Chapter 7

Siege of Belatona

“I’m exhausted,” Celestine said, “I didn’t manage to get any sleep!”

“I’m sorry, but there was no time to waste. If there were Elves that close to Helgrind, who knows how close the Varden are to Belatona?” Murtagh said. “I hoped you’d be able to rest some along the way.”

“Sleeping while riding a dragon is exactly as easy as it sounds,” Celestine said. “Oh, it’s no use. Might as well fill the time. Tell me more about Eragon. Start with the first time you met.”

Murtagh related the tale of his encounter with Eragon in Dras-Leona as well as rescuing Eragon from Durza in Gil’ead, which Celestine seemed to take great interest in, asking several questions about it. He was recounting the aftermath of the Battle of Farthen Dûr as they neared Belatona. As he had feared, the Varden army was close to the city.

Celestine asked Murtagh, “You said when you next saw Eragon at the Battle of the Burning Plains, he’d become like an Elf?”

“Aye.”

“How did you ever manage to beat him?”

“Galbatorix augmented my magic, so that was no contest. Physically, however, I suppose he was tired and worn. He’d been fighting for hours; I just swooped in near the end of the battle.”

“I don’t understand,” Celestine said. “Why weren’t you fighting earlier?”

“Oh that…” Murtagh’s tone soured. “The general in charge of the army was supposed to wait for me.”

When he didn’t offer any more explanation, Celestine prodded, “What happened?”

Murtagh sighed heavily. “He sent an ambassador to ask for terms of surrender, and to return the heads of some Varden assassins that had pretended to be asking for our surrender. Having delivered the terms, he was riding back to the camp when Saphira roared, causing his horse to throw him. He died in the fall.”

“Surely the general wouldn’t engage the battle early on account of a single ambassador?”

“Under normal circumstances, probably not. The ambassador was his cousin. But really more like a brother—they’d been raised in the same house since the general lost his parents as a boy,” Murtagh replied. “As soon as he recovered enough to start giving orders, he sent the entire army after the Varden. It was a massive blunder, sending the army into the treacherous terrain of the Burning Plains where our numerical superiority would be more of a hindrance than an asset, but the poor man wasn’t thinking clearly.”

“How terrible.”

“That’s what tends to happen to imperial ambassadors that parlay with the Varden.”

“I remember telling Galbatorix that clever application of power was more important than sheer force. I’m going to have to follow my own advice,” Celestine said. “I wish my sister were here. She’s much cleverer than I am.”

“We could go together. Perhaps I could get Eragon to give you a chance,” Murtagh said. “We are brothers, after all.”

“Do you really believe that?”

Murtagh looked at her slumped figure in front of him—so many gaps in the armor. She’d told him that she didn’t wear full armor because it was too heavy for her, and it did seem that some armor was better than none. But was it really? At least when wearing no armor, a person knows she’s vulnerable. Did wearing partial armor make her feel less vulnerable than she really was? “You know what I believe.”

She nodded her head. “I do.”

In the distance, Murtagh spied the bright blue glitter of Saphira’s scales. “Just… Just promise me that you will come back.”

She leaned back against him, tilting her head enough to look him eye to eye. “I promise.”

* * *

Eragon surveyed the city before him. The arrival of Thorn and Murtagh in a flurry of shimmering red had not escaped his attention, though that had been hours ago, and where in the city they now lurked was unknown to him. His worry did not elude Saphira, however, who gently nudged him with her nose.

Worry not, little one, she said, I have every confidence in you.

Thank you, he replied, though I wish I could have the same confidence in myself.

Before their conversation could continue, a lookout cried at the top of his lungs, “Horse and rider approaching from the east! Alone and under a white flag!”

Eragon exchanged glances with Saphira before they both hurried for the east side of the camp. He found the lookout and questioned him. The man pointed in the distance where indeed a solitary steed approached with a small rider on its back. With his advanced vision, Eragon could soon see that the rider was a young woman—about Katrina’s age—and she wore strange partial armor of white and gold over white robes that whipped in the wind. She seemed to him the very visage of a star descending from the heavens.

