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Eragon - The Dragon Prince


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I got bored, so I'm posting this. Be warned, however, it's a bit graphic and... cryptic.

Eragon in:

The Dragon Prince


The Dragon Prince

In the eight years that Galbatorix had been defeated and Murtagh and Thorn freed, Eragon had never felt more ill at ease. Neither Saphira, Thorn nor Murtagh could understand why. While Saphira had unrestricted access to Eragon’s thoughts, she couldn’t determine why Eragon felt so threatened by the emerald-clad warrior that haunted Eragon’s dreams. He went everywhere armed, just as he did during the Alagaësian Civil War – the war with Galbatorix.

Not even the festivities of the Victory Festival could give him peace. He wandered around, armed with Za’roc and a black powder pistol with Saphira close behind. Murtagh and Thorn, of course, felt compelled to stay out of the festivities, having fought for Galbatorix before their freedom and redemption.

From time to time, he would stop to talk to someone, then keep walking. However, what caught him by surprise was his old friend, Arya. She gave him a hug and said in his ear, “I bear news on the Emerald warrior from your dreams.”

“What did you find out?” Eragon whispered.

“Elven sources believe him to be a powerful wizard the likes of which even a shade like Durza could not defeat,” Arya stated.

That’s scary, Eragon thought. “What else have you learned?” he asked.

“Just bits and pieces,” Arya replied. “We know he refers to himself as a ‘Dragon Shifter,’ and that he possesses powers and weapons that no one on Alagaësia has seen.”

“Is there anyone who might know more?” Eragon asked.

“Not many that can help you with that,” came a voice from the table to Eragon’s left. Eragon, Saphira and Arya looked to see a boy, about sixteen years of age, sitting at a table drinking wine and eating a plate of chicken. “Come to think of it, there’s only one person in this world that can help you track down the Dragon Shifter.”

“Who?” Eragon asked.

Eragon, Saphira said, he’s holding something back.

“Saphira, if you value your life, show some respect and do not enter my mind. Few who tread there return alive,” the boy warned.

How did he-- Saphira started.

“And quit using Eragon as your intermediary, I can hear you just fine,” the boy said.

“You can hear Saphira’s thoughts?” Eragon demanded. “How?”

“Has it not dawned on you yet?” the boy asked, rolling his sleeve back to reveal the mark of the Dragon Rider on his bicep. “I’m one of you.”

If you’re a Dragon Rider, where’s your dragon? Saphira asked.

The boy shrugged. “No idea... she went MIA during a skirmish on Ikktar II.”

“MIA?” Eragon asked. “What does that mean?”

“It means ‘Missing In Action.’ In other words, she went out to fight and didn’t come back, but I didn’t have any evidence that she’d been killed.”

“What can you tell us about the Dragon Shifter?” Arya queried.

“What do you want to know?” the boy asked.

“Where does he come from?” Eragon inquired.

“The Dragon Shifter, like myself, comes from a world called Dragonaria,” the boy answered.

If he’s from another world, Saphira stated, why did he come here? And since you know him so well, why are you here?

“I never knew why the Dragon Shifter came here,” the boy stated. “He keeps his reasons for such things a closely-guarded secret, even from me. As for why I came here, I came here on... personal matters.”

What sort of personal matters? Saphira queried.

The boy cast Saphira a hostile glance, and she probed no further.

“What can you tell us about the Dragon Shifter?” Eragon asked. “Weapons? Personality? Where he goes?”

“To answer your question about his weapons,” the boy replied, “there’s too many to tell. He uses a very wide assortment of weapons. Personality? He knows more about mine than I do about his. But as for where he goes... I can’t tell you. He has to keep his whereabouts a secret.”

“But you know where he travels?” Arya queried.

“Of course,” the boy stated. “I know the territory best, and he comes to me asking about the places he wishes to travel to. For security reasons, I can’t say any more than that.” Pointing his fork at Eragon, he added, “But I will tell you a secret about the Dragon Shifter you won’t hear anywhere else.”

“What secret would that be?” Eragon asked.

“The Dragon Shifter isn’t referred to as such for no reason; I know for a fact that he is capable of transforming himself into any dragon he wishes with a single thought.” the boy explained. “It is said amongst my home world that when he was just twelve, he slaughtered an entire brigade of troops during the Kemoran War.”

The Kemoran War? Saphira thought, What was the Kemoran War?

“The war between the allied Empires of Kelltulus, Dragonaria, and Mirdak and the invading Kemorainian Military,” the boy explained. “The Dragon Shifter and I fought in that war. You could say that I was his Commanding Officer.”

“What was he like during the war?” Eragon asked, sitting down next to the boy.

The boy hesitated fractionally, then made his answer. “He was a brave lad... Unstoppable when he gets into a big fight... but he’s way out on the ragged edge, now.”

Why do you say that? Saphira asked.

“His foster father gave him up... abandoned him for the love of another dragon that would never forgive him,” The boy said. “Scarred him so badly, I don’t think he’ll ever truly recover.”

“What happened to his original family?” Arya inquired.

“The Dragon Shifter never knew his real family,” the boy stated. “He was raised by a nest of Dragons, where it was discovered he was a Dragon Shifter.” he chuckled and added, “Oh, the stories he would tell me of his very young life... He had a knack for perfectly mimicking different voices. You know, now that I think of it, there was a time that he was once called the Prince of Dragons.”

At the time the boy had said “Prince of Dragons,” Eragon had been looking to Arya, whose expression suddenly changed at the mentioning of the Prince of Dragons.

“We... we would like to meet with this... Dragon prince,” Arya said. As soon as she said this, Saphira could see a shiver run up the boy’s spine.

“That’s a little harder,” he replied. “I may be his informant on this world, but I don’t decide who he can meet with. That’s up to him.”

“We still need to meet with him,” Eragon stated stubbornly.

The boy heaved a sigh, then answered, “Very well. Head to the back of the Dragon’s Refuge tavern, I’ll tell him to meet you there. If he comes, Eragon, identify yourself with the phrase, ‘I travel to Brat’ekk III, seeking that which has survived.’ If he replies ‘I am that which you seek,’ then you will know it is him. Do not be coy, and do not be stupid. You can afford neither when dealing with this character.”

Eragon nodded, and he, Saphira and Arya left. As the group left, no one looked back to see the boy get up and leave in a different direction.

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Like I said - this guy is cryptic. You'll never be able to figure him out - just when you think you know everything, bam! You're wrong. Anyway...

