Family Secrets

No one ever knew about the identity of Morzan and Selena’s daughter, Merlena. For fifteen years she lived with the gypsies. Her mother’s dying wish was for her to protect her brother but stay hiddden. Now Galbatorix's new plan forces her to reveal herself in order to save Murtagh, and their other brother.

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6. Willow

I pushed branches away from my face. Behind those branches stood a house in the meadow. A woman tended to her garden beside the house.  She pulled and tugged at the weeds infesting her garden. Some gave in easily; others already planted themselves deep in the ground. She grunted at a couple and finally she pulled her gloves off calling it a day.

"When you see a person struggling next time help them."

It took awhile to realize she was speaking to me. She stood up wincing from her sore muscles. The woman was short with a big frame, and she limped around gathering her tools. Her curly hair plastered to her sweaty face.

"Sorry. Did not realize you could see me." I cleared my throat, keeping the shakiness out of it. She grinned anyways. I walked towards her to help.

"Well maybe your mother should teach you better manners."

"My mother died when I was very young."

"Sorry."

I shrugged keeping my eyes on the ground. "Not to be rude but why are you here?"

She grinned again, "This how you normally accept an apology?" When I gave her no response her grin disappeared. "I am Willow. A messenger. You do not know me but I know you. Right now this is just a dream. Your dream."

I finally made eye contact with her. Willow's face showed age but her eyes seemed ageless. I must have shown interest because she continued to give me this message.

"Do you remember much of your mother Selena? Or the promise you made her?."

My expression must of given her the answer she wanted. "This is the crucial part where you must keep that promise. Galbatorix is planning to use your brother for his dirty work. You are the only one who can save your brothers fr-"

"Wait did you say brothers?" Her eyes read my expression carefully. I recall my mother and I running away. I recall a night of screaming and crying. I recall how shortly after we were running again but this time back home. Willow spoke breaking my thoughts.

"Your mother was always a stronger woman than she let us believe. We all know her as the Black Hand. My guess, before she died she must a blocked a memory to save you if you were ever caught." I shuttered understanding how Galbatorix used people to read minds and control them.

"You have two brothers. Murtagh, whose memories of you must also be blocked for your protection. As for your other brother - I cannot tell you."

"No! Tell me! How am I to protect both of them if I do not know who I am protecting? I am just one person. I hardly mastered everything as an Elementor." Willow raised her hand cutting off my rants.

"If your mother made you promise her because she believes in you."

"My mother was near death and I was only five."

"She saw something in you Merlena. She saw strength. You may deny your true powers but anyone can see the threat you are to your enemies. You fought together against Galbatorix's men. Maybe not side by side but you fought on the same side for the same purpose."

"Wait. My other brother is here too?"

Her lips tightened. Willow cautioned her next words.

"Do you remember the pain on your back? No one actually wounded you.  What you felt is the pain of your brother's." A gasped escaped my lips. The agonizing scream male scream I heard before blacking out. "You come from a very powerful family. It is possible his attacker sparked a deeper magic in you. You felt his pain from far away. Like a rider and their dragon. How do you explain that?"

My eyes drew away from her and towards my hands. Soon her hand took in mine. Her other hand touched my cheek. She tilted my head to look into her eyes.

"Do not feel burdened from all of this. Protect your brothers. Do it to stop Galbatorix's plan. Tell your friends. Anyone fighting in numbers is stronger than alone. In moments of doubt, search in you for the strength to fight. You may feel defeat after a loss but remember your promise. Oh and another things. Sacrifice is your best weapon to keep them from killing each other."

With that a sharp pain struck my spine. The pain whipped me back. It spread up and down my spine, traveling to every limb. Willow disappeared from my vision. My lids felt heavy. Everything felt heavy. The ground under me was spinning. Lorn sat next to me placing a wet cloth across my forehead. It was all a dream, but Willow felt so real. Her words. Her touch.

"Well look who finally woke up." Durchen came in from behind the curtain.

"Hey Durth." My voice came more raspy than I excepted.  Lorn served me some water. Durthren took the other stool next to me.

"You really had us scared Merlena."

"What happened?"

"None of us are sure. All of our backs were turned when you screamed. You began clawing on your chest. Glyeenhart pinned you on your stomach while Lorn looked for burns, wounds and found nothing."

"Normally  the smallest trace stands out." Lorn shook her head as she explained this. "You inhaled something that made you delusional. Imagining you were in pain."

But I was in pain. Not me but my brother's. Durthren continued explaining the rest of the battle. Urgals killed other urgals, and left the Varden standing victorious. Almost two days have past since.

"And Eragon slayed the shade." Lorn shouted delightfully. If only I could be as excited, but I am still mad at him for all the burden he brought.

"Glyeenhart will want to see you soon." Durthren rose from her seat.

"Why waste time?" I rose and this time I was wincing from my sore muscles.

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