Chapter 14: Blood Ties.

Eragon rested, peacefully. Content to let the world pass him by as he slept, with the world around him, with the way things were and how they moved. Content in the knowledge of what he must do now, now knowing of the last Rider and Dragon of the old order and that he must go to him.


A hand smacked his cheek.

"Should you really..." he heard Murtagh start.

"God" he muttered "You are an annoying bitch aren't you" he sat up, feeling a twinge up his spine as he did so.

A hand slapped his cheek again.

"I'M AWAKE!" he shouted at the herbalist.

"Oh!" Angela smiled looking overjoyed "Good, I'd thought you might be but just had to make sure" he glowered at the witch with his crimson eyes.

In the background Murtagh snorted.

"Oh, shut up you stupid arsehole" he shouted at Murtagh, turning his glare to him now.

"I didn't say anything" Murtagh complained, but there was an amused grin on his face.

Eragon tossed off the warn blanket, leaving himself covered only by a pair of clean breeches, his torso exposed revealing pale flesh and light muscle. He then looked about the small room "So, how did I end up here?"

He looked at the other two occupants of the Arya, who had a bandage around her arm, and Saphira, though only her head could fit in through the door way, then back to Murtagh, who had a bandage around his head.

"We won! After you slew Durza the Urgals stopped fighting and looked to Tronjheim. It was as if they were released from a spell then, because their clans suddenly turned and attacked each other. Their entire army was disintegrated within minutes. We routed them after that!"

Eragon scowled "You mean I missed a great slaughter!" he said standing.

Murtagh snorted "Nah, a load of them escaped into the tunnels. The Varden and dwarves are busy ferreting them out right now, but it's going to take a while. I was helping until an Urgal banged me on the head and I was sent back here."

"Phew, so there's still more for me to kill, thank god" he collapsed back onto the bed "So they aren't locking you up again?"

Murtagh's face went sombre "No one really cares about that right now. A lot of Varden and dwarves were killed. The survivors are busy trying to recover from the battle. But at least you have cause to be happy, eh, Shadeslayer" Murtagh chuckled "That's you new title by the way. Everyone's talking about how you killed Durza. If it hadn't been for you, we would have lost."

Eragon chuckled darkly "Ironic, shade becoming a Shadeslayer, huh, why can't my life be simple?"

Murtagh chuckled again, though it was more restrained than before "I think that the moment you touched Saphira's egg you gave up any rights to a normal life."

"I knew it! It's all your fault, stupid lizard" he pointed a finger accusingly to Saphira, who just snorted out a line of fire at him "Ha, that's wicked" said Eragon "Do it again!"

Murtagh grinned at their exchange, Angela giggled, Arya just watched, face emotionless.

"Here, waise heill" Eragon placed his hand on Murtagh head, healing whatever wound sat beyond the bandage.

"Thanks" said Murtagh, smiling as he removed the wrapped, revealing a small patch of new, clean skin, surrounded by a bit of blood.

"Where were the Twins? The little bastard wasn't where he was supposed to be."

Murtagh shrugged at this "I was told they bravely fought off a group of Urgals that broke into Tronjheim somewhere else. They were probably too busy to talk with you."

"So the cowards ran away at the first sign of danger" Eragon muttered glaring at the sheets between his legs.

"Your explanation is more likely" he said with a grim smile.

Eragon glanced to Arya who had kept her green eyes on him throughout. She looked right into his crimson eyes for several moments, before nodding and lowering her gaze.

"You broke the star sapphire" he said simply.

She nodded calmly, though he could see regret in her eyes.

'And I carried her down' Saphira added smugly.

Eragon laughed "I bet the dwarves are so pissed at you."

"Yes, yes. Now if you two are done with you little spat" said Angela.

Eragon shivered as something tinged down his back again, and he made to reach round, but Angela's hand caught his wrist, worry in her eyes "Eragon... you have to understand, my power is not like yours or Arya's. It depends on the use of herbs and potions. There are limits to what I can do especially with such a large wound!"

Eragon pulled his hand from her grasp, his face calm and reached round, down his back, from his right shoulder to his left hip, was a great, ropy scar.

Arya frowned, looking away "You have paid a terrible price for your deed, Eragon Shadeslayer."

Murtagh laughed harshly, there was no humour in his voice, just sadness and dark irony "Yes. Now you're just like me."

Eragon stood and stretched, then frowned.

"What is it?" asked Murtagh.

"There's..." Eragon didn't continue and walked past Arya and Murtagh, and then Saphira, the three followed him, with Murtagh being given Zar'roc, from where it lay by Eragon's bedside, by Angela.

He walked right down Tronjheim, a few looked at him, several females giggled at his bare torso, but they were all ignored in his march.

And then he came to it, where the star sapphire lay, the floor was still damaged, though a few dwarves were working on that, but the gems remains were only moved with great sorrow.

Several dwarves knelt in the room, crying.

Eragon ignored these as well and looked about, searching for what he sought, and there, in a corner, just hidden slightly by shadow, it lay.

He bent down by it, paying no attention the dwarves, a few of whom scowled at Saphira and Arya as they entered, and lifted it by its hilt.

The long pale blade, with a scratch running right down its length was Durza's sword. The fearful weapon made for death and devastation by one of death and devastation, glinted in the light.

"Carsaib" Eragon whispered quietly, to the point that no one else could hear. Then he hunted about for the dark leather sheath that lay amidst Durza's dark armour and by the corpse of a Kull not yet cleared away. He slid the blade into the black sheath then shifted his grip so that he held the sword just beneath its guard.

Murtagh eyed him, and in the background Arya scowled, knowing his intention.

"This is mine" he told them hefting the blade "I killed Durza, this is my reward."

Murtagh watched him closely, and then nodded. Once he was closer to Eragon he muttered quietly "It's not just about that, is it?"

"No" Eragon said back with equal quietness, knowing that both Arya and Saphira could hear "Durza made me who I am, regardless of what I would do now, what I might wish, I am me, and he made me."

"Besides" he said, taking Zar'roc from Murtagh's hands "Now I have a blade for the Rider" he lifted Zar'roc in his right hand "And a blade for the Shade" he lifted Durza's sword in his left "A good mix."

Murtagh chuckled "I guess so."

Then Eragon looked up into the sky, where the Isidar Mithrim once lay, but now only blue sky and the sun shining down through the gap could be seen.

'Oromis, Glaedr' he thought to himself 'I'll see you soon.'

With a grin he turned back to his companions, and looked to Arya "So feel like taking up my offer to relieve your tension?"

Murtagh snorted, Saphira let loose a thin jet of flame in amusement, Arya scowled.

Lastly, but certainly not least, Eragon grinned.