The forty-eight riders turned and gazed upon a hooded figure next to a white dragon with silver eyes. The dragon’s entire body was snow white, almost like it had been created out of the moon itself. The hooded figure was wrapped in a black cloak with red dragons embroidered on it and the hood pulled up to hide the figure’s face. The riders couldn’t tell if this person was a male or female, friend or foe. They hadn’t heard anyone near the living crystal but then they had to admit they hadn’t been paying much attention to their surroundings. Beside the figure was a midnight black dragon with yellow eyes and another hooded figure, this one clad in a red cloak with embroidered silver flowers. The two figures and their dragons stood there silently gazing at the other riders.
“Who are you?” Murtagh asked. “How do you know us?”
The figure in the red cloak shook their head and turned to its partner. “Who we are is none of your concern yet Murtagh, rider of the Black King. Nor is it Crimson Wing concern who our dragons are.”
“Times have been troubling here since you left ten years ago,” the figure in the black cloak picked up. “Your riders reached Ellesmera safe and sound intact after you left them behind to seek out your pupil. If you want to reach the lands of the elves safely then we will take you there. If not then the riders will die this night for the dark king’s forces are out in force.”
The two riders climbed onto their dragons and took the air. The forty-eight riders looked at each other wondering if they should trust these two strange riders when they knew nothing about them. Murtagh, Kayla, Otvek, Elva, and Harry were curious as to how they knew that the dark king’s forces were out tonight and how they knew where the Riders of Hogwarts would come up from. It was suspicious but they had to get to safety. None of Harry’s old classmates and friends knew of the dangers of Alagaesia or of how to outmaneuver an enemy rider.
“What should we do Elda Murtagh?” Harry asked the oldest rider in the group.
“I suppose the only thing we can do is trust them and hope for the best. If they are enemies then the five of us should be able to take them,” Murtagh said. All five elder riders knew that Murtagh meant himself, Elva, Otvek, Harry and Kayla. The rest of the Riders of Hogwarts simply weren’t experienced enough and were still apprentice riders as they hadn’t gone on any missions yet for Kayla. “Harry take charge,” Murtagh said mounting Thorn who was quickly followed by Otvek, Kayla and Elva.
“Riders of Hogwarts mount up!” Harry shouted. “We’re going to trust these strange riders at their word,” he continued softly so the two strangers wouldn’t hear him. “If anything happens you are to fly to Ellesmera in the north and we will deal with them.”
“Yes Harry,” the others said in unison. They mounted their dragons and as one forty-eight dragons flew into the air. The two strange riders looked at them in silence before turning and heading to Ellesmera. The riders flew in silence for a long time and the Riders of Hogwarts stared in awe at the night sky around them. There were different constellations here in Alagaesia compared to England. The former ravens were just brimming with anticipation at being able to study everything strange and new about this world. Harry and some of the others smiled at the former ravens. Even in a strange new land their quest for knowledge didn’t end.
“Where do you come from?” Kayla asked the strange riders who were flying in front of the pack.
The figure in the black cloak shook their head at Kayla’s question but remained silent as did the red cloak. “It is not time for you to know of us or our dragons. Know that we only mean you no harm servants of the Sapphire Rider.”
“The Riders of Hogwarts don’t know who that is. I confess that I have never heard of a Sapphire Rider before,” Kayla said and the other elder riders nodded.
“We are not servants to anyone,” Elva continued.
“We are all servants to someone. If you do not realize that then why are you riders?” The red cloaked figure asked.
Who are you? Thorn asked the black dragon.
Until you prove yourselves worthy to us and our riders we cannot answer your questions Crimson Wing, also known as Blood Scales. Until our master gives us and our riders’ permission to reveal who we are you just have to trust us.
Can you at least tell us what sex you are?
Why? Looking for a mate? The white dragon asked.
No it’s just…
The white dragon is a female and I’m male. Please no more questions Thorn. When the time is right you will find out who we and our riders are.
How do you know of me and my rider? How do you know we once served the Black King?
That is a question for when the command has been given and the permission sought.
