Disclaimer: Don't own it, don't want it. Kthx.


It was the middle of the night, and Eragon was hunting deer.

He was starting to get really, honestly sick of the things. If he'd had any sense left in him, he knew, he would have headed home two days ago, after the first night. Then again, Eragon had never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, or at least he hadn't been the one with the best self-preservation skills. He also liked to think that he was clever, and that he was destined for something big. (You have to give him some credit – he got the last part right, at least, if not quite the way he was thinking.)

Eragon was fifteen. You'd never really pick him out in a crowd, because he looked just like any other male teenager in the area. (Admittedly, this probably has more to do with inbreeding than anything else.) The first thing that came to mind when you looked at him, after finally recognising his existence, was that he looked a bit like he'd almost drowned in a bathtub of mud once and never quite managed to get clean again. He had brown eyes, slightly darker brown hair, and eyebrows like great hairy caterpillars. Considering the rest of Carvahall's rather limited (inbred) selection, this was not bad at all.

Eragon wasn't a hunter. If he'd been one, he would have died from starvation in less than a month. He was a farmer, and a pretty good one, at that; Eragon could do farm work like it was nobody's business.

And yet, here he was. Hunting. In the Spine, of all places.

It had been a stupid idea, really. Eragon knew it, but it wasn't about to make him go back home. Not yet, at least; he needed to catch a deer, or Roran was going to let him hear it for weeks. Besides, the thought of losing a bet stung.

Eragon hated losing, but he was starting to hate the deer more. At the moment, he was crouching in some bushes at the edge of the clearing where he'd found them – finally! – trying to aim his bow at one of the animals, fingers numb with the freezing cold and legs aching from the position he was in. He had picked out one of the does at the edge of the herd. It was a sorry-looking animal, really; it looked like a bag of bones with a limp. Eragon rather thought he'd be doing it a favour.

Right, he thought, taking a deep breath, steady

The explosion that followed can be described as relatively small, at least compared to an atomic bomb.

It took a long time before Eragon's ears stopped ringing, and only then did he dare to move. He had instinctively curled himself into a ball in the relative safety of the bushes, and it was probably sheer luck that he hadn't stabbed himself in the eye with an arrow. Slowly, shakily, he got to his feet, and dared to look around.

The deer were gone. Eragon wasn't really surprised, because to be perfectly honest – if he hadn't spent ten minutes hiding under a bush, face down into the grass, he would have been running too. Slightly to the left of where the deer had been, there was now a huge, smouldering circle of burnt grass. The smell of carbon hung heavily in the air. Eragon stared. It's possible that his jaw might have dropped, as well.

In the middle of the smouldering circle, there was a stone. It was big, blue and shiny, gleaming in the moonlight. If you squinted, you might even imagine that it was pulsing, almost like a living thing. Eragon couldn't remember being this scared by an inanimate object before, and he felt that this was just as well. For a long time, he just stood there, almost expecting the stone to grow into something huge with great big teeth. In the end, however, curiosity won over self-preservation, and he dared to move closer. Gingerly, he walked into the burnt area. Something crunched under his boot, and he shut his eyes tightly, because really, he didn't want to know.

Close up, the stone was only slightly less intimidating. Eragon wasn't about to take any chances, however, at least not in the middle of the night when he was all alone in the Spine. If he died here, no-one would ever know. He poked the stone with an arrow, and backed away.

Nothing happened.

Only one thing to it, then. Eragon picked it up. It was cold and smooth, like a carved block of ice, only less wet. The fact that this was logically impossible – on account of where it was found – didn't cross Eragon's mind; his thoughts were going more along the lines ofthis might be my big break and it's bound to be really valuable and I wonder how it got here.

It is also possible that he, in a moment where he was pretty much in tune with people who would come centuries after him, thought vaguely about UFOs.

Notes: I know, I liked writing Keith better, too. And what's with this chapter, anyway? How come it's shorter than the prologue? Paolini moves in mysterious ways, I suppose. Oh, and sooner or later, I'm going to have things start to change. Only they will be small things that will start big things, like the butterfly effect. Or something. Um. Idon'tlikethischapter. It's just so ... blah. Nothing happens! The prose is no good! I shouldn't write at one in the morning! D:

Chapter title is from a language that is like the cousin of the Elvish language ... that's right, it's Norwegian. Mostly because I can't figure out a chapter title that is actually good. Maybe "Eragon Frolicks With Deer At Midnight", only it sounds sort of ridiculous and, well. Ick.

Thanks to Lady Charity, your review made my day. :D