Chapter One

History Rewritten

Eragon, Arya and Saphira waited behind the Dragon’s Refuge Tavern for the Dragon Shifter to appear. Finally, just when the group was about to decide that the Dragon Shifter wasn’t going to show, he appeared. Armored from head to toe in an angular set of emerald-green battle armor, he was a fearsome sight to behold.

He was not, however, alone. Five thugs with weapons slotted themselves behind him. They chuckled and hooted with glee, savoring the kill to come. Hearing this, the Dragon Shifter turned to face them.

“Well, well... what do we have here?” the leader said.

“I don’t know what you have,” the Dragon Shifter replied, “but I know I have an honorless rabble of stuck-up pigs.”

“Boy’s got some nerve!” howled one of the thugs.

“What say you? Give us three hundred gold and we’ll leave you alone,” The leader stated.

“You can have my money when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers,” the Dragon Shifter growled.

“Easily arranged,” the leader growled. He made a vicious swing at the Dragon Shifter’s head, but the Dragon Shifter leaned back out of the sword’s reach. The leader made a swing at him again, and this time, the Dragon Shifter caught his hand, twisted it, and flipped the leader over his back. He then brought the side of an armored hand down on the leader’s neck and knocked him unconscious.

Another thug rushed for the Dragon Shifter with a mace while he was still rising from his first KO hit to the leader. The thug swung the mace at him, but he ducked, spun around, swept the thug’s feet out from under him, and spun again on his hand to kick the thug in mid-air into an adjacent wall. Another thug rushed the Dragon Shifter with an axe, but this assault was stopped cold when the Dragon Shifter drew a strange-looking holstered pistol and shot the thug in the head. Crimson blood burst out the back of his head as the bullet blew through his brain. Another thug with two pistols drew them at the Dragon Shifter at the same time the Dragon Shifter pointed his pistol at the thug’s head.

“We’ll give you one--” he started.

Eragon never knew what the thug was going to say, as the Dragon Shifter pulled the trigger and blew the thug’s brains out.

“Next time you have a chance to kill an enemy, don’t hesitate,” the Dragon shifter said. He looked to the last thug, a fourteen-year-old boy, and Eragon was about to intercede when the Dragon Shifter stated to the boy, “Go home, kid. Don’t hang out with the wrong crowd unless you favor a quick, painful death.”

It sounded like excellent advice – if maliciously put – and was advice the boy was glad to take as he dropped his weapon and ran off. The Dragon Shifter twirled his weapon around on an armored finger, and then holstered it in a quick, deft move. He turned to face Eragon, Arya and Saphira, and walked before them.

“Who are you?” the Dragon Shifter asked.

“I travel to Brat’ekk III, seeking that which has survived,” Eragon stated without hesitation.

“I am that which you seek,” The Dragon Shifter answered.

“So,” Arya said, “You’re the Dragon Shifter. Your informant told us about you. Is it true that you slaughtered an entire brigade of soldiers when you were twelve?”

“That part of my past I try to keep buried and forgotten,” the Dragon Shifter stated. “Like all the other memories of the war.”

Does your informant... hate dragons? Saphira asked.

“Hate?” The Dragon Shifter replied. “He doesn’t hate them. Like myself, he just doesn’t trust them.”

“I don’t suppose, by chance, you know why your informant came here?” Eragon asked.

If the Dragon Shifter frowned, no one could see it through the mirrored visor that covered his face. “Of course I know Kylet'oran’s motives for coming here, I was the one who gave them to him.”

Kylet'oran? Saphira repeated. Is that his name?

“Yeah, and speaking of names,” Eragon added, “What’s yours?”

My name, if you must know, is Mathayus,” the Dragon Shifter replied. “And as for Kylet'oran’s motives for coming here, I asked him to track down the dragon that my father loved so much that he was willing to give me up for her.”

“Well, there are a lot more Dragons in Alagaësia than there used to be, but maybe we can help,” Eragon stated.

What do you intend to do to your father’s lover? Saphira asked.

“I’m not sure,” Mathayus replied. “I was thinking along the lines of showing her what it’s like to live life when everything you loved cast you down.”

When you decide, you let me know, and we’ll go from there, Saphira said.

“You’ll be the first,” Mathayus responded.

“If Kylet'oran is tracking down your father’s lover, why are you here?” Arya inquired.

“I came here on... military matters,” Mathayus answered. “My people believe that the leader of our arch-nemesis – Sul Kuudaako – had visited this world before, where he encountered a dragon rider named Galbatorix.”

“Galbatorix?! You mean—” Eragon started.

“Yes,” Mathayus finished. “The Kemorainians had a hand in starting the Alagaësian Civil War. Galbatorix wasn’t the only one; several others were visited by Kuudaako.” With the slight shaking of his head, he added, “Did you never wonder why the dragon riders grew arrogant and fought amongst each other for power? The war between them was simply a test to see who would come out on top; to see who was best suited to be an ally to the Kemorainian Empire.”

“And Galbatorix won,” Eragon surmised. “What about during the war? Did he have the Kemorainians’ support?”

“More or less,” Mathayus replied. “The Kemorainians are very secretive in their support for those they decide to make their allies. They didn’t plan on helping Militarily at that time, but they did help financially and industrially.”

So the Kemorainians supported Galbatorix’s war with money and industrial-scale production? Saphira deduced.

“Exactly,” Mathayus said. “Galbatorix needed to raise an army quickly, or he would not last in his conquest. The Kemorainians provided him with the finances to train his troops and the industrial support to make weapons, armor, anything that suited his ambitions. Hell, he even had a cache of firearms three miles wide and three miles across made in case worse comes to worse. He buried this cache somewhere in Alagaësia, but no one knew where. No one but him.”

“So Eragon appears, and becomes an immediate threat to the Kemorainians’ plans?” Arya asked.

“In one form or another. See, the Kemorainian High priestess foresaw Galbatorix’s defeat at Eragon’s hands,” Mathayus explained, “And warned Galbatorix accordingly. Someone within the resistance heard this, and the ‘legend’ spread like wildfire.”

“Did Galbatorix’s defeat at Farthen Dûr convince the Kemorainians to discontinue their support for Galbatorix?” Arya asked.

“On the contrary,” Mathayus replied, “It convinced them that the threat from Eragon was real. At the time, not many believed that Eragon could fight Galbatorix. With Durza’s death at his hands, Sul Kuudaako was convinced that Eragon was quite capable of defeating Galbatorix, as the Priestess had foreseen. However, he was also curious as to Eragon’s strength. He had several Phayder assassins watch him and monitor the progress of the war.”

Are they still here? Saphira asked.

