Paolini, Christopher - Inheritance Trilogy, Book 2 - Eldest (v1.5)

BOOK: Paolini, Christopher - Inheritance Trilogy, Book 2 - Eldest (v1.5)
2.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

ELDEST

Book Two of Inheritance

CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI

As always, this book is for my family.

And also to my incredible fans. You made this adventure possible.

Sé onr sverdar sitja hvass!

2

Synopsis of Eragon,

Book One of Inheritance

Eragon—a fifteen-year-old farmboy—is shocked when a polished blue

stone appears before him in the range of mountains known as the Spine.

Eragon takes the stone to the farm where he lives with his uncle, Gar-

row, and his cousin, Roran. Garrow and his late wife, Marian, have raised

Eragon. Nothing is known of his father; his mother, Selena, was Garrow’s

sister and has not been seen since Eragon’s birth.

Later, the stone cracks open and a baby dragon emerges. When Eragon

touches her, a silvery mark appears on his palm, and an irrevocable bond

is forged between their minds, making Eragon one of the legendary

Dragon Riders.

The Dragon Riders were created thousands of years earlier in the af-

termath of the elves’ great war with the dragons, in order to ensure that

hostilities would never again afflict their two races. The Riders became

peacekeepers, educators, healers, natural philosophers, and the greatest of

spellweavers—since being joined with a dragon makes one a magician.

Under their guidance and protection, the land enjoyed a golden age.

When humans arrived in Alagaësia, they too were added to this elite

order. After many years of peace, the monstrous and warlike Urgals killed

the dragon of a young human Rider named Galbatorix. Driven mad by

the loss and by his elders’ refusal to provide him with another dragon,

Galbatorix set out to topple the Riders.

He stole another dragon—whom he named Shruikan and forced to

serve him through certain black spells—and gathered around himself a

group of thirteen traitors: the Forsworn. With the help of those cruel dis-

ciples, Galbatorix threw down the Riders; killed their leader, Vrael; and

declared himself king over Alagaësia. In this, Galbatorix was only partly

successful, for the elves and dwarves remain autonomous in their secret

haunts, and some humans have established an independent country,

Surda, in the south of Alagaësia. A stalemate has existed between these

factions for twenty years, preceded by eighty years of open conflict

brought about by the destruction of the Riders.

It is into this fragile political situation, then, that Eragon is thrust. He

fears he is in mortal danger—it is common knowledge that Galbatorix

killed every Rider who would not swear loyalty to him—and so Eragon

hides the dragon from his family as he raises her. During this time, Eragon

3

names the creature Saphira, after a dragon mentioned by the village story-

teller, Brom. Soon Roran leaves the farm for a job that will allow him to

earn enough money to marry Katrina, the butcher’s daughter.

When Saphira stands taller than Eragon, two menacing, beetle-like

strangers called the Ra’zac arrive in Carvahall, searching for the stone that

was her egg. Frightened, Saphira kidnaps Eragon and flies into the Spine.

Eragon manages to convince her to turn back, but by then his home has

been obliterated by the Ra’zac. Eragon finds Garrow in the wreckage, tor-

tured and badly wounded.

Garrow dies soon afterward, and Eragon vows to track down and kill

the Ra’zac. Eragon is accosted by Brom, who knows of Saphira’s existence

and asks to accompany Eragon for reasons of his own. After Eragon

agrees, Brom gives him the sword Zar’roc, which was once a Rider’s

blade, though he refuses to say how he acquired it.

Eragon learns much from Brom during their travels, including how to

fight with swords and use magic. Eventually, they lose the Ra’zac’s trail

and visit the city of Teirm, where Brom believes his old friend Jeod can

help locate their lair.

In Teirm, the eccentric herbalist Angela tells Eragon’s fortune, predict-

ing mighty powers struggling to control his destiny; an epic romance with

one of noble birth; the fact that he will one day leave Alagaësia, never to

return; and a betrayal from within his family. Her companion, the were-

cat Solembum, also gives him some words of advice. Then Eragon, Brom,

and Saphira depart for Dras-Leona, where they hope to find the Ra’zac.

Brom finally reveals that he is an agent of the Varden—a rebel group

dedicated to overthrowing Galbatorix—and that he had been hiding in

Eragon’s village, waiting for a new Dragon Rider to appear. Brom also ex-

plains that twenty years ago, he and Jeod stole Saphira’s egg from Galba-

torix. In the process, Brom killed Morzan, first and last of the Forsworn.

Only two other dragon eggs still exist, both of which remain in Galba-

torix’s possession.

Near Dras-Leona, the Ra’zac waylay Eragon and his companions, and

Brom is mortally wounded while protecting Eragon. The Ra’zac are

driven away by a mysterious young man named Murtagh, who says he’s

been tracking the Ra’zac. Brom dies the following night. With his last

breath, he confesses that he was once a Rider and his slain dragon was

also named Saphira. Eragon buries Brom in a tomb of sandstone, which

Saphira transmutes into pure diamond.

4

Without Brom, Eragon and Saphira decide to join the Varden. By ill

chance, Eragon is captured at the city of Gil’ead and brought to the Shade

Durza, Galbatorix’s right-hand man. With Murtagh’s help, Eragon escapes

from prison, bringing along with him the unconscious elf Arya, another

captive. By this point, Eragon and Murtagh have become great friends.

