The steady pounding of her feet was soothing to her troubled thoughts. Her head swam with many emotions and she had difficulty subduing them. Once she was finally able to wrestle one into submission, another emotion would take over, allowing the previous one to escape. Pain, sorrow, anger, love, confusion, hope, despair, loneliness, indecision.
The war was finally over. She thought that, if this ever came to be, she would finally be at peace for she would no longer have to live in a life full of fear and pain. However, she found that life was never devoid of these emotions. Yes, she was elated that Galbatorix was dead but she was not pleased with her new name. Dragonkiller. She shuddered. How could she reclaim her old role as egg carrier if she carried that name?
The death of her mother also left her surprisingly distressed. Her relationship with Islanzadi was always precarious, but she was still her child and she, her mother. She grudgingly admitted that she had a small hope, however foolish, that their relationship would one day settle and become what it should always have been. She loved her mother greatly and regretted not trying harder to fix what was broken long ago.
There it was again: pain. It fought for her attention the hardest, refused to be pushed to the side by emotions like hope and joy. Oh no, pain refused to be ignored. But, she should be accustomed to it by now, for pain has been an unwelcome companion in her life for longer than she cared for. She first met pain when she was but a child, when her father, Evander, died. She remembered those awful days when she cursed the world and vowed to do everything in her power to avenge his death and to make the world right again. Her father’s death was the main reason why she decided to pledge herself to her people and obtain the yawe symbol tattooed onto her back. Pain struck again when her mother disowned her. This blow wounded her more than she cared to admit at the time: it was like losing her father all over again. All of a sudden, she found herself all alone in the world.
And then Faolin came into her life. He was like a breath of fresh air after years of suffocation. He shared her love for her people and also shared her determination to protect them at all costs. He understood her in every way possible, a feat that pleased her and scared her all at the same time. No matter how hard she tried to hide her emotions, no matter how hard her exterior appeared to be, he was able to deduce her opinions and thoughts as if they were his own. He slipped through her armor like a blade, smoothly and without difficulty. He was perfect in every aspect and she never wanted to let him go.
Of course, fate had other plans. On that awful night many moons ago, fate decided to rip away the one person who was capable of eliciting the strange feeling of happiness from her. Besides her father, he was the only one who could make her laugh and he never failed to bring light into the darkest of nights.
The pain of losing Faolin was by far the worse. She felt as if she lost a part of herself. She had no one else to rely on and was truly and completely alone at that point. The only thing that kept her going was the promise of a hope. She was only able to endure everything that occurred at Gilead because she knew that she thwarted Galbatorix from reclaiming Saphira’s egg. If not for Galbatorix, she would still have her father, Faolin and her mother. Her father died trying to thwart Galbatorix from gaining power after the fall of the Riders. Faolin died trying to protect the one hope they had of overthrowing Galbatorix: Saphira. Her mother died trying to protect her people from the reign of Galbatorix and to help end his tyranny. Saphira’s egg was the only hope she had of avenging their deaths and she couldn’t allow herself to give in and float into the never ending sleep known as death. She had to survive to ensure that everything she sacrificed was not in vain. She needed to survive for her father, for Faolin, and for all those that died at the hands of Galbatorix. It was, however, no easy ordeal. Pain would never give up, but in the end she was able to conquer it, because she won by surviving. After Gilead, she believed that pain would no longer be a formidable enemy in her life.
And then this happened. Fate once again struck and took her mother away. Fate took away the possibility of reconciliation and left her filled with regret and grief. Alas, how cruel fate can be, she thought. It seems that pain increases over time. With each tragedy, the pain accumulates and remains dormant until a new event causes it to resurface. At times it seems like it will envelope and crush her, just like it does now. Each step was a struggle and each breath tore at her lungs until it seemed that she would suffocate. The steady rhythm of walking and riding helped ease the pain slightly, for the repetition was something she could rely on and not question, but it couldn’t cure it.
As she neared the vast forest, she knew that her rhythm would have to be broken. The small group of elves, all that was left of the army that left its home to attack Galbatorix, had been travelling for days. They kept up a nice even pace that allowed them to travel for days without rest. After relying on that pace for so long, she feared to relinquish it. She knew it was foolish but she didn’t want anything else to change. In her experience, change only brought pain.
Alas, the forest was upon them and she forced herself to stop. She allowed the group to pass her; no one questioned why she desired solitude.
Du Weldenvarden was her home, but it also contained many painful memories, memories of her father, Faolin, and her mother. How could she return when there was nothing for her here? Her people, she reminded herself, you pledged yourself to these people. That is why you must return.
She sighed and allowed herself a moment of weakness. Tears cascaded down her face as she removed a small chest from her packs. From that chest, she removed a beautiful, emerald egg. The sight of it gave her the strength to continue. It wobbled slightly in her arms, but it didn’t alarm her for this happened frequently when she was carrying Saphira’s egg. She hastily wiped her eyes and whispered sweet nothings to the egg as she crossed the Du Weldenvarden’s border.