Mathayus shook his head. “Negative,” he answered. “All Kemorainians – Phayders included – were recalled to their home world to defend against the Dragonarian attack. Needless to say that after the end of the war, Sul Kuudaako and several of his supporters returned here to find that the war was over, and that Galbatorix was dead.”

“Was the weapons cache ever found?” Eragon queried.

“Negative,” Mathayus replied. “But that’s why I’m here; to find that cache and reveal its location to your people.”

“Why?” Arya inquired.

“Sul Kuudaako is still here, and he isn’t here to gain your support,” Mathayus answered. “Dragonarian Intelligence believes he is preparing to invade this world and wipe you all out. Erase the evidence of his role in the Alagaësian Civil War, so to speak.”

“Can Kylet'oran help us with this?” Eragon queried.

“Possibly,” Mathayus responded. “But I still want him to track down my father’s lover. Though it may be secondary to my goals, it must be done. There are things in that matter I want resolved.”

Very well. We shall work on both—Saphira started.

“No,” Mathayus snapped. “Kylet’oran alone will work on that. Dividing our attention in this endeavor could lead to fatal indecision. If you’ll have me, we’ll work on finding that cache, and let Kylet'oran work on discovering the identity of the dragon I seek.”

“Very well,” Eragon stated, “It looks as though we don’t have a choice.”

So be it, Saphira added. Even as she stared at Mathayus, trying to see through the armor he wore, to see the man under the armor, she could sense... something of a familiarity. Somehow, she felt as though she should know him.

Only time would tell...

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I'll take a look after I post this. Any guesses as to who the man is under the armor?

Chapter Two

Discovery of Malevolence

For the next two days, Eragon, Saphira, Mathayus, Murtagh and Thorn traveled toward the Boer Mountains, the last location Kylet'oran reported seeing the Kemorainians. They stopped for the night near an abandoned excavation. While Thorn, Eragon and Murtagh slept, Mathayus tended to a wheeled vehicle he called an “M10 Cheetah Light Recon Vehicle.” While he did so, Saphira walked slowly up behind him. If Mathayus could sense her behind him, he didn’t show it. Saphira could faintly hear someone singing the most peculiar song;

“Search for the answers I knew all along, I lost myself, we all fall down. Never the wiser of what I’ve become, alone I stand, a broken man. All I have is one last chance, I won’t turn my back on--”

Abruptly, the music halted as Saphira took a step and accidentally snapped a twig. Mathayus, in a deft, lightning-fast move, drew a holstered sidearm, centered the sight between Saphira’s eyes, and cocked the weapon.

When Mathayus realized who he was pointing the pistol at, he slowly put the hammer back into place. “Don’t do that again,” he said in an unapologetic tone. After holstering the weapon, Saphira stated,

“That gun... I’ve never seen one like that, much less one that could fire more than one shot.”

“It’s called a G14 10mm sidearm. Fires 10mm armor-piercing plasma-powered (APPP) pistol ammunition, and the magazine can hold fifteen rounds,” Mathayus responded as he took an odd-looking rifle out of the back of the Cheetah. “And this is one of my favorite weapons – the MP340A2 Advanced Assault Rifle. Made by the Dragonaria Corp. of Weapon Engineers, fires 7.62x51mm APPP rounds, magazine holds thirty-five to forty rounds, and the weapon contains a built-in disruptor for sniping.”

Mathayus then took out a spear-looking item with a cylindrical top. He stuck it into the ground at the edge of the excavation, and pressed a button. Instantly, three other lights appeared at different sides of the excavation – northern, eastern, and western. When they disappeared, Mathayus looked to Saphira.

“Follow me... if you dare,” He said. He walked toward the excavation and added, “Computer: Initiate program: Chateau, Chapter One.”

As soon as he said this, Saphira heard a beep from the spear, and the entire excavation site was turned into...

... a mansion? How was that possible?

Eragon, now awake, wandered toward the new mansion and asked, How’d he do that?

Beats me, Saphira replied. But he was willing to let us follow.

Should we? Eragon queried.

Well... I guess we could... Saphira answered. Eragon strode through the massive doors and found himself in a room full of weapons. Swords, Axes, Spears, Daggers, Maces, Shields and Armor were hung strewn about on the walls.

Saphira poked her head through the doorway. What is this place?

I’m not sure, Eragon said.

Then, Mathayus came around the corner with two women, a bald man, and an elderly man with keys hung all over his clothes. “Dammit,” he grunted. “Computer: Ignore any additional bio-signs.”

“What was that for?” Eragon asked.

“So the thugs who are about to come through that door will not see you there,” Mathayus said.

Just as Mathayus had said, a band of thugs led by a man with a funny accent came through the doors. The woman in white and the man talked for a few minutes, something about “cause and effect,” and then about how their current situation was “Just a game,” and then the woman in white left after saying “have fun.”

“Okay,” The man with the funny accent said. “Let us see where this goes. You two - ” he indicated the twins in white. “Get the Key maker.”

In an instant, the twins turned into ghosts, and sank through the floor.

“That’s a neat trick,” Commented the woman in black.

“I cannot go back!” The Key maker exclaimed, running off. Mathayus turned to the bald man as the Woman in black ran after the key maker and said,

“I’ll handle them.”

The man in black nodded, and hurried after the woman and the key maker, and the man with the funny accent mocked Mathayus.

“‘Handle us.’ You’ll ‘handle us,’” He mocked. “You know, your predecessors had much more respect.” He then signaled the band of thugs forward, armed with all manner of firearms, and they opened fire. Mathayus simply held up a hand, and every bullet fired stopped in mid-air. When the firing stopped, hundreds of bullets sat suspended in the air, and dropped to the floor when Mathayus lowered his hand.

“Okay, you have some skill,” the man admitted. “Kill him!”

The thugs then discarded their weapons, and all eight of them attacked Mathayus.

Trying to fight Mathayus was like trying to grapple with a shadow. Mathayus was a blur. He ducked a spin-kick here, whirled and kicked a tattooed man into a wall, leaned back out of reach of grasping hands, then back-flipping away while kicking open another man’s nose. He then back-flipped onto an overlooking rail, held out both hands, and two swords flew into his hands. He spun them for a few seconds, then leapt down to confront the other men.

If Eragon and Saphira thought he was a blur fighting hand-to-hand, he was a blurred shadow when fighting with two swords. He decapitated a man here, gutted another man there, and stabbed yet another.

Mathayus’ enemies quickly dropped away until there was no one left but the Man with the funny accent.

“Damn it, woman, you will be the end of me!” he murmured. “Mark my words, boy, and mark them well; I have survived your predecessors, and I will survive you!” The man walked back through the mansion doors, and everything disappeared. Eragon, Saphira and Mathayus were back at the excavation site.

