CHAPTER 8: Into the Woods

“It’s true! Nothing really important happened. I thought adventuring would have been more fun. This was boring. Boring!”

Lifaen, one of the elves who greeted them at Ceris, smiled at Lomyolèndri, sitting by its side on the first canoe.

“Did you expect more action from your travel, young progenitor?”

“Well, kinda!.. Weren’t adventurers supposed to be bloodthirsty and wranglers? If it wasn’t for me, it wouldn’t have happened nothing at all! It was just talking about magic and racial customs and difference and introspection fluff! Nothing even slightly interesting.”

Arya watched discretely the young elf, wondering why had it decided not to walk on water or otherwise fly in that particular day.

Maybe it has finally tired itself?

I don’t think so. It must be something else… Maybe the enchantments on Du Weldenvarden.

Narì frowned, rowing beside her.

The first thing she did upon arrival was telepathically contacting the elves, to warn them about guarding carefully their minds; for how skilled Lomyolèndri could have been in magic, it couldn’t possibly overhear, at least not without manifesting itself, which allowed her finally to communicate more freely with reliable speakers about what could be done with it. Officially Edurna and Celdin had remained watching Ceris, in reality Edurna had already departed to outrun them to Ellesméra to inform the Queen about Eragon and Saphira’s arrival and about the necessary precautions when they’d have to treat with Lomyolèndri’s capability of affecting dreams and possessing minds.

As they slid in Eldor lake, Narì’s mind reverberated with doubt at hers.

Do you really think he’s a descendant of our progenitors, Arya Dröttningu?

Everything would appear to imply it. It isn’t untreatable once you understand its moods. You have to be patient and compliant, as long as it doesn’t mean being outright offensive to Eragon and Saphira. The more amused it will be when we reach Ellesméra, the more likely will be the chance the Queen could manage to obtain valuable information out of it.

“What’s the matter about praising baby blue for anything she does? That plunge wasn’t that amazing…”

“Don’t you like the shine of her scales and her marvelous strength and bearing, young progenitor?”

“Nah, I’ve seen better. But that wasn’t the point, I meant that.. Oh, now I get it! You praise her so to make dragon’s dude even more irrelevant! That’s cool. I’ll do it. (switching to the human language) Hey, you know what? I think that..!”

Remember it to the others: if it happens to show up in any of your dreams, hide your memories, but do not let it out, play along and see if you manage to let it say something more about how that spell works.

She was about to add more when the idle chatter between Eragon and Lifaen, which the human probably thought she couldn’t hear from a boat to the other, caught her attention.

“How old is Arya?”

He’s doing it again. He really has no decency.

Lifaen mind created a quick link with hers, in a rush of embarrassment and offence.

Should I answer, Arya Dröttningu?

Aye, go ahead, it will help dissuade him from going on with this childish crush of his.

Far on the other canoe, Lifaen gave Eragon a false smile of compliance.

“Arya is quite young. She was born a year before the destruction of the Riders.”

While Eragon was struck by the revelation, Lomyolèndri couldn’t help but interfere in the topic.

“Which will mean?”

“A hundred-three years old.”

“Hey, she is practically a child! Is there no-one here at least decently old?”

The Rider shook his head, addressing it probably just so he could stop thinking about the implications of the news.

“What about you? How old are you?”

Lifaen nodded and smiled again, turning to Lomyolèndri.

“Yes, ebrivanyl, if you don’t mind, could you tell us? We are curious on the matter.”

“Well, isn’t that kind of a private question? (thinking) So, let’s see.. I should be kind of old from my point of view.. don’t remember the exact details, but maybe about twenty-three.”

Eragon snorted.

“Bah, that’s not old at all! You have just a few more years than me!”

“Dude, decades! Ah! (turning at Lifaen) Can you believe this guy? He thought I was meaning plain twenty-three…”

“But, ebrivanyl, you say you are old already at two centuries of life?”

(crossing its legs, grasping at the canoe’s side) “Well, we didn’t have some fancy binding ritual to leech off dragons’ magic, I’ll tell you that. That does explain all the undeserved praising, though…”

“But at least, ebrivanyl, you seem to be blessed as well with preternatural youth.”

“Eh, not really, that’s just magic inside. I’m altering myself to look like in my glorious mid-forties. Look…”

Arya held her breath as she saw the young elf changing appearance until it matched a perfect likeness of Lifaen. Every particular and even the clothes themselves had changed; it happened fast and Lomyolèndri didn’t look the least tired by the effort.

“See?”

This time Lifaen smiled with open mouth out of true surprise and amusement.

“Amazing! You can reshape yourself with an ease no master of our kind could outmatch, ebrivanyl. And without any word or tiredness?”

“Yup.”

