An Unexpected Arrival

“Is she still unconscious?” Murtagh asked.

“Yes. You have an hour before Thorn is ready for your next mission. Why not check in on her?” Galbatorix suggested.

Murtagh nodded and entered the room. The young soldier guarding her stood with a salute.

Murtagh asked, “How is she?”

“She’s stirred a little. Nothing more.”

“I see. Wait outside.”

As the lad left the room, Murtagh walked to the bed. He’d only heard the story circulating among the castle guard of her sudden appearance—and immediate collapse—in the throne room yesterday. They said that, although Galbatorix was taking precautions against potential harm, he was somewhat convinced the young lady—despite her unorthodox arrival—was innocuous.

Murtagh studied her. Her blonde hair clung to her sweat dampened forehead. He pulled back the top blanket, figuring it may ease her discomfort. She’d been sweating a lot, however, and her white robe stuck close to her skin, causing Murtagh’s ears to burn red. She was obviously on the cusp of womanhood, needing scarcely four more seasons to blossom. Trying not to think about it, he walked over to a nearby table where lay a cloth and a metal basin with cool water. He dipped the cloth in the water and wrung it out, using it to gently wash her face. He hoped it would bring her back to the waking world, but his hopes were dashed as her stirrings proved fleeting.

Far too soon, he had to leave on Galbatorix’s new mission—dealing with a small cadre of elves trying to scout Yazuac for weaknesses. He resolved to waste no time dealing with them.

* * *

Celestine awoke, her senses blurred. She looked around as her vision stopped swimming, but couldn’t tell where she was. She was lying in a bed in a room with walls, ceiling and floor all of rough-dressed black stone. There was a wooden table and chair against the wall across from her. There was a metal pitcher and goblet on it. There was also a small wooden stand next to the bed with an oil-burning lamp on it. Normals hadn’t used such low technology for centuries. Her vision wasn’t completely clear yet, and she closed her eyes, groaning as a wave of nausea swept over her.

She caught some motion out of the corner of her eye. Someone left the room quickly, reacting to her noise. Celestine called after the person, but he—possibly she—didn’t return.

She sat up in the bed, swaying a little. She was cold, but sweating. Sweating in heat made her uncomfortable, but cold sweats were even worse. She looked again at the pitcher on the table. Her mouth was dry in contrast to her body; however, she didn’t think her quivering legs would cooperate with her. Where was she? How had she gotten here? Where were her friends? Where had she been before losing consciousness?

She tried focusing on the last thing she clearly remembered. They had been traveling to Ellette’s glade, hadn’t they? She was distracted by the sound of voices outside the doorway. People were talking, but she couldn’t hear them clearly.

* * *

Galbatorix approached the lithe red-haired man who was sending the guard away.

“Report.”

“According to the guard, she awoke shortly after I inspected her mind. In fact, I had just stepped out of the room.”

“Did you discover anything of importance?”

“She’s confused and doesn’t remember the past few days. She’s a foreigner. Given the preponderance of spells in her thoughts, I believe she’s a magician, but her thoughts regarding magic are… strange. I don’t know how to describe it…”

“Try,” the king said with a stern frown.

His red eyes stared at the doorway for several moments. “Her mind connects spell words with shapes—many of them of great complexity. I’m not familiar with anything like it.”

“Do you believe she’s a danger, Dorias?”

“I detected no malice in her. She intends us no harm. She’s definitely not an assassin.”

Galbatorix nodded. “Still, a confused magician with a lapse in her memory could be dangerous. Very well. I’ll handle things from here. I need you to head the army at Belatona.”

“Before I go, did you glean anything of interest from her possessions?”

Galbatorix shrugged. “The sword is combat-worthy, but the armor has so little coverage, I think it’s ornamental. And this thing,” he said, holding up Celestine’s magic gun, “I can’t make heads or tails of.”

“I understand. I’ll serve you well at Belatona, my liege.”

* * *

Celestine stared at the doorway. The voices stopped and a tall, bald man clad in black armor stepped inside the room. He studied her for a few moments and then spoke with careful enunciation.

