A/N: Welcome, readers. I have only now realized how cringey chapter three was, with Eragon and Brom being so out of character. For that, I apologize whole-heartedly. On a side note, my condition hasn't really improved, so that is something that is quite... unfortunate? I don't know. At least I have found it within myself to create this chapter, as I have been unmotivated to do so for the past four months(?). Also, I am sorry for making the mistake of posting the previous A/N. I understand it has upset some, and I will do better in the future (which includes no more A/Ns, if that is what my readers wish). That is all.
-Isdrin the Wanderer
(I own nothing but my imagination and the Original Characters)
"Hello." - Ancient Language
"Hello." - Empasis on a word (or beginning word of a chapter/POV change)
Hello - Mind-speech
Chapter 5- Gil'ead
Eragon was gently lulled from his sleep from the sounds of stirring and the humming of a jolly tune. He blinked his eyes drowsily, a lazy attempt to ward off the sleep that threatened to overtake him once more. He yawned.
"Good morning," Brom spoke, his humming coming to an abrupt halt. Eragon rose from his sleeping position. The founder of the Varden, a fascinating man, was across from him and stirring a stone pot that gave off an alluring smell. It was filled with the vegetables and small amount of salt they had brought with them on their journey, no doubt. His gaze did not once raise to meet his waking son's. "Hungry, I hope?"
"I am," murmured Eragon, distracted. He looked outside of their residence and saw a clear, blue sky. The sun had barely risen, casting shadows within the valley. Animals had woken hours before, eagles and hawks watching the land with keen sight, waiting for prey to emerge. "Why didn't you wake me for my watch?"
A frown creased Brom's features, "You've recently battled at Urû'bean, to end this thrice-cursed war. You needed rest."
Eragon opened his mouth to argue, then slowly shut it. There was no point in arguing over something so minuscule. He let out a silent sigh, "Thank you. Your kindness is much appreciated."
Brom did not react to the thanks, instead he waved over Eragon. "Eat. We've a long journey to be had."
Eragon nodded in gratitude, and rose from his deerskin bedroll that they 'borrowed' for the unforeseeable future. As if he were gliding, he crossed the granite floor. Brim retreated to sit in his own cot, nursing and blowing his steaming bowl of stew. Eragon soon followed suit, with bowl and spoon in hand. Behind him, Saphira let out a husky dragon chuckle.
"What?" he questioned. He dropped onto his bedroll with a small 'thump'. The stew sloshed on the sides of the bowl, yet was otherwise contained.
Nothing, little one, Saphira rumbled, mirth coloring her voice, just the remembrance of a distant, amusing memory.
Eragon frowned slightly in puzzlement, and scooped up a chunk of potato. He bit down, and nearly spat out his food. Saphira's laugh magnified, shaking the cave walls and disturbing a few droplets of water, creating a mini rain shower.
"I forgot your food was rancid, Brom," he muttered, shaking water from his hair. He looked at the bowl of death soup with distaste. Brom huffed at him, his eyes dancing with controlled amusement. Saphira calmed down enough to end the cascade of mineral-filled water. He lowered-or raised, rather- a glare at his sapphire companion, "and why hadn't you warned me. Do you take delight in making me suffer?" Despite his words, his voice was warm. He couldn't possibly be mad at the partner-of-his-heart-and-mind for long.
Nay, I just enjoy watching you act foolish, and at times ignorant, Saphira's maw was stretched back in a draconic grin, her teeth gleaming in the light. It would be a menacing sight, if Eragon had not lived by her side for the past 3 years.
Eragon sighed in feigned exasperation. Inwardly, he emblazoned this moment to his memory. Here, he had his father and the one who shared his soul, in the same cave as he. There would be a fairth depicting this moment in the future, he would make sure of it.
Brom clasped his hands together, "We should travel two leagues minimum today. It is time we reach Therinsford, and eventually Gil'ead."
The light-hearted and mirthful mood soured and turned grave. Eragon's boyish grin smoothed out, until the contours of his face expressed a solemnity only felt by one who experienced a balance of worry and longing. Even Saphira's toothy smile vanished.
"Yes," Eragon said out loud, for the sake of Brom,"it is time we left. Are you prepared to take us flying, Saphira?"
I will be when you saddle me, remarked Saphira. She flexed the muscles between her wings in preparation and stretched in a cat-like fashion. Her back rubbed against the wall.
Eragon nodded and rolled up his cot.
"It's time we save our Elven princess."
Eragon stepped back, admiring and checking his handiwork for flaws. Saphira rolled her shoulders under his gaze, adjusting the saddle to rest more comfortably on her back.
"I think that will suffice. You ready?" Brom and Saphira gave their affirmatives. Eragon gave a mighty leap, and climbed the rest of the way up Saphira's side. He sat on the saddle, and began strapping himself in. Brom followed, albeit at the fraction of his speed. The entire climb up, the bearded man grumbled about old age and aching joints. He was promptly chuckled at. When the eldest of the trio at last secured himself, he clutched Eragon's waist moments before Saphira launched into the air with a resounding bellow. She and Eragon reveled at the feeling of the wind in their faces, and agreed on enjoying the flight for as long as possible, despite the dire circumstances. Saphira slowed to a gentle pace, allowing the freedom of the open skies to course through their heart and soul. Brom allowed himself a small, reserved smile, still refusing to be unsecretive. The habit would not leave him, it seems.
Brom pointed south and slightly to the east, That is where Therinsford lay. At this speed, we'll make it when night claims hold over the sky.
And then we purchase Snowfire and Cadoc, Eragon paused, They are the mightiest steeds in Alagaësia, aside from the trained horses in Du Weldenvarden. They served us well.
