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In the prologue, a Shade named Durza and some Urgals kill two elves and chase a third across a forest. The surviving elf carries a blue stone, later revealed to be a dragon egg. The elf is captured, but sends the egg to the Spine to keep it safe.
Eragon lives with his uncle Garrow and cousin Roran on a farm on the borders of a small village called Carvahall. While hunting in the Spine, a large mountain range, Eragon is surprised to see a polished blue stone appear in front of him. A few days later, Eragon witnesses a baby dragon hatch from the "stone", and realizes that it is actually a dragon egg. Eragon names the dragon Saphira. He raises the dragon in secret until two of King Galbatorix's servants, the Ra'zac, come to Carvahall looking for the egg. Eragon and Saphira manage to escape by hiding in the forest, but Garrow is fatally wounded and the house and farm are burned down by the Ra'zac. Once Garrow dies, Eragon is left with no reason to stay in Carvahall, so he goes after the Ra'zac, seeking vengeance for the destruction of his home and his uncle's death. He is accompanied by Brom, an elderly story-teller, who insists on helping him and Saphira.
Eragon becomes a Dragon Rider through his bond with Saphira. On the journey, Brom teaches Eragon sword fighting, magic, the Ancient Language, and the ways of the Dragon Riders. Their travels bring them to Teirm, where they are able to track the Ra'zac to the southern city of Dras-Leona. Although they manage to infiltrate the city, Eragon encounters the Ra'zac in a cathedral and he and Brom are forced to flee. Later that night, their camp is ambushed by the Ra'zac. A stranger named Murtagh rescues them, but Brom is gravely injured. Knowing that he is about to die, Brom tells Eragon that