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    Synopsis of Eragon and Eldest

    Eragon—a fifteen-year-old farm boy—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, outside the small village of Carvahall. Garrow and his late wife, Marian, have raised Eragon. Nothing is known of Eragon’s 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. He names the dragon Saphira, after a dragon mentioned by the village storyteller, Brom.

    The Dragon Riders were created thousands of years earlier in the aftermath of the devastating war between the elves and the dragons, in order to prevent their two races from ever again fighting each other. The Riders became peacekeepers, educators, healers, natural philosophers, and the greatest of all magicians—since being joined with a dragon makes one a spellcaster. 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 warlike Urgals killed the dragon of a young human Rider named Galbatorix. The loss drove him mad, and when his elders refused 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 Alagaësia. His actions forced the elves to retreat deep within their pinewood forest and the dwarves to hide in their tunnels and caves, and neither race now ventures forth from its secret places. The stalemate between Galbatorix and the other races has endured for over a hundred years, during which all of the Forsworn have died from various causes. It is into this tense political situation that Eragon finds himself thrust.

    Several months after Saphira hatches, two menacing, beetle-like strangers called the Ra’zac arrive in Carvahall, searching for the stone that was Saphira’s egg. Eragon and Saphira manage to evade them, but they destroy Eragon’s home and murder Garrow.

    Eragon vows to track down and kill the Ra’zac. As he leaves Carvahall, the storyteller Brom, who knows of Saphira’s existence, accosts Eragon and asks to accompany him. Brom gives Eragon a red Dragon Rider’s sword, Zar’roc, 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. When they lose the Ra’zac’s trail, they go to the port town of Teirm and visit Brom’s old friend Jeod, who Brom thinks may be able to help them locate the Ra’zac’s lair. In Teirm, they learn that the Ra’zac live somewhere close to the city of Dras-Leona. Eragon also has his fortune told by the herbalist Angela and receives two strange pieces of advice from her companion, the werecat Solembum.

    On the way to Dras-Leona, Brom reveals that he is an agent of the Varden—a rebel group dedicated to overthrowing Galbatorix—and that he had been hiding in Carvahall, waiting for a new Dragon Rider to appear. Twenty years ago, Brom was involved in stealing Saphira’s egg from Galbatorix and, in the process, killed Morzan, first and last of the Forsworn. Only two other dragon eggs still exist, both of which remain in Galbatorix’s possession.

    In and near Dras-Leona, they encounter the Ra’zac, who mortally wound Brom while he is protecting Eragon. A mysterious young man named Murtagh drives the Ra’zac away. With his dying breath, Brom confesses that he too was once a Rider and that his slain dragon was also named Saphira.

    Eragon and Saphira then decide to join the Varden, but Eragon is captured at the city of Gil’ead and brought before Durza, an evil and powerful Shade who serves Galbatorix. With Murtagh’s help, Eragon escapes from prison, bringing along with him the elf Arya, another captive of Durza’s and an ambassador to the Varden. Arya has been poisoned and requires the Varden’s medical help.

    Pursued by a contingent of Urgals, the four of them flee across the land to the Varden’s headquarters in the giant Beor Mountains, which stand over ten miles high. Circumstances force Murtagh—who does not want to go to the Varden—to reveal that he is the son of Morzan. Murtagh, however, has denounced his dead father’s villainy and fled Galbatorix’s court to seek his own destiny. And he tells Eragon that the sword Zar’roc once belonged to Murtagh’s father.

    Just before they are overwhelmed by the Urgals, Eragon and his friends are rescued by the Varden, who live in Farthen Dûr, a hollow mountain that 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 relation to Morzan.

    Eragon meets with the dwarf king, Hrothgar, and Ajihad’s daughter, Nasuada, and is tested by the Twins, two rather nasty magicians who serve Ajihad. Eragon and Saphira also bless one of the Varden’s orphan babies while the Varden heal Arya of her poisoning.

    Eragon’s stay is disrupted by news of an Urgal army approaching underground, 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 a chamber—a sixty-foot-wide star sapphire—distracting Durza long enough for Eragon to stab him through the heart. Freed from Durza’s spells, which were controlling them, the Urgals are driven back.

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