What if?

By , Franklin, TN
The sky was red. Breathing in the noxious fumes of the Burning Plains, Mariel looked around the battlefield, desperately avoiding the warriors clashing all around her. Where were the Ra’zac? Her sharp eyes roved about the fight until, finally, she saw them. The Ra’zac. Along with their parents, the Lethrblaka, the Ra’zac were among the foulest, most evil creatures in the world. Shifting her grip on her sword, Mariel drove back into the battle from which she had had a brief respite. This time, she was determined to reach the Ra’zac. When she arrived, she found them battling yet another brave soldier of the Varden. With a furious cry, Mariel hurled herself at the Ra’zac, leaping over the ground littered with corpses. She stabbed at the first, then slipped out of the path of the other’s curved blade.

“You sssshall die,” they hissed. Mariel glanced down to see the face of a young soldier, mouth gaping, eyes glazed over in death, and felt a surge of anger. She renewed her attack, finally slashing past one Ra’zac’s guard and opening a gash in its arm. It howled in pain. But Mariel’s ferocious onslaught turned her back to her other opponent. She tried to turn and face it, but too late. The hilt of the Ra’zac’s sword slammed into the back of her head. An explosion of pain, then Mariel’s eyes rolled back in her head and she sagged, unconscious for the moment. The Ra’zac lifted her up onto the Lethrblaka, which doubled as flying transport, then climbed aboard and rose into the air. Suddenly, Mariel woke. She looked around and quickly realized that she was about to be taken to Uru’baen, the evil King Galbatorix’s capital. She quickly wriggled free, unnoticed, then rose up behind the Ra’zac she was riding behind. The other Ra’zac gave a warning cry, however, and this startled Mariel. She overbalanced, then fell to the ground far below. By this time, the battle had been won, and she fell to a clear area, landing as the Ra’zac circled, then flew away.

Mariel landed awkwardly, on her leg and back, still disoriented from the blow taken to the back of her head. She tried to stand, but pain shot through her body and she collapsed. By this point, a small crowd had gathered, seeing her fall after battling the Ra’zac. As Mariel tried to rise again, a man came out of the crowd, moving quickly to her side. He placed a hand on her shoulder, halting her strained attempts. She opened her eyes, then stared at the man. He seemed familiar.

“Who-“ she began to ask, her lips barely able to form the words.

“Eragon Shadeslayer,” the man said tiredly. He took a deep drink from the waterskin at his side, then held his hand over her. “Waise heill!” he said. Instantly, Mariel felt her back realign and her leg straighten, her wounds from the battle healing quickly. Gingerly, she sat up.

“Why did you-“ she began.

“Heal you?” Eragon finished. “Because you fought the Ra’zac-and because you’re part of the Varden.”

“Ummm….I don’t know how to say this, but….you look familiar. Not because you’re the Shadeslayer, but…”

“Don’t worry-you look familiar, too. I wonder…what was your mom’s name?” he asked abruptly.

“Selena-why?” Mariel asked.

“Because you look like a picture I once saw of my mother…and her name was Selena.”





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