“And what about your tunic? Was it the same spell or another at the same time?”

“Nah, that’s also build in. As in I’m actually completely naked.”

The white elf winked at Eragon, who rushed instinctively a few inches away from it while it took back its previous form.

“And your true form? Could we see it, ebrivanyl?”

“What for? Nah, you don’t spoil something like that for nothing, it’s a sight to be deserved.”

Eragon took back rowing, speaking again with an harsh tone.

“You’re older of both me and Arya and more of any human and most of dwarves can hope to become.. then why do you shape yourself as a child?”

“Obviously because it makes me connect with my actual inner child, y’know? Besides, a child flirting with a girl is just that cute, but if its wrinkled old man? For some strange reason it suddenly becomes disgusting. (pushing Eragon’s side with its foot) It’s the same with you, dragon’s dude. Bet you wouldn’t feel so turned on by her if she looked like a century old human, am I right? Eh? Eh?”

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“How much to it?”

“It should start any moment now, Arya Dröttningu.”

Arya nodded slowly, going back to sharpen her senses, waiting to hear the first echo. The new insight on Lomyolèndri had unsettled her again; not only could it take possession of other people’s bodies, it could also change itself to their shape, without no-one knowing or be able to foresee it. She recollected her memories of the previous days, all its absences, shuddering at the thought of what it could have done all the times it wasn’t traveling with them. With its teleport spell and shapeshifting it could have been anywhere doing who knew what.

Lifaen and Narì weren’t as much concerned as she was, they thought the white elf’s coming was in fact doubling the blessing of the new Rider’s arrival, but for some reason they were yet to receive the full extent of Lomyolèndri’s malevolence. It had visited the dreams of both of them and they confirmed it was somewhat disrespectful in its trickery, but mostly just playful and jolly.

The first singing voice came to her ears.

At that point she had could have believed Lomyolèndri had been behaving decently with the elves because of some ploy to gain their trust, but coherence and strategy didn’t really seemed qualities it could have mastered. The other alternative was everything it said were actually the truth and its actions were to be attributed to its different culture: she had grown accustomed to humans and dwarves, but she didn’t forget how had been her first years among them nor how her very people tended to treat them. If Lomyolèndri did come from Alalëa, it came from a society whose last contact with hers predated the foundation of the Riders’ Order; it would make sense for it to think of the dragons as wild and terrible creatures and of the humans and dwarves as little more than savages and even playthings. She could even start to understand its pranks as a defense mechanism of some sort; there were no doubts the white elf was a free spirit and all everybody else had done from its arrival was either complaining or threatening it for anything it did or hammering it with questions about who and what it was. It wasn’t hard to wonder Lomyolèndri just fought back in its own way.

Other voices joined the first; Arya glanced at Eragon and Orik first, in the encampment, then tried to locate the white elf, mentally asking to do the same to Lifaen and Narì.

She couldn’t deny the new perspective of things she forced herself into to better understand any possible threat Lomyolèndri could have posed had inadvertently shed some new light on Eragon as well. At first she had taken his defense at every chance against the white elf, but the more time had passed, the more she felt her actions biased. She couldn’t refute the young Rider had gone to great lengths to protect her and honor her in his own way, but now she couldn’t help but wonder how much of any of that was genuine kindness of heart and not the collateral result of the boy’s clear physical infatuation in her regards. His self-loathing and defeatist behavior throughout the journey to Du Weldenvarden had only increased her anguish and the belief that a wrong-placed instinctively gratitude and blind desperation-driven hope had led her to see in Eragon more than it actually were.

I cannot think this way. For good or ill, Saphira has chosen him. She must have had good reasons.. ach, Lomyolèndri probably would say as much good as unborn child can manage… But he is the Rider, he’ll train at Ellésmera, he can still be the one. But.. otherwise.. maybe if we were to contact again Lomyolèndri’s people, with mages as skilled, Galbatorix could be defeated, even without the employment of the Riders…

Eragon jumped to his feet, running to the forest, and Arya was forced to seize him and deafen him with a spell to the intoxicating music all around them, while Lifaen did the same to the dwarf not far away and Narì continued to look for Lomyolèndri.

“I’m sorry, Eragon, I miscounted the days, either I wouldn’t have brought us anywhere near Sìlthrim or any elven city, not during Dagshelgr. You have to know, our saturnalias, our celebrations, are perilous for mortals.”

She went on with the explanation half distracted by the marvelous and enthralling sound of her kindred voices in the air, half by the search for the white elf. She didn’t really forgot. In fact she informed herself about the celebration and timed their course. It was another test, she wanted to learn as much about Lomyolèndri’s nature as possible before presenting it to the Queen; she didn’t have much of chance to operate magic of any kind upon it and the Dagshelgr invocation offered a unique and timely opportunity to witness its reaction on a high-end spell in the ancient language.

