Chapter 19: Alagaesia
A thunder of dragons appeared from within a cloud as their big colorful bodies contrasted with the light blue sky and the light from the sun sparkled on their scales, creating a multitude of colors, like a rainbow. One of the dragons released a loud roar which announced their arrival and the flap of their powerful wings could be heard from afar. The sun warmed the riders as they flew on the back of their dragons, others talking with each other and others looking at the big, ancient trees of the great forest below them.
The land was fertile, allowing many species of trees to grow and the forest was only interrupted by a sudden rocky cliff, and a massive river that flowed there. The river begun from Alagaesia and ended in the sea that they had just crossed. It's name was Edda River. A memory came to Eragon of a scene that had occurred almost ten years ago, as Eragon left Alagaesia, to build Du Skulblaka Ramr, the new Dragon city. He saw with his mind again, as he left Alagaesia and everything and everyone he knew in search of a his new home, not knowing when or even if, he will see them again, on board of the Talita, the exact same ship that was traveling below them at the moment.
Eragon was still impressed by the size of the Talita, the ship being able to easily take two small dragons on board or one large one. The elves were trying their hardest to keep the ship at a quick speed, as they paddled their way towards Alagaesia. The ship was completely white, sung by the elves over a long period of time. Every detail of the ship was perfectly made, and the hull of the ship easily pierced the waters of the Edda river. The ship had three big masts upon which were three white sails, which depicted a big red dragon.
The riders had just finished crossing the sea and they were now slowly following the path of the river with the goal of reaching Alagaesia by the end of the day. The blue dragon made a flying pirouette to show her flying prowess and the other dragons quickly followed her example. Eragon grabbed the spike in front of him to maintain his balance as Saphira made another flying maneuver that turned his view upside down. He was wearing a light blue shirt and his favorite pair of brown pants and his sword, Brisingr, was strapped on his hip. A thoughtful expression was on his face and he kept rubbing his right hand, indicating that he was anxious.
"Eragon, for the last time, there is no point in what you are doing! You are making my scales itch with your anxiety!" Saphira said louder than necessary as she was beginning to worry for Eragon's well being.
"I'm sorry Saphira but I can't help it. You heard the prophecy as well as I did, and it clearly stated that I will not be able to return to Alagaesia!".
An image came to Eragon's mind, a shop full of plants and herbs, Angela the herbalist with her long frizzy hair and her short stature saying a word that described his life.
"Wyrda!" she had shouted. A word of the ancient language. A word that revealed his destiny. The Dragon bones had rolled, and Eragon looked with anxiety as the dragon bones rolled on the table, turning and turning and slowly, very slowly, stopped deciding his fate. He listened once again at the prophecy, predicting his long life, his freedom to choose his own fate, the death of Brom, and the betrayal by a family member. Each and every one of these had been fulfilled, one way or the other. Even the epic romance had somewhat been fulfilled, by him meeting Arya and then traveling and spending time with her. They had grown close over this time and there was no doubt in his heart that she was the women he loved, even if the so called epic romance did not have the ending he would have liked.
"Look closely at this bone. You can see how its end rests on that of the sailing ship. That is impossible to misunderstand. Your fate will be to leave this land forever. Where you will end up I know not but you will never again stand in Alagaësia. This is inescapable. It will come to pass even if you try to avoid it... The phrase that had haunted his dreams lately, the phrase that he was worrying about.
Saphira remained silent for a few seconds. pondering the issue as Eragon's heart beat faster and faster, anxious of what would occur. Never again the prophecy had said.
"Eragon, it is true that many parts of the prophecy have been fulfilled but some have not yet occurred. There is no way that your adventures with Arya can be described as an epic romance. When we left Alagaesia, we thought that we would never see the land and the people again and yet now here we are, a few years later, traveling to Alagaesia. Alagaesia needs our help, Roran and Katrina need our help, and so do Nasuada and Orik and Arya!. I can promise you that as long as there is life in me I will do everything I can to help them, even against the will of destiny." Saphira said with a loud and determined voice.
"But that is the problem, destiny cannot be avoided. You remember the story Arya told us, about the elf father Maezardi who had the premonition that his son would die by his own hand by accident in battle and how he tried to prevent his son's death by killing himself?" Eragon said.
"Of course I remember. Yet, we cannot let destiny control the way we live or act. We need to live life at the fullest, enjoy ourselves and love our friends and help them at their time of need. If destiny determines that something is not to be, then so be it, but at least we will know we have tried our best and will be able to move on." Saphira told him.
"But it proves that destiny is written and no one can go against his own destiny, unless he takes his own life. But does destiny truly exist? Does some being really decide our fate from the moment we are born until we die? The fact that Maezardi killed himself and changed the destiny of his son proves that we are the ones who control destiny and not the opposite. We control our actions and we make our decisions. We take our decisions according to our ultimate motive and every decision we take has a consequence to ourselves and the others around us, but that does not mean that our actions are controlled by destiny. Do you understand what I am trying to say?" Eragon asked.
