Categories > Books > Eragon > The Secrets We Keep

Fell Clutch Of Circumstance

by Chaed 1 review


Category: Eragon - Rating: R - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Arya, Durza - Published: 2007-01-23 - Updated: 2007-01-23 - 1889 words

There you go, number three. We're just about to begin with the fun...


Chapter 3

One slip and down the hole we fall,
it seems to take no time at all.
-Pink Floyd

The first thing she felt was coldness. Silence overshadowed every other sound. As she opened her eyes she was greeted by darkness. But it was not the same darkness as when she had awoken by the fire; this time it was a cold and damp darkness and the walls around her allowed no moonlight to shed any light on the situation.

Arya couldn't make out much, but she could say for sure that it was a cell. So Durza had indeed brought her to Gil'ead how he had promised. One hand absently touched the place the energy had earlier bolted through and the elf wondered how she could have been so ignorant to the Shade's attack. She should have realized it earlier, but his sudden approach had left her mind incapable to resume work for a moment, fear having held her captive.

To her relief she realized that she was not chained in any way. While massaging her sore wrists Arya pondered the possibilities.

It could mean two things. Either Durza had underestimated her and thought chains were unneccessary, or he had thought chains were unneccessary because there was no way to escape. The better part of her went with the second option.

Since there apparently was no welcoming ceremony, Arya slowly groped her way through the cell, estimating its approximate extent and the location of the steel-reinforced door. There were no windows, which made it impossible to guess where exactly she was. She could be in Gil'ead, but just aswell in Urû'baen or in an abandoned prison somewhere on the edge of the map, only Durza knowing its exact location with her being at his total mercy.

/But I am - no matter where - at his mercy/, her mind corrected her. She wanted to banish such negative thoughts. They did nothing but create unneccessary fear. It was enough to deal with the already existing one.

For the moment Arya returned to the corner where she woke up. It harboured some straw, just enough so she wouldn't suffer from the coldness of the stone beneath. Settling in a sitting position against the wall, knees drawn up to provide more warmth, Arya sighed and rested her head on her knees.

How long had she been in here already? How long had she been unconscious all together? Durza could have kept her immobile for as long as he had wanted. Days, weeks, a month even? It depended on her whereabouts. If she was in Gil'ead, then she doubted it was a month; Urû'baen could be even longer, and if she was on the edge of the map, Arya contemplated with a dry smile, it might aswell be eternity until someone found her starved corpse in a dusty prison.

Then it occurred to her and she cursed herself for not thinking of it earlier. Sitting around and musing of her whereabouts wasn't going to bring her any further.

But magic was going to do the trick.

The effort of transporting the egg away and Durza's spells still affected her, so Arya would try with an easy one first. Like Light. Yes, light sounded wonderful. She could feel new eagerness and hope flickering in the dark, just as the little flame would, which she was about to create.

Whispering the required words for the spell and imagining a lightened cell, Arya winced at a sudden erruption of pain between the eyes, forcing her to cancel.

She was perplexed for a moment, both of the pain and the speed it had gone away again with.

Massaging her temples Arya tried again - with the same result. As soon as she was about to execute the spell, her mind would clash against a spiked wall, forcing her to retreat. It was, as if she was caught within herself.

With a hint of desperation in her eyes, the elf checked that the barrier around her mind was still upstanding. It was.

But the magic- why couldn't she-

Then it deemed upon her.


And with the thought of Durza there also came the feeling of rage. And despair. A dozen possibilities came to her mind how he could have blocked her from her magical resources. A spell, drugs,... how was she to fight magic without magic?

As hopeful as she had thought of her situation before, with each second passing and each endeavor dejected, a flight seemed more and more unachivable.

It was then that she heard the shriek of the door as somebody forcefully opened it, and Arya had to shield her eyes from the sudden light. She could however distinguish a single form in the doorstep and with hopelessness overpowering her rational thoughts she charged the intruder with elven speed, trying to land a kick to his stomach.

She only felt the air knocked out of her lungs as she impacted against the back wall again, still being kept down by his spell.

Arm outstretched and the elf at his mercy, Durza approached his new captive.

"It seems to me," he said, mustering her, "that defiance is still burning within you." As he suddenly clenched his fist, Arya lifted her hands to her neck, trying to make away with the invisible pressure.

"It also seems to me,"...she couldn't get any air... "that in your current state a composed discussion is not possible."

