A soldier in Galbatorix's army for nearly six years, Alik is a battle hardened warrior. For many a year he marched with the royal legion, putting down revolts and doing the king's will. But after witnessing Galbatorix's mistreatment of his own subjects, including the destruction of a small village near The Spine, Alik begins to question the morality of his king. Alik then sets his sights to the rebel state known as the Varden, who fight to free Alagaesia from the Empire's rule. And so a disturbing question comes to Alik's mind: Have I been fighting for the wrong side this whole time?
Part I: The Crimson TunicEdit
Alik, son of Gregor, sat at his family's table in Ceunon. He was a young man of sixteen, of middling height, with shaggy brown hair and large green eyes. To his right sat his sister, Eliana. Eliana's hair and eyes were identical to her brother's. To Alik's left sat his mother, Lilla. Lilla had dark brown hair streaked with gray and large sapphire eyes. To Alik, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. In her arms rested Alik's newborn baby brother, Carrik. The babe was only two weeks old and looked like any other boy his age, nondescript and hardly larger than a loaf of bread. Alik looked at his mother carefully. Lilla still seemed a bit weak. Carrik's birth had been difficult, and Alik counted himself fortunate that his mother still sat next to him. But she still seemed ill....
At the head of the table sat Alik's father, Gregor. Gregor was well over middling height, with black hair, an immaculately trimmed beard, and hawk-like green eyes. He stared intently at his eldest child, who moments before made a startling announcement. Alik was leaving Ceunon in two days with an army recruiter and ten other men his age for Gil'ead. He had enlisted in the King's army. Alik resolutely returned his father's gaze, determined not to look away. At long last, his father spoke. He uttered a single word: "Why?" Alik took a moment before answering his father's querie. "Because", he began, "The Varden are gathering in strength. I believe every young man of the Empire should do his part to protect his country. I spoke to a recruiter while I was in the market last week. He told me I had the attributes the army looks for in their soldiers. He presented me with a scroll, and...and I signed my name on it." Gregor's face darkened. "When were you planning to reveal this to your mother and I?" he growled. Alik looked down, chastened. " I cry your pardon, Father. I feared you wouldn't approve of my decision to enlist. And with everything that has transpired with Mother and Car-" Gregor cut his son's explanation short with a wave of his hand. " You enlisted without my permission", Gregor snapped. " You intend to leave your family to fight rebels who haven't the slightest chance of overthrowing His Majesty. The Varden are hardly a threat, so what do you suppose the blasted army would need you for?" he said. ' Father-" Alik began but stopped abruptly as he caught sight of Lilla's face. Wet beads streamed from her large eyes and down her cheeks. They glistened like pearls. He placed a hand on his mother's arm. "Look!" cried Gregor, pointing at his wife's tears. "Behold the pain you are causing your mother with your fantasies of heroism!" Alik looked his father straight in the eye. "With all due respect, Father, I am a man now. This was my choice to make, and mine alone," he said calmly. Gregor glared at his eldest son, his nostrils flaring dangerously. And then, without a word, the man stood from his chair, turned on his heal, and left the dining room. A heavy silence desended on the family. Alik heard a sniff next to him. He turned to see Eliana crying silently. Alik reached over ad pulled his sister into his arms.
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