ELDESTThe Inheritance Book 2Christopher Paolini
THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF
Text copyright (c) 2005 by Christopher Paolini
Illustrations on endpapers, copyright (c) 2002 by Christopher Paolini
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of
Random House Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada
Limited, Toronto. Distributed by Random House, Inc., New York.
KNOPF, BORZOI BOOKS, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
www.randomhouse.com/teensLibrary of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Eldest / Christopher Paolini.--1st ed.
p. cm.--(Inheritance ; bk. 2)
SUMMARY: After successfully evading an Urgal ambush, Eragon is adopted into the Ingeitum clan and sent to finish his training so he can further
help the Varden in their struggle against the Empire.
[1. Fantasy. 2. Dragons--Fiction. 3. Youths' writings.] I. Title. II. Series: Paolini, Christopher. Inheritance ; bk. 2.
v1.0 As always, this book is for my family
.And also to my incredible fans. You made this adventure possible
.Se onr sverdar sitja hvass
As with many authors who undertake an epic the length of the Inheritance trilogy, I have found that the creation
, and now Eldest
, has become my own personal quest, one that has proven every bit as transforming as
When first I conceived Eragon
, I was fifteen--not quite a boy and not yet a man--just out of high school, unsure
of what path to take in life, and addicted to the potent magic of the fantasy literature that adorned my shelves. The
process of writing Eragon
, marketing it across the world, and now finally completing Eldest
has swept me into
adulthood. I am twenty-one now and, to my continual astonishment, have already published two novels. Stranger
things have occurred, I'm sure, but never to me.
Eragon's journey has been my own: plucked from a sheltered rural upbringing and forced to rove the land in a
desperate race against time; enduring intense and arduous training; achieving success against all expectations;
dealing with the consequences of fame; and eventually finding a measure of peace.
Just as in fiction when the determined and well-meaning protagonist--who really isn't all that bright, now is he?
--is helped along his way by a host of wiser characters, so too have I been guided by a number of stupendously
talented people. They are:
At home: Mom, for listening whenever I need to talk about a problem with the story or characters and for giving
me the courage to throw out twelve pages and rewrite Eragon's entrance into Ellesmera (painful); Dad, as always, for
his incisive editing; and my dear sister, Angela, for deigning to reprise her role as a witch and for her contributions
to her doppelganger's dialogue.
At Writers House: my agent, the great and mighty Comma Master, Simon Lipskar, who makes all things possible
(Mervyn Peake!); and his brave assistant Daniel Lazar, who keeps the Comma Master from being buried alive
underneath a pile of unsolicited manuscripts, many of which I fear are the result of Eragon
Ator, Michelle Frey, who has goyond the call of duty in performing her job and has made Eldest
so much better
than it would have been otherwise; publicity director Judith Haut, for once again proving that no feat of promotion
is beyond her reach (hear her roar!); Isabel Warren-Lynch, art director nonpareil who, with Eldest
, has exceeded her
previous accomplishments; John Jude Palencar, for a cover painting that I like even better than the one for Eragon
copy chief Artie Bennett, who has done a splendiferous job of checking all the obscure words in this trilogy and
probably knows more than I do about the ancient language, although his Urgal is a mite weak; Chip Gibson, grand
master of the children's division at Random House; Nancy Hinkel, publishing director extraordinaire; Joan DeMayo,
director of sales (much applause, cheers, and bowing!) and her team; Daisy Kline, who with her team designed the
wonderful and eye-catching marketing materials; Linda Palladino, Rebecca Price, and Timothy Terhune, production;
a bow of thanks to Pam White and her team, who have helped to spread Eragon
to the four corners of the world;
Melissa Nelson, design; Alison Kolani, copy editing; Michele Burke, Michelle Frey's dedicated, hardworking
assistant; and everyone else at Knopf who has supported me.
At Listening Library: Gerard Doyle, who brings the world of Alagaesia to life; Taro Meyer for getting the
pronunciation of my languages just right; Jacob Bronstein for pulling all the threads together; and Tim Ditlow,
publisher of Listening Library.
Thank you all.
