Sunday, February 12, 2012

Read a part of Eragon Inheritance Book 1

Eragon knelt in a bed of trampled reed grass and scanned the tracks with a practicedeye. The prints told him that the deer had been in the meadow only a half-hour before.Soon they would bed down. His target, a small doe with a pronounced limp in her leftforefoot, was still with the herd. He was amazed she had made it so far without a wolf orbear catching her.

The sky was clear and dark, and a slight breeze stirred the air. A silvery cloud driftedover the mountains that surrounded him, its edges glowing with ruddy light cast from theharvest moon cradled between two peaks. Streams flowed down the mountains fromstolid glaciers and glistening snowpacks. A brooding mist crept along the valley’s floor,almost thick enough to obscure his feet.

Eragon was fifteen, less than a year from manhood. Dark eyebrows rested above hisintense brown eyes. His clothes were worn from work. A hunting knife with a bonehandle was sheathed at his belt, and a buckskin tube protected his yew bow from the mist.He carried a wood-frame pack.

The deer had led him deep into the Spine, a range of untamed mountains that extended upand down the land of Alagaësia. Strange tales and men often came from those mountains, usually boding ill. Despite that, Eragon did not fear the Spine—he was the only hunternear Carvahall who dared track game deep into its craggy recesses.

It was the third night of the hunt, and his food was half gone. If he did not fell the doe, hewould be forced to return home empty-handed. His family needed the meat for therapidly approaching winter and could not afford to buy it in Carvahall.

Eragon stood with quiet assurance in the dusky moonlight, then strode into the foresttoward a glen where he was sure the deer would rest. The trees blocked the sky fromview and cast feathery shadows on the ground. He looked at the tracks only occasionally;he knew the way.

At the glen, he strung his bow with a sure touch, then drew three arrows and nocked one,holding the others in his left hand. The moonlight revealed twenty or so motionless lumpswhere the deer lay in the grass. The doe he wanted was at the edge of the herd, her leftforeleg stretched out awkwardly.

Eragon slowly crept closer, keeping the bow ready. All his work of the past three dayshad led to this moment. He took a last steadying breath and—an explosion shattered thenight.

The herd bolted. Eragon lunged forward, racing through the grass as a fiery wind surgedpast his cheek. He slid to a stop and loosed an arrow at the bounding doe. It missed by afinger’s breadth and hissed into darkness. He cursed and spun around, instinctivelynocking another arrow.

Behind him, where the deer had been, smoldered a large circle of grass and trees. Manyof the pines stood bare of their needles. The grass outside the charring was flattened. Awisp of smoke curled in the air,carrying a burnt smell. In the center of the blast radiuslay a polished blue stone. Mist snaked across the scorched area and swirled insubstantialtendrils over the stone.

Eragon watched for danger for several long minutes, but the only thing that moved wasthe mist. Cautiously, he released the tension from his bow and moved forward. Moonlightcast him in pale shadow as he stopped before the stone. He nudged it with an arrow, then jumped back. Nothing happened, so he warily picked it up.

Nature had never polished a stone as smooth as this one. Its flawless surface was dark blue, except for thin veins of white that spiderwebbed across it. The stone was cool andfrictionless under his fingers, like hardened silk. Oval and about a foot long, it weighedseveral pounds, though it felt lighter than it should have.

Eragon found the stone both beautiful and frightening.
Where did it come from? Does it have a purpose?
Then a more disturbing thought came to him:
Was it sent here byaccident, or am I meant to have it?
If he had learned anything from the old stories, it wasto treat magic, and those who used it, with great caution.

But what should I do with the stone?
It would be tiresome to carry, and there was a chanceit was dangerous. It might be better to leave it behind. A flicker of indecision ran throughhim, and he almost dropped it, but something stayed his hand.

