Chapter 3: Salador
A small breeze of cold air blew in the "Lions Den" as another man entered Feinster's tavern. Men were sitting in the bar and in the tables and were drinking and eating after a hard day's work and some laughter could be heard from a few tables as people said obscene stories or stories about adventures and ancient heroes. Salador always enjoyed listening to the stories and the achievements described. He also heard different rumors about the city, the governor's private life and rumors about what Eragon Shadeslayer was doing. It had been a whole year since he had left Alagaesia, and people were talking of a new dragon city somewhere in the wild. The atmosphere was dark, as the only light was from the candles on the tables and a few torches on the brick wall. Salador looked up from his table, as he was eating his stew half heartedly. He wasn't particularly hungry that afternoon, and his interests were focused more on the women of the tavern. He looked again at the woman with the blonde hair and the green eyes at the other end of the tavern, and he was thinking of the best way to approach her. He was fighting an inner battle as he was too shy to talk to the girl, but on the other hand he liked her appearance and wanted to talk to her. His heart started beating faster as he was always afraid of a rejection and the laughter that came after it. He needed to act, but before he could do anything the girl saw him looking at her and smiled. Salador smiled back and lifted his cup to the girl as he bought a drink for her from the barman. If a direct approach was not possible he could at least try to be polite.
A few moments passed and the barman gave the woman the drink as she smiled at Salador in acknowledgment. Then, as he saw this, a tall muscular man walked towards Salador and said with a heavy voice .
"Why are you staring at my girl and smiling at her and buying her drinks. You think you're some kind of wonder man to steal peoples girls like that? I'll give you something to smile about! When I'm done with you, you will never smile again!" he said as with a quick powerful move he dragged a surprised Salador to the wall and tried to punch him in the face.
Salador acted on instinct and blocked the blow, deflecting it as the man hit the wall instead with a sound of pain coming out from him. Salador punched the taller man on his stomach, but it was no use as the man was obviously a soldier. With a quick succession of punches he managed to land a punch on the mans face just as he was kicked by him on the leg. A sound of pain escaped Salador as a growing crowd of people was slowly coming towards the men chanting and giving advice to them on how to proceed. A woman could be heard protesting as she begged for them to stop but the man was clearly furious now and Salador saw with horror as he picked up a knife from the table. The man approached and with a quick succession of attacks he managed to cut Salador's hand as he punched Salador in the face, bruising his eye and making Salador's vision flicker. The man was obviously skilled with a knife, but suddenly Salador was infuriated by the cut and he grabbed a chair and slammed it with all his strength on the man breaking it. As the man staggered backwards in surprise, Salador heard a satisfying sound as a bone of the man broke. A cry of pain escaped him and then he pushed Salador on the ground, as they both dropped to the floor, the man crushing Salador with his weight as he tried to stab him with the knife, and blood dripped on Salador from the man's broken nose. The seconds passed painfully as Salador used all the strength he had as with both hands he tried to prevent the knife from descending and with small kicks he tried to hurt the man.
"Enough! There will be order in this tavern!" He heard a voice shout and a sword being drawn.
"This is your last warning everyone return to your seats and you two break it up right now" he shouted and Salador felt the man's pressure on the knife weaken and the weight being dragged off him.
With a curse he lifted himself up and he looked around as the people were returning to their seats and then to the man that had intervened. He was a short muscular bald man, with a brown beard and he held his sword at Salador's throat as he spoke loudly.
"You are under arrest for attacking a soldier. You don't have the right to speak, filth, so don't make the attempt. Now I've had enough of both of you ruining my day. You, get back to your station and report to your superiors." he said pointing to the soldier with the tip of his sword.
"You, will be flogged for attacking a civilian." the commander said as the soldier lost his smile and looked at the bald man with surprise. He then quickly saluted and with a sour expression and a murderous look to Salador he turned and left the tavern.
"And you, attacking a soldier. What were you thinking? It's prison and the headsman for you." he said in a loud voice and Salador felt his legs lose their strength as he saw his future and imagined his head rolling away.
A shudder ran through him and he looked with surprise as he was dragged outside the building by two other soldiers and he was heading for the city's prison. He tried to shout in protest but the men punched him and ordered him to be silent and Salador could only trip and yelp as another set of painful messages entered his already bruised body. He could not believe the change in fates he had experienced. One second he was eating his meal and the next he was being dragged by two soldiers heading to a headsman! He heard as the two soldiers cursed as a large amount of people were leaving an area and Salador remembered the reason. A new dragon egg was being shown to the people for it to choose a rider. He had heard many rumors and many claims as people lied about being the new rider or being chosen. It was a funny matter and if he was not in this situation he would laugh. Apparenltly the dragon hadn't chosen someone yet and probably never would, Salador thought, at least not in his lifetime.