One more volume to go and we shall reach the end of this tale. One more manuscript of heartache, ecstasy, and
perseverance... One more codex of dreams.
Stay with me, if it please you, and let us see where this winding path will carry us, both in this world and in
Se onr sverdar sitja hvass!Christopher Paolini
August 23, 2005
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ^
Christopher Paolini's abiding love of fantasy and science fiction inspired him to begin writing his debut novel,Eragon
, when he graduated from high school at fifteen after being homeschooled all his life. He became a New YorkTimes
bestselling author at nineteen. Christopher lives in Montana, where the dramatic landscape feeds his visions of
Alagaesia. He is at work on the final volume in the Inheritance trilogy.
You can find out more about Christopher, Eldest
, and Inheritance at www.alagaesia.com
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, Garrow, 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 aftermath 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 Alagaesia, 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 disciples, Galbatorix
threw down the Riders; killed their leader, Vrael; and declared himself king over Alagaesia. 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 Alagaesia. 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 names the creature Saphira, after a dragon mentioned by
the village storyteller, 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, tortured 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, predicting mighty powers struggling to control his
destiny; an epic romance with one of noble birth; the fact that he will one day leave Alagaesia, never to return; and a
betrayal from within his family. Her companion, the werecat 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 explains that
twenty years ago, he and Jeod stole Saphira's egg from Galbatorix. In the process, Brom killed Morzan, first and last
of the Forsworn. Only two other dragon eggs still exist, both of which remain in Galbatorix'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.
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 ambushed by Durza
and forced to send the egg elsewhere with magic, which is how it came to Eragon. Now Arya is seriously wounded
and requires the Varden's medical help. Using mental images, she shows Eragon how to find the rebels. An epic
chase ensues. Eragon and his friends traverse almost four hundred miles in eight days. They are pursued by a
contingent of Urgals, who trap them in the towering Beor Mountains. Murtagh, who had not wanted to go to the
Varden, is forced to tell Eragon that he is the son of Morzan.
Murtagh, however, has denounced his father's deeds and fled Galbatorix'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 slaughtered 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 Dur, 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 encounters 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 through the dwarves' tunnels. In the battle
that follows, Eragon is separated 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 chamber--a sixty-foot-wide star sapphire--distracting Durza long enough for Eragon to stab him through
the heart. Freed from Durza's spells, the Urgals are driven back into the tunnels.
While Eragon lies unconscious after the battle, he is telepathically contacted 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 Ellesmera, 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
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. Table of Contents
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Synopsis of Eragon
A TWIN DISASTER
THE COUNCIL OF ELDERS
TRUTH AMONG FRIENDS
THE HUNTED HUNTERS
A SORCERESS, A SNAKE, AND A SCROLL
HAMMER AND TONGS
AZ SWELDN RAK ANHUIN
DIAMONDS IN THE NIGHT
UNDER A DARKLING SKY
DOWN THE RUSHING MERE-WASH
WOUNDS OF THE PAST
WOUNDS OF THE PRESENT
HIS ENEMY'S FACE
ARROW TO THE HEART
THE DAGSHELGR INVOCATION
THE PINE WOOD CITY
OUT OF THE PAST
ON THE CRAGS OF TEL'NAEIR
THE SECRET LIVES OF ANTS
UNDER THE MENOA TREE
A MAZE OF OPPOSITION
HANGING BY A THREAD
WHY DO YOU FIGHT?
BLACK MORNING GLORY
THE NATURE OF EVIL
IMAGE OF PERFECTION
THE HAMMER FALLS
THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM
BROKEN EGG AND SCATTERED NEST
THE GIFT OF DRAGONS
IN A STARRY GLADE
AN UNEXPECTED ALLY
PREMONITION OF WAR
VISIONS NEAR AND FAR
THE MAW OF THE OCEAN
RUNNING THE BOAR'S EYE
THE BURNING PLAINS
THE CLOUDS OF WAR
THE STORM BREAKS
PRONUNCIATION GUIDE AND GLOSSARYA 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, listening to the keening of women who
removed loved ones from the blood-muddied ground of Farthen Dur. 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 Dur, 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 Dur's wall where the Urgals were being burned. No burial or honored resting place for them.