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    “Farewell,” Eragon whispered as he watched her and Fírnen fly back toward where Roran still stood upon the distant shore.

    Then Eragon finally allowed the tears to spill from his eyes, and he clutched the railing of the ship and wept as he left behind all that he had ever known. Above, Saphira keened, and her grief mingled with his as they mourned what could never be.

    In time, however, Eragon’s heart slowed, and his tears dried, and a measure of peace stole over him as he gazed out at the empty plain. He wondered what strange things they might encounter within its wild reaches, and he pondered the life he and Saphira were to have—a life with the dragons and Riders.

    We are not alone, little one, said Saphira.

    A smile crept across his face.

    And the ship sailed onward, gliding serenely down the moonlit river toward the dark lands beyond.

    ON THE ORIGIN OF NAMES:

    To the casual observer, the various names an intrepid traveler will encounter throughout Alagaësia might seem but a random collection of labels with no inherent integrity, culture, or history. However, as with any land that different cultures—and in this case, different species—have repeatedly colonized, Alagaësia acquired names from a wide array of unique sources, among them the languages of the dwarves, elves, humans, and even Urgals. Thus we can have Palancar Valley (a human name), the Anora River and Ristvak’baen (elven names), and Utgard Mountain (a dwarf name) all within a few square miles of each other.

    While this is of great historical interest, practically it often leads to confusion as to the correct pronunciation. Unfortunately, there are no set rules for the neophyte. You must learn each name upon its own terms, unless you can immediately place its language of origin. The matter grows even more confusing when you realize that in many places the resident population altered the spelling and pronunciation of foreign words to conform to their own language. The Anora River is a prime example. Originally anora was spelled äenora, which means broad in the ancient language. In their writings, the humans simplified the word to anora, and this, combined with a vowel shift wherein äe (ay-eh) was said as the easier a (uh), created the name as it appears in Eragon’s time.

    To spare readers as much difficulty as possible, I have compiled the following list, with the understanding that these are only rough guidelines to the actual pronunciation. The enthusiast is encouraged to study the source languages in order to master their true intricacies.

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