With her mind, Arya tells Eragon that she has been ferrying Saphira’s

egg between the elves and the Varden, in the hopes that it might hatch

for one of their children. However, during her last trip, she was am-

bushed by Durza and forced to send the egg elsewhere with magic,

which is how it came to Eragon. Now Arya is seriously wounded and re-

quires the Varden’s medical help. Using mental images, she shows Eragon

how to find the rebels. An epic chase ensues. Eragon and his friends trav-

erse almost four hundred miles in eight days. They are pursued by a con-

tingent of Urgals, who trap them in the towering Beor Mountains.

Murtagh, who had not wanted to go to the Varden, is forced to tell Er-

agon that he is the son of Morzan.

Murtagh, however, has denounced his father’s deeds and fled Galba-

torix’s patronage to seek his own destiny. He shows Eragon a great scar

across his back, inflicted when Morzan threw his sword, Zar’roc, at him

when he was just a child. Thus, Eragon learns his sword once belonged to

Murtagh’s father, he who betrayed the Riders to Galbatorix and slaugh-

tered many of his former comrades.

Just before they are overwhelmed by the Urgals, Eragon and his friends

are rescued by the Varden, who seem to appear out of the very stone. It

turns out that the rebels are based in Farthen Dûr, a hollow mountain ten

miles high and ten miles across. It is also home to the dwarves’ capital,

Tronjheim. Once inside, Eragon is taken to Ajihad, leader of the Varden,

while Murtagh is imprisoned because of his parentage. Ajihad explains

many things to Eragon, including that the Varden, elves, and dwarves had

agreed that when a new Rider appeared, he or she would initially be

trained by Brom and then sent to the elves to complete the instruction.

Eragon must now decide whether to follow this course.

Eragon meets with the dwarf king, Hrothgar, and Ajihad’s daughter,

Nasuada; is tested by the Twins, two bald and rather nasty magicians

who serve Ajihad; spars with Arya once she has recovered; and again en-

counters Angela and Solembum, who have joined the Varden. Eragon

and Saphira also bless one of the Varden’s orphan babies.

Eragon’s stay is disrupted by news of an Urgal army approaching

5

through the dwarves’ tunnels. In the battle that follows, Eragon is sepa-

rated from Saphira and forced to fight Durza alone. Far stronger than any

human, Durza easily defeats Eragon, slashing open his back from shoulder

to hip. At that moment, Saphira and Arya break the roof of the cham-

ber—a sixty-foot-wide star sapphire—distracting Durza long enough for

Eragon to stab him through the heart. Freed from Durza’s spells, the Ur-

gals are driven back into the tunnels.

While Eragon lies unconscious after the battle, he is telepathically con-

tacted by a being who identifies himself as Togira Ikonoka—the Cripple

Who Is Whole. He offers answers to all of Eragon’s questions and urges

Eragon to seek him in Ellesméra, where the elves live.

When Eragon wakes, he finds that, despite Angela’s best efforts, he has

been left with a huge scar similar to Murtagh’s. Dismayed, he also realizes

that he only slew Durza through sheer luck and that he desperately needs

more training.

And at the end of Book One, Eragon decides that, yes, he will find this

Togira Ikonoka and learn from him. For gray-eyed Destiny now weaves

apace, the first resounding note of war echoes across the land, and the

time fast approaches when Eragon shall have to step forth and confront

his one, true enemy: King Galbatorix.

6

A TWIN DISASTER

The songs of the dead are the lamentations of the living.

So thought Eragon as he stepped over a twisted and hacked Urgal, lis-

tening to the keening of women who removed loved ones from the

blood-muddied ground of Farthen Dûr. Behind him Saphira delicately

skirted the corpse, her glittering blue scales the only color in the gloom

that filled the hollow mountain.

It was three days since the Varden and dwarves had fought the Urgals

for possession of Tronjheim, the mile-high, conical city nestled in the

center of Farthen Dûr, but the battlefield was still strewn with carnage.

The sheer number of bodies had stymied their attempts to bury the dead.

In the distance, a mountainous fire glowed sullenly by Farthen Dûr’s wall

where the Urgals were being burned. No burial or honored resting place

for them.

Since waking to find his wound healed by Angela, Eragon had tried

three times to assist in the recovery effort. On each occasion he had been

racked by terrible pains that seemed to explode from his spine. The heal-

ers gave him various potions to drink. Arya and Angela said that he was

perfectly sound. Nevertheless, he hurt. Nor could Saphira help, only

share his pain as it rebounded across their mental link.

Eragon ran a hand over his face and looked up at the stars showing

through Farthen Dûr’s distant top, which were smudged with sooty

smoke from the pyre. Three days. Three days since he had killed Durza;

three days since people began calling him Shadeslayer; three days since

the remnants of the sorcerer’s consciousness had ravaged his mind and he

had been saved by the mysterious Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is

Whole. He had told no one about that vision but Saphira. Fighting Durza

and the dark spirits that controlled him had transformed Eragon; although

for better or for worse he was still unsure. He felt fragile, as if a sudden

shock would shatter his reconstructed body and consciousness.

And now he had come to the site of the combat, driven by a morbid

desire to see its aftermath. Upon arriving, he found nothing but the un-

BOOK: Paolini, Christopher - Inheritance Trilogy, Book 2 - Eldest (v1.5)
2.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Laugh Till You Cry by Joan Lowery Nixon
No Matter What by Michelle Betham
Explicit Instruction by Scarlett Finn
Zero's Slider by Matt Christopher, Molly Delaney
Innuendo by Zimmerman, R.D.
Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
The Peddler by Prather, Richard S