At the very least, it might  pay for some food,
he decided with a shrug, tucking the stone into his pack.The glen was too exposed to make a safe camp, so he slipped back into the forest andspread his bedroll beneath the upturned roots of a fallen tree. After a cold dinner of breadand cheese, he wrapped himself in blankets and fell asleep, pondering what had occurred.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Read chapter A twin Disaster of book 2

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 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 healers 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
CrippleWho 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 uncomfortable presence of death
and decay, not the glory that heroic songs had led him to expect.
Before his uncle, Garrow, was slain by the Ra’zac months earlier, the brutality that
Eragon had witnessed between the humans, dwarves, and Urgals would have
destroyed him. Now it numbed him. He had realized, with Saphira’s help, that the
only way to stay rational amid such pain was todo things. Beyond that, he no longer
believed that life possessed inherent meaning—not after seeingmen torn apart by the
Kull, a race of giant Urgals, and the ground a bed of thrashing limbs and the dirt so
wet with blood it soaked through the soles of his boots. If any honor existed in war, he
concluded, it was in fighting to protect others from harm.
He bent and plucked a tooth, a molar, from the dirt. Bouncing it on his palm, he and
Saphira slowly made a circuit through the trampled plain. They stopped at its edge
when they noticed Jörmundur—Ajihad’s second in command in the Varden—
hurrying toward them from Tronjheim. When he came near, Jörmundur bowed, a
gesture Eragon knew he would never have made just days before.
“I’m glad I found you in time, Eragon.” He clutched a parchment note in one hand.
“Ajihad is returning, and he wants you to be there when he arrives. The others are
already waiting for him by Tronjheim’s west gate. We’ll have to hurry to get there in
Eragon nodded and headed toward the gate, keeping a hand on Saphira. Ajihad had
been gone most of the three days, hunting down Urgals who had managed to escape
into the dwarf tunnels that honeycombed the stone beneath the Beor Mountains. The
one time Eragon had seen him between expeditions, Ajihad was in a rage over
discovering that his daughter, Nasuada, had disobeyed his orders to leave with the
other women and children before the battle. Instead, she had secretly fought among
the Varden’s archers.
Murtagh and the Twins had accompanied Ajihad: the Twins because it was
dangerous work and the Varden’s leader needed the protection of their magical skills,
and Murtagh because he was eager to continue proving that he bore the Varden no ill
will. It surprised Eragon how much people’s attitudes toward Murtagh had changed,
considering that Murtagh’s father was the Dragon Rider Morzan, who had betrayed
the Riders to Galbatorix. Even though Murtagh despised his father and was loyal to
Eragon, the Varden had not trusted him. But now, no one was willing to waste energy
on a petty hate when so much work remained. Eragon missed talkingwith Murtagh
and looked forward to discussing all that had happened, once he returned.
As Eragon and Saphira rounded Tronjheim, a small group became visible in the pool
of lantern light before the timber gate. Among them were Orik—the dwarf shifting
impatiently on his stout legs—and Arya. The white bandage around her upper arm
gleamed in the darkness, reflecting a faint highlight onto the bottom of her hair.
Eragon felt a strange thrill, as he always did when he saw the elf. She looked at him
and Saphira, green eyes flashing, then continued watching for Ajihad.
By breaking Isidar Mithrim—the great star sapphire that was sixty feet across and
carved in the shape of a rose—Arya had allowed Eragon to kill Durza and so win the
battle. Still, the dwarves were furious with her for destroying their most prized
treasure. They refused to move the sapphire’s remains, leaving them in a massive
circle inside Tronjheim’s central chamber. Eragon had walked through the splintered
wreckage and shared the dwarves’ sorrow for all the lost beauty.
He and Saphira stopped by Orik and looked out at the empty land that surrounded
Tronjheim, extending to Farthen Dûr’s base five miles away in each direction.