“I’m sorry,” Celestine said. “I can’t understand you.”

He said another string of foreign words and then grinned slightly. “We can understand each other’s language now.”

“Oh, you speak Syllian?”

“Syllian? Never heard of it,” he said. “No, young lady, that was magic. You are familiar with magic, I understand?”

It certainly wasn’t any spell that Celestine was familiar with. Many wizards did a lot of research into language translation spells, but as far as she knew, they’d concluded it was a theoretical impossibility. If he had discovered such a spell, he must be a brilliant Mage.

It gave her pause. Most Mages these days had little love for her, but if he intended her harm, surely he would’ve done something while she was unconscious. Looking at the pitcher, she decided that she needed water to continue conversing. She took control of a few magical lines to wrap around the metal pitcher and goblet and bring them to her. She poured herself some water and slaked her thirst. When she looked back up at the man, she paused with the cup still at her lips. He seemed very surprised at her. What had surprised him? He said he knew she was familiar with magic. She was wearing traditional Mage’s robes. There was no way her spell could’ve surprised him; it had been so basic.

“You shouldn’t be silent casting in your condition,” he said quietly.

“I’m sorry… I should’ve said something,” Celestine said, thinking she must have offended him by not announcing her intention to use magic.

“Yes,” he agreed, “well, no harm done. However, you did cause quite the commotion in the throne room yesterday.”

“What did I do?”

“Appeared from nowhere. Then collapsed.”

She poured another cup of water and drank. “I don’t remember that.”

“Let’s start with names. Do you remember yours?”

“Celestine Faber.”

“Celestine. My name is Galbatorix. King Galbatorix, actually.”

Celestine bowed her head. “Your majesty.”

“It must be an honor to be in the presence of the king.”

Celestine nodded. “Yes, sir, I don’t know many kings. The only ones I’m aware of are just figureheads with little real authority. Oh, but I don’t mean you don’t have real authority! There are many little nations I don’t know much about. Not that I mean your nation is little! I just… should probably stop talking.”

He laughed at her unintentional gaffes.

It struck her as strange that he was acting as though she should know who he was. But then, hadn’t he said he’d never heard of Syllians? Who in the world didn’t know about one of the largest and most powerful nations on the face of the planet? Especially another nation’s king! “Where am I, sir?”

“Urû’baen, the capital of the Empire.”

“Which empire?”

“What do you mean? There’s only one,” he said.

Only one? Celestine knew of many empires throughout history and several contemporary empires—the Asyuran Empire, the Gavarian People’s Empire, the Makotan Empire just to name a few. She felt a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. She didn’t realize she’d started crying until a tear dripped off her nose into her half-empty goblet. “I’m starting to feel that I’m much further from home than I thought,” she said.

“I’m beginning to reach the same conclusion,” Galbatorix said. After a moment, he walked to the bed and sat beside her. “Don’t be sad, Celestine,” he said, putting an arm around her shoulders. “We’ll figure out a solution to your problem. And who knows? Fate may have sent you here to help me with my problem.”

She looked up at him and dried her tears. “What do you mean?”

“Currently, the Empire is beset by enemies on every side. The times are dark, and the fate of the Empire—of my people—will be decided in the near future. You could play a part in that decision.”

“I suppose it’s possible.”

“I have something of yours here. Can you tell me what this is?” he asked, holding up her magic device.

“Oh! That’s my gun!”

Galbatorix chuckled and scratched behind his ear. “There seems to be something wrong with my spell. That last word wasn’t translated.”

“It’s a magical projectile weapon.”

“This is a weapon?” he asked, incredulous. “How powerful is it?”

“At its most powerful, it could knock down a small building.”

“How does it work?”

“You’ll notice in the firing chamber, the crystals contain an array of dodecahedrons. Casting tetrahedrons into the array, it will rapidly form 18th and 19th level shapes. You can then use as many of those as you can handle to form a spell of pure force.”

