Blood Rider

A red dragon cried out in pain as the magician before it began to assault its mind.  He thrashed against the chains that held him and roared with his mind and maw as the magician plunged deeper into his mind. Normally the dragon’s defenses would have been strong but separated from its partner and forced to feel everything its partner felt in addition to starvation was causing the magnificent and ancient creature to weaken.  The dragon tried to resist the vicious attacks on its mind but it felt itself weakening and then the magician was in its mind. 

Where is the Isle of Moonlight? Where is Eragon Shadeslayer?

Get out of my head human before I kill you!  I don’t know where the Isle of Moonlight is as I nor my rider has ever been there and I don’t know where Head Rider Eragon is either or if he is still alive.

Don’t lie to me dragon!  King Mordred wants the location of Eragon Shadeslayer and the Isle of Moonlight so he can destroy the dragon riders once and for all.

If the king wants to destroy all dragon riders then why is he keeping me and my rider alive?

Because Eragon may want to rescue his half-brother and his dragon.  Or maybe he’ll leave you here to die and rescue Murtagh instead.  Perhaps Murtagh may side with us and leave you to your fate.

Murtagh would never betray me!  You and your king are fools if you think that you will destroy us or cause us to betray each other! We have been through worse with the Black King. We will not be swayed by the son of the late queen.  Queen Nasuada loved Murtagh but hated dragon riders. She wanted to control all magicians and by extension dragon riders but she never thought about killing off the dragon riders.  She recognized our reason for existence.  To keep order and peace throughout the land among the different races.

Dragon riders are nothing but pompous fools who don’t understand that magic causes strife in the world.  They think they are better than everyone who isn’t a dragon rider and the world will be better off without them in existence.

Fool!  Do you think that if the dragon riders are destroyed that the king won’t turn on all the magicians left in the world?  War will break out upon the land once again and nobody will be able to save them!  The four races will go back to hating and killing each other.  Since Eragon Shadeslayer allowed the Urgals and Dwarves into the order three centuries ago before he went to the Isle of Moonlight there has been peace in the land between all the races.  There is no longer any murder or fighting since the Urgals and Dwarves were granted acceptance into the Order.  We dragon riders are needed in order to help enforce the peace throughout our land.

Then if you won’t talk perhaps your mate will.

NO!  Thorn shot a torrent of flame at the magician. 

“Skölir!” The magician shouted and Thorn’s flame split when it touched the shield erected and split in two so that it flowed around him.  “Thyrsta Vendrin,” the magician said smiling evilly and Thorn cried out as he was shoved into the wall.  “Jierda!”  Again Thorn’s roar filled the hold where he was kept in the castle as he felt his bones break. 

The magician motioned to a couple of young soldiers who immediately rushed out and dragged a bound yellow female dragon into the hold.  Aphrodite!

Thorn!

The magician turned towards Aphrodite.  Thorn stared at the magician as he advanced on Aphrodite and spoke one of the twelve words of death.  Deyja.  He looked to the two soldiers and repeated the spell.  The magician and two soldiers fell to the floor.  Aphrodite where is Elva?

Elva is being held captive along with Murtagh in the dungeons.  Can you stand Thorn?

No. That magician broke some of my bones. Until Murtagh comes here I’m powerless and won’t be able to move.

“Jierda!” A voice shouted and the door to the hold that Aphrodite and Thorn were in was blasted to pieces as Murtagh and Elva came into the room with their swords drawn.  “Thorn!  Are you alright?” Murtagh asked as he hurried over to his dragon while Elva did the same to Aphrodite.

I’m injured Murtagh.  What took you and Elva so long to get here?

We had to fight our way through several soldiers to reach this place. I’m sorry my friend.

Murtagh placed his hand on the chains and muttered “Jierda!”  When Thorn was free he placed his hands on Thorn’s side and muttered “Waíse heill.”  He repeated the phrase for half an hour and Thorn’s injuries healed.  “Come on let’s get out of here!”

