"Farewell, Eragon Shadeslayer."
Those were the only words that Arya could manage to escape from her mouth. Of all the things she wished to say, she yearned to say; she only said goodbye. It was a silent battle that raged inside her heart. Everything she had ever wanted was drifting away, slowly floating away down the Edda River.
She yearned for his touch, the way his hand touched hers. It had only been mere minutes since Firnen had saved her from caving in on the ship, but it felt like an eternity apart from him. She knew it would be.
"I had to," she cursed under her breath. Wave after wave of emotion cascaded through her whole being, she no longer felt pain, there wasn't a word to describe the loss she felt.
"Little one," whispered Fírnen through their link, trying to send what comfort he could.
Arya looked up towards the bulk of his body and tried to smile, but the effort was lost. She didn't even know what a smile was anymore. As fresh tears began to stream, a tingle of energy vibrated her core, slowly expanding all the way out, vaporizing the tears that had formed on her cheek into a glow of energy. Her being shook from the caress, the sheer intimacy of such a contact.
"Eragon," she whispered. He had called out to her with her True Name.
Barely hesitating, imbuing the words with all the power of devotion and love she could, Arya whispered back Eragon's True Name. The night shone brighter, if for a second, and along the river bend, almost out of sight now, a flash of light could be seen. The wordless promise of Eragon still haunted her very being. While much you couldn't put words too, the emotions which Arya could decipher all cried out in unison.
"I'll wait for you. Always, Forever."
Fresh tears welled up in her eyes, but these for a different reason. While a moment ago she would have thought the notion impossible, Arya was happy. Firnen vibrated with pleasure upon sensing his rider's smile. Arya opened her previously closed link to Firnen and allowed him to sense the promise that was now written on her heart.
"Fate will always find a way, my partner." Firnen hummed.
"I didn't think it was possible…" Arya whispered, almost to herself.
She looked down and saw the clearing where Roran stood quickly approaching. Again her heart was saddened. She knew that when her feet next touched the ground, this moment would be lost. She would have to put on her proven facades and pretend like everything would be alright. She knew that in that moment, she would have to stop being simply Arya and become Arya Drottning, Queen.
Giving Firnen a gentle mental squeeze, she said, "We are not alone. Eragon said he would wait, and so shall I."
The ground was rushing up much too quick for Arya's liking. Once again time was not on the side of an immortal. She looked back to Firnen and met his gaze.
"Help be my strength," she whispered.
Firnen's eyelid blinked in response, giving his partner a mental caress of comfort.
Firnen's wings flapped mightily as he landed upon the shore. Pebbles and sand were tossed into the air, temporarily blinding Arya. Sensing the ground beneath her, Arya tentatively extended her foot, exploring the air until she found the solid ground she feared. Her boot clicked. She let go of Firnen's claw and landed softly on the beach. She slowly stood, slightly sore from hanging for so long, but also sore from the ordeal her heart had gone through. She brushed herself off, threw back her hair, and put on her best façade. She was back; blank, cold, distant; the face of a warrior.
Arya slowly turned and walked towards Roran while Firnen closed his wings and rotated with his rider. Roran was sitting on the edge of the berm they had walked down on their way to the boat. There were three of them then…
"Eragon," the thought traced sadly through her mind, evoking the raw emotions she still felt.
She collected herself and made her way off the landing and onto the berm. Roran was lost in thought as Arya approached, busying himself with a carving knife and a stick he had found by the shore. It was only that Arya was a lunging distance away that Roran noticed her silent footsteps.
He turned and looked into her eyes. Arya recognized the loss. She felt same. The same flash of recognition went through Roran as well.
"There's no use hiding how you feel right now, Arya," Roran whispered. "I know the ache all too well."
Arya smiled slightly at that. She could at least be open with Roran. While she had lost the love of her life, Roran had also lost his closest friend and brother. She let down her guard and sat down next to him.
Roran stirred slightly. He rotated himself so he was sitting next to her, overlooking the river to the east.
"He loved you more than you know," he said softly, almost too quiet for even Arya's trained ears to hear.
"I know now," she replied in a somber tone.
Amusement ran across Roran's face.
"Like you never saw it before?" Roran chuckled despite himself.
Arya lingered on the thought for a moment.
"I always noticed his interest in me. But he was always young, and he was human. Your kind is known for changing their interests almost daily…" she said, almost defensively.
Roran looked her dead in the eyes. "I didn't." There was a moment of silence as Roran took in the sky. "I met Katrina while still a boy by most standards. It didn't stop me from pursuing her every day after though. And now look at us, our love survived that cursed war, our marriage has grown stronger, and now we have a daughter to cherish."
Slightly chagrined, Arya bowed her head in thought.
Roran continued. "Devotion runs deep in our family. You captured Eragon's heart, he is captivated by you. His dedication will never waver. He's not the boy he once was. He won this war."