"I think I do little one." Saphira replied.
"For example Galbatorix decided to take that fateful trip, where his dragon was killed by urgals. He could have picked a different road, he could have decided to stay at an inn for another day and his dragon might have been alive but he didn't. Some would say that it was his dragon's destiny to die but others would say that it was Galbatorix's choice that led to his dragon's death. We decide the future" Eragon said and remained silent for a long time.
"You have grown wiser Eragon. Maybe I will have to reconsider the title little one." Saphira joked.
"Still there are things that you have not considered such as the fact that there are things that are beyond our control. Things such as illnesses, things such as natural disasters. Fires, earthquakes, volcano eruptions. People die in these, or from these and it is not because of their actions. But we will never know for sure, there is no sure way to prove that you are right or that you are wrong. We can only speculate, and believe." Saphira stated.
"You are right as always partner of my heart. Thank you for this conversation Saphira." Eragon said and patted her back lovingly. His thoughts wondered at the words of Saphira, and a sense of calm slowly overcame him. He would just have to hope that he would be able to return to Alagaesia unharmed and that the prophecy had yet to be fulfilled as Saphira had said before.
Arget, Alaina's silver dragon filled the air with smoke as she laughed at a joke that Salador had made and Alaina smiled too. The two riders were growing closer to each other as the days passed. Thrain was talking to Gregorbak about the differences in the civilizations of the Urgals and the dwarves.
Eragon was happy to listen at both these conversations, letting time pass and his mind to wonder away from his previous discussion with Saphira. He even explained to his students a few of the secrets he had learned through the scrolls he had discovered in Illeria and read in Du Skulblaka Ramr over the years.
Finally, after a few hours and many riddles, Eragon looked at the trees that suddenly stopped, marking the end of the forrest. The ground was green from the grass and the Edda river branched into two ways, one leading north, towards lake Eldor, which was where the Edda river started from, and the other leading towards the Beor mountains. In between, the trading post of Hedarth could be seen. It was mainly used by the dwarves in order to trade with the elves from the eastern part of Du Weldenvarden.
"It is time" Saphira said with a foreboding tone.
Eragon held his breath, but nothing happened as Saphira landed on the eastern side of the river, along with the other dragons. Eragon could not believe it! He was finally back in Alagaesia! The land that had been his home for more than eighteen years, the land that he had grown up in, the land where most of the people he cared about, Roran, Katrina, Arya, Orik, and the others lived in. He jumped on the floor near Saphira, whose head was almost reaching the ground as she breathed heavily from the effort of flying. Eragon kneeled and touched the ground of his former home with his brow. He lifted his head and smiled at the world around him.
The riders next to him also came off the backs of their dragons and lied on the floor or stretched their legs. They would make camp for a few hours, in order to wait for the elves on board of the Talita to reach them. Gregorbak went to the forest to gather wood along with Salador. When they returned, Alaina lit a fire using magic and Thrain cooked the rabbits that he had hunted for the group. Eragon looked at the proceedings, thinking all the while what the best way to proceed would be.
When they had all eaten, Eragon gathered his students and talked to them about the strategy that the riders would follow in the war. He told them that he had talked with Roran, who informed him of the fall of Dras Leona. Nasuada's Empire army was retreating towards Illeria, the capital of the empire. The elves and dwarves were also near the city and would arrive in the next few days to support the city with their numbers. He had also heard worrying news from the elves that there was a threat in the north, near Teirm. The city had been completely destroyed. Eragon was torn between the two options. He could either leave the capital and go to Teirm or he could send a few of his students to investigate. Finally he decided that the threat of King Orrin was bigger than the northern threat. He would travel along with Thrain and Gregorbak to Illeria. However, he did not want to send only one student to investigate the northern threat as it could be something very dangerous and that was why he had decided that Salador and Alaina would both travel north to investigate.
"Salador and Alaina, you will travel north to investigate the threat and the rest will follow me to Illeria." Eragon said.
Salador looked at Alaina for a few seconds and Alaina smiled.
"You must only investigate and if there is any danger you will fly immediately back. Under no circumstances are you to fight it. Do you understand?"
"Yes Ebrithil". Alaina and Salador replied at the same time.
"Very well." Eragon said satisfied.
The students slept for the night, tired from the long journey they had endured, anxious of the war that was waiting for them ahead. Finally, as the sun was beginning to rise, Salador and Alaina began their journey to the North of Alagaesia, while Eragon and Thrain and Gregorbak along with their dragons, flew as fast as possible towards Illeria, the capital of the empire.
Eragon looked towards the vast empty space in front of him, the Hadarac desert, where no plants managed to grow, and no animals managed to live. The desert that was fast approaching, and he felt the heat from the sun on his skin. He heard Saphira roar and the dragons that were with her, answering her call and he smiled as he was back in Alagaesia, back to his old home. He gave Saphira energy from the eldunarya as they flew with all haste towards Illeria, where soon there would be a battle to determine the future of Illeria and of the whole world.