The pressure was suddenly gone. Arya slumped back against the cold wall, hands around her neck as if to prevent further assaults, even though she knew that without magic she would not be able to.

Then the Shade turned around and left the room again.

"Bring her into my chambers," she heard him uttering, and two soldiers, armed with shield and sword entered the pit, two others with spears blocked the exit. Durza was gone.

Jumping to her feet, new energy pumping through her veins, Arya pressed against the wall at first, when two of the guards advanced a step, her mind forming a makeshift plan.

When the first drew his sword with one hand and tried to impress her by dangling a pair of handcuffs from the other, she saw an opportunity to strike. Apparently the guards had underestimated her - had obviously again compared her to one of those weak, helpless women of men - and when she landed a well placed kick to the man's stomach, the others stared a moment in awe.

It was exactly that moment she needed to pick up the first's sword, battering it against the second's shield right after. With new hope flickering, Arya divided her attention on the four soldiers, elven agility helping her to gracefully parry the attacks.

What energy she had thought lost just a moment ago, a sudden adrenaline burst brought back. She had managed to succesfully set one of the shield bearers out cold; the only real problem she faced was not the remaining direct attacker - the other one with the sword - but rather the two who wielded the spears: Every time the swordsman would show inferiority to her, his two companions advanced and would keep her at bay with their spears.

But it wasn't something a hundred-year old elf wouldn't manage.

Just as she was setting out for the finishing blow for the swordsman, though, her mind was suddenly assaulted by an immense force, shattering her defences in almost an instant, if she hadn't directed what remaining power she had onto her barrier.

It was that little distraction that the guards needed. One shield impacted hard with her head, sending her tumbling against the wall, mind drowsy and spinning for a moment. Before she could get up again, she was turned onto her stomach, one of the men settling on top of her in order to prevent her from rising. Two spears where pointed towards her head only moments later.

When she tried to wriggle free her arms as the man on top of her was doing his best to handcuff her, there was another outburst of pain in her mind, and Arya had to concentrate hard as not for her defences to be crushed under the pressure.

"Seems we have tamed the lion," the man on top of her concluded and snickered, soon being joined by the other guards in the mockery. The weight lifted from her and she was ruthlessly pulled to her feet. One of the guards held something wrapped in a woolen cloth in his hand, waving it through the air and finally pointing it into her direction.

"The master said you'd favour his little present. Here, let me show you." He gave his spear to his companion - who still pointed it into her direction - and unwrapped the 'present'.

It was plain. Dirty. Abhorrent. Just as she had always imagined an iron collar to be. /Oh, he must have misjudged me greatly/, she thought sarcastically, disdain showing on her face.

When the man advanced, collar in hand, she was determined not to let him put it on. Her hands restrained by the steel handcuffs and one of the soldiers holding her from behind, Arya felt all her muscles tensing, and then, in the crucial second placed a well aimed kick to the man's groin.

He yelled in pain, the collar forgotten and the room was suddenly filled with curses.

Her triumph was only shortlived, as she felt another blow against her head from behind and her vision became blurry, legs suddenly refusing to bear her weight anymore. She sagged against the guard behind her, biting back tears at her own helplessness, before her mind refused to undergo anymore harm, and painted the world a dark shade of black.

"Put it on now." the man holding the unconsious elf instructed.

"Forget it, Samm. I won't go anywhere near this beast. God knows what she'll do to me. Should the master put it on himself. After this I'll want to have children still."

Samm grumbled under his breath, but then agreed with a nod. "Go see after Wilond. She's knocked him out cold pretty early in the round."

To the remaining soldier he said, "And you come help me. This has taken far too long. Bring this pointy ear where she's supposed to be and then the evening off, now how about that?"

Geez, this chapter turned out too long for me. And even with the numerous revamps it underwent, I still can't say I'm overly pleased with it...must be because I'm suffering of severe writers block right now .

The biggest problem was working around the even-the-weakest-elf-could-beat-any-human-thing. And Arya isn't even that weak at the moment! Blame Paolini for literally making his elves invincible...

I'm also desperately trying to find out the difference between magic and... well the mind-thing. You know that sometime in the book when they're at the Varden already, Arya tells Eragon that she was nearly raped during her capture (we'll get to that too eventually) and that she assaulted everyone's mind who tried to approach her. Now in my eyes that is magic too. Or rather telekinesis. Whatever. So what's the thin line in between I'm apparently not able to see? Anyone care to shed some light on that matter?
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