Arya looked Roran in the eyes. Everything he said rang true in her heart. It echoed what she already knew and awoke something of the unspoken promise in her heart from Eragon.
"I know," she replied. She smiled then, in earnest. "He told me he would wait for me, and I told him I would wait for him. I feared his age at first, but it was just an excuse for my real fear. My pride hid it from me for so long, masked in duty."
The soft rush of the river could be heard as silence settled over the conversation. A questioning look from Roran and a nudge from Firnen gave Arya the strength she needed to continue with her confession.
"I was afraid that I loved him back."
Roran smiled at that, and Firnen let out a content snort, causing laughter from all three of the morning travelers. Once silence filled the air again, Firnen snaked his head around the pair of them to look directly at Arya.
"I've been waiting for that confession,"His thoughts rang with a newfound authority and power. Arya sensed that a deep magic was awakening within Firnen.
Slowly he touched his snout to Arya's forehead. With a dizzying flash, the world went white.
It was dark. Arya could feel a faint breeze, traced with unfamiliar scents and the crash of ocean waves. She heard footsteps in a room behind her. At least, she thought it was a room for the sound was muffled slightly. The smell of a variety of appealing spices lingered on the breeze as the door behind her opened.
"Someone is cooking," Arya thought to herself.
The footsteps continued to her side, and then she heard a familiar weight rest itself on the balcony she realized she was leaning on.
"Aren't you going to open your eyes?" An excitingly familiar, yet deeper voice asked?
She hadn't realized it, but her eyes were indeed shut tight. Slowly opening them, the world around her materialized with a stunning beauty. She was standing on a balcony overlooking a vast ocean; stars littered the sky in strange constellations she had never seen before. She was on an island she noticed. The cliffs the balcony hung over extended all the way around the coastline that was visible, but she suspected the formation continued. The tops of the cliffs lead to a surprise. Rivers cascaded through a very light forest, collecting and forming waterfalls as they ran over the cliff's edge.
Continuing to take in the sights, she slowly turned towards the figure who had spoken to her.
She almost stumbled backwards, but she was too shocked to move.
There stood Eragon; a wiser, fairer, strikingly more handsome Eragon. He looked as if he had both aged a century yet not a day since she last saw him on the boat. He was smiling at her with radiant joy and amusement. It was then that Arya noticed two stars racing towards the horizon; one blue, one green. As her eyes tracked the lights, she realized they were coming closer. A mere moment after they dipped beneath the rise of the island, Saphira quickly followed by Firnen raced over the house behind her. They both slowed their ascents and flew into what must have been an opening on the other side.
Eragon chuckled; shocking Arya and drawing her attention back to him again. Before she could say anything he stretched out his hand and said in a tone that evoked a deep sense of love and devotion, "Come, my darling; dinner is ready."
And then the world flashed.
Arya was back on the beach. She blinked a few times, trying to regain her senses. Roran was standing over her, worry etched in his features.
As Arya began to rise he quickly asked, "Are you alright? You and Firnen have been motionless for the past five minutes!"
Confused, Arya looked up at her dragon and realized that Firnen was arousing himself from his confusion as well. Looking back to Roran, she laughed and smiled as if her heart could explode for joy.
Obviously confused, Arya took Roran's outstretched hand and rose to her feet. Laughing again at his perplexed expression, she walked over to Firnen and gently touched his head. His eyes turned to her and in them she saw a deep knowing and equal amounts of joy.
"The magic of dragons truly is unpredictable," Arya laughed.
"There was a need; it was a gift not of mine own," replied Firnen.
Roran spun around and cursed magic, as was his trademark by now. He finally turned around and asked, "What? Was it a vision?" Arya smiled and nodded. "Well, what was it?"
Arya's eyes traced the stars, looking for those constellations. She smiled as she began to recognize them. Looking back to Roran, she whispered…
"It was exactly what I needed to see."
Well, I hope you all enjoyed that! I don't know if you were all as dissatisfied with CP's ending as I was, but truth be told, it made logical sense (despite the fact that I so very wanted the outcome to be different.) Eragon and Arya, being immortals, are both incredibly young and it would be much to early to make a serious relationship between them form. As far as that goes, I don't blame CP, it was consistent with Eragon and Arya's character. What I didn't like was the lack of closure. Sure they can't be together now, but give us a hope for when they do. A someday.
That is what I strove to make in this one shot. Something I could stick after the last page and have it make cohesive sense, both to the characters and to the story as a whole. I tried giving the solution that although they can't be together now, they will be in the unknown future. The when, where, or how doesn't matter to me. I'll leave that for CP to address in his later novels a decade or so from now. But I wanted to provide closure that, regardless of time, they will one day live a simple, happily ever after.
Thanks for listening to me rant and for reading my first story!
Se onr sverdar sitja hvass,