far too small for any kind of settlement, let alone one that would serve as the new home of the dragon riders, and so Eragon had made an admittedly foolish decision in his desparation. He thought that he could cover more ground if he went out on his own with Saphira, not taking into consideration his own lack of supplies, and apparently less than favorable sense of direction at sea. As a result, this last chapter of his life had been nothing but a constant struggle simply to not starve to death and to fend of the crippling loneliness he felt. Yes, he had Saphira for company, and she was perfect, but one does start to miss the company of one's own kind. To be able to actually use your voice, instead of telepathy, to be able to train in sword fighting with someone who didnt just use one of their enormous talons to effortlessly block your blade, and to be able to feel the embrace of someone thats physically similar to yourself. Eragon sighed at this last thought. Following their departure from Alagaesia, Eragon had taken on several small flings with some of the elves on the ship, both male and female, and had known their embraces well. However, as pleasurable as such experiences were, he never felt right during them, and he'd be lying if he said that Arya didnt have everything to do with that. Even after the year and a half that he had spent without seeing her face even once outside of his memories, she still occupied many of his thoughts. He knew it was stupid, that this boyish crush of his on the elvish princess(as she hated to be called) was just that, boyish. Nothing more than a manifestation of his budding hormones as a young adult, but despite telling himself this, she still remained with his thoughts, even if he knew he would never occupy hers in the same way. His sad musings were interuppted by the tendril of Sapphira's tail, snaking its way to his face and stroking it comfortingly. Eragon chuckled a bit, and held the tail gently to him. How fortunate he was to have someone like Sapphira, who could know him better than even himself did, who could sense what he needed without so much as a word or gesture, and who would waste no time in making him better.
Things will be alright little one, you just need more time. She was your first love, and such things are not easily forgotten. She whispered to him through their telepathic bond.
I know, He replied, but i dont want to forget her. She was my friend before anything else, and the time we shared together is precious to me. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Saphira, though silent and still, gave him a smile of unserstanding.
Nor should you partner-of-heart.
Just as quickly as the moment began, it ended, interrupted suddenly by the appearance of a shoreline. A very large shoreline. Eragon sat on Saphira's back, his mouth agape at the sight.
"Dear gods, now that's what I call an island!" He yelled in delight.
They sped towards the landmass, their long journey apparently over as they looked over the landscape of what they hoped to be their new home. There was plenty of forest that they could use for building material, and Eragon began to imagine how they would build their new lives. A series of cottages there by the river, with the main hall just a short walk away. The training grounds could go nextdoor, with the dragon stables somewhere on that large hill. He'd have to contact the ship immediately, this place wa-
His thoughts were cut short by the terrifying sight of an enormous maw that had sprung from nowhere and was primed to devour him, and half of Saphira. Using every evasive manuever they knew in panicked succession, they barely manged to escape from what wouldve been certain doom. Collecting himself, Eragon drew Brisinger, and attempted to identify their assailant, only to be horrified at what he saw. It looked human, but was grotesque in its proportions, lacking skin in some very key places, namely its mouth. It had enormous, soulless bug eyes that looked at him with what could only be described as a combination of childish innocence and ravenous hunger, and needless to say, the thing was the size of a castle. It took everything in Eragon not to vomit at the sight, but he had seen far worse, and controlled himself.
What in hell is that thing?! Cried Eragon inti his bond. He could feel in Saphira a kind of anxiety that he had very rarely known in their time together. The foul creature, and it's attack had unsettled her nearly as much as it had him.
I know not, child. Whatever breed of monster it may be, I would feel no guilt in ending its miserable existence here and now.
Eragon agreed with a nod of his head, and primed his blade for a strike, and told Saphira to charge. Faster than wind, the pair bolted towards the giant and sliced it in two using Eragon's superhuman strength and more than a little magic. Feeling the hit land, Eragon roared in triumph, and then in pain as he felt the creature's blisteringly hot blood on his skin. What the hell was this thing? He would soon ask this question again as he looked down at his kill in horror, seeing it get up again, a fresh pair of legs sprouting from its stump, and its old ones dissapating into what was either smoke, or steam. Images of the laughing dead immediately went through Eragon's mind. Goddamn immortal warriors, this was not going to be easy. He could attempt to lop off its head, perhaps that would end the creature, but he didn't want to be anywhere near its mouth, as it appeared to have some sort of ungodly reflexes in catching its prey by snapping it up midair.
Saphira, I dont think this is a fight we can win...
Saphira was silent for a moment, as if contemplating their options, but then spoke, I'm afraid you're right, little one, there is little reward for risking our lives on a gamble here, we must retreat.
Before the creature could make another attempt at them, they flew swiftly out of range, looking at the grotesque monster from afar. From here, Eragon could look more closely into its eyes. It gave him the same look as before, one that expressed only its singleminded desire to consume... but there was something else there for a moment, it vanished so quickly that he could've easily just imagined it, but it was unmistakable to him. He saw anguish, and a kind of pleading. What was this? He brushed the thought aside, and continued onwards, away from its infant-like form.
As they continued to survey the land, it became clear that that monster from before was not alone. Far from it. There were hundreds of them dotting the land, wandering aimlessly, likely searching for their next meal. But strangely enough, even though animals often crossed their path, they expressed little interest in them. At first, they had taken this as meaning that the first giant was a deviation from the norm, but every attempt to test that theory by getting close yeilded much the same results as the last time. This lead them to conclude they were looking for a very specific kind of prey. That thought sent shivers down Eragon's spine as he remembered the gaping maw that had come so close to swallowing him whole the day before, and then wondered how many others of his own kind had fallen victim to these beasts. On occasion, Eragon attempted to invade the minds of the giants, but each time, it yeilded strange results. The minds of these creatures were not like that of other simple-minded animals, they were driven by basic instincts, yes, but there was something else there. In the case of most animals, their intentions are pretty straightforward, "find food, dont die, repeat", and with larger animals like deer, there was a bit more complexity, but they werent capable of the same abstract thoughts as self aware beings. Only a few animals he had encountered, like dolphins, or those strange, furry things they encountered on an island once that looked liked small, tailed humans ever showed any kind of abstract thought, but for these giants it was different. They were not wired in a simple way, their minds felt like a maelstrom of confusion that just happened to align into the desire to consume human beings. The feeling of it vaguely reminded him of the madness that was Shruiken's mind, only these things had a directed purpose. Another curiosity about their minds was that it didnt seem to originate from within their skulls, but rather from the napes of their necks. The heads themselves were empty, appearing to only serve as the home of their main sensory organs. Nothing about these creatures made sense, they were complete enigmas, and somewhere within Eragon he couldn't help but feel that there was something unnatural about them. Whatever the case, it was becoming increasingly clear that living here would be difficult, if not impossible. His thoughts were then interrupted by a nudging at his mind from Saphira. Little one, look ahead, what do you see?
Eragon brought his eyes up from the ground, and could just barely make out a shape in the distance.
Is that...
"Thats a wall!" He said aloud.
That means there ARE people here! He cried telepathically.
Indeed, she said, chuckling at his excitement. Shall we go?
Eragon nodded with excitement, and the two of them sped towards their new discovery.