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Roran fought his way free, but the Ra’zac stole from him Katrina: Roran’s beloved and Sloan’s daughter. Then Roran convinced the villagers to leave with him, and they journeyed through the mountains of the Spine, down the coast of Alagaësia, and to the southern country of Surda, which yet existed independent of Galbatorix.
The wound upon Eragon’s back continued to torment him. But during the elves’ Blood-oath Celebration, wherein they celebrate the pact between the Riders and the dragons, his wound was healed by the spectral dragon the elves invoke upon the conclusion of the festival. Moreover, the apparition gave Eragon strength and speed equal to those of the elves themselves.
Then Eragon and Saphira flew to Surda, where Nasuada had taken the Varden to launch an attack against Galbatorix’s Empire. There the Urgals allied themselves with the Varden, for they claimed that Galbatorix had clouded their minds, and they would have their revenge against him. With the Varden, Eragon met again the girl Elva, who had grown with prodigious speed because of his spell. From a squalling infant to a girl of three or four she had become, and her gaze was dire indeed, for she knew the pain of all those around her.
And not far from the border of Surda, upon the blackness of the Burning Plains, Eragon, Saphira, and the Varden fought a great and bloody battle against Galbatorix’s army.
In the midst of the battle, Roran and the villagers joined the Varden, as did the dwarves, who had marched after them from the Beor Mountains.
But out of the east rose a figure clad in polished armor. And he rode upon a glittering red dragon. And with a spell, he slew King Hrothgar.
Then Eragon and Saphira fought the Rider and his red dragon. And they discovered the Rider was Murtagh, now bound to Galbatorix with oaths unbreakable. And the dragon was Thorn, second of the three eggs to hatch.
Murtagh defeated Eragon and Saphira with the strength of the Eldunarí that Galbatorix had given him. But Murtagh allowed Eragon and Saphira to go free, for Murtagh still bore friendship for Eragon. And because, as he told Eragon, they were brothers, both born of Morzan’s favored consort, Selena.
Then Murtagh took Zar’roc, their father’s sword, from Eragon, and he and Thorn withdrew from the Burning Plains, as did the rest of Galbatorix’s forces.
Upon completion of the battle, Eragon, Saphira, and Roran flew to the dark tower of stone, Helgrind, that served as the Ra’zac’s hiding place. They slew one of the Ra’zac—and the Ra’zac’s foul parents, the Lethrblaka—and from Helgrind rescued Katrina. And in one of the cells, Eragon discovered Katrina’s father, blind and half-dead.
Eragon considered killing Sloan for his betrayal, but rejected the idea. Instead, he put Sloan into a deep sleep and told Roran and Katrina that her father was dead. Then he asked Saphira to take Roran and Katrina back to the Varden while he hunted down the final Ra’zac.
Alone, Eragon slew the last remaining Ra’zac. Then he took Sloan away from Helgrind. After much thought, Eragon discovered Sloan’s true name in the ancient language, the language of power and magic. And Eragon bound Sloan with his name and forced the butcher to swear that he would never see his daughter again. Then Eragon sent him to live among the elves. But what Eragon did not tell the butcher was that the elves would repair his eyes if he repented of his treason and murder.
Arya met Eragon halfway to the Varden, and together they returned, on foot and through enemy territory.
At the Varden, Eragon learned that Queen Islanzadí had sent twelve elven spellcasters, led by an elf named Blödhgarm, to protect him and Saphira. Eragon then removed as much of his curse as he could from the girl Elva, but she retained her ability to feel the pain of others, though she no longer felt the compulsion to save them from their misery.
And Roran married Katrina, who was pregnant, and for the first time in a long while, Eragon was happy.
Then Murtagh, Thorn, and a group of Galbatorix’s men attacked the Varden. With the help of the elves, Eragon and Saphira were able to hold them off, but neither Eragon nor Murtagh could defeat the other. It was a difficult battle, for Galbatorix had enchanted the soldiers so that they felt no pain, and the Varden suffered many casualties.
Afterward, Nasuada sent Eragon to represent the Varden among the dwarves while they chose their new king. Eragon was loath to go, for Saphira had to stay and protect the Varden’s camp. But go he did.
And Roran served alongside the Varden, and he rose through their ranks, for he proved himself a skilled warrior and a leader of men.
While Eragon was among the dwarves, seven of them tried to assassinate him. An investigation revealed that the clan Az Sweldn rak Anhûin was behind the attack. The clanmeet continued, however, and Orik was chosen to succeed his uncle. Saphira joined Eragon for the coronation. And during it, she fulfilled her promise to repair the dwarves’ cherished star sapphire, which she had broken during Eragon’s battle with the Shade Durza.
Then Eragon and Saphira returned to Du Weldenvarden. There Oromis revealed the truth about Eragon’s heritage: that he was not, in fact, Morzan’s son but Brom’s, though he and Murtagh did share the same mother, Selena. Oromis and Glaedr also explained the concept of the Eldunarí, which a dragon may choose to disgorge while living, though this must be done with great care, for whosoever owns the Eldunarí may use it to control the dragon it came from.
While in the forest, Eragon decided that he needed a sword to replace Zar’roc. Remembering the advice he had gotten from the werecat Solembum during his journeys with Brom, Eragon went to the sentient Menoa tree in Du Weldenvarden. He spoke with the tree, and the tree agreed to give up the brightsteel beneath its roots in exchange for an unnamed price.