Soldiers formed up at the location in case the white flag concealed treachery beneath it. Blödhgarm also arrived with the other Elves assigned to protect Eragon. As the rider neared the camp, she slowed the horse to a trot then to a walk. When she was but twenty paces from Eragon, she brought the animal to a stop and removed her helmet, revealing hair like finely spun gold. She looked at the array of swords and bows and the posturing dragon before her. When Saphira emitted a low growl, a wry smile graced her soft lips. “I come to speak with Eragon,” she said in a commanding voice. She looked him directly in the eyes and said, “That’s you, isn’t it?”

Be careful of her, Saphira warned. She’s too at ease in the presence of a dragon.

“I am Eragon,” he replied. “And who might you be?”

“In due time,” she said. “First, would you mind helping a lady down? I’d prefer not to talk at length on horseback.”

“Of course,” he said. He helped her dismount—wary of her every movement.

When her feet alit, she looked up at him. He’d never seen such a shade of blue—not even in any of his many waking dreams—a clear blue like a summer sky, but her eyes were also possessed of striations the color of deep waters on a winter’s day. She smiled disarmingly and said, “My, what a strong grip you have.”

He relinquished her and asked, “Now, who are you?”

“Celestine Faber,” she replied.

“You approach us armed and armored. Why are you here?”

“As for the weaponry, there is war in the area, and a young lady traveling alone does well to arm herself even in times of peace,” she replied. She then loosed her scabbard and offered the blade to Eragon. “My purpose here is peaceful, so as a gesture of good faith, you may keep hold of this.”

Eragon accepted the weapon and pointed to the strange device at her hip, asking, “What of that?”

“What of it? Does it look like a weapon to you?”

Eragon shook his head. “No, but I have no guess as to its intended use.”

“Already you hold my sword. How much more do you wish to divest me of?” Celestine asked.

Eragon answered perhaps too quickly, “No more. It’s fine.”

Celestine shifted her gaze to the stately blue dragon. “You must be Saphira.”

Celestine then curtsied and said, “Terak ba ji sol.”

Danetor, Saphira said.

What was that you just said to her? Eragon asked, saying the same question aloud to Celestine.

I don’t know. I just felt like I had to say it.

“Where I come from, it’s a good idea to greet dragons with that phrase,” she explained, looking back to him.

“You still haven’t said why you’re here,” Eragon reminded her.

Celestine fanned herself with her hand and said, “I’m hot. Are you? Could we continue our conversation somewhere out of the heat?”

“Very well. We could go to—”

Don’t take her to your tent.

Where else would we find shade?

Saphira snorted. Small plumes of flame billowed from her nostrils. You could go to the pavilion.

You don’t think Nasuada would mind?

Mind? She would probably want to know about this stripling’s arrival.

“—the pavilion. This way.”

Eragon led the way, his elven entourage following. While they walked, Celestine talked. “I’m here for a very important reason. For one thing, I wish to extend gratitude for your action in slaying the Shade, Durza,” she said.

“You knew Durza?” he asked.

“Not personally. Durza made many enemies, however. I’m thanking you on behalf of one such person.”

They were passing by Angela’s tent at that moment. Angela took immediate notice of Celestine, as did Elva. Elva stared at her with her bright violet eyes and slowly smiled. Before Eragon could ask Celestine who she meant, Angela stopped them and asked, “Who is this girl?”

Before Eragon could respond, Celestine said, “Someone who can speak for herself. My name is Celestine.”

Angela looked her up and down, then said, “Oh, and did your parents name you ironically?”

The girl’s cheeks burned crimson. Eragon started to say, “Angela—” but Celestine interrupted.

“Angela?” she said. “Eragon, do you know what angels are?”

He considered it for a moment before shaking his head.

“I thought not. So, in a culture that has no knowledge of angels,” Celestine said, “how did you come by your name? Angela?”

Now Angela’s cheeks went ruddy.

“Ladies,” Eragon said, “let’s not—”

“I’m going to read your fortune,” Angela said, procuring her pouch of dragon’s knucklebones.

“A fortuneteller? I should’ve known.”

When Angela tossed the bones, Celestine held out her hand, saying something that Eragon didn’t understand, and the white shards halted in mid-air, looking like dull stars on a moonless night. “What does it mean when they do that?” Celestine asked, grinning.