Duly noted, Brom said, his eyes searching over the passing trees. The travelers went quiet, enjoying the opportunity to be in the presence of the ones they held dear. Courageous birds found themselves flying next to Saphira's wings, occasionally retreating agilely from the dragon's snapping maw.
Indulge me, what is Arya to you? Brom finally said, breaking the silence that had lasted for hours. Curiosity leaked through their mind-link. Brom had noticed that he was rather passionate in saving the Elven Ambassador. However, the boy had neglected to mention why when he was telling the tale of his studies. In fact, he had hardly mentioned anything that revolved around his life outside of learning. Perhaps his son inherited his secretive nature?
Well, Eragon started, hesitant. He looked down hard at the saddle grip, brows furrowing faintly. I hold her as close to my heart as I do Saphira. Be that as it may, she has rejected my courting attempts, so I have settled for friendship. I am content with that. He ended his short explanation sharply, unwilling delve deeper into the matter.
I see, Brom said, habitually raising a hand to stroke his beard. He hastily brought it back around Eragon as the wind threatened to throw him into an awkward position. I apologize. For bringing up a sore topic, and for passing down my horrible luck with women unto you.
It is quite alright, there was no way for you to have known, Eragon looked back, eyeing Brom thoughtfully, perhaps you would accept a trade? Information for information? I admit I do not know nearly as much about my own father as I should. The most I know about you is hearsay from the Elves and the Varden.
I second that, Saphira chimed in, her curious voice belying her mature demeanor. Despite being wise in mind, she was still a hatchling in the terms of dragons.
Very well, ask away. And no, there will only be one question to share between the two of you, he said, fending off an imminent bombardment of questions. Dragon and Rider retreated from Brom's mind and merged in a way that transcended physical bounds. Like they had done the day prior, they compiled their curiosity and multitude of questions and chose one best fit for the both of their desires.
Perhaps we should ask a question of his childhood? Eragon remarked. It would be entertaining to discover if Brom had pestered his elders. Quite ironical.
Hm, it would indeed. Saphira speculated. Although, we are in the middle of a war, so the question should be beneficial to our knowledge, don't you think?
Yes, you are right. How about a question abo-
We haven't all day. Therinsford is in viewing distance, Brom cut in to the cogitating pair. The rider and dragon duo startled from their covert conversation, surprised they had covered such a great deal of land in such a short time. Sure enough, a mountain was bestrewn with little, brown dots.
Amazing. It had taken us days when we had first taken this trip... Eragon marveled, his eyes wide with surprise.
We have grown, little one, Saphira affirmed, However, we should not allow this to make us overly comfident in our abilities to the point of incompetence. I need not remind you what had happened when we were last so sure of our abilities, I believe.
Eragon quickly mellowed, memories of an indomitable figure standing before him, a hungry gleam in his eye.
Gritting his teeth, he uttered lowly, "We shall not."
Brom's tilted his head lightly in confusion. "Pardon?"
Before the Fall, what was life like on Vroengard? Saphira intoned evenly. We hadn't thought to glean any information on it from Oromis and Glaedr. We were far too enthralled in our studies.
Brom remained skeptical, yet entertained the inquiry. As you know, Vroengard is the island that held the capital of the dragon riders - Doru Araeba. He paused, gathering memories he'd rather leave buried. It was beautiful. There were gargantuan fountains, gushing pure water that reflected the sun's gaze. The halls were of white marble, polished to an impenetrable sheen. Light reflected off the scales of dragons of all the colors of the rainbow, then more. The aloof elves themselves had struggled keeping a small smile from their face. It was the epitome of bliss. He sighed lowly, looking southeast - where the ruins of Doru Araeba lay. In the city, there was no currency. Those who needed items simply made them through magic or traded with others. This was one of the tests the young one's faced. Without a certain efficiency with magic or language skills - a Rider should have both - there was no chance that they would make it as a Rider. However, as they were already to a dragon, there was no way the Elders would truly allow them to die. This was one challenge that was widely hated and amusing.
The storyteller let out a small chuckle, sorrow dancing within his eyes.
Eragon sympathized with the man. It was doubtless that the hardened war hero felt the loss of all his comrades - one hundred years after the fact, even. To see those whom you called your friends and family fall from within certainly would take a toll on the soul. Along with losing your dragon, it was a wonder how he was still willful enough to continue living - let alone make a giant rebel organization.
We are nearly a league away from Therinsford. I shall land in the clearing there. Saphira spoke, sending a mental image of a rocky glade. At its center was a stone formation that rose nearly as high as the trees that surrounded it. Birds sat over an arch, some flying to the haphazard city in the east.Very well. As unfortunate as this is, you'll need to stay here. I will shout for you if any trouble is encountered, but we should be fine.
Eragon said in a calm voice to soothe his partner. When we retrieve Cadoc and Snowfire, we will head straight for Gil'ead - after we buy supplies, of course.
Saphira sighed. Soon we need not part. I do hope that time comes swiftly.
Eragon's expression eased and he patted the side of her armored neck fondly. No Saphira glanced behind at him and blinked gratefully.
Flapping her wings to ease their descent, Saphira landed gracefully on the rocks littered across the grassy earth. Despite this, it still jarred her passengers, eliciting a grumble of a complaint from Brom.
"All this activity is making my bones creak." He eyed the ground below wearily. "My poor knees can't bare much more of this."
Eragon grinned. "Fret not, you will have the noblest steed in the Spine when we reach Therinsford."
"So I hear..."
Shaking his head in gaiety, Eragon turned to Saphira. "I will contact you when our business is finished."
She centered her eye on her Rider licked his tunic, careful as to not tear it with her barbed tongue. Very well. If you have the coin, please do buy some seasoned venison. Treat me to something before we inevitably part for the next few days.
With a final pat on his partner's snout, Eragon departed.
As you wish, my Diamond Heart.