“Where will Ajihad come from?” asked Eragon.
Orik pointed at a cluster of lanterns staked around a large tunnel opening a couple of
miles away. “He should be here soon.”
Eragon waited patiently with the others, answering comments directed at him but
preferring to speak with Saphira in the peace of his mind. The quiet that filled Farthen
Dûr suited him.
Half an hour passed before motion flickered in the distant tunnel. A group of ten men
climbed out onto the ground, then turned and helped up as many dwarves. One of the
men—Eragon assumed it was Ajihad—raised a hand, and the warriors assembled
behind him in two straight lines. At a signal, the formation marched proudly toward
Before they went more than five yards, the tunnel behind them swarmed with a flurry
of activity as more figures jumped out. Eragon squinted, unable to see clearly from so
far away.
Those are Urgals!exclaimed Saphira, her body tensing like a drawn bowstring.
Eragon did not question her. “Urgals!” he cried, and leaped onto Saphira, berating
himself for leaving his sword, Zar’roc, in his room. No one had expected an attack
now that the Urgal army had been driven away.
His wound twinged as Saphira lifted her azure wings, then drove them down and
jumped forward, gaining speed and altitude each second. Below them, Arya ran
toward the tunnel, nearly keeping apace with Saphira. Orik trailed her with several
men, while Jörmundur sprinted back toward the barracks.
Eragon was forced to watch helplessly as the Urgals fell on the rear of Ajihad’s
warriors; he could not work magic over such a distance. The monsters had the
advantage of surprise and quickly cut down four men, forcing the rest of the warriors,
men and dwarves alike, to cluster around Ajihad in an attempt to protect him. Swords
and axes clashed as the groups pressed together. Light flashed from one of the Twins,
and an Urgal fell, clutching the stump of his severed arm.
For a minute, it seemed the defenders would be able to resist the Urgals, but then a
swirl of motion disturbed the air, like a faint band of mist wrapping itself around the
combatants. When it cleared, only four warriors were standing: Ajihad, the Twins,
and Murtagh. The Urgals converged on them, blocking Eragon’s view as he stared
with rising horror and fear.
No! No! No!
Before Saphira could reach the fight, the knot of Urgals streamed back to the tunnel
and scrambled underground, leaving only prone forms behind.
The moment Saphira touched down, Eragon vaulted off, then faltered, overcome by
grief and anger. I can’t do this. It reminded him too much of when he had returned to
the farm to find his uncle Garrow dying. Fighting back his dread with every step, he
began to search for survivors.
The site was eerily similar to the battlefield he had inspected earlier, except that here
the blood was fresh.
In the center of the massacre lay Ajihad, his breastplate rent with numerous gashes,
surrounded by five Urgals he had slain. His breath still came in ragged gasps. Eragon
knelt by him and lowered his face so his tears would not land on the leader’s ruined
chest. No one could heal such wounds. Running up to them, Arya paused and stopped,
her face transformed with sorrow when she saw that Ajihad could not be saved.
“Eragon.” The name slipped from Ajihad’s lips—no more than a whisper.
“Yes, I am here.”
“Listen to me, Eragon… I have one last command for you.” Eragon leaned closer to
catch the dyingman’s words. “You must promise me something: promise that you…
won’t let the Varden fall into chaos. They are the only hope for resisting the Empire…
They must be kept strong. You must promise me.”
“I promise.”
“Then peace be with you, Eragon Shadeslayer…”With his last breath, Ajihad closed
his eyes, setting his noble face in repose, and died.
Eragon bowed his head. He had trouble breathing past the lump in his throat, which
was so hard it hurt. Arya blessed Ajihad in a ripple of the ancient language, then said
in her musical voice, “Alas, his death will cause much strife. He is right, you must do
all you can to avert a struggle for power. I will assist where possible.”
Unwilling to speak, Eragon gazed at the rest of the bodies. He would have given
anything to be elsewhere. Saphira nosed one of the Urgals and said, This should not
have happened. It is an evil doing, and all the worse for coming when we should be
