Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle #4) - Christopher Paolini

IN THE BEGINNING:

A History of Eragon, Eldest, and Brisingr

In the beginning, there were dragons: proud, fierce, and independent. Their scales were like gems, and all who gazed upon them despaired, for their beauty was great and terrible.

And they lived alone in the land of Alagaësia for ages uncounted.

Then the god Helzvog made the stout and sturdy dwarves from the stone of the Hadarac Desert.

And their two races warred much.

Then the elves sailed to Alagaësia from across the silver sea. They too warred with the dragons. But the elves were stronger than the dwarves, and they would have destroyed the dragons, even as the dragons would have destroyed the elves.

And so a truce was struck and a pact was sealed between the dragons and the elves. And by this joining, they created the Dragon Riders, who kept the peace throughout Alagaësia for thousands of years.

Then humans sailed to Alagaësia. And the horned Urgals. And the Ra’zac, who are the hunters in the dark and the eaters of men’s flesh.

And the humans also joined the pact with the dragons.

Then a young Dragon Rider, Galbatorix, rose up against his own kind. He enslaved the black dragon Shruikan and he convinced thirteen other Riders to follow him. And the thirteen were called the Forsworn.

And Galbatorix and the Forsworn cast down the Riders and burnt their city on the isle of Vroengard and slew every dragon not their own, save for three eggs: one red, one blue, one green. And from each dragon they could, they took the heart of hearts—the Eldunarí—that holds the might and mind of the dragons, apart from their flesh.

And for two-and-eighty years, Galbatorix reigned supreme among the humans. The Forsworn died, but not he, for his strength was that of all the dragons, and none could hope to strike him down.

In the eighty-third year of Galbatorix’s rule, a man stole from his castle the blue dragon egg. And the egg passed into the care of those who still fought against Galbatorix, those who are known as the Varden.

The elf Arya carried the egg between the Varden and the elves in search of the human or elf for whom it would hatch. And in this manner, five-and-twenty years passed.

Then, as Arya traveled to the elven city of Osilon, a group of Urgals attacked her and her guards. With the Urgals was the Shade Durza: a sorcerer possessed by the spirits he had summoned to do his bidding. After the death of the Forsworn, he had become Galbatorix’s most feared servant. The Urgals slew Arya’s guards, and before they and the Shade captured her, Arya sent the egg away with magic, toward one who she hoped could protect it.

But her spell went awry.

And so it came to pass that Eragon, an orphan of only five-and-ten years, found the egg within the mountains of the Spine. He took the egg to the farm where he lived with his uncle, Garrow, and his only cousin, Roran. And the egg hatched for Eragon, and he raised the dragon therein. And her name was Saphira.

Then Galbatorix sent two of the Ra’zac to find and retrieve the egg, and they slew Garrow and burnt Eragon’s home. For Galbatorix had enslaved the Ra’zac, and of them only a few remained.

Eragon and Saphira set out to avenge themselves on the Ra’zac. With them went the storyteller Brom, who had once been a Dragon Rider himself, ere the fall of the Riders. It was to Brom that the elf Arya had meant to send the blue egg.

Brom taught Eragon much about swordsmanship, magic, and honor. And he gave to Eragon Zar’roc,