CHAPTER 3: Promises, Promises

“Are you better today?”

“No.”

Eragon sighed and passed tiringly a hand over his face.

“Sorry, Orik. It’s just.. it has been a rough day.“»

“Yeah, I bet…”

He still couldn’t believe it. The marriage had been arranged. He couldn’t expect less from the Elders, but he was shocked when even Arya backed up Lomy, practically signing his sentence. Nasuada had tried to call the Council to reason, but the alleged last words of Ajihad were used against her by Falberd and Elessari, playing on her sense of duty and fealty to the Varden to force her acceptance. It was when they started to persuade Eragon that Saphira angrily interceded, asserting neither her nor Eragon would have been bounded to anyone without their consent. The elf just pointed out that only he and Arya knew the way to reach Ellesméra and surpass traps, guards and magical wards surrounding the forest and therefore, if Eragon and Saphira wanted to ever reach Togira Ikonoka, they’d have to accept the elves’ deliberation.

They threatened us. She threatened us. How could she listen to him over us?

I think Arya is unsettled as well by this decision, but thinks it is the better way to pursue her objectives, or those of her people. You have to remember, little one, she is an ambassador for the elves’ Queen, she may well have other duties. Although I still would happily turn the white one into a burned snack.

Eragon did not answer to her, turning to Orik.

“What do you mean?”

“The Elders’ Council informed the King, but also word is spreading out. Somehow. Heard you have to thank our new friend for your merry betrothal…”

“We.. we’re not… There’s still time to look for a better solution. We can’t be doing this, it serves no purpose when we have to leave the Varden right after the.. ceremony.”

“It has for them: if you’re the leader of the Varden, then no one could put himself in the elves’ way when they’ll want to drag you up in the woods. And when you’re gone, the Elders will be by all accounts in charge, which is what they want. The elves don’t care about that, so they’ll let them.”

“How can they not? They’re elves! We’re supposed to be allied against Galbatorix.”

“Elves are strange creatures, Eragon. They’re not like humans or dwarves.”

“I know that! But that doesn’t mean.. I already saw it with Arya.. and Brom, he talked to me about them, but he is not different, he’s malevolent. But elves cannot be so.”

“Arya has been ambassador for her people for a very long time, Eragon, has spent decades with humans and dwarves, she might have learnt a thing or two about how to treat them. The kid’s probably never seen one of us before he popped in Tronjheim.”

“He just torments us, from whence he woke I can’t pass a moment without worrying it’ll just appear out of nowhere to relish in our misfortune.”

Bam! Hey everyone!”

Eragon shivered, giving a meaningful look at Orik while Lomy descended on his back.

«How’s the groom doing? wink wink Getting ready for the big day? And look! There’s dwarfy! Are you here to take her measures?”

Orik lowered the eyes for a short time, trying to master his temper, before answering with clenched teeth.

What are you babbling about, elf?”

taking high_«I heard you guys made an armor for baby blue here and I had the most _brilliant intuition: she should be the bridesmaid! So, you should tailor a pretty white dress, with flowering lace and stuff. nodding twitchingly and looking at Saphira Isn’t that going to be hilarious? Well, not as much as allowing a humanoid to ride you as mule, but still…»

The dragon snapped her jaws at him, but the little elf had already teleported himself upside-down over Eragon’s head.

“To slow. Why don’t you try with the breath?”

Orik spitted on the ground, shaking his head in exasperation.

“Bah! We haven’t time for this! Eragon, Hrothgar wishes to speak with you, that’s why I came. We’d better hurry.”

“Aw, is that King dwarfy’s name? Race you there!”

“You can’t, he hasn’t summoned you, elf, only Eragon. You’re not invited.”

still upside-down, crossing his arms «Well, what am I, a vampire

As the elf disappeared in a puff of shining smoke, the dwarf nodded slowly, grabbing the hilt of his axe to remain as calm as possible.

“I swear, Eragon, every word out of that mouth his a new reminding of why dwarves of old didn’t stand the idea of an alliance with elves…”

The dwarf king was a barrel of laugh. First Lomy hid into one of his predecessors’ statues, letting him think his father had come back to life to lecture him about making deals with elves and letting humans enter in their dig-hole homes, then he took control of the surprisingly unenchanted war hammer, bashed his feet with it and broke a couple of hìrna.
It was starting to get bored when the dragon and the human came in, followed swiftly by some dwarves, only to see the kind lying exhausted and sore on the ground before his broken throne, surrounded by crashed things. It couldn’t shift to the Ethereal Plane still, so, while invisible, the little boy couldn’t compel his glee from echoing across the chamber. The king then spent some time yelling and threatening and giving orders to the guards, but was too soon calm again, starting a long boring conversation with the human about his future in the Varden, and possible alternative solutions to the arranged marriage.

