A/N: Angela's entrance was as much of a surprise for you guys as it was for me. She's gonna be pretty central to the story from here on out, and you'll discover why sometime later. Also, Eragon and Saphira are definitely going to pop up sometime soon. Click the external link down below to read The Chronicles of Alagaësia, a series of short stories set before Destiny and Niaomi. Sorry this is only the first half of the chapter (rest got deleted, see my message board for details).

Picture of Nicholas (with shorter hair) up above.


"Nate, what in the name of Tartarus is going on?"

He met his brother's gaze, who wore the same brown breeches and white shirt as he. The flashing green eyes that stared at him were the only difference in their appearances. His own brown ones looked away, focusing on their sister, who somehow managed to look pale despite her dark skin tone. She asked in a shaky voice, "What is she doing here?"

"Oh, well, that's quite rude, talking about someone as if they're not there!" Angela scolded them as Nathan just looked on, slightly amused and very confused. "I can answer all of your questions, if you'd only direct them at me instead of Nathaniel."

His left eye twitched at the sound of his entire first name. It was so rarely used that he considered his full name to be Nathan Evandar Niomsson, and that he had only one nickname: Nate. How does this witch know about that name?

"Please excuse our rudeness," Rose apologized, putting the throwing star she held in her hand back into her baldric. She smiled that beautiful smile of hers, trusting that Nate had not brought any danger into their home. "You caught us all by surprise."

"Apology accepted. To answer the previous questions, I am here to lead you to the Progenitor."

Everyone else in the room inhaled suddenly at Angela's statement, and silence settled over them all. Finally, in a whisper full of stunned disbelief, Renata said, "You know where she is?"

"Not exactly," the woman admitted with a carefree grin. "You know the Riders, always liking to keep things a secret from the common folk!"

"But you're not one of them," Nathan said, walking forwards to set the bag of skinned game on the kitchen island. At its center, a sheen caught his eye, and he stared at the green apple that lay inside the fruit basket before turning back around to face the witch. "How do you know we're looking for the Progenitor - "

"And that we're Riders?" his brother finished.

Pursing her lips, Angela tapped her chin in thought before answering with, "That information is for seers only. But you can trust me - just asked Niaomi."

All eyes turned towards Nate's sister, and he noticed the way her violet eyes narrowed in what looked like suspicion. Was this woman truly dangerous? He'd taken her to their home only because she'd already known where it was, and had had vital information they'd needed. Had he made the wrong choice in bringing her here and put them all in even more danger?

"We can trust her," Nia said, assuaging his fears and bending down to retrieve her bladed hairsticks. "She speaks the truth."

"So where is the Progenitor?" Ren asked, hanging her push dirks back onto her belt, though her gaze stayed trained on Angela.

"Your journey begins in Teirm. We must set out now if we are to make it back before the gates close for the night."

Rosaminda twisted her long blonde hair around one finger in a move Nathan knew meant she was nervous. "Isn't that a city? A city full of people who will easily identify us?"

"You and your sister can surely remain unnoticed except for a few minor adjustments," Angela said, her brown hair whipping about her face as she turned to the others. "But you three must change your appearance entirely. I trust that your mother taught you how?"

The Riders stiffened at her words, and Nicholas asked harshly, "How would she have been able to?"

"Your mother was an elf, was she not?" The witch rolled her eyes at their shocked faces. "Oh, come now, don't look all that surprised. Anyone just has to look at you triplets to know you're not entirely human."

"But our father could have been elven for all you know," Nate argued.

She just laughed in response, the sound wild yet refreshing - there was little laughter among them nowadays. "Oh, male elves are a lot pickier when it comes to choosing mates than the females are. Or at least, nine times out of ten they are, so I just took an educated guess. Now, pack your things and let's get moving!"

After Angela had flounced out of the house, all eyes turned to Nathan, and he gulped. "Where did you find her?" demanded his sister, her agitation obvious as she raked one hand through her mass of curls and messed up the bun.

"She actually found me," he began, but Renata spoke first.

"When did this even happen? I'd only just left to come in here!"

"Well - "

"What I want to know is how she knows so much about us," his brother said, interrupting him once more. "Did you tell her anything Nate?"

"No, I - "

"Who is she exactly? Did she try to read your thoughts? You are wearing your chain, aren't you?"

He frowned at Ren's question. "Of course I - "

"Where is Teirm anyways?" Nick asked. "I doubt that - "

"Quiet!" Four sets of eyes flickered to Rose, who stood with her hands on her hips in a pose Ren had done minutes ago, though now the eyes flashing were blue. "You all need to stop asking questions and let Nate explain what happened. He'll answer them all if you'd give him the chance."

Nate sighed in relief and gave her a smile. "Thanks, love. So, I was outside pulling out one of the rabbits when a voice called out from the forest. Since we can't sense minds while wearing the skilna braugh chains, I looked up expecting Nia - as she was the other one hunting today - only to find a short woman smiling at me. I drew my knife in defense when she called me by my name, my full name. No one outside of us five, our dragons, and Nia's bondmates should know of that name, so I was appropriately shocked that this stranger apparently knew it. She introduced herself as Angela and said she knew who I was because she was a witch; after explaining how she was sent here to help, and that she already knew where our home was, I figured the best plan was to take her here and not let her out of my sight."

"Well, she's out of our sights now!" exclaimed the twins in tandem.

His face became smug. "No, not exactly. I already explained to Toparien what was going on - the only time I removed my chain, I might add. He and the other dragons are already within sight of the house - and of Angela."

"No witch has so much knowledge," mused Nicholas, rolling his focus ring around his finger. "Nia, she spoke about how the information about who she really is is only known to seers. Do you know what she means?"

Their sister's eyes were unfocused until she heard the question directed at her, and that piercing purple gaze landed on her youngest brother. "I...I cannot say for certain. What matters now is finding the Progenitor. We must leave immediately, as Angela said."

"So we blindly throw our trust into a complete stranger?"

Niaomi looked at her gray-eyed god-sister with that same steady gaze. "Not blindly. I know she speaks the truth. Do any of you doubt me?" No one spoke, so she raised her hands to fix her hair and said, "Good. Then let us journey to Teirm."

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