by Sauron Gorthaur
A/N: This was one of my very first fanfics, written before I even knew there was such a thing as fanfiction websites where you could share your stories :) I was around 14 when I wrote it, now over ten years ago. Even though I've thankfully improved a great deal since the writing of this particular story, I've left it up on this website, virtually untouched and unrevised by my older self, for several reasons. One, because I was proud of it back when I wrote it and I think it does hold value, even if I would write it differently today. Two, because it tells a lot about who I was as a writer back when I was 14, just after I'd read Eragon. Third, because anyone who has read some of my more recent work may be amused to see the sort of story I came up with over ten years ago. Fourth, because, hopefully, this will be a testimony that writers DO improve over time if they keep at it :) If you read further, I hope you enjoy this offering of my younger self. Cheers! - SG (12/17/14)
Chapter 1: Friendly Banter and Flaunting Magic
The day was exceptionally fair for early spring. The sky was a bright blue that dazzled one if one looked at it too long. The sun was a great, golden globe; an eye that watched the world cheerfully. There were no clouds to sully the blue expanse. The weather was warm, but not hot. The grass was lush green from recent showers, but there was no sign of oncoming storms to ruin the day anytime in the near future.
Not far away the city of Furnost rested gently among the sprawling hills next to Lake Tüdosten. The water was very clear and blue and one could see the pebbles at the bottom of the lake and the fish lazily swimming about in the water.
A makeshift camp had been set up on the western edge of the lake. The embers of a dying fire were surrounded by smooth stones to keep the fire from spreading. Three bulging packs lay next to the fire. One was open and a water flask lay half in and half out of it. The hilt of a sword protruded from it. A sturdy bow lay across another pack and leaned against it was a quiver of arrows. A giant saddle, much to large for any horse, lay to one side. There were three horses, a bay, a white stallion, and a grey charger, all tethered to a tree. Underneath a nearby tree, an old man dozed with his cloak pulled down over his eyes to guard them from the sun.
The only other signs of life were two boys up on a hillside that overlooked Tüdosten. They were flat on their backs in the green grass, looking up into the sky and they were laughing at some joke. One boy, who was around the age of sixteen, was thin, but looked strong enough. His hair was light brown and his skin was well tanned as if he had been out in the weather for awhile.
The other boy was slightly older, around the age of eighteen. He was well built, strong and tall, with dark, tanned skin. His black hair framed a serious face with fierce eyes like those of a hawk.
The older boy put a hand over his eyes to gaze up into the sky. "I suppose it's getting rather late in the afternoon. Maybe we should wake Brom up now. He wanted to get a little further before the sun set. What do you think, Eragon? Should we wake him?"
Eragon yawned. "Why bother? It's such a nice day and it would be a pity to waste it, riding. Let Brom sleep. When he wakes up, if he wants to go on, we can go on. I don't care what you do, Murtagh, but for now, while we have a break, I'm savoring it."
Murtagh rolled over on his side, propping his head up with an elbow. " I could do with an afternoon snack. Go get me some food."
"Get it yourself."
"Since I'm older, that means I'm more important and I can boss you around," joked Murtagh.
"Oh fine, Your Majesty," Eragon joked along. "And would you like some fine wine to go with your feast?"
"Sure, I'll take it."
Eragon sat up. "Reisa!" he commanded. Instantly the water flask floated up the hillside, followed closely by a loaf of bread, to land in Eragon's outstretched hand. He split the loaf and handed half to Murtagh. "Satisfied?"
Murtagh snatched the bread. "Show-off. You know what I think. I think you flaunt your power too much. If I could use magic, I wouldn't use it randomly for small tasks."
Eragon munched on his bread. "That's because you've never used magic. It's fun to watch things floating around and to know that they're doing it at your orders. If you could you magic and if you knew how fun it can be, you would flaunt your powers, too."
Murtagh finished his bread and washed it down with a sip of water. "I bet I can still beat you fair and square, magic or no."
"You could not."
"Let's find out!" Eragon launched himself at Murtagh. Murtagh, however was expecting it and was ready. They began to punch each other good-naturedly, as they rolled over and over, laughing, as each tried to get on top of the other.
What's going on here? The voice in Eragon's head sounded slightly annoyed. A long, blue head poked over the top of the hill and was followed by the lithe, reptilian body of a dragon. She watched them with intelligent, sapphire eyes and repeated her question.