“I’ll tell you what it means,” Angela said. “It means you don’t belong in this story. You’ll ruin everything.”

“A pity,” Celestine replied as the bones put themselves back in the leather pouch. “I hoped it meant that I made my own fate or something like that.”

“Mark my words, Eragon, she will try to lead you down a path that you’re not meant to travel.”

“Why don’t you let him decide what path he travels? He seems capable enough to me.”

Eragon didn’t like the way Angela rolled her eyes at Celestine’s rejoinder, but the feeling passed quickly as he realized something was slightly amiss. “Wasn’t Elva here when we arrived?” he asked.

Angela looked all around. “Did you see where she went?”

Eragon shook his head and Angela left in a huff. When she’d gone, Celestine said, “Sorry about that. I should’ve acted with more forbearance.”

“No harm, I suppose, though that was odd—even for Angela,” Eragon said before continuing on to the pavilion.

When they arrived, the elves remained outside the tent with Nasuada’s Nighthawks. Inside Nasuada sat at a large, wooden table that took up the majority of the tent. King Orrin, Jörmundur, and Arya were seated at the table as well. They halted whatever discussion they had been in the middle of as Eragon entered with Celestine. Saphira stuck as much of her nose through the front of the tent as was physically possible.

“We have a visitor to the camp,” he announced, motioning toward the young lady, who bowed ever so properly. “Her name is Celestine. This is King Orrin of Surda, Lady Nasuada of the Varden, Jörmundur, her right-hand man, and Arya, daughter of Queen Islanzadí of Ellesméra.”

“A pleasure to meet you all,” she said.

“For what purpose have you come to us?” Nasuada asked.

“As I told Eragon earlier, I came to thank him for slaying the Shade Durza. It was a mighty deed and of great benefit to the man who sent me here,” she replied.

“Yes, only you didn’t tell me who sent you here to thank me,” Eragon reminded her.

“Of course. Durza was a powerful and crafty enemy of the Empire. As such, King Galbatorix sent me to express his personal gratitude in ridding him of that traitor,” she said.

Upon mention of King Galbatorix, Eragon reached for the hilt of Brisingr, but the girl gave him a disapproving look and said, “If you intend to strike me down, may I be so bold as to request that you use my own weapon since I handed it over freely.”

Eragon’s cheeks burned bright red and his hand moved away from his sword.

Nasuada broke the stunned silence. “Galbatorix sent you? To… thank Eragon?”

“Not just that,” Celestine answered, keeping her eyes on Eragon, “but also to request peaceful resolution to the conflict at hand.”

“If Galbatorix told you Durza was a traitor, he lied to you,” Arya said. “He served the Empire.”

“Isn’t that what traitors do? They serve you until the very moment they stab you in the back. Eragon, you know that Galbatorix wants to rebuild the Dragon Riders. Did you ever think it strange that he would have your uncle killed if he wanted you on his side?”

Everyone at the table looked around at each other before fixing their eyes on him. Eragon shifted uncomfortably. “I don’t suppose I ever really thought of it,” he answered.

“Oh? Tell me, then, when did you first meet Durza?”

“When I was captured in Gil’ead, but—”

“And did Durza, having you at his mercy, immediately take you to the king?”

“No, I escaped before he had the chance.”

“So, you escaped while Durza was transporting you to Urû’baen?”

“No, I escaped from Gil’ead before he could transport me.”

“So, Durza was waiting on the arrival of some sort of wagon? Beasts of burden? Guards?”

Eragon thought about it. “No, there were plenty of those sorts of things in Gil’ead already.”

Celestine’s gaze grew uncomfortably strong on him. “Then what was he waiting for?”

Eragon looked at the ground as he thought—anything he could do to free himself from her eyes. A thought suddenly came upon him. He looked back with renewed vigor. “He wanted to speak with me. I recall him trying to get information from me before turning me over to Galbatorix.”

“So, you spoke with Durza, then.”

Eragon nodded.

“Think back. Did he say anything to you about the king? Anything at all?”

“Yes, he said…”

“Go on.”

“He asked me if I would rather serve a Rider who betrayed my order or a fellow magician like him.”