Galbatorix nodded his head, but his eyes looked puzzled, giving Celestine the impression he hadn’t understood her and was only pretending that he had. Of course, that didn’t make sense. He was a Mage and it was a fairly simple spell. Perhaps something had gone wrong in translation.

She asked, “I apologize for being such a bother, but if I may ask, did you find any other people besides me? I was travelling with many friends.”

“No,” he replied. “As you can imagine, we searched the entire capital for a similar breach. You were the only one.”

“Please, sir, where I come from, the situation is also dire—that’s why I need to arm myself. I need to find my way home. Where exactly is Urû’baen?” Celestine asked.

“Urû’baen is south and east of the Ramr River,” he answered. When met by her blank look, he added, “Which flows out of Isenstar Lake past Bullridge.” When her look grew even more befuddled, Galbatorix stood and said, “Let us consult a map.”

Celestine draped the blanket over her robes as she stood. She followed him through the hallways—all with much the same décor as her room. While they walked, Celestine asked, “Why is everything so dreary?”

“Ah, that,” Galbatorix said. “My life has been an unhappy one. There’s no need for you to worry about that, though.”

They eventually reached his library—a grand place filled with large windows that let in plenty of sunlight—and he directed her attention to the large map hanging on the east wall. As Celestine examined it he pointed to the capital and said, “This is the map of Alagaësia. Here is Urû’baen.”

“I don’t recognize any of these names…” Celestine said. “Except maybe Gil’ead… that sounds kind of familiar. I think it was a place famous for healing balm.”

“Balm? In Gil’ead?” Galbatorix asked. “Must be a different place.”

“Probably. It was an old city—older even than the Empire… Than the Mage Empire, that is. I also don’t think they spelled it with an unnecessary apostrophe,” she said. “What’s north of this forest?”

“Uncharted territory.”

“And south of these mountains?”

“Uncharted.”

“East of the Edda River? Let me guess. Uncharted.”

Galbatorix nodded.

“All right, maybe this is part of some island I don’t know about. But with this many cities, it has to be somewhat sizable. I would’ve thought I’d heard of it.” Celestine glanced at the four corners of the map, then asked, “Where’s the scale?”

“There’s not a scale on the map.”

“Who in the world makes a map and then doesn’t put a scale on it? Honestly! Well, can you tell me how large this area is?”

“From Kuasta,” he said pointing to the town on the west coast, “to Hedarth ,” he said pointing to the town near the Edda River, “is about 220 leagues.”

“A league is almost 5 kilometers, so… That’s a bit less than 1100 kilometers. And if that distance is 1100-ish, then… the distance from north to south would be about… 650.” She grew quiet. “This area is a little larger than Illyica. And who knows how much further it extends in the other three directions?”

“What do you think?”

“Where I come from, the world is well charted. The ocean is large, and there are a lot of little islands that I don’t know the names of, but this…” She felt tears forming in her eyes again and took time to swallow and regain her composure. “I don’t know where in the world this place is!”

“What if… What if this isn’t your world?”

“Impossible! The farthest the technologists have managed is to put robots on the moon. How could I have gotten to another planet?”

“Hrmm, that translation spell is… What are technologists? And robots?” asked Galbatorix.

“Robots are those mechanical creatures which move about on their own power, and technologists are the people that make them.”

“Truly you come from a world of marvels. I should think I’d like to visit sometime.”

“Let’s assume for a moment that I am in a different world. We don’t know where our worlds are in relation to each other, how I got here, or how to return.”

“Fret not, young lady,” Galbatorix said, walking to a nearby bookcase. “I hereby vow to do everything I can within my vast power to see you returned safely home.”

“You would do that for me? How could I ever repay you?”

“That’s not necessary. However, it will take time to find a solution to your problem. I’m sure you will have some opportunities to be helpful in the meantime. Now, why don’t you get yourself cleaned up while I do some research? You can take your what did you call it? Gun? And I’ll have a guard leave your armor and sword for you.”

