A/N: Greetings, readers. I have decided to take up this important space on this chapter to give out a warning. This story, Of Elder Days, is the first story I have ever created, aside from school assignments. Inevitably, there will be repetitive words, mistakes, and various plot holes or bad writing in general. All I ask is for you, the reader, to bare with me and give out advice via PMs and Reviews. On a side note, please take note that this story's rating may change, along with the story's chapters themselves, as I may find I do not like them and wish to edit them.
(I own nothing but my imagination and the Original Characters.)
-Isdrin the Wanderer
"Hello."- Ancient Language
"Hello."- Emphasis on a word (or the beginning word of a chapter/POV change)
Chapter One - The End to a New Beginning
(Year 8001 AC)
These were the only thoughts circulating within Eragon's mind as King Galbatorix stood above him, smirking in satisfaction. The Traitor of the Riders had defeated him in a one-sided battle. The King's power was grossly underestimated. Eragon Shadeslayer, Bromsson, Firesword, and Argetlam, was no match for the man who had triumphed over the Order of Riders.
Galbatorix had led Eragon on in a sense of false security in battle, and Eragon took the bait. When what had appeared to be a fatal opening for the King ended up being the moment Galbatorix had enough fun with him. The King unleashed a flurry of lightning quick stabs and slashes, so quick in fact, that a Shade would pale even further at the sight of them. It was almost comical that Eragon or the Varden had ever believed they could win against this monster. The Varden had mistaken the King for being too lazy or afraid to defeat the Varden himself, when instead it was only a perverted desire to take down the fabled Blue Rider in the castle of Urû'baen.
Eragon snapped out of his momentary lapse of concentration as the malevolent King lanced Vrangr within Eragon's body. The blade sheathed itself and broke out the back of Eragon. The white bright-steel sword of legends felt cold against Eragon's body. He let out a gasp of pain and shock.
He was the last of the Rebellion. Twenty meters away lay his beloved Arya, her beautiful body marred with deep cuts, her head somewhere within Shruikan's stomach. Saphira, the partner of his heart-and-mind, was wrapped within the wings of the aforementioned behemoth Shruikan, incapacitated by enchanted slumber. Roran died nobly against Lord Bart in hopes of saving the Elven Queen, yet it was for naught. Few Varden prisoners were taken, likely for a snack for Shruikan, and the Elven army was decimated. Cheers were heard outside the Black Citadel, belonging to men not his own.
Tears streamed down his elfin face as he let out a sob. Galbatorix's smirk shifted into a grin, and he opened his mouth, surely to gloat.
Eragon's mind-voice expressed a somber sadness, Umaroth-Elda. I am so sorry. I could not defeat the King.
Umaroth leaked sorrow and sympathy through their connection. Even Vrael himself could not defeat the Dark King, hatchling. Perhaps the rebellion is over, but you can live on, Eragon. We bestow a final gift to Saphira and you. What you do with it, matters not in our eyes, so long as you do not waste it.
Rumbles of agreement echoed through Eragon's link with the Eldunarya.
Eragon cut off his tendril of thought as reality shimmered from the Eldunarya as they released a wave of pure energy. Galbatorix eyes widened fractionally before he snarled in outrage and fury. Vrangr was pulled out of Eragon and was brought up to decapitate the Free Rider.
The energy wave hit Eragon, and he opened his mouth to scream, shout, do something as an onslaught of searing pain tore through his body, bringing liquid fire through his veins. He stilled abruptly, his hazel eyes rolling back within his head. He fell into unconsciousness.
Eragon's eyes hesitantly crept open to sounds of chirping birds and natural ambiance. He shut his eyes in a wince as a blinding light filled them. His other pains caught up to him as his nerves felt like they had a bucket of ice-cold water dumped on them, and his chest was throbbing with a vengeance. He was forced to clutch the soft cot he lay on in silent pain, unwilling to give his torturer, Galbatorix, any satisfaction. When Eragon finally mustered up enough courage to open his eyes again, the sight of a wooded clearing met him, and within it were two men arguing.
"-lf with us, Baramond! Yah know the people are supahstitious enough to kill us if 'ey found out!" The raspy, nearly incomprehensible voice belonged to a giant of a man. He had a two-handed sword on his back, one made of iron and was obviously man-made in nature. Further scrutinizing the man, Eragon found a long tattoo wrapping around his neck, akin to a vine. The mystery man also had dark brown hair, many shades darker than Eragon's.
The other man, now identified as Baramond, sighed in exasperation, "Ademar, surely you do not mean to dispose of this wounded elf? I understand that with our line of work we cannot afford to have our morals cloud our judgement, but this is wrong, and I will not stand for it."
Eragon could not see much of Baramond, as his form was blocked by Ademar's bear of a body. Ademar worked his jaw, frustrated, until he finally gave in.
"Fine!" He said with a snarl, "But we get rid of 'im at first chance, yah hear?"
Eragon could almost hear Baramond's smirk. "I do, my friend."
Ademar sighed as he turned around, only to catch sight of Eragon. He sneered and walked off.
Eragon turned his gaze towards Baramond. Now that Ademar wasn't body-blocking him, Baramond was revealed to be a short man with ice-blue eyes and a strong jaw. His hair was shoulder-height, and was blonde enough to be mistaken for white. He flashed Eragon a good-natured, toothy grin. He walked closer and the rattle of two blades at his waist was prominent.
Eragon's eyes drifted around his surroundings. He was in a camp within the middle of the clearing. A fire crackled nearby, its flames reaching high above. The source of the calling birds and the peaceful crickets were the woods surrounding the camp. The woods themselves gave off a sense of familiarity within his mind, though he could not grasp where he had seen them.
"How are you feeling, elf? Your wounds were quite extent, and I nearly blacked out from the strains of healing 'em."
Eragon arched a brow in slight surprise at the man's carelessness of giving out the fact he had magical abilities.
"I believe I am fine, thanks to you, though there are aches. Nothing time and a little magic won't clear up."
Baramond nodded, seemingly taking note of his reply. "Are you hungry? I have some stew boiling over the fire." He gestured to said fire.
Eragon eyes followed his hand, and they landed on the controlled inferno. The smell from the stew was mouth-watering, as the scent of carrots and various other vegetables met him. He opened his mouth to give an affirmative, then he paused, suddenly hesitant.
How would I know if this is not an illusion made by the King?
Baramond, seemingly reading understanding that something was amiss, spoke to reassure him. "I assure you, this is no trick, nor is the stew poisoned. I have your best interests in mind."
Eragon's brown orbs widened. Though slightly botched, Baramond spoke in fluent-ish Ancient Language.
Baramond chuckled at his surprised expression. "I protected a wizard and his cargo, once. He found enough kindness in his heart to give me a rudimentary lesson in the Ancient Language. Though, as you surely can tell, I am nowhere near proficient."
Eragon nodded his head, slowly. So Baramond and Ademar were mercenaries. Whilst still unsure about the trustworthiness-or the realness-of the duo, his stomach decided before him, as it let out a screeching rumble. He sighed, seeing no point of turning down the meal, especially after Baramond swore his safety in the language of Elves. "I will accept the stew, Baramond. I appreciate it."
Baramond smiled and dismissed his thanks with a wave. He stood to procure a bowl of the stew for Eragon. When he departed, Eragon took the chance to spread his mind about his surroundings. He observed the minds of the animals around him, individually, before seeing all. Eragon gasped.
He was in the Spine, and within a clearing, no further than a league South, was the partner-of-his-heart-and-mind.
Usage of the Ancient Language:
Vrangr - 'Awry' or 'Wandering' (it was used as 'Awry' above)