safe and victorious . She examined another body, then swung her head around. Where
are the Twins and Murtagh? They’re not among the dead.
Eragon scanned the corpses. You’re right! Elation surged within him as he hurried to
the tunnel’s mouth. There pools of thickening blood filled the hollows in the worn
marble steps like a series of black mirrors, glossy and oval, as if several torn bodies
had been dragged down them. The Urgals must have taken them! But why? They don’t
keep prisoners or hostages. Despair instantly returned. It doesn’t matter. We can’t
pursue them without reinforcements; you wouldn’t even fit through the opening.
They may still be alive. Would you abandon them?
What do you expect me to do? The dwarf tunnels are an endless maze! I would only
get lost. And I couldn’t catch Urgals on foot, though Arya might be able to.
Then ask her to.
Arya!Eragon hesitated, torn between his desire for action and his loathing to put her
in danger. Still, if any one person in the Varden could handle the Urgals, it was she.
With a groan, he explained what they had found.
Arya’s slanted eyebrows met in a frown. “It makes no sense.”
“Will you pursue them?”
She stared at him for a heavy moment. “Wiol ono.” For you. Then she bounded
forward, sword flashing in her hand as she dove into the earth’s belly.
Burningwith frustration, Eragon settled cross-legged by Ajihad, keepingwatch over
the body. He could barely assimilate the fact that Ajihad was dead and Murtagh
missing. Murtagh . Son of one of the Forsworn—the thirteen Riders who had helped
Galbatorix destroy their order and anoint himself king of Alagaësia—and Eragon’s
friend. At times Eragon had wished Murtagh gone, but now that he had been forcibly
removed, the loss left an unexpected void. He sat motionless as Orik approached with
the men.
When Orik saw Ajihad, he stamped his feet and swore in Dwarvish, swinging his ax
into the body of an Urgal. The men only stood in shock. Rubbing a pinch of dirt
between his callused hands, the dwarf growled, “Ah, now a hornet’s nest has broken;
we’ll have no peace among the Varden after this. Barzûln, but this makes things
complicated. Were you in time to hear his last words?”
Eragon glanced at Saphira. “They must wait for the right person before I’ll repeat
“I see. And where’d be Arya?”
Eragon pointed.
Orik swore again, then shook his head and sat on his heels.
Jörmundur soon arrived with twelve ranks of sixwarriors each. He motioned for
them to wait outside the radius of bodies while he proceeded onward alone. He bent
and touched Ajihad on the shoulder. “How can fate be this cruel, my old friend? I
would have been here sooner if not for the size of this cursed mountain, and then you
might have been saved. Instead, we are wounded at the height of our triumph.”
Eragon softly told him about Arya and the disappearance of the Twins and Murtagh.
“She should not have gone,” said Jörmundur, straightening, “but we can do naught
about it now. Guards will be posted here, but it will be at least an hour before dwarf
guides can be found for another expedition into the tunnels.”
“I’d be willing to lead it,” offered Orik.
Jörmundur looked back at Tronjheim, his gaze distant. “No, Hrothgar will need you
now; someone else will have to go. I’m sorry, Eragon, but everyone importantmust
stay here until Ajihad’s successor is chosen. Arya will have to fend for herself… We
could not overtake her anyway.”
Eragon nodded, accepting the inevitable.
Jörmundur swept his gaze around before saying so all could hear, “Ajihad has died a
warrior’s death! Look, he slew five Urgals where a lesser man might have been
overwhelmed by one. We will give him every honor and hope his spirit pleases the
gods. Bear him and our companions back to Tronjheim on your shields… and do not
be ashamed to let your tears be seen, for this is a day of sorrow that all will remember.
May we soon have the privilege of sheathing our blades in the monsters who have
slain our leader!”
As one, the warriors knelt, baring their heads in homage to Ajihad. Then they stood
and reverently lifted him on their shields so he lay between their shoulders. Already
many of the Varden wept, tears flowing into beards, yet they did not disgrace their
duty and allow Ajihad to fall. With solemn steps, they marched back to Tronjheim,
Saphira and Eragon in the middle of the procession.

