Blood flowed through Aurea's wounds. She had been fighting for hours, and both she and her dragon were at their limits. Our magic is at an all time low, Aurea, Heartfire said to her. He was a silver-scaled dragon who was Aurea's own dragon and had stood by her most of her life. But this was suicide.
Firstly, they had to singlehandedly fight off the never-ending hordes of the Empire while trying to keep everyone in Sheod safe. It was only city left in all of Alagaesia that had not bowed down to Queen Nasuada after Galbatorix's death many years ago. Sharktooth Island was very easy to defend, but Aurea wondered just how long they could last. Monstrous hordes of soldiers backed up by magicians poured from battle-barges coming from the east. They could barely hold off Mistveil Beach for a few minutes before the Empire crushed their defenses.
Aurea tried to conjure up whirlpools of water to whisk away the Empire's reinforcements, but they were just too many. After the subjugation of most of Alagaesia, the Empires foces had almost tripled, bordering on an indispensable army of soldiers and closely-watched magicians under the vigilant eye of Queen Nasuada. She was a young but very capable leader, barely 30 and still keeping insurrectionists like the sort of Aurea at bay. She was one of the newer Riders, a human who received the egg that would not hatch for the Urgals, who were thoroughly displeased.
When the Empire walked into Sheod in search for someone who was worthy to become a Rider, it was Aurea alone who answered to the calling. Her shining palm was painfully etched onto her as soon as Heartfire hatched. He was an adventurous dragon and loved to fly around Vroengard, but Aurea was reminded by Eragon herself to stay away from that place. It was full of dark magic and many of the creatures there were very much hostile, but also that it held a dark secret.
The Vault of Souls, hidden in the wake of the Rock of Kuthian, containing many of the Eldunari and a handful of dragon eggs had long been kept a secret by the new order of Riders. After Aurea was talked to by Grond, Eragon's advisor in Alagaesia, she swore an oath in the ancient language never to set foot in Vroengard. And she kept true to the promise, flying high above Vroengard and never landing but on Sheod.
Aurea knew why the Empire was trying desperately to take Sheod. It contained one of the most closely guarded secrets in all of Alagaesia, Dragonbane Ore. It was native to Sharktooth Island and was discovered by its earliest inhabitants and was used in their weapons until the Empire banned the use when the Riders of old still rode across Shartooth. It was Glaedr himself who landed in Sheod centuries ago, proclaiming the ban on usage of Dragonbane and death to anyone who dared break the law. But still, inhabitants of Sharktooth continued in their use of Dragonbane, secretly forging weapons and selling them on the black markets. Although the weapons were no different than regular swords in the days of Galbatorix, the usage of Dragonbane exploded as dragons became more common in Alagaesia. Dragonbane was dangerous in that it's chemical consistency caused it to be caustic, melting through the tough dragon scales and eating away at dragonflesh as if it was wood to a blazing fire, although large amounts were needed to create such an effect.
Soon the price of Dragonbane increased so high that the Empire themselves had to put a stop to the monopoly. They sent ten cohorts of legionnaires to Sharktooth Island to collapse all the existing mines of Dragonbane and to kill anyone who got in their way. It was too risky to send Dragon Riders, so Nasuada sended a trio of wizards from Du Weldenvarden called the Sithis who were famed as one of the most powerful wizards at that time. They were composed of Ilirea, Dashun, & Fellged, and slew many foes during the Battle of Sharktooth Island.
Heartfire sprayed jets of molten flames, incinerating anyone foolish enough to get in his way. His body had cut marks, but nothing too severe. A spear had snagged his left shoulder, but he was glad it wasn't too deep. Aurea suffered burns and bruises from holding on to Heartfire as he flew high in the sky, evading blasts of magical energy and spraying fire at his adversaries at the same time.
The Sithis were busy replacing their numerous wards when Aurea and Heartfire crashed into the ground, creating a mini-explosion of dust and rock. Their wards protected most of the damage, but the Sithis were still shocked. "Alas, the traitor Rider!" Ilirea hissed. She tried to breach Aurea's mind, but it was too clouded with rage and anger for her to do so.
Aurea glowered in her powerful fury. Signaling Heartfire to fly away, she quickly created a spell that bypassed all of Ilirea's wards while crushing every bone in her body and implemented in against her, who fell limp in a matter of seconds. Dashun & Fellged were no fools; they had been in this situation already so they drew their swords and charged. Only an elf could have seen their treachy, and Aurea was lucky to be one. Instead of defending herself, she twirled in a blur of sword and fist, blocking the phantasm swords which struck at her backside. She slugged Dashun & blasted Fellged back with a gout of fire. Fellged's wards protected him from any major burns, but he was still slammed to the ground by the mere magnitude of the attack. Aurea's surroundings started to spin and everything was moving in slow motion. It's too soon, she thought to herself, clutching a purple amulet wrapped around her neck. It contained a massive amount of magical energy, but during the battle it had slowly but surely drained, and now it was empty, and one of the Sithis still remained. Dashun was a tall blonde haired elf with angular features and slanted eyes, a byproduct of his lineage. He carried a staff with a large gem on top, which held vast amounts of energy, but Aurea knew it was not as much as the now-drained amulet she carried.
Dashun exchanged blows with Aurea, but he was more experienced and had far too much energy for Aurea to keep up. He cut deeply into her thigh and thrusted his blade into her shoulder, griveously wounding her. She mustered all of her strength and shouted into her mind calling for Heartfire. Before Dashun could finish, Heartfire landed on Dashun, killing him and creating a dustbowl. Be still, little one. Heartfire said gently as he tapped into his magical reserves to heal Aurea's wounds.
But in an instant a blinding white light of energy flashed onto the island, and then it was no more. Aurea, in her last moments of life, made out the figure of a Rider on his bloodred dragon channeling a lightning storm that funnelled into where she dueled with the Sithis. No doubt it was Murtagh, who had come to the Empire's aid.