Chapter 5: Carvahall
Roran Stronghammer, Lord of Carvahall, brother of Eragon Shadeslayer, stood outside the great city, on the mountain called the Spine. The ground was covered with snow, and everywhere he looked, he could see the snow falling from the sky, covering the trees, and forming a thick layer on the roofs of the houses of Carvahall. From where he stood, he could see the great city below him, and he was surprised as he remembered the small village it had been before. The town had been rebuilt from the ruins it had been only a few years ago, because of the refusal of the villagers to obey to the rule of the oath breaker king, Galbatorix.
Carvahall was now the center of trade and the biggest city in the area. The people had built a strong stone wall around the city, with the help of the dwarves, and there were strong watchtowers in the four corners of the city, in order to be able to spot any danger from a few miles away. The city was built in the style of Teirm, where the poor houses were on the lower level, and as the level of the ground increased, so did the quality of the houses. A large market place occupied a large area of the city, as it had become a center for trade in the area, and one could hear the shout of merchants shouting for the quality of their products to whoever passed near their stand. There was everything a person could ever need, from sweets to fruits, to meat and clothing and even in some cases jewelry and strange artifacts. In the center of the city, there were many government buildings, such as the meeting hall and also, a large castle with thick surrounding walls, and great towers. It gave the city a sense of impenetrability, as it was bigger than any other building in the city and it looked strong and hard to conquer.
"Daddy, daddy!" he heard a girl shout and he quickly turned around to see his daughter Ismira running towards him. He looked at her as if he was looking at her for the first time, and he remembered the little baby she had been a few years ago. Now, in front of him, was a small girl of eight years old, with long brown-red hair, and brown eyes. She had a wide mischievous grin as she ran towards him chased by her brother Garrow. She wore a nice green dress and she ran behind Roran with as scream.
"Save me!" she shouted as Garrow came running behind her angry. He was two years younger than Ismira, at only 6 years old, but he already looked like his father and he had the attitude of his grandfather. He had brown hair and brown eyes like Roran, and he had a red face at a barely contained anger. He wore nice rich red clothes, and brown trousers. At his hands, he carried some snow and he was ready to throw it at his sister at the first opportunity.
"Give me back my toy!" he shouted at Ismira trying to chase her but his father was blocking the way.
"Easy now, little fella." Roran said catching him." Ismira, give back his toy". he told her with a sigh.
"I don't have it!" she said. It was true, she didn't have it with her at the moment. But she knew where it was, or better where she had hid it, she thought as she tried to contain a smile.
"Liar!" Garrow shouted. "You took it from me when I was talking to Hope." he said with a shout. Tears came to his eyes as he ran away, ashamed. Hope was Horst's and Elain's daughter
Roran sighed again. His two kids were always fighting about something. In a way, he felt as if he was still in a war, only this time, he had to try to make peace between the two sides. He thought of his wife Katrina as his heart started beating faster. He wondered how she managed to always remain calm, at these situations. He knew that Ismira was jealous of Garrow, and she tried her best to make his life a misery by hiding his toys or taking them or even breaking them once. He would have to find a way to comfort his son later in the day. He had an idea, that involved Snowfire, the horse Eragon had given him. He wondered what Eragon was doing at the moment. He had talked to him only a few times since the dragon city started getting built and all he had heard were vague rumors in the Carvahall inn.
His thoughts were interrupted as suddenly someone came running towards him, shouting his name.
"Lord Stronghammer!" the man shouted, and as Roran turned, he saw it was Baldor.
"Baldor! How many times do I have to tell you to call me by my name?" Roran asked.
"At least once more" Baldor answered with a smile and a short laugh. "High Queen Nasuada wants to talk to you, about something important." he continued panting slightly, as he was still trying to catch his breath.
"I'll be there in a moment." he said as he quickly started walking towards the city. His guards followed in his steps, protecting him from any unwanted attacks. It never hurt to be careful. The country was still trying to recover from the war against Galbatorix, and there were still people who resented Nasuada's rule and who thought she was not a legitimate queen. This made him vulnerable to attack, which deemed the protecting guards a necessary precaution.