Eragon Inheritance Book 2 - Elder

Dowload the full Eragon Inheritance book 2: Elder


Friday, February 10, 2012

Read chapter THE GATES OF DEATH from book 3

Eragon stared at the dark tower of stone wherein hid the monsters who had murdered his uncle,
He was lying on his belly behind the edge of a sandy hill dotted with sparse blades of grass, thornbushes,
and small, rosebudlike cactuses. The brittle stems of last year’s foliage pricked his palms as he inched
forward to gain a better view of Helgrind, which loomed over the surrounding land like a black dagger
thrust out from the bowels of the earth.

The evening sun streaked the low hills with shadows long and narrow and—far in the west—illuminated
the surface of Leona Lake so that the horizon became a rippling bar of gold.
To his left, Eragon heard the steady breathing of his cousin, Roran, who was stretched out beside him.
The normally inaudible flow of air seemed preternaturally loud to Eragon with his heightened sense of
hearing, one of many such changes wrought by his experience during the Agaetí Blödhren, the elves’
Blood-oath Celebration.
He paid little attention to that now as he watched a column of people inch toward the base of Helgrind,
apparently having walked from the city of Dras-Leona, some miles away. A contingent of twenty-four
men and women, garbed in thick leather robes, occupied the head of the column. This group moved with
many strange and varied gaits—they limped and shuffled and humped and wriggled; they swung on
crutches or used arms to propel themselves forward on curiously short legs—contortions that were
necessary because, as Eragon realized, every one of the twenty-four lacked an arm or a leg or some
combination thereof. Their leader sat upright upon a litter borne by six oiled slaves, a pose Eragon
regarded as a rather amazing accomplishment, considering that the man or woman—he could not tell
which—consisted of nothing more than a torso and head, upon whose brow balanced an ornate leather
crest three feet high.
“The priests of Helgrind,” he murmured to Roran.
“Can they use magic?”
“Possibly. I dare not explore Helgrind with my mind until they leave, for if anyare magicians, they will
sense my touch, however light, and our presence will be revealed.”
Behind the priests trudged a double line of young men swathed in gold cloth. Each carried a rectangular
metal frame subdivided by twelve horizontal crossbars from which hung iron bells the size of winter
rutabagas. Half of the young men gave their frames a vigorous shake when they stepped forward with
their right foot, producing a dolorous cacophony of notes, while the other half shook their frames when
they advanced upon the left foot, causing iron tongues to crash against iron throats and emit a mournful
clamor that echoed over the hills. The acolytes accompanied the throbbing of the bells with their own
cries, groaning and shouting in an ecstasy of passion.
At the rear of the grotesque procession trudged a comet’s tail of inhabitants from Dras-Leona: nobles,
merchants, tradesmen, several high-ranking military commanders, and a motley collection of those less
fortunate, such as laborers, beggars, and common foot soldiers.
Eragon wondered if Dras-Leona’s governor, Marcus Tábor, was somewhere in their midst.
Drawing to a stop at the edge of the precipitous mound of scree that ringed Helgrind, the priests
gathered on either side of a rustcolored boulder with a polished top. When the entire column stood
motionless before the crude altar, the creature upon the litter stirred and began to chant in a voice as
discordant as the moaning of the bells. The shaman’s declamations were repeatedly truncated by gusts of
wind, but Eragon caught snatches of the ancient language—strangely twisted and
mispronounced—interspersed with dwarf and Urgal words, all of which were united by an archaic dialect
of Eragon’s own tongue. What he understood caused him to shudder, for the sermon spoke of things
best left unknown, of a malevolent hate that had festered for centuries in the dark caverns of people’s
hearts before being allowed to flourish in the Riders’ absence, of blood and madness, and of foul rituals
performed underneath a black moon.
At the end of that depraved oration, two of the lesser priests rushed forward and lifted their master—or
mistress, as the case might be—off the litter and onto the face of the altar. Then the High Priest issued a
brief order. Twin blades of steel winked like stars as they rose and fell. A rivulet of blood sprang from