“How did you do that?” Eragon asked.

“It’s called a holographic projector,” Mathayus explained. “Projects holographic images wherever I desire, and what you witnessed was a holographic program called a Holonovel.”

Meaning that you can live an adventure written in a book, Saphira surmised.

“Damn right,” Mathayus stated.

I guess if I were you, and I’d gone through what you did, I’d be doing anything I can to-- Saphira started. She was cut off when Mathayus held up his hand in a pinching gesture, and she began to choke.

“Do not speak to me about what you would do if you were me. You, of all of us, have no conception of what it means to be me,” Mathayus growled. As soon as he finished this statement, he released Saphira and walked away. He grabbed his MP340A2, and began patrolling the perimeter of the camp.

Eragon had other things to worry about. Such as how Mathayus was able to choke Saphira without even touching her.

“Are you okay?” he asked her

Yeah, Saphira coughed. But while he was choking me, I... I could sense... She stopped as Mathayus passed by.

“You could sense what?” Eragon asked.

I could sense... malevolence... a cold hatred... towards me.

“Towards you?” Eragon whispered. “Why?”

I’m not sure... but I get the distinct impression that there’s things he’s not telling us, Saphira answered.

Eragon looked to Mathayus. Even with his dragon vision, it was impossible to see through his armor. Mathayus knew how to keep his body under armor well-hidden.

But who – or what – was he hiding from? Just another mystery to add to the party’s already growing supply...

(Betcha won't get the holonovel's reference)

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lol - that's fine. BE WARNED: Though one of the shortest chapters in this book, this next chapter contains mature language.

Chapter Three

Blood of Malevolence

The party got up early the next morning and headed toward an outpost bordering the Hadarac Desert. Before heading out, Mathayus gave Eragon and Murtagh a couple of radios to communicate with him while in the air.

The trip to the border outpost was uneventful, to say the least. But the scene got stranger after that, starting with when they arrived at the outpost. It was devoid of life, and a large flying vehicle sat in the middle of the outpost. It was slim, but with two wings on the sides that had ten cylindrical pods with cone-shaped heads, and four racks of missiles next to them – two on each wing – and two tube-shaped items at the tip of each wing with a sort of energy gun between them. Under the chin was a sort of tri-barreled machine gun. It also had a tail with two fins extending in a V formation, and at the top of the main body were two rings with two sets of blades each.

“Ha!” Mathayus exclaimed. “Right where I left it.”

“And that thing is... what?” Murtagh asked.

“It’s called a Helicopter, mekh fredt. It’s a flying vehicle,” Mathayus replied.

What good is a flying vehicle to a Dragon shifter like yourself? Saphira asked as Mathayus headed to the helicopter.

“It’s good for concealing my dragon shifter self,” Mathayus answered. “Quite convenient, if you ask me, if you can pass as a Helicopter pilot by day and an armored apparition by night.” He then climbed into the cockpit of the helicopter and shut it. He flipped a few switches, and Eragon, Murtagh, Saphira and Thorn were greeted with a soft, high-pitched whine, growing louder with each second. The blades began to spin – two spun clockwise, two spun counter-clockwise – and produced a loud, rapid whup, whup, whup sound. Wind and sand began to swirl around the blades as they spun. The helicopter then lifted off the ground, and Mathayus said over the radio, “Are you guys going to stand there like a bunch of idiots, or are you going to follow me?” the vehicle then turned, tilted forward, and was off.

Murtagh was the first to reply. “Well,” he said, “Let’s not stand around and get ambushed.” He hopped onto Thorn’s back and took off after Mathayus, followed by Eragon and Saphira.

* * *

“Saphira, Thorn, you two take point. I’ll cover you from behind.” Mathayus ordered.

“Roger,” Murtagh replied. Saphira and Thorn pulled ahead, and Mathayus asked the AI in his helicopter, “Wes, you awake in there?”

“Getting there,” replied a a male voice.

“When you’re awake, activate the cloaking device and keep the Disruptors and the chain gun trained on Saphira,” Mathayus ordered.

“The blue one?” Wes asked.

“The blue one,” Mathayus affirmed.

You realize, Eragon, Saphira told Eragon, He’s keeping us in front of him so that he can gun us down if the chance presents itself?

I know, Eragon replied. Just play along and act as if you know nothing.

“That’s right,” Mathayus whispered to himself. “Just act like you know nothing. Next thing you know, you’ll be missing your head.”

“Weapons locked,” Wes announced. “Engaging stealth fields... activating cloaking device... done.”

“Stay awake for the next half hour and keep an eye on the Radar,” Mathayus ordered.

“Acknowledged,” Wes answered.

* * *

In the ten minutes that Saphira, Eragon, Murtagh and Thorn were in the air, none of them bothered to look back to see that Mathayus’ helicopter had disappeared.

Until Thorn heard – and subsequently saw – two alien helicopters fast approaching.

“Mathayus, we have two helicopters approaching; friend or foe?” Murtagh said into his radio. There was no response. “Mathayus, please respond!” Murtagh exclaimed. Nothing happened.

That was when Eragon looked back and saw that Mathayus’ helicopter was gone. “Damn it!” Eragon yelled. “The bastard led us into a trap!”

Let’s get out of here before those guys get here! Saphira exclaimed.

Too late! They’re already here! Get ready to fight! Thorn yelled.

Saphira and Thorn broke formation in time to avoid the first two rockets fired at them. For the better part of an hour, the enemy ‘copters and the dragons played a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.

Eragon thought it was over. Thought they had him. That this day marked the death of Eragon, the great Dragon Rider that ended the Alagaësian Civil War.

But fate, apparently, had other plans.

“Eragon, I have the enemy in my sights. Bank left, I’m taking a shot,” Mathayus said over the radio. Eragon didn’t answer, but Saphira obeyed and banked left. Eragon turned his head in time to see Mathayus’ ‘copter shimmer into appearance like a ghost.


A loud sound marked the weapons at the tips of the wings firing, and three green bolts of energy flashed from both barrels and blew the enemy ‘copter apart. Mathayus’ ‘copter shimmered and disappeared like a mirage in the desert as the other enemy helicopter slotted himself behind him. The enemy pilot, no doubt confused by his enemy’s sudden disappearance, stopped to look around.

And it proved to be a fatal mistake. Mathayus re-appeared behind him, the weapons fired again, and the enemy chopper was blown out of the sky.

As the group continued on their way, Eragon was the first to speak up.

