The journey to Ellesmera was a long one, so Arya used that time to allow her mind to wander. One such topic that she lingered over for quite a while was her dragon’s name. She had considered many names and offered them to her dragon but he only approved of one name: Firnen. The name belonged to a wild dragon that lived many years ago. The dragon was known for his fierceness and how he died protecting his nest mate during the fall of the Riders. Arya was pleased with Firnen’s choice and thought it suited him greatly.
Once Firnen’s name had been chosen, her mind wandered once more, this time stopping at a subject that was a bit perplexing. Eragon. She was surprised about how often his name kept creeping into her thoughts during her journey to Du Weldenvarden. She wondered and worried what would become of him now that he no longer had an enemy that needed to be defeated. Now that she herself was a Rider, she found that she was able to judge his character better. Some of the choices he made did not make sense to her before but now she was able to relate to him and understand.
When Firnen had hatched for her, Arya had gained two connections: a connection with her dragon but also a connection to Eragon. She had always felt close to him; he had saved her life too many times for her to count and she trusted him with her life as he did with her. He was a good friend and also a good partner in battle. However, she now shared something so rare with him that only three people in all of Alagaesia had: a dragon. He was the only person who could understand and appreciate their lot in life for being bonded with such wondrous creatures. Also, after she received training in the ways of the Riders from Eragon, they would be considered as the elder Riders. The task of training and educating the new generation of Riders would fall on both of their shoulders and, surprisingly, this thought pleased her immensely. They had always made an excellent team and they would continue to do so as mentors.
However, Arya was still wary of Eragon. Though he has matured greatly over the time that she has known him, he is still considerably young, especially when compared to her own age. Not to mention the fact that they are not of the same species. They are different in every possible way. She has lived through many disastrous years and she was brought up in an entirely different fashion than him. He is rash and impulsive and she is careful and cautious. He sometimes forgets how important his position is and she would never do anything to jeopardize hers. How could she even begin to consider the possibility of him as her mate?
Eragon would also be her mentor for a short time. It would be improper to forge a relationship with him when she would be his pupil. She would not endanger her studies like Saphira did with Glaedr. The future of the Riders lied on their shoulders and it would not do well to be distracted with the frivolity of courting and love.
All of these reasons make logical sense to Arya, but then why does her heart protest? Why is she perpetually confused about him? In regards to time, they have not known each for very long. She knew Faolin for at least thrice as long as she has known Eragon. How can she develop feelings for Eragon so quickly when it took almost a century to develop feelings for Faolin? And those feelings still remain for Faolin. It will take a very long time to get over him. It has not even been a decade since his death and having feelings for another man will only be an insult to his memory.
Her tumultuous emotions continued to swirl around her head as she ran with Firnen perched on her shoulder. He really seemed to enjoy the fast speed in which she traveled at. Arya could feel his joy through their close link and his longing for flight.
Firnen shifted slightly on her shoulders and she sensed him unfold her wings slightly. He continued to spread out his wings slowly. He must be trying to taste what flying is like. His joy increased tenfold as he squawked happily and Arya couldn’t help but smile. She was probably just as impatient as he was for them to fly together.
His wings tipped backward slightly and all of a sudden he was ripped from her shoulders, his talons tearing into her flesh as he tried to remain upright. A cry erupted from Firnen’s throat as he was tossed to air and flipped sporadically.
Fear gripped her as she quickly came to a halt and rushed to Firnen who layed on the floor; one of his wings was bent at an awkward angle. She could feel his pain and sensed that he had broken one of the bones in his wings.
“Waise heil,” Arya gasped, watching as Firnen’s wing bent back into a normal angle and she sighed in relief. She scooped him into her arms, sat on the ground, and just held him close to her. His small body was shaking slightly. She tried to calm him by showing calming pictures to him and she was successful. His frame stopped shaking and his breathing became normal once again.
“You are still too young to attempt flight, Firnen. Your time will come soon enough,” she said soothingly to him. A quick look around her surroundings told her that they had made good progress for the day.
“The day grows late. We shall rest here tonight,” she said as she sat onto the soft, grassy ground. Firnen squawked in response and snuggled deeper into her chest and sleep claimed him quickly. He looked so peaceful and Arya couldn’t help but admire his majestic beauty. She was indeed fortunate to have met and to have bonded with such a wonderful creature. With this thought, she laid down and fell into her waking dreams.
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