What does it look like we're doing, Saphira? Eragon answered. We're having a bit of fun, that's all.
Somebody's going to end up hurt, Saphira chided. Eragon ignored her and continued to pummel Murtagh.
Oh fine, Saphira sniffed. Ignore me. But don't coming running to me when one of you gets injured. As she stalked off, Eragon heard her mental snort of contempt. Human males!
The fight did not last long. Eragon was soon flat on the ground with Murtagh astride his stomach, holding his arms down to the ground. Eragon struggled, but to no avail. "Told you," Murtagh said with a grin.
"Alright, you can beat me. Now let me up." Murtagh made no move.
"Murtagh, come on. I wouldn't mind getting up now." Still Murtagh made no signs of releasing Eragon.
Saphira! Eragon sent out a mental wail.
What? Saphira asked in an annoyed voice. No, don't tell me. Somebody got hurt. I told you, but the mighty Dragon Rider wouldn't listen, would he?
He's sitting on me and he won't get off, Eragon answered.
And what am I supposed to do? If you'd listened to me in the first place, this wouldn't have happened. It's amazing how long it takes you humans to grow up. Sometimes you still act like a hatchling. You can deal with Murtagh yourself.
Saphira, no! But it was too late. The mental contact was broken as Saphira severed the tendrils of thought. Eragon threw himself against her mental blockade, but it didn't budge. He turned his attention back to Murtagh.
"Murtagh, this really isn't funny any more." Murtagh raised his eyebrows as if waiting for Eragon to do something.
"Murtagh, will you please get off now."
"Now that's more like it," Murtagh said, rolling over to the side and freeing Eragon. "It's amazing what good manners can do. Even farm boys have to have them. Even at Galbatorix's court you have to have them. My mother was very particular about me having good manners. Of course, Galbatorix is far too important to have to say please or thank you or any such thing, but he's the king and he can do what he wants there. And then my fa… Morzan was never the most polite person. And I seriously doubt that Durza ever had to be polite when he was there. But aside from them, good manners are always encouraged."
Eragon shivered as Murtagh mentioned the Shade. "Durza! Did you ever meet him?
Murtagh shook his head. "Luckily, no. He's the sort of person that when you hear that he's coming you either find a really good excuse to get out of town for a while or if you can't find an excuse, you lock yourself in the closet till he's gone."
Eragon raised an eyebrow. "Is he really that bad?"
Murtagh nodded. "Yes, but he was around very much. The Ra'zac posed a bigger threat. They were in and out all the time. They didn't harm any of us, but from the look in their eyes, I bet they really wanted to. They were always sneaking around, being creepy in general and watching you with their big eyes. And they smell awful too."
Eragon shuddered as he recalled the creeping, cloaked figures with their hissing voices. "Let's talk about something else. Just talking about the Ra'zac makes me feel sick."
A voice from the camp below hailed them. "Murtagh. Eragon. Come down here and help me break camp."
They stood and hurried down the hill, skidding to a halt at the camp. Brom was dousing the fire with some water and Saphira was nearby, gnawing on a large fish that she had caught. Brom pointed at the gigantic saddle. "Eragon, get the saddle on Saphira. Murtagh, why don't you get the packs on the horses and get them ready to go."
Saphira twisted her head around to watch Eragon as he fitted her saddle on. So Murtagh got off you, I see. You resolved it on your own. Well done. The words were said in a sarcastic, but joking way and Eragon knew that Saphira was amused rather than annoyed.
Am I riding you or Cadoc? He asked her as in tied the last strap.
I don't know. Ask Brom.
Eragon did. Brom looked up at the dragon who had followed him over. "Ride Saphira and see if you can find a decent stopping place for us for when it gets dark. I'll take care of Cadoc."
Eragon was pleased with Brom's choice. As they had been in a populated area recently, he hadn't been riding her much. They talked during the trips, but it wasn't the same as riding her. He clambered on as Brom and Murtagh mounted their horses.
Ready? Saphira asked.
Now is as good a time as any.
Saphira thrust her back feet into the ground and snapped her wings open at the same time. Instantly they were in the air. "See you when we make camp," he called down to Murtagh as Saphira flew higher. As they were a good deal faster then the horses, they were able to take detours and Saphira did some fancy flying, diving and spinning while Eragon clung on and whooped.