“What the hell, Mathayus? You team up with us to stop the Kemorainians and then leave us to be butchered?!?”

“You know, for a Dragon Rider, you whine like a mule,” Mathayus said. “You’re still alive, are you not?”

We could have been killed! Saphira exclaimed. Or do our lives mean nothing to you?

“Okay, idiot,” Mathayus growled, “Let’s get a few things straight; First, I never left you dumb shits in the first place; second, I have a cloaking device and stealth protocols. With these, I cannot be seen or heard; and third, I’ve been fighting in wars since I was seven. I’ve got more combat experience than the both of you put together, so don’t go criticizing my tactics when you don’t understand them. Got that?”

Well, forgive me if I’m angry, Saphira stated. I nearly got killed in an ambush I wasn’t expecting!

“That’s why they’re called surprise attacks, dumbass; they hit you when you least expect it,” Mathayus said. “And by the way; if I ever hear either you or Eragon call me a bastard or anything else and accuse me of something I didn’t do, you’ll wind up missing your heads. Clear?”

There was a long pause before Saphira acknowledged him with a down-cast voice. Crystal clear. Sir.

I can see what you mean when you said ‘a cold hatred,’ Eragon thought to Saphira. He really has a grudge against you.

Saphira didn’t answer, but Eragon could see the question form itself in her head: Why? No further words were said for the rest of the trip until they stopped at a desert outpost.

* * *

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I never left in the first place - I'm just multi-tasking. Anyway...

Chapter Four

The Dragon’s Messenger

When the team stopped at the desert outpost, Eragon went inside with Murtagh to get supplies, Thorn fell asleep outside, Mathayus patrolled the perimeter around the dragons and his helicopter, and Saphira simply sat and watched him. She didn’t say anything, but anyone could tell what she was asking herself: What did she do to deserve Mathayus’ wrath?

The answer came sooner than Saphira would have thought – if indirectly.

If you want to find out why he hates you so much, maybe you should talk to him. Thorn said.

No thank you, Saphira replied. I don’t fancy having my head blown off.

He won’t do that, Thorn said. He can’t.

Saphira looked to Thorn. You sound certain, She stated.

He doesn’t have the heart to kill you. He just doesn’t, Thorn said. Besides, he doesn’t want to risk killing the Dragon his father loved so much, he was willing to give up his own son to get her back – he wants to find her first.

Of course, Saphira responded, He said he wanted that dragon to feel his pain; to feel what it’s like to live when everything you loved cast you down.

That’s what he wanted, Thorn affirmed. But what I know for a fact – which is the greatest reason you’re still alive, given his malevolent personality – is that he needs you far more than you or he understand.

Saphira frowned. What do you mean? She asked.

Thorn looked over to Mathayus. I’ll let the answer provide itself, He answered. But suffice it to say that you and he have a special bond of your own. Fragile, but if built right, will strengthen you and Eragon both.

What are you saying? Saphira queried. That I have another rider?

No, Thorn said. The bond is much, much deeper than that.

Before the conversation could carry on any longer, Eragon came out of the outpost.

“Saphira, we need to talk,” he said.

Why? Saphira asked. What happened?

“We got a lead on the weapons cache that Mathayus was referring to,” Murtagh answered.

Location? Thorn queried.

“No, but we found someone who might know,” Eragon replied.

Who? Saphira inquired.

“There’s a person over at Farthen Dûr that goes by the name of ‘The Dragon’s Messenger’ that might be able to tell us where the cache is located.” Eragon responded.

We need to inform Mathayus, Thorn said. Silence settled over this suggestion.

Until Saphira broke the silence. I’ll tell him, she said. I’ve been meaning to talk to Mathayus, anyway.

Be careful, Saphira, Eragon thought.

* * *

Saphira approached Mathayus slowly, but loudly enough to not give him the impression that she was sneaking up on him.

“You have something to tell me?” Mathayus asked.

Yes, Saphira said. Firstly, I wanted to apologize for my initial hostilities. You saved my life, and I thank you.

“You don’t have to thank me,” Mathayus said, “nor do you have to apologize. I’ve been insulted by professionals.”

Fair enough, Saphira commented. Though, I have to admit, I never thought that someone could fight in a war at age seven.

“I know,” Mathayus responded. “Such a thing is a daunting prospect for any parent. But it’s much easier to handle when the child never knew their parents, and the parents never knew their child.”

How is that possible? Saphira asked. A parent – especially a mother – should know their child, given the fact that they gave birth to them.

“Not my mother,” Mathayus stated. “She died three minutes after I was born. Two days later, I was taken to a nest of Dragons to be ‘disposed’ of.”

And they couldn’t do it? Saphira queried.

“On the contrary; they were more than willing to do it. But one of them took pity on me – the dragon that I came to know as my father: Ryan’tekrt.” Mathayus explained.

Ryan’tekrt, Saphira mumbled. that name sounds... vaguely familiar.

“It may come back to you in time,” Mathayus said. “In any case, it was he that discovered my dragon shifting abilities.”

Enough of the past, Saphira stated. I do not wish to re-open old wounds.

“I’ll agree to that,” Mathayus said. “The less said, the better.”

Indeed, Saphira added. By the way, do you know a person by the name of “The Dragon’s Messenger?”

Mathayus placed a finger on the trigger of his MP340A2. “Of course,” He said. “He was the one who built my armor. Why?”

Because Eragon and Murtagh got a lead on the location of that weapons cache... and the Dragon’s Messenger knows where it is, Saphira explained. Mathayus nodded and said,

“Nothing I ever heard him talk about, but he’d be the one to know.”

Oh? Saphira commented. And why is that?

“He was here at the time of its construction,” Mathayus replied, “and he is possibly even the one who designed it.”

I see, Saphira said. How do we find him?

“That’s a little tougher,” Mathayus responded. “Last I heard, he was head of the Varden Queen’s security in Farthen Dûr. I know a few people, though. People that can get us in touch with him.”

Where can we find them? Saphira asked.

“Oh, I already know where to find them; it’s convincing them to help us that’s the problem.”

What’s the obstacle?

“See, scavengers tried to loot my chopper a few months back,” Mathayus responded. “I scared them off, but they did make off with a few encrypted discs.”

How does that stop us?

“The people I know you don’t just walk up and chat with; there’s a procedure,” Mathayus elaborated, “And those discs have the procedure.”

So how do we find those discs?

“I implanted each disc with a tracking device,” Mathayus replied. “I can lock onto the signal from my chopper.”

If you can track the discs, why didn’t you go after them? Saphira inquired.