A few minutes later, he passed the great market of Carvahall, which was full of the citizens of the city, buying their food, or drinking or shouting their wares, and he turned to a big road, leading to the high, strong castle. He passed the gates, as the guards lifted their weapons to clear the way and saluted him. The massive gates opened, and he quickly made his way to his room, where Nasuada was waiting for him to talk to her. The guards stopped at the door, and arranged themselves in a protective stance, waiting for him.
The room, was richly decorated. Roran looked at the large bed, with it's comfortable mattress and he wished that he had time to sleep, but it was still early in the day, and he should not seem a lazy ruler. He sighed, as he then looked at the large fireplace, where a big fire was lit, warming the room from the biting outside cold. There were two armchairs on the left side of the fireplace, with a table in the middle, so that two people could talk, and have drinks at the same time. On the left side of the fireplace was his desk, which was currently filled with books, papers, and lists and maps. He would have to clean it up later or he would never hear the end of it from Katrina, he thought with a smile. The mirror was placed near his desk, so Roran sat on his chair as he greeted Queen Nasuada.
"Queen Nasuada! It is a pleasure to see you" he said politely, trying to open the conversation. She was wearing a long green dress, over her dark skin, and her hair were tied behind her back. On her ear, she wore two beautiful diamond earrings and on her head, he could see the magnificent gold and diamond crown, the elves had helped build after the war. Her eyes looked at him curiously. She was sitting on the throne, and she had an impressive overall look.
"Lord Roran, it is a pleasure to see you are well. I trust everything is well with your family?". she asked.
"Yes, your highness. Everything is fine...except for the fights of small children." he said and Nasuada smiled seeming to understand his situation.
"How are things at the capital?" he asked curiously. The distance was big, and he could never trust the stories of travelers as they were always exaggerated or fake.
"All is well, Roran. Things are moving at a quick pace. We are doing our best to finish all the construction for the Olympic Games that will happen in a few weeks time. In fact, I wanted to discuss with you some things about the event." Nasuada said with a smile.
"Ofcourse your highness. But what could I do to help? I do not have the funds to help with construction of the stadiums..."he said trying to think of a reason Nasuada wanted to talk to him.
"I understand Roran. You see, as you know, the situation in the country is still not good. We are still, after all these years, trying to recover from the war against Galbatorix. As you know, there were rebellions after the end of the war, people trying to take advantage of our weakness in government to get the rule of the country for themselves. The biggest of all, was the one led by Tharros the Quick, but after many months and many battles, he was defeated, and punished. You were there during his execution." she said sighing, as Roran remembered, the soldier he had met at the siege of Aroughs. He was a brave man, Roran thought.
"Still, there are people who resent my rule and who think they should take my place. It is this reason, I want to ask you to come to the capital for the Olympic Games. As a war hero, it would be good to have you in the stadium, not only for reasons of security, as you are an experienced commander, but also I think it would be good for the people to see you compete at the games. We are organizing the event after all, after Eragon's idea, and it would be a shame if we had no one to represent us, participating in the games." she said passionately.
"I see your concern your majesty. If you deem it necessary for me to be there, then I will be present at the games. May I ask, what sports will there be?" Roran asked, still anxious about him having to compete in the games.
"There's certainly going to be a sword and archery competition, as well as fighting. And also, there will be a chariot race, and a knight tournament" Nasauda answered, distracted by her thoughts as she was still trying to arrange the details for each sport in her mind.
"I see. Is there anything else you wanted to talk to me about?" Roran asked.
"Just be careful Roran." Nasuada said and with a signal from her hand, the image was lost, as the magician stopped the conversation.
Roran looked at the mirror for a few seconds, deep in his thoughts. He looked around the room and wished Katrina was there, but she was probably busy doing something else. His eyes stopped on the bookshelf near his bed, where he kept his favorite book. Maybe he had time to read a bit before he packed his things to get ready for the big trip, he thought. He opened the book and started reading the first page when he was interrupted by a loud scream and a boys voice yelling from the floor below. His son and daughter were fighting again, and he needed to restore peace. A sigh escaped him, as he closed his book again and put it in its place. He ran downstairs, followed by his guards, to prevent a further fight. The Olympic Games had not yet started but Garrow and Ismira would certainly get a gold medal in fighting he thought amused.