Still recovering, the dwarf snarled at her.

“By my beard and my ax, I will not be controlled against my will by magic.”

It was about to add more when a croaky voice echoed over the singing.

“Let it go, my son, it is I, thoust chosen deity who speaks. And thou too, adopted human: abandon thyself to ye gooth ol’frolicking and fornicating ways under tis’blesseth soil…”

Eragon held the hammer-shaped necklace in his hand and shook it.

“Get out, Lomy, you’re not fooling anybody.”

(emerging in a shimmering cloud of smoke) “Aww, man!..”

Arya crossed her arms and gazed at it, giving it a hint to follow her aside from the encampment.

“Lomyolèndri-ebrivanyl, do you sing your forest as us or have you abandoned this practice?”

(flying after her) “Well, no, but I’d say mostly because Faerie is always like this. Did you need some überepic ritual spell to put your act together?”

“Faerie? Do you mean Alalëa? And it is always like this?”

“Sure. (looking around) Actually even better. It’s like a never-ending orgy with elves and eladrins and fairies and spirits and talking animals and magical beasts. It’s pretty awesome hardcore.”

“Aren’t you feeling somehow unsettled? I could teach you a spell to avoid being beguiled by our songs.”

“Nah, I’m fine.”

“You said you’re elf but you are no immortal and our songs can light wild passions, unlock secrets desires and primal instincts, cutting any restraints that a sober mind could…”

“How’s that any different from any other day? (staring at her for a while) Although.. you didn’t spell out the sex-song from baby blue, right? Do you think I could have a better shot at her tonigh-nevermind, I’ll find out by myself.”

The white elf flew away chuckling, while Arya passed a hand over her forehead and contacted telepathically Lifaen and Narì.

No distinguishable change.

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Eragon was waiting for Saphira to land, trying to calm her with his thoughts, when Lomy popped out of nowhere in front of the dragon, forcing her to a sudden dive, grabbing on her neck while she descended. They landed a few meters from him, but his link to her allowed him to hear all the conversation as it started.

“So, feeling horny tonight, baby blue?”

Go away.

“You know what it means, right? Come on! I know you’re trying to save yourself for your knight-dude, but let’s face it: the guy’s completely clueless.”

The young Rider increased his steps, closing in.

You are disgusting. And your mind his confounded.

“Here: I’ll make it even simpler for you…”

Flying by the side of her snout he slowly took the shape of Eragon, hugging her head.

“See? Now you can have what you want too!”

Saphira growled and snapped her jaws to catch it, but the white elf dislocated itself, reappearing tumbling on her back. Eragon finally reached them, shouting at Lomy.

“Leave her alone!”

“You can still join us, you know? I wouldn’t do this if you weren’t that shy. I’m the one doing the favor, here!”

“I’m warning you..!”

“Blah blah blah.. (crawling under a wing) Besides, what’s your problem? You think this is sick, what’s your drooling all over the elf buddy? Put your priorities straight, dude.”

Saphira violently shrugged herself, temporarily getting rid of the molester, which all too soon reappeared fiddling under her neck.

You are just a little lustful freak who doesn’t know anything about love. I.. we.. may not yet understand what we feel, but, as you so often remember us, we are young. You have had two hundred years to experience and you still think of it as nothing but lust.

“That is so responsible for you to say. Too bad reality is different. It would be better for you to enjoy an healthy lustful fling with me tonight with the somber future ahead of you: either the poorly lonely last of your kind, waiting eternity to die in some treasureless cave or a glorified baby-making machine… Because if this Evil Empire thing is solved and you are the last female, you’ll have to pop out as many eggs as you can to repopulate this world with your kind, which means being screwed by any surviving male dragon. Your two yet-to-hatch half-brothers, funny name king’s big old meany black dragon, all of them, for the rest of your life. And here I was thinking you were miserable enough when you were a mute mule..!”

“Enough!”

Eragon pointed a hand at it and shouted a spell, overcome by anger. The magic grabbed Lomy before it could displace itself and tossed it on a trunk with a dry hit. The white elf squealed, holding its sore head, and disappeared, this time for good.

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Comment

  1. Rorschach on 5 December 2013, 04:40 said:

    “So, feeling horny tonight, baby blue?”

    “You know what it means, right? Come on!

    I wouldn’t do this if you weren’t that shy. I’m the one doing the favor, here!”

    This is a little…rapey. And by “a little rapey” I mean “rapey”. It’s moved past the point of being uncomfortably suggestive and more to the point where I want to take a crowbar and beat Lomy to death with it.

    What precisely are you trying to accomplish with this scene?

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