“Hey – I had more important things to worry about, okay?” Mathayus snapped, starting back to his chopper. As Saphira looked after him, she couldn’t help but wonder; What “more important” matters did he have to worry about? He couldn’t be referring to tracking down his father’s lover... could he? Saphira wasn’t sure. All she knew was that there were parts of this mystery that Mathayus wasn’t telling her. Details she knew would shed some light on both their mission and why Mathayus was really here.

And there was nothing she could do...

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It doesn't? Hnh - odd. I'm always online, as I never log off. Ah, well...

Chapter Five

Ghosts to Rest (Part I)

When Mathayus got a lock on the discs’ signal, he was surprised where they were located; an abandoned supply cache due south of their location. What puzzled Eragon, Saphira, Murtagh and Thorn was that it was so easy to recover them. There were no traps of any kind; no guards, no tricks, nothing. All they had to do was go in, nab the discs, and leave.

So why, then, did Mathayus say that the discs were stolen? Given his skills, experiences, scars, malevolent personality and the level of technology he used, a mere amateur couldn’t have stolen the discs. Even if they were, even an amateur thief would set a few traps to protect his prize. No, Saphira suspected that this was part of some larger plan that Mathayus had in mind.

But she dare not think of it. He could read her like a book, and she had to fight to keep her own thoughts a secret.

As Mathayus looked over the information on the discs from the computer in his helicopter – with the cockpit open, strangely enough – Saphira approached him. He looked up from his work, noticing Saphira there, and asked,

“Was there something you wanted?”

I... just wanted to get to know you a little better, Saphira replied.

“What’s to know?” Mathayus queried. “I’ve been a soldier since age seven, I am the survivor of countless battles, and no one knows my face; a fact I use to my advantage.”

Saphira frowned. There was something in that statement that implied that...

No, Saphira thought. She had to keep those thoughts locked in a corner of her mind. At least until she learned who Mathayus was under the armor.

Well, she finally said, I’ve never seen your dragon form.

“You don’t need to see my dragon form,” Mathayus responded.

I disagree, Saphira countered. In fact, I think it will provide us all with a little peace of mind to see your dragon form.

Mathayus simply stared at her from under that faceless visor, then back to the data as he finished his work, then finally responded. “As you wish.”

He hopped out of the helicopter and walked some distance away. Saphira watched as he knelt down, and began to tremble. Unexpectedly, he leapt forward, spun, and in a flash of light blunted by a puff of gray smoke, his body was replaced by that of a bronze-scaled dragon with a full-body set of dull-golden armor, discolored by years of use.

Mathayus landed on his feet, then turned to face Saphira. For once, Saphira could see his face. He had scars running over both eyes, and his dark-bronze eyes were devoid of any life. As Saphira looked into them, she felt cold. It was as though Mathayus was already dead.

“That hurt,” Mathayus commented.

In what way? Saphira asked.

“I haven’t done that in eight years,” Mathayus replied. “It’ll take some getting used to.”

As she looked over him, Saphira noticed that Mathayus was significantly smaller than her. He was younger, she reasoned.

“Tell your rider that he should make way to the outpost near the Beartooth river. There, he will meet an elf named Kentaari; Eragon must identify himself with the phrase ‘Dissidence seeks to be heard.’ Follow Kentaari’s instructions to find the Dragon’s messenger.”

Wait – where are you going? Saphira inquired.

“I must meet with Kylet'oran to check on his progress; I will meet you in Farthen Dûr,” Mathayus replied. He spread his wings, and took to the air. Saphira simply stared after him, and then passed on his message to Eragon. When she looked back to Mathayus a second time, he had disappeared.

Strange. He had said that focusing on both their mission and Kylet'oran’s would be fatal. So why, then, was he doing exactly what he said not to do? This mystery just got stranger by the day, Saphira thought.

Could it be that Mathayus is laying another trap for the Kemorainians? Saphira could only speculate...

* * *

Getting to the Beartooth river outpost wasn’t hard; Eragon and Saphira knew this land like they knew each other.

What puzzled them, though, was the fact that the alleged elf named Kentaari was alone in the outpost. He pointed an alien rifle at Eragon and inquired, “What is your business here?”

“Dissidence seeks to be heard,” Eragon answered.

Kentaari hesitated, then lowered his weapon. “Come inside, there is much to discuss.”

He gestured to a rock, and it moved. Two seconds later, a door opened up in the ground large enough for Saphira and Thorn to go through. He descended down into the cavern, followed by Eragon, Murtagh, Saphira, and finally Thorn. The door shut behind them.

As Saphira and the others found their way into a massive cave, Kentaari surprised everyone when he began to examine Saphira furiously, as though he was searching for something on her body.

“Uh... what are you doing?” Eragon asked as Kentaari looked into Saphira’s right eye.

“Searching for...” Kentaari began. He stared into Saphira’s eye.

“Searching for what?” Eragon inquired.

Something in his eyes flashed as Kentaari said, “I... I can see a betrayal in this one’s eye.”


“I have the ability to see into any dragon’s past... and future,” Kentaari said. “I see a... a loved one. She loved this dragon, but did not know him. When she found out... who he was, she cast him down. Left him broken.”

Eragon frowned, confused as to what this elf was referring to. “Saphira, what is he talking about?” he asked. Saphira remained silent, and from what Eragon could sense, she knew the answer, but was reluctant to share.

I don’t know. She finally replied.

“On the contrary,” Kentaari stated. “You do know. The answer your rider seeks lies buried in your memories.”

Saphira twisted free of Kentaari’s grasp. I refuse to allow you to... toy with my mind! She roared. She left, and paused as the doors opened. She started to look back, but stopped herself. She exited the hideout with an angry snort.

“What were you talking about?” Murtagh inquired. Kentaari didn’t answer him, but directed a comment to Eragon.

“Your dragon has been keeping a painful secret for a long time, Eragon Shadeslayer,” he said.

“Like what?” Eragon inquired.

“Do you recall her ever talking about a lover?” Kentaari asked.

“Once,” Eragon replied. “But I never got a name.”

“From what I saw,” Kentaari said, “that lover had a son. And when she cast her lover down, it had more... severe... repercussions than she knew or understood.”

Eragon thought he could detect shades of an ulterior motive. But the way Saphira was unwilling to tell Eragon what he wanted to know suggested otherwise.

Determined to know more before he confronted Saphira with this, Eragon pressed on as Murtagh and Thorn went outside. “This... son... what was his name?”

“I’m not sure,” Kentaari said. “Otherwise I’d tell you. But, if what I saw was accurate, the person I am referring to is smart, likes to stay in the shadows, is cynical almost to the point of madness, and is violent near the point of absurdity – a result of his troubled past.”