each of the High Priest’s shoulders, flowed down the leather-encased torso, and then pooled across the
boulder until it overflowed onto the gravel below.
Two more priests jumped forward to catch the crimson flow in goblets that, when filled to the rim, were
distributed among the members of the congregation, who eagerly drank.
“Gar!” said Roran in an undertone. “You failed to mention that those errant flesh-mongers, those
gore-bellied, boggle-minded idiotworshipers werecannibals .”
“Not quite. They do not partake of the meat.”
When all the attendees had wet their throats, the servile novitiates returned the High Priest to the litter
and bound the creature’s shoulders with strips of white linen. Wet blotches quickly sullied the virgin cloth.
The wounds seemed to have no effect upon the High Priest, for the limbless figure rotated back toward
the devotees with their lips of cranberry red and pronounced, “Now are you truly my Brothers and
Sisters, having tasted the sap of my veins here in the shadow of almighty Helgrind. Blood calls to blood,
and if ever your Family should need help, do then what you can for the Church and for others who
acknowledge the power of our Dread Lord. . . . To affirm and reaffirm our fealty to the Triumvirate,
recite with me the Nine Oaths. . . . By Gorm, Ilda, and Fell Angvara, we vow to perform homage at least
thrice a month, in the hour before dusk, and then to make an offering of ourselves to appease the eternal
hunger of our Great and Terrible Lord. . . . We vow to observe the strictures as they are presented in the
book of Tosk. . . . We vow to always carry our Bregnir on our bodies and to forever abstain from the
twelve of twelves and the touch of a many-knotted rope, lest it corrupt . . .”
A sudden rise in the wind obscured the rest of the High Priest’s list. Then Eragon saw those who listened
take out a small, curved knife and, one by one, cut themselves in the crook of their elbows and anoint the
altar with a stream of their blood.
Some minutes later, the angry breeze subsided and Eragon again heard the priest: “. . . and such things
as you long and lust for will be granted to you as a reward for your obedience. . . . Our worship is
complete. However, if any now stand among you who are brave enough to demonstrate the true depth of
their faith, let them show themselves!”
The audience stiffened and leaned forward, their faces rapt; this, apparently, was what they had been
waiting for.
For a long, silent pause, it seemed as if they would be disappointed, but then one of the acolytes broke
ranks and shouted, “I will!” With a roar of delight, his brethren began to brandish their bells in a quick
and savage beat, whipping the congregation into such a frenzy, they jumped and yelled as if they had
taken leave of their senses. The rough music kindled a spark of excitement in Eragon’s heart—despite his
revulsion at the proceedings—waking some primal and brutish part of him.
Shedding his gold robes so that he wore nothing but a leather breechcloth, the dark-haired youth sprang
on top of the altar. Gouts of ruby spray erupted on either side of his feet. He faced Helgrind and began to
shiver and quake as if stricken with palsy, keeping time with the tolling of the cruel iron bells. His head
rolled loosely upon his neck, foam gathered at the corners of his mouth, his arms thrashed like snakes.
Sweat oiled his muscles until he gleamed like a bronze statue in the dying light.
The bells soon reached a manic tempo where one note clashed against another, at which point the young
man thrust a hand out behind himself. Into it, a priest deposited the hilt of a bizarre implement: a
single-edged weapon, two and a half feet long, with a full tang, scale grips, a vestigial crossguard, and a
broad, flat blade that widened and was scalloped near the end, a shape reminiscent of a dragon wing. It
was a tool designed for but one purpose: to hack through armor and bones and sinew as easily as
through a bulging waterskin.
The young man lifted the weapon so that it slanted toward the highest peak of Helgrind. Then he
dropped to one knee and, with an incoherent cry, brought the blade down across his right wrist.
Blood sprayed the rocks behind the altar.
Eragon winced and averted his eyes, although he could not escape the youth’s piercing screams. It was
nothing Eragon had not seen in battle, but it seemed wrong to deliberately mutilate yourself when it was
so easy to become disfigured in everyday life.
Blades of grass rasped against one another as Roran shifted his weight. He muttered some curse, which