The soldier cursed again as he bumped on someone and that person lost her balance and dropped on the floor. With a curse she stepped up and shouted at the soldier.
"What do you think you're doing stumbling on people like a drunk dwarf on the middle of the street? Do you have any idea how precious these items are? Well they certainly cost more than your worthless head!" she said as she put the bag down and she looked at her dress patting off some dirt that had stuck on her clothes as she fell.
She was short at stature and had brown curly hair. She looked like a herbalist.
"Madam, I am very sorry but we are in a hurry to bring this prisoner to the headsman. Captain's orders." he said and pointed behind him but Salador had taken advantage of the only possible escape possibility and had punched the other soldier and had grabbed the bag of the woman.
He knew that what he was doing was wrong, but anything was better than him losing his head. After trying to escape imprisonment he would be a wanted man, and this bag full of precious contents perhaps was enough for him to survive for a few weeks on the road. However, as he grabbed the bag, he heard a loud cracking noise coming from it. Weird, he thought, and he felt movement from the bag. Surprised he stopped and was tripped by the other soldier, losing his only chance of escape. Everyone looked at the bag with confused expressions until at last the woman shouted.
"Don't move. That is a dragon egg hatching." she said as a large round yellow cracked object rolled out of the bag and kept moving.
"A dragon egg doing what? That's impossible" Salador thought amazed.
The dragon had waited for many years in the protective barrier of it's egg. He was now being shown yet again to people, so that he could choose one of them to be his future partner of mind and soul. Throughout these years he had rejected many of them, trying to find the best possibility for the one who would be his rider.
Suddenly, he felt a man. Someone caught his attention. Could he really be the man that he would choose? The man slowly got closer. The dragon analyzed the characteristics of the man. He was a human and the dragon could see that he had many of the things he had been searching for. He was brave and clever and friendly. He was determined to be great in life and yet a great sadness and anxiety was on his mind. The man stopped in front of the egg. For a minute he paused, and then with a quick movement he grabbed the egg and started running.
The dragon had waited for a person of this man's character for many years and he was sure that this was the man that would become its rider. Suddenly, he kicked trying to break the egg, and the man stopped surprised as he was tripped to the floor. Slowly he dug with his claws at the shell of the hard egg, breaking it from inside. He felt cracks on the egg and his feet went outside of the shell as he pushed his wings trying to break the shell of the egg. Loud cracks could be heard as finally he released his body and then his head from the egg. He opened his eyes and breathed for the first time outside the protective shell of his egg. He slowly turned his neck and licked his yellow scales to clean them from the membrane of the egg. When he was satisfied, he shifted his gaze, his eyes meeting the three unknown people looking at him and the person that would become his rider.
He was a young man, of tall height, with brown curly hair. His green eyes showed an amount of surprise and wonder and his face looked bruised as if he had been fighting. He was cleanly shaved and on his face was a small cut on his lips and a big growing bruise on his left eye. The dragon showed its teeth at he three unknown people, angered that they had hurt its rider and then slowly he approached its future rider and touched him on his hand. The man yelled thinking he was being attacked but then he felt a sharp pain on his hand and then the connection being established with the dragon. The dragon puffed up some smoke in satisfaction and then growled again at the three people warning them off his new rider. He then slowly got near Salador and squeaked playfully at him.
Salador was surprised. He of all people was a rider. He looked at his hand, unable to believe his luck with an open mouth. Then he looked again at the small creature in front of him, as it growled protectively at the two soldiers and the woman. Eragon Shadeslayer had defeated Galbatorix with his dragon Saphira and now he, Salador was a rider too and this was his dragon. Salador the rider. He smiled at the world around him overjoyed as a small laughter escaped him. Then felt a protective feeling towards the small creature in front of him and a growing sense of hunger which was surprising as he had just eaten. He then realized that it was coming from the dragon.
He looked as the herbalist approached and in an unknown tongue, which he figured was the ancient language she said a phrase and the dragon looked at her with its smart eyes as it lowered its guard. She then ordered the two soldiers.
"Don't just stand there! We have a new rider! Such joyful news! Spread the word and get him to the palace." she said loudly and the stunned soldiers looked at her, then at Salador, and grudgingly obeyed her orders.
They saluted and Salador heard one of the men say under his breath
"Lucky bastard". He then tried to open way in the crowds for the new rider.
"He's right" Salador thought. "I'm lucky to even be alive. All thanks to this dragon". He looked at it with wonder and then picked the dragon on his lap as the dragon made a happy squeaking noise and then hummed satisfied with the contact. He then made his way after the soldiers, a smile appearing on his face as the woman approached him. He was a rider and he could not believe his luck as he hugged his own dragon on his chest and smiled at the world around him.