“Like being in a war?” Eragon queried.

“I don’t know,” Kentaari answered. “But what I do know is that if your dragon does not confront her past – and take the responsibility she should have taken years ago – it will be the death of her.”

Eragon knew Saphira for a long time, and in all the years he’d known her, he’d never known her to keep secrets. Especially secrets that could threaten her life, and Eragon wasn’t about to let her past haunt her to death.

“Here,” Kentaari said, handing Eragon a note. “Take this. This will tell you how to get into contact with the Dragon’s Messenger.” Eragon reluctantly took the note and left. Once again, he was struck with a sense of mysteriousness. Something was going on, but Eragon couldn’t figure out what it was.

As the group flew to Farthen Dûr, Eragon couldn’t help but wonder: Why would Saphira keep something like this a secret from her own rider? Eragon could only speculate...

(Trust me, this story will get confusing before it makes sense.)

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And here's the moment you've all been waiting for; the truth of the man under the armor! I read this chapter to a friend once, and they thought it to be very compelling.

Chapter Six

Ghosts to Rest (Part II)

Even before the group reached a stopping point for the night, Eragon could feel Saphira’s tension. Tonight, Eragon would discover what it was that Saphira was hiding. Tonight, he would, for the sake of his Dragon’s life, put the ghosts of her past to rest.

Saphira sat isolated from everyone, as if contemplating something. Perhaps what to say to Eragon? Or how to tell her rider the truth? No one could be sure. Not even Eragon as he approached her.

“A lot of questions will be asked,” Eragon said. “Not the least of which is... Why?”

“Why what?” Saphira asked.

Eragon froze, awestruck at the fact that Saphira could now speak. Whatever Kentaari did, it gave her this ability. How did he manage it, Eragon wondered? No matter.

“Why did you keep this from me?” Eragon finally inquired. “If you cast someone you loved down, why didn’t you tell me?”

“How could I?” Saphira countered. “I couldn’t remember.”

“Don’t lie, Saphira,” Eragon said. “You will only make this harder for both of us.”

“How would it be hard for you?” Saphira snapped. “It’s bad enough that I have to live with these memories, but what’s worse is--”

“--Is the fact that you destroyed the life of your lover’s son,” Eragon interrupted. “The Saphira I know could never do that.”

“Could she?” Saphira asked. “Do you actually believe that what Kentaari told you is true?”

“I don’t know,” Eragon answered, crossing his arms. “Is it?”

Saphira hesitated. “I... don’t know,” she said.

“You don’t know,” Eragon repeated, “Or you don’t want to tell me?”

“What do you want from me, Eragon?!” Saphira yelled. “Why is it you assume that when I say that I don’t know or remember anything, that I am hiding the truth?”

“I would have thought that was obvious to you; you are ashamed of what you did,” Eragon answered.

“Ashamed?!” Saphira yelled. “Who are you trying to fool, Eragon? Why don’t you believe me?”

“I am only trying to help you – to put the ghosts of your past to rest,” Eragon said. “You’re not making it any easier.”

“Help me? This is not helping me!” Saphira roared.

“Be that as it may, I must know what happened,” Eragon persisted, “I must know what drove you to keep this secret – a secret that would kill you.”

“I have no secret!” Saphira exclaimed. “You’re being deceived! How can you be sure that it isn’t some trick? Something to turn you against me?”

“What happened to you, Saphira?” Eragon asked. “You used to be someone I could trust. Now I find out you’ve kept things from me, and I have to wonder; how can I still trust you? How can I know anything you say is the truth?”

Saphira didn’t answer – not directly. She simply roared and took flight. And Eragon was content to let her explore the turmoil of her own spirit. Only when she was ready would she return to Eragon.

As Eragon returned to the camp, Thorn spoke and startled Eragon and Murtagh. “There’s more to this mystery than you’re seeing, Eragon.”

“What are you talking about?” Eragon asked.

“I’m saying you could have at least heard her out,” Thorn said. “Now, matters are worse.”

“Are you saying that Saphira was telling the truth?” Murtagh demanded. “That she really didn’t know what was going on?”

“Oh, she knows what’s going on; she just doesn’t remember,” Thorn answered.

“Why not?” Eragon inquired.

“Because, long ago, I erased the memories you sought,” Thorn replied. “Saphira had just ended her relationship with her lover, a Dragonarian dragon named Ryan’tekrt. She didn’t want to feel the pain of what she’d done. Too late did she realize the impact of what she had done; how she had over-reacted to what she discovered. She wanted me to erase the memories of that event and discard them forever, so she would not feel the scars of her mistake.”

“But you didn’t destroy them,” Murtagh stated, “Did you?”

“No,” Thorn replied. “I merely kept them in my own mind, so that when she was ready, I could give them back to her.”

“What about Ryan’tekrt’s son?” Eragon queried. “Where is he?”

“He’s been with us all along,” Thorn answered. “We just never saw him for who he was.”

“Mathayus!” Eragon and Murtagh surmised simultaneously.

“Exactly,” Thorn affirmed. “Now, because of your mistake, Eragon, Saphira feels his pain. In a manner of speaking, you cast her down, and now she seeks an end. Because of his pain, Mathayus would will stop her, but only so she might suffer more.”

“Then we have to find her!” Eragon exclaimed. “We have to find her before Mathayus does!”

“And we have little time to waste,” Thorn said.

* * *

Cold. Hard. Empty. Alone. Saphira lay motionless on the forest floor of the Du Weldenvarden forest. She wasn’t dead, but in the three days she’d been there, and the eight days she’d taken to travel here, she sincerely wished that she was. Just the memory of how Eragon had cast her down made her sob uncontrollably. For the first time in her life, Saphira was in pain, suffering alone with no one to offer their condolences or comfort. She didn’t eat, drank only to stay hydrated, but for all in tents and purposes, she cried alone.

She heard a twig snap, but she didn’t even budge. She just lay still and contemplated her death.

“Doesn’t feel too good, does it?” asked Mathayus’ voice. “Living like this. Knowing that your own family cast you down for something you didn’t do.”

When Saphira lifted her head to face Mathayus, she was shocked by what she saw. Mathayus was there, but he wasn’t wearing his helmet. For the first time ever, she saw the face underneath the armor and realized the extent of which she had been played. She saw Kylet'oran’s face, and realized the startling truth:

Mathayus was Kylet'oran. Kylet'oran was Mathayus. They were two conflicted sides in one boy’s body. Saphira felt a mixed sense of anger, rage, hate, grief, and self-pity churn inside her soul.