Now that’s lame. Almost as much as the elf’s trying to expose my merry entertainment… What’s that one’s problem anyway? Didn’t I look snotty enough? Puff. If I’m thinking about this it has got to be as boring as it gets. I’m getting out…

“It was a terrible deed, what Saphira and Arya did. Maybe necessary, but terrible. Ah, it might have been better if the Urgals had overrun us before Isidar Mithrim was ever broken. The heart of Tronjheim has been shattered, and so has ours.”

What was that again?

The boy returned visible, hanging on the higher back of the throne.

“Wait wait wait wait wait there!.. What what was that you said?”

Both the human and the dragon looked at him hatefully.

“It was you before, wasn’t it? Get. Out.”

“Oh shush again, dragon’s dude. Haven’t you learned from baby blue over there to not speak when grown-ups are talking? I now she doesn’t… snickering What was that elf and blue destroyed? I already heard that name.”

The dwarf king rose, looking menacingly to the boy, and answered in a slow tone, filled with contempt.

“I was talking about Isidar Mithrim, our pride, our heart, the sapphire which sat at the center of Tronjheim.”

“Well, that I didn’t see. Was it near the big pile of little jewels I saw coming here?”

“Are you playing me, elf?”

“Yeah, not like an hour ago, but I’ll make do with what I get. pondering So it was one big thing? zapping suddenly to Saphira’s snout and pointing at her And you destroyed that thing? You, a dragon, blew up a jewel the size of a freaking house just to save the life of some puny humans and dwarves? And no remorse? Whoa, you’re something! I mean, a friend of mine hearing this would probably have a stroke, that is, after gnawing your head off. shuddering gleefully Ooooh! Now I just can’t wait to tell him a dragon willingly destroyed a lair-sized sapphire, it’s gonna be a real killer.”

Lomy was still floating, repeating to itself to remember that one particular for future reference, when the human talked again with some sort of rightful anger tone in his voice.

“That wouldn’t be necessary, Lomy. King Hrothgar, Saphira has just asked me to tell you that, if your artisans were to recompose the shattered remnants of Isidar Mithrim, she thinks she would be able to restore it to its primal splendor.”

Since the king was initially speechless, Lomy spoke first.

“You mean with magic of sorts, or others psionic powers? Yeah, you just want to call dibs on it, admit it! with a hand on his forehead, melodramatically flying away And I thought you were different from other dragons!..”

“She will restore it, Your Majesty. She is confident in her abilities.”

“Yeah, and I say she’s going to choke. Big time. You’ll see. Wanna bet?”

When Eragon and Saphira left the throne room, followed by Lomy, the young Rider was mostly doubtful: while he felt Saphira’s guilt for destroying the jewel, he couldn’t shake the thought she made that promise only to spite the insufferable little elf. Hrothgar on the other hand had taken the declaration very seriously and called for celebrations. After repeating what happened to Orik, the dwarf’s reaction was similar, he praised the dragon and even bent to kiss the ground before her pawns.

“Hey, that’s neat! Could anyone kiss my feet? sticking one up, retracting the tunic Come on! It’s got to be cleaner than the floor, I never really walk!”

Orik’s joy upon the hearing was such that he didn’t even paid attention to Lomy’s disrespectful request.

Who does he think he is?

Don’t worry about that fly, little one; since you don’t want me to squash it, it’ll be better to ignore its buzzing.

“Well, now I’m bored!”

Lomy crossed its arms and put up a grouch, hovering on a stool in the bar and watching at the dwarves’ celebrations around the human and the dragon.

“Look at that, a baby dragon getting drunk. Isn’t that kind of gross? How can I have some fun if everyone is enjoying himself? And, more importantly not kissing my feet? What’s so special about her?”

A drunken dwarf on its side, perhaps thinking it was talking to him, handed over the boy a stone tankard full of mead.

“Come on, pointy hears, don’t be so tiresome. Drink something, that should cheer you up.”

“What?! jumping up and pointing at its chest Me? Tiresome?! My very self should be boring?! That’s it! pointing at the dwarf Now I’m annoyed! And to get out of that annoyance, I shall take your stupid involuntary assumption as a challenge to my integrity as trickster, dear sir.»

The little boy hmpfed and puffed away without even waiting for the confused dwarf’s response.

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