was lost in his beard, and then fell silent again.
While a priest tended to the young man’s wound—stanching the bleeding with a spell—an acolyte let
loose two slaves from the High Priest’s litter, only to chain them by the ankles to an iron loop embedded
in the altar. Then the acolytes divested themselves of numerous packages from underneath their robes
and piled them on the ground, out of reach of the slaves.
Their ceremonies at an end, the priests and their retinue departed Helgrind for Dras-Leona, wailing and
ringing the entire way. The now one-handed zealot stumbled along just behind the High Priest.
A beatific smile graced his face.
“Well,” said Eragon, and released his pent-up breath as the column vanished behind a distant hill.
“Well what?”
“I’ve traveled among both dwarves and elves, and nothing they did was ever as strange as what those
people, thosehumans, do.”
“They’re as monstrous as the Ra’zac.” Roran jerked his chin toward Helgrind. “Can you find out now if
Katrina is in there?”
“I’ll try. But be ready to run.”
Closing his eyes, Eragon slowly extended his consciousness outward, moving from the mind of one living
thing to another, like tendrils of water seeping through sand. He touched teeming cities of insects
frantically scurrying about their business, lizards and snakes hidden among warm rocks, diverse species
of songbirds, and numerous small mammals. Insects and animals alike bustled with activity as they
prepared for the fast-approaching night, whether by retreating to their various dens or, in the case of
those of a nocturnal bent, by yawning, stretching, and otherwise readying themselves to hunt and forage.
Just as with his other senses, Eragon’s ability to touch another being’s thoughts diminished with distance.
By the time his psychic probe arrived at the base of Helgrind, he could perceive only the largest of
animals, and even those but faintly.
He proceeded with caution, ready to withdraw at a second’s notice if he happened to brush against the
minds of their prey: the Ra’zac and the Ra’zac’s parents and steeds, the gigantic Lethrblaka. Eragon was
willing to expose himself in this manner only because none of the Ra’zac’s breed could use magic, and he
did not believe that they were mindbreakers—nonmagicians trained to fight with telepathy. The Ra’zac
and Lethrblaka had no need for such tricks when their breath alone could induce a stupor in the largest of
And though Eragon risked discovery by his ghostly investigation, he, Roran, and Saphirahad to know if
the Ra’zac had imprisoned Katrina—Roran’s betrothed—in Helgrind, for the answer would determine
whether their mission was one of rescue or one of capture and interrogation.
Eragon searched long and hard. When he returned to himself, Roran was watching him with the
expression of a starving wolf. His gray eyes burned with a mixture of anger, hope, and despair that was
so great, it seemed as if his emotions might burst forth and incinerate everything in sight in a blaze of
unimaginable intensity, melting the very rocks themselves.
This Eragon understood.
Katrina’s father, the butcher Sloan, had betrayed Roran to the Ra’zac. When they failed to capture him,
the Ra’zac had instead seized Katrina from Roran’s bedroom and spirited her away from Palancar
Valley, leaving the inhabitants of Carvahall to be killed and enslaved by King Galbatorix’s soldiers.
Unable to pursue Katrina, Roran had—just in time—convinced the villagers to abandon their homes and
to follow him across the Spine and then south along the coast of Alagaësia, where they joined forces with
the rebel Varden. The hardships they endured as a result had been many and terrible. But circuitous as it
was, that course had reunited Roran with Eragon, who knew the location of the Ra’zac’s den and had
promised to help save Katrina.
Roran had only succeeded, as he later explained, because the strength of his passion drove him to
extremes that others feared and avoided, and thus allowed him to confound his enemies.
A similar fervor now gripped Eragon.
He would leap into harm’s way without the slightest regard for his own safety if someone he cared for
was in danger. He loved Roran as a brother, and since Roran was to marry Katrina, Eragon had
extended his definition of family to include her as well. This concept seemed even more important
because Eragon and Roran were the last heirs of their line. Eragon had renounced all affiliation with his
birth brother, Murtagh, and the only relatives he and Roran had left were each other, and now Katrina.