“Why have you done this?” Saphira asked.

“I wanted you to feel it,” Mathayus said. “I wanted you to feel my pain, to see what I saw, and know what I knew. That’s the only reason I never killed you on the spot.” He morphed into his dragon form, and glared, half-angrily, half-pitifully, at Saphira.

“So... you led us on a false quest... to test me?”

“I used this quest to test you, yes; but it was not a false quest,” Mathayus replied. “The weapons cache is somewhere on Alagaësia. But there are certain details about the quest that I had... exaggerated.”

“The Kemorainians weren’t planning an invasion here, were they?” Saphira asked. “And Sul Kuudaako isn’t here?”

“No,” Mathayus said. “Sul Kuudaako was killed in the final battle of the Second Kemoran War. But make no mistake; The weapons cache is here, and I know how to find it. But that goes into another topic that we will deal with later.”

“Why did you go through all that trouble just to make me feel your pain?” Saphira demanded. “Did you see no other option?”

“There were other options, yes,” Mathayus admitted, “but ask yourself: Would you have believed a sixteen-year-old boy if he told you that you were the source of his pain? That you were the reason he went to war at age seven, and came out eight years later as a cold, hard, dispassionate assassin?”

Saphira contemplated Mathayus’ questions. “No,” she admitted with down-cast eyes. Looking back up at him, she asked, “So what happens now? I feel your pain, know how you suffer; what is it you want to do now? Will you kill me, or leave me to my suffering?”

“Well, that all depends on you, Saphira,” Mathayus answered. “I’ve never trusted you, that’s no secret; but I want to know now, will you take the responsibility you should have taken eight years ago?” Saphira frowned, and noticed that not only was Eragon there, but so was Murtagh, Thorn, Arya and several on the new Dragon Rider council.

“What responsibility do you speak of?” Saphira asked, struggling to contain her anger.

“I want to know if you wold take me in as you did Eragon, so long ago, or cast me down, as my father did,” Mathayus said. “I want to know if you will turn and run like the spoiled coward I always took you for!”

Saphira could take it no longer; for the sake of all, she had to put an end to this.

“Have I wronged you in another life, Kylet'oran Mathayus?” she asked, her voice cold enough to freeze even Eragon. “Is there something you would say? Where does this intolerable hatred for me come from?”

As Saphira looked into Mathayus’ eyes, she knew her words hit home. His eyes watered up, and he held a look of anger and grief.

“My hate comes from...” he started. He looked to the ground, tears falling, then looked back at Saphira and continued, “... From knowing that my father loved you more than me!”

“What do you mean?” Saphira asked.

“I am your son, Saphira Brightscales!” Mathayus stated. “I am the foster son of Ryan’tekrt, the dragon you loved for a time!”

“Then--” Saphira started.

“It was your anger that drove us all apart!” Mathayus exclaimed. “Because of you, my father cast me down! Because of you my sister went missing on Ikktar II! Because of you I became a cold-hearted murderer!”

“That’s a lie!” Saphira roared.

“It’s not a lie!” Mathayus screamed. “You ruined my life!!!” Tears flowed from Mathayus’ eyes like rivers as he added, “I have more reason to hate you than anyone, but I found myself daring to believe in you, and daring to trust you! After so many years of war and death, I found myself looking to you as a son would look to his family after eight years fighting a war he should never have been in!

“So, I want to know, mother, will you take the responsibility you should have taken eight years ago?” Mathayus all but sobbed his question.

Saphira looked to Thorn. “I have a son?” she whispered. Thorn simply nodded. His eyes flashed blue, and Saphira could then remember it all...

... Her passionate love for Ryan’tekrt...

... How she cast him down, with no idea he had a son...

... How she came to Thorn to erase her memories of what she’d done...

... She realized what was going on, the meaning of what had transpired. Eragon was apologetic; Murtagh was no different. The others present simply nodded, and Saphira turned her attention to the sad, crying young dragon that was her child. Her life.

Her son.

“I have a son!” she said, finally embracing the young dragon. Mathayus finally let loose his cries, his pain, and his agony. For the first time in her life, Saphira had something she never thought possible; a family she could call her own. A child.

She directed her next words to Mathayus, and him alone. “I will promise you this, my son; I will never make the mistake your father made – I will not abandon you nor will I cast you down. You will live now the life that your father and I denied you.” She looked to Eragon, and was about to speak when he held up a hand.

“I know, Saphira – It’s all been explained,” Eragon said. “All I have to say is that I am sorry; I made a mistake.”

“We all did,” Thorn added. “But we have learned much from this mistake, haven’t we?”

“Indeed we have,” Saphira affirmed as she cradled her son. In a private corner of her mind, she added, And it is a lesson we shall never forget.

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Can you see the pieces coming together? How Mathayus manipulated everyone, in an effort to show them what he knew? To force Saphira to face her mistakes, to acknowledge the repercussions of what she had done so long ago? Such is the cryptic-ness of dragon-shifters; they often find more direct methods and actions to be neither practical nor efficient, and have a tendency to do things their way. They see the world around them in a very different manner, and they take everything far more seriously than others would. Anyway...

Chapter Seven


News of what had transpired spread like wildfire in Alagaësia. Soon, everyone knew that Saphira Brightscales, the dragon of Eragon Shadeslayer, had a son. They knew of the reconciliation between the unsuspecting mother and the cynical child.

Over the next two years, the boy who was Kylet'oran Mathayus Jek’ari was hailed as Mathayus, the Dragon Prince. With his military knowledge and high connections with the Dragonarian government, Alagaësia was united with the galaxy at large.

But it wasn’t the end. This tale doesn’t end with this reconciliation. Old hatreds still linger, old mysteries remain unsolved, and old enemies may yet rise again to carry on their ancient battles, armed now with the tools of modern terror. The adventures of Mathayus, the Dragon Prince, didn’t end with the reconciliation with his mother...

... No, it was merely the beginning of another.

* * *

The Vidarrian commander looked over the recent intelligence report his men had brought him. The target – one dragon-shifter named Mathayus – had escaped his grasp. Before his men could move in, he disappeared. The rift had closed long before they arrived. They got nothing. No one was to blame for this – it wasn’t a matter of incompetence; it was simply one of inconvenient timing. He would track Mathayus down again. It wasn’t hard. Once he found him, he would fall.

For now, he was content to let the dragon-shifter enjoy his... victory. In the end, it would be short-lived. Moot. Irrelevant. He and his family would die.

It was only a matter of time...

(No, this isn't the last chapter; it bridges the gap between this part and the next one.)

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