Murtagh and Elva climbed onto their dragons and climbed up before crashing through the skylight and away from Dras Leona.  “Where are we going?!” Elva shouted to Murtagh over the wind. 

Murtagh didn’t reply only urged Thorn faster.  Evening was beginning to dawn and the Ra’zac and Lethrblaka began following the two dragon riders.  Murtagh concentrated and sent out a mental call to the few remaining dragon riders left to fly to him and Elva.  As they flew they were joined by seven other riders.  Murtagh and Thorn looked in vain for Eragon and Saphira but didn’t find them.  Thorn had mated with Saphira after the death of Firnen and she had given birth to four of his hatchlings.  One of those hatchlings, a red male named Bane, was flying with his rider. 

Have you seen your mother Bane?

No father.  I haven’t seen her since my rider and I left Isle of Moonlight ten years ago.

Where are they? I know the prophecy that herbalist spoke of said that they would never set foot in Alagaesia again but surely the Head Dragon Rider wouldn’t abandon us in our hour of need?

“Everyone listen up!” Murtagh shouted.  “I want everyone except Elva and Otvek to seek safety with the elves.  If Eragon and Saphira should return alert them to the problems here and where I have gone.”

“Yes master,” the riders said.  Otvek broke rank and flew on the left of Murtagh while they watched the other riders flee.  Thorn swung around and roared a challenge at the Lethrblaka and their children.  The three dragons and their riders flew towards the two Ra’zac who were atop their parents.  Thorn took the bigger of the two as he had the most experience and Aphrodite and Inferno took the smaller one.  The battle was furious.  Murtagh swung his sword in a high arc over his head and decapitated the male raz’ac while Elva distracted the female so that Otvek could kill it as well.  “Break off,” Murtagh ordered and Aphrodite and Blaze released their prey.  “Boetk istalrí!” Murtagh said sweeping Zar’roc between the two Lethrblaka as they burst into flames before falling to the ground. 

The three dragon riders continued on their flight.  “Where are we going Murtagh?” Otvek asked. 

“Hopefully we’ll find the living crystal and it will take us to wherever Kayla and Ember went.  With any luck she found some dragon riders and has been in the process of training them.”

They continued flying far into the night before landing in a small clearing.  In the clearing was a large pit where a strong magical pull was coming from.  “This must be it,” Murtagh said.  “I hope we’re doing the right thing.”

“Master if there’s a chance of Kayla reaching a different world and creating riders then it is the right thing to go after her and see for ourselves what these possible riders are made of. Otherwise our land is lost,” Otvek said.

Elva nodded.  “It’s our only chance Murtagh.”

Murtagh looked at Thorn.  We have no choice. 

I know. But if the riders fall then it’s my fault.

It is not your fault if the riders fall Murtagh!  We can only hope that the riders who left us will get to Ellesmera and the elves will grant them safety and that Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Brightscales will return to Alagaesia along with any other riders and dragons on the Isle of Moonlight.

The three riders floated down to the living crystal.  Three dragon snouts and three hands touched the crystal and they vanished from Alagaesia only to find themselves on the edge of a dark forest with a castle in the distance.  Drawing their swords the three riders and their dragons slowly advanced until eight dragons landed before them.  One of the riders jumped off her dragon and stared in shock.  “Master!”

Kayla stepped forward and then ran to Murtagh before throwing her arms around him. The other seven riders stared at their master as she threw herself at the eighteen year old before them.  The girl was obviously human but the creature on the boy’s left was nothing they had seen or heard of before. 

“Kayla-Ebrithil who are these people?” Harry asked.

“These are fellow dragon riders Harry.  And these two-,” gesturing at Murtagh and Thorn with a smile on her face.  “These are my masters.  Elder Murtagh and Elder Thorn.  Half-brother to Eragon Shadeslayer, the head dragon rider.”

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