The black dragon fell silent and flew farther ahead of the pack of dragons along with the white dragon at his side. Thorn and Murtagh had no clue what to make of these strange riders. But they were deeply troubled by the fact that their past crimes were known by two strangers. Strangers who as of yet hadn’t proved whether they were friend or foe.
Should we tell them Isis?
No Ceres. Helios would probably be upset with us if we exposed who we are before he gives us the command. Not to mention the Sapphire Dragon and her rider will be furious at us. You know the Sapphire Dragon and her rider do not wish for their presence to be known yet.
Ceres and Isis’s riders had been silent listening to the conversation. They both flinched at the idea of conversing with the Blue Rider who was their master. They were far enough ahead that the other dragons and their riders couldn’t see them flinch in fear. Their master and his dragon were very powerful. “Do you think master will be angry with us?” The red cloaked figure asked nervously.
“I don’t see how he will be angry with us since he ordered us to meet these riders and take them to Ellesmera.”
“But we are to report to master right when we deliver these riders to the land of the elves?”
“Yes Nimbus. Our orders were to get the riders to safety in Ellesmera before reporting to master.”
“Do you think they will believe the legends?”
“Of the ageless riders and the shadow and moon dragons? I doubt the riders from here have heard of us and if they have they probably don’t think we are real. As for these ‘Riders of Hogwarts’ they don’t seem like they know anything about our ways or what it means to be a rider. I’m curious as to what land these children come from.”
“Children they may be but the leader of the group seems to be powerful.”
“Indeed. I wouldn’t put it past master to put that child through his paces and perhaps take him under his wing.”
“And if he is more powerful than master, master may kill him. A rider like that would be a danger to both master and a direct help to King Mordred. I fear that if any harm befalls these riders’ leader then they may join King Mordred and we will be doomed.”
“Leave it up to master to figure out,” the rider in the red cloak said.
Amazingly the pack of dragons was not spotted as they flew to Ellesmera. Then again the armies of King Mordred didn’t know about the influx of riders that had just appeared out of nowhere for nobody except Murtagh and the red and black cloaked figures’ master knew that the king’s armies never looked up for danger. Coming to a stop in mid-air the fifty riders waited for the guard of Du Weldenvarden to show himself. “Show your gedwey ignasia to the guard,” whispered the black cloaked figure.
The four seasoned riders of Alagaesia and the Riders of Hogwarts showed their gedwey ignasia to the guard who smiled at them and allowed them to pass. “This is where we part Riders of Hogwarts,” the black cloaked figure said. “You are safe here in the capital of Ellesmera. Follow the elves’ rules and no harm will come to you.”
As soon as the Riders of Hogwarts passed into Du Weldenvarden the two strange riders flew east and landed outside a small cave. Before them was Helios, a solar dragon who was yellow and dark orange. Hello ancient riders. The Sapphire Dragon and the Blue Rider are waiting for your report.
Nimbus and his companion looked nervously at each other and made their way deeper into the cave before they came to where a huge female dragon was lying on the stone floor and her rider was sitting in a chair he had created out of a tree. “Did the riders make it to Du Weldenvarden and pass the guard?”
“Yes master,” Nimbus said. “Though we sense their leader is powerful and Red Rider’s dragon along with the Orange Rider was trying to find out information about us.”
“Were you seen by King Mordred or his armies?”
“No master,” the red cloaked figure, a female rider named Tulsa said. “King Mordred’s armies seem to be stupider than the Black King’s armies.”
“Well King Mordred wasn’t driven insane by the loss of his dragon. Go back to Du Weldenvarden and watch them. It isn’t time for us to reveal ourselves yet to the world. The seer, Angela, predicted we would never return to this land and yet here we are.”
The rider and his dragon watched the other two leave and then he turned to his dragon and laid his head against her neck. “What do you think Saphira? Should we show ourselves to Thorn and Murtagh or wait?”
Wait Eragon. They will be in for a shock when we reveal ourselves to them. What do you plan to do about this powerful rider?
I don’t know. We shall have to watch and see how powerful this child is before making any decisions. If he poses a threat to the order then he and his dragon will need to be eliminated. I hope that he means us no harm.