Noble sentiments of kinship were not the only force that drove the pair. Another goal obsessed them as
well:revenge! Even as they plotted to snatch Katrina from the grasp of the Ra’zac, so the two
warriors—mortal man and Dragon Rider alike—sought to slay King Galbatorix’s unnatural servants for
torturing and murdering Garrow, who was Roran’s father and had been as a father to Eragon.
The intelligence, then, that Eragon had gleaned was as important to him as to Roran.
“I think I felt her,” he said. “It’s hard to be certain, because we’re so far from Helgrind and I’ve never
touched her mind before, but Ithink she’s in that forsaken peak, concealed somewhere near the very
“Is she sick? Is she injured? Blast it, Eragon, don’t hide it from me: have they hurt her?”
“She’s in no pain at the moment. More than that, I cannot say, for it required all my strength just to make
out the glow of her consciousness; I could not communicate with her.” Eragon refrained from mentioning,
however, that he had detected a second person as well, one whose identity he suspected and the
presence of whom, if confirmed, troubled him greatly. “What Ididn’t find were the Ra’zac or the
Lethrblaka. Even if I somehow overlooked the Ra’zac, their parents are so large, their life force should
blaze like a thousand lanterns, even as Saphira’s does. Aside from Katrina and a few other dim specks
of light, Helgrind is black, black, black.”
Roran scowled, clenched his left fist, and glared at the mountain of rock, which was fading into the dusk
as purple shadows enveloped it. In a low, flat voice, as if talking with himself, he said, “It doesn’t matter
whether you are right or wrong.”
“How so?”
“We dare not attack tonight; night is when the Ra’zac are strongest, and if theyare nearby, it would be
stupid to fight them when we’re at a disadvantage. Agreed?”
“So, we wait for the dawn.” Roran gestured toward the slaves chained to the gory altar. “If those poor
wretches are gone by then, we know the Ra’zac are here, and we proceed as planned. If not, we curse
our bad luck that they escaped us, free the slaves, rescue Katrina, and fly back to the Varden with her
before Murtagh hunts us down. Either way, I doubt the Ra’zac will leave Katrina unattended for long, not
if Galbatorix wants her to survive so he can use her as a tool against me.”
Eragon nodded. He wanted to release the slaves now, but doing so could warn their foes that something
was amiss. Nor, if the Ra’zac came to collect their dinner, could he and Saphira intercede before the
slaves were ferried away. A battle in the open between a dragon and creatures such as the Lethrblaka
would attract the attention of every man, woman, and child for leagues around. And Eragon did not think
he, Saphira, or Roran could survive if Galbatorix learned they were alone in his empire.
He looked away from the shackled men.For their sake, I hope the Ra’zac are on the other side of
Alagaësia or, at least, that the Ra’zac aren’t hungry tonight .
By unspoken consent, Eragon and Roran crawled backward down from the crest of the low hill they
were hiding behind. At the bottom, they rose into a half crouch, then turned and, still doubled over, ran
between two rows of hills. The shallow depression gradually deepened into a narrow, flood-carved gully
lined with crumbling slabs of shale.
Dodging the gnarled juniper trees that dotted the gully, Eragon glanced up and, through clumps of
needles, saw the first constellations to adorn the velvet sky. They seemed cold and sharp, like bright
shards of ice. Then he concentrated on maintaining his footing as he and Roran trotted south toward their


———Download Eragon Inheritance Book 1———
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Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is
merely a poor farm boy—until his
destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed.
Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal
dragon, and sage advice from an old
storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a
dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and
power. Now his choices could save or
destroy the Empire.

“An authentic work of great talent.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Christopher Paolini make[s] literary magic
with his precocious debut.”—People

“Unusual, powerful, fresh, and fluid.”
—Booklist, Starred

“An auspicious beginning to both career
and series.”—Publishers Weekly

A New York Times Bestseller

A USA Today Bestseller

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

A Book Sense Bestseller