Celestine nodded now. “That sounds like a man gathering allies for a coup. He tried to turn you against Galbatorix by killing your family just as he was trying to turn the people against him by attacking towns and villages with his army of Urgals,” she said. “Galbatorix is grateful that you killed him and destroyed his army.”

Eragon’s mind reeled. Galbatorix sending him a thank you, and… “You also mentioned that he wants peace with us?”

“Yes,” Celestine said. “Please tell me, what would it take to end this unprovoked aggression against the Empire?”

“Unprovoked? He killed King Angrenost and usurped the Empire,” Orrin remarked.

“Pardon, but where I come from we have a saying that nobility comes from blood—either from birth or the battlefield. Only a blood relative of Angrenost would have a more legitimate claim to the throne than Galbatorix. Do you not agree?” she asked.

“Angrenost has no living relatives. They were all killed,” Nasuada said.

“Then you’re hypocrites. You’re trying to seize the throne by force just as you accuse Galbatorix of. Tell me, if you succeed, wouldn’t any of Galbatorix’s generals with a powerful enough army have as legitimate a claim to the throne as any of you?” Celestine replied. “You don’t need to answer that aloud. Just consider it. Now, what will it take to reach a peaceful settlement?”

“As long as Galbatorix lives, there can be no peace,” Eragon said.

“That’s a bother,” Celestine replied. “I take it you don’t care about the future of the Riders then?”

“What makes you say that? I care very deeply about the Riders! I’m trying to avenge them!”

“And after you’ve avenged them to your satisfaction you will have destroyed them. Your words do not match your actions.”

“And what would you suggest?” Arya asked.

“I’ve been given authority to offer the green dragon egg—the last dragon egg—in exchange for peace. It is the only thing Galbatorix could think of to prove his sincerity.”

Eragon’s interest was piqued. “You have the green dragon egg?”

“Not on me, obviously. I’m not that foolish, but, yes, it is near and it can be yours.”

“What price would you put on it?” Jörmundur asked.

“Galbatorix desires peace and to revive the Riders as a noble organization. The price of the egg is an immediate end to hostilities and for Eragon to help him rebuild the Riders. That is all.”

“Galbatorix doesn’t want peace!” Orrin said.

“Then why did he send me? Why did he send the green dragon egg? You talk of him not wanting peace, but as I understand it, it was you who started this war.”

“There are wrongs that must be set right,” Arya insisted.

“The only wrong I see here is a council of warmongers that would shortsightedly destroy all that they hope to restore due to an inability to forgive perceived wrongs,” Celestine declared. “Eragon, what do you think about this? Don’t you want peace? Don’t you want to rebuild the Riders? Listen to me, Riders fighting Riders is what got Alagaësia in this current state. How can you hope to improve things by doing precisely what caused the problem? Are you going to perpetuate the cycle of violence, or will you reject it?”

Eragon thought about it for nearly a minute. Ultimately, he said, “I don’t think that I can trust Galbatorix.”

“Very well,” Celestine said softly. “Please consider it further. I rode in under a white flag; I assume I’ll be able to leave peacefully?”

“Of course,” Nasuada answered.

“Thank you. One last thing before I leave. While considering Galbatorix’s offer, I suggest a ceasefire. Don’t attack Belatona. I promised its lord that I wouldn’t allow the city to fall. Any attack on the city would end poorly.”

“Are you threatening us?” King Orrin asked.

Celestine shook her head. “No, your majesty. Merely giving you information that should factor into your battle plans.”

“It sounds like our battle plans should include seizing you. Eragon, restrain her!” Orrin said.

He hesitated a moment. She’d ridden in under a white flag and had acted in good faith. Even now she made no move to defend herself. She only looked at him and said, “Twice today I have come under threat of force despite freely giving up my sword and asking for peace. Is this what the Varden considers honorable dealing?”

Again Eragon’s cheeks burned as deep a crimson as the setting sun on a hot day. “Take your sword back,” he demanded, extended the scabbard to her.

She shook her head. “Not until I leave. An ambassador of peace should have no need of weapons among the honorable, don’t you think?”

“Yes, and you’ve delivered your message. You came in peace, so in peace you shall also leave,” Eragon said.