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Comment

  1. Rorschach on 15 June 2011, 21:07 said:

    I really like Galbatorix. After reading this small bit, I like him more than….pretty much any of the characters in Inheritance.

    I usually dislike crossover fics, for various reasons, but you’ve handled this well, especially the internal rationalizations by Celestine for why Galbatorix doesn’t understand certain things. It’s easy to go too in-depth with these, or not in=depth enough, but you’ve handled it just right.

    Looking forward to the next bit!

  2. Snow White Queen on 15 June 2011, 21:41 said:

    Aw, Galby is a sweetie. :) I liked your poking fun at Paolini’s map too. I’m looking forward to your depiction of Eragon. :)

  3. Sum Mortis on 15 June 2011, 22:07 said:

    I like it a lot so far. Galbatorix is already much cooler and more genuine than any of the characters in Inheritance.

    The joking aobut Paolini and his maps was nice as well: they always annoyed me so much.

  4. LucyWanabe on 16 June 2011, 00:13 said:

    Stuff like this I love, especially when done well—and so far, it looks good. I love how much character Galbatorix has here. ;)

  5. Requiem on 16 June 2011, 01:17 said:

    No scale on a map. That seems pretty lazy on the map makers part. I’m guessing Paolini forgot that in the actual book?

  6. Cristina on 16 June 2011, 12:54 said:

    Pao-Pao should read this. It’s entertaining, unlike his books, and you have managed to turn Galby into a useful character. And likeable!

  7. WulfRitter on 16 June 2011, 15:33 said:

    “I also don’t think they spelled it with an unnecessary apostrophe”

    :) That was win. And this is a good story, by the way. I only read about 50 pages of Eragon, so I am not that familiar with it, but even this far, your story is better.

  8. Asahel on 16 June 2011, 19:40 said:

    Thanks all for the positive feedback. I hope everyone continues to enjoy the story as it unfolds.

  9. ZeeZee on 17 June 2011, 00:53 said:

    Oooh, I like this. Now I want to read the book she came from. Any updates on its publishing?

  10. Curly on 18 June 2011, 04:49 said:

    You have somehow done the impossible and made Inheritance actually good. ‘Pao-Pao’ owes you big time.

    I also don’t think they spelled it with an unnecessary apostrophe.

    If I didn’t have a policy of refraining from using annoying acronyms, that would garner, as some people put it, a ‘lol.’
    Nice stuff, anyways. Although reading Eragon characters talking like normal people is making me feel a bit dizzy. I may have to go lie down.

  11. fffan on 18 June 2011, 07:39 said:

    Ten words in and it’s already ten times better than anything Poalini has ever written.

  12. Asahel on 19 June 2011, 15:57 said:

    Oooh, I like this. Now I want to read the book she came from. Any updates on its publishing?

    Thank you for the encouragement. If the publisher that’s currently looking at it decides to pick it up, believe me, this site will be the first one I post the good news on!

  13. RandomX2 on 21 June 2011, 14:10 said:

    Mwahahah, that was damn well entertaining. Nice job!

    A really solid Galbatorix point of view could, imo, make the series infinitely better if his personality was set up right.

    “Where’s the scale?”
    “There’s not a scale on the map.”
    “Who in the world makes a map and then doesn’t put a scale on it? Honestly!”

    ^ Is genius. Kudos :D

    And on a random note, anyone know what’s up with the forums? I can’t seem to access the forum page.

  14. The Cat on 21 June 2011, 21:31 said:

    Same here. I don’t know why.

    On a related note, this was hilarious, well-written, and entertaining. Awesome job, Asahel!

  15. Nate Winchester on 22 June 2011, 22:18 said:

    Forums are back now.

  16. Thea on 30 June 2011, 22:02 said:

    “Balm? In Gil’ead?” Galbatorix asked. “Must be a different place.”

    I hope that was supposed to be funny because I really did laugh out loud. Awesome. :D

  17. mistrali on 30 March 2014, 23:20 said:

    This does a good job of poking fun at Paolini.