Celestine inclined her head and said, “Thank you.”

Eragon escorted her back to her horse. As he helped her up, she said, “Don’t take this as a threat, but, please, don’t attack the city—for the sake of the Varden as well as my own.”

“For your sake?”

“All life is precious. Once taken, can I give it back? Can you? It’s a serious thing to kill a person. Never do so lightly.”

Having said that, she accepted her sword back and rode around the outskirts of the camp, heading toward the city. As he watched her go, he wondered what the siege would portend. They had to take the city before confronting Galbatorix. Her plea to spare the city and her offer of peace echoed in his mind, tempting him. He shuddered. Was this what Angela meant by leading him astray? Was this Celestine trying to tempt him away from the right path? But if she was, why did what she say feel so right?

* * *

When she arrived at the gate, Murtagh was there to meet her as well as Dorias and Bradburn, the lord of Belatona, whom she’d met upon first landing in the city.

“Glad to see you well, young lady,” the Shade said. “The Varden are notorious for dealing treacherously with our ambassadors.”

“I must admit I’m a little surprised as well. I was certain you’d need to use your branch,” Murtagh said.

“Enough pleasantries!” Bradburn declared. “Did you reach an accord as you said?”

Celestine sighed. “Not yet. Peace is a difficult process especially when dealing with people unwilling to consider it. I believe I’m reaching Eragon, though. I’ve discovered he has a conscience.”

“Bah,” Murtagh said.

“No, it’s true! I shamed him twice today, and you can’t shame someone that has no conscience. I feel much more confident about getting him to come around than I do about the Varden.”

“Without Eragon, the Varden would be little concern anyway,” Murtagh said.

“But until peace is achieved, my city is in danger. I want to know what the Empire intends to do to protect my people! You have not stationed nearly enough soldiers here,” Bradburn said. “I’m starting to believe the Empire will protect us as well as they did Feinster.”

“I’ve been here the entire time, your lordship,” Dorias commented.

He turned on the red-haired man and said, “Oh, yes, and a lot of good you’ll be against Eragon Shadeslayer.”

Dorias winced at mention of that title.

Celestine said, “Your lordship, I promised you that your city would not fall and I meant it.”

“And who are you?” he asked, whirling around. “A little girl that wears piecemeal armor? The king should be here! Then we would be safe.”

“The king is occupied with more important matters,” Murtagh said. “I assure you that we are more than enough to hold this city.”

“Bah, I’ll believe it when I see it and not until then. You had better not let my people suffer as those of Feinster did.”

As Bradburn stormed off, Celestine grabbed Murtagh by the arm and said, “I need to sleep—even if it’s just three or four hours. Take me to my room?”

Murtagh looked out towards the enemy encampment. “I don’t know if I trust them to keep the peace. I ought to keep an eye on them. Dorias, show Celestine to a room.”

“No,” Celestine interrupted, “I’m not going anywhere with a possessed man. Let him keep watch. Now take me to bed, please.”

Dorias smiled and, as Murtagh walked past, whispered, “She’s quite a tease, isn’t she?”

“Not really,” he replied. “Keep an eye on the Varden. Inform me immediately if they attack.”

* * *

When Celestine awoke, the sun was still fairly high in the sky. She washed up quickly, deciding to attend to the emptiness in her belly. She opened the door and received salutes from the two guards stationed outside. She asked directions to the kitchen and one offered to escort her there. The castle cook prepared a small but filling meal, all the while making idle chitchat about his family that he worried wouldn’t survive a Varden attack. The other kitchen attendants struck up similar cords, except for a girl younger than Celestine’s little sister. She kept silently to a corner, slicing potatoes.

When Celestine asked about her, the cook said, “She doesn’t talk. She came from Feinster, just her and her brother—a lad barely older than she.”

One of the other attendants interrupted, “He died of an arrow wound. They shot him in the back as he and his sister fled the falling city on horseback. What sort of animals attack fleeing children? Worse than animals! They’re monsters!”

Murtagh soon entered the kitchen. Celestine asked him, “Is everything well?”

He nodded. “No sign of activity. Seems as though they’ll keep the peace.”

“No peace,” a quiet voice from the corner said. “In sleep dreams of terror rob you of peace. In dreamless sleep there is peace. To sleep… not to dream… not to wake…”

Everyone’s attention turned to the little girl, who was no longer slicing potatoes but regarding the knife with a strange, serene expression.

Celestine reached forward with her hand, shouting, “Tendren des fortia!”

The magic in the room snapped quickly into intricately woven flexible vines that wrapped around the blade and pulled it from the young girl’s grasp as she thrust it to her chest. Celestine tossed aside the bloody knife and ran to the girl, applying a healing spell quickly. The kitchen attendants crowded around as Celestine stopped the blood loss, knitting flesh back to flesh. When she finished, she looked the girl in the eyes and asked, “Are you all right?”

She thumped her chest and, through a veil of tears, sputtered, “It still hurts.”

“Not all wounds can be healed with magic,” Celestine whispered, backing away to let the other women hold the weeping child. She then hurried out of the room.

She stopped in the hallway, trying to still her trembling and stem the tears that threatened to burst forth. Murtagh followed soon after her and placed his hand on her shoulder. Celestine turned to face him, saying between halting breaths, “What hope do we have? What hope is there against such indiscriminate hatred?”

Murtagh said, “There is love. That girl is alive because her brother loved her. She remains alive because you loved her. And she will endure because everyone in that room loves her.”

Celestine stared at him so long that he asked, “What?”

She shook her head as though waking from a daze. “Nothing. It just sounds like something I should have said. It gives me hope. Perhaps two brothers trying to kill each other could love each other instead.”

Murtagh replied, “I’m not that good of a man.”

“You could be.”

“I could try—for you.”

Celestine smiled faintly. “That’s a good start, but if you want to be a better person, you can’t do it for me. You have to do it for yourself. But, you know, you’re a better man than you think you are. I’m a stranger in this land, but you took me in, helped me. Even now, you’ve reminded me how blessed I am. Even in this other world I have a friend that won’t let me forget who I am.”

Murtagh stepped closer to her, taking her hands in his. “Of course. I…”

Dorias arrived at that moment in a great hurry. “They’re mobilizing,” he said.

“What?” Celestine asked.

“They waited until the sun dipped below the city wall, trying to cover their actions with darkness, but it’s unmistakable. They’re drawing up in formations. A battering ram is already headed toward the outer gate.”

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Comment

  1. Taku on 5 May 2012, 23:48 said:

    If I have one criticism, it is that Saphira is far too level-headed and logical. XD

    Also, the “What hope is there against such indiscriminate hatred?” line smells a bit too strongly of LOTR, when Theoden King said “What can men do against such reckless hate?”

    Otherwise, brilliant chapter. I love the way you’ve written Eragon as this impressionable but insecure farmboy who’s just beginning to discover that his teachers were wrong. That’s the Eragon we should have had.

  2. BlackStar on 6 May 2012, 11:44 said:

    I second Taku on your writing of Eragon. He seems much more relatable, much more fleshed out than he ever was in canon. I’m looking forward to the next chapter. :D

  3. Nate Winchester on 7 May 2012, 14:21 said:

    line smells a bit too strongly of LOTR, when Theoden King said “What can men do against such reckless hate?”

    Now I just know there’s a joke there somewhere about doing right by the source material…

    I personally love the bit with Angela & Celestine. Maybe later they can have a brawl in some mud or jello…

  4. VikingBoyBilly on 7 May 2012, 17:41 said:

    When her feet alit, she looked up at him. He’d never seen such a shade of blue—not even in any of his many waking dreams—a clear blue like a summer sky, but her eyes were also possessed of striations the color of deep waters on a winter’s day.

    Lines like this make Celestine seem awfully sue-like. On top of it, this is from Eragon’s perspective, which makes it seem like Celestine overpowered Eragon’s creepy crush on Arya just from the first few moments he saw her. And the pairing with Murtagh seems a little rushed/forced, like reading a fanfic.

    Sorry to be Mr. Negative criticism in the fun world of Eragon bashing (or fixing, in this case).

  5. Bloo on 7 May 2012, 18:17 said:

    That line bothered me as well—although since this is coming from Eragon, maybe it’s a mockery of how he judges women immediately on their appearance? Either way, the description is a bit sue-ish, and some of her scenes with Murtagh (such as the one in which she’s having a bath) feel a little cliche.

    I do like the angle you’re parodying this from, though. Can we get an exploration of Eragon’s sociopathic tendencies, perhaps? :D

  6. Asahel on 8 May 2012, 12:11 said:

    Thanks all for the feedback. Glad to see people are still reading it after so long a break, and I’ll do my best to make sure the next installment doesn’t take so long.

    Also, the “What hope is there against such indiscriminate hatred?” line smells a bit too strongly of LOTR, when Theoden King said “What can men do against such reckless hate?”

    I’ll fess up to that one. After hearing about the Varden’s actions in Feinster, Celestine has the same feeling that Theoden had regarding the marauding Uruks. What can you do when your enemy hates you so much that they reckon nothing of the aged or the child, man or woman? So, I did want to hearken to that line, but I had two goals with the way I put it: 1) As with everything spoken by a character, it must sound like something that character would realistically say. I believe I met that goal. 2) I wanted to alter it enough that it would call to mind the same feeling without sounding derivative of Tolkein’s phrase. It sounds like I didn’t quite meet that goal.

    No worries, though, I’ll just endeavor to do better in the future.

    Lines like this make Celestine seem awfully sue-like. On top of it, this is from Eragon’s perspective, which makes it seem like Celestine overpowered Eragon’s creepy crush on Arya just from the first few moments he saw her. And the pairing with Murtagh seems a little rushed/forced, like reading a fanfic.

    Sorry to be Mr. Negative criticism in the fun world of Eragon bashing (or fixing, in this case).

    No need to apologize for criticism. I always welcome it. At any rate, Bloo is on the right track with the reason that the purple prose is in the section from Eragon’s perspective. It is a bit of light-hearted mockery of Paolini’s style (and how female characters get judged by their appearances). That said, however, don’t take it too far. Celestine’s beauty hasn’t overpowered Eragon’s crush on Arya. He’s not in love with Celestine, and I’m certainly NOT going to do a love triangle between him, his brother, and her! No, he’s just impressed by her beauty and sees it in the way he sees lots of things: the sunrise, the sunset, the random person he meets in the wilderness, you know, that sort of thing.

    About the relationship with Murtagh, I’m certainly trying not to force or rush things. But allow me a bit of evidence in support of the idea that things are not moving unrealistically fast:

    Even in this other world I have a friend that won’t let me forget who I am.

    At this point, Celestine still sees him as a friend. Sure, he’s a friend with bad boy appeal, smouldering good looks, and pecs you could bounce a cherry off of, but he’s a friend. Now, they have become fast friends, but that’s just the kind of girl Celestine is. Give her the least indication that you’d like to be her friend and she will oblige.

    On the other side of it, it’s clear that Murtagh is interested in more than friendship, so did Murtagh fall for Celestine too quickly? Perhaps.

    I just want you to know that I do consider these things and didn’t just throw Murtagh and Celestine together without pondering how the relationship would develop.

    I do like the angle you’re parodying this from, though. Can we get an exploration of Eragon’s sociopathic tendencies, perhaps? :D

    Thanks. Also, we certainly can. :)

    Anyway, glad everyone’s still enjoying it. I’m grateful for everyone’s comments even if I didn’t quote you.

  7. Nate Winchester on 8 May 2012, 21:50 said:

    He’s not in love with Celestine, and I’m certainly NOT going to do a love triangle between him, his brother, and her!

    Yeah, love trapazoid between Eragon, Murtagh, Celestine and Arya is the way to go.

  8. Asahel on 8 May 2012, 23:36 said:

    Yeah, love trapazoid between Eragon, Murtagh, Celestine and Arya is the way to go.

    I’m trying to figure how that would work if Eragon didn’t love Celestine.

    There’s more than one possibility:

    Eragon loves Arya who loves Murtagh who loves Celestine who loves Eragon.

    Arya loves Eragon who loves Murtagh who loves Celestine who loves Arya.

    I’m just going to stop there before it gets any worse.

  9. TheArmada on 14 May 2012, 23:56 said:

    Why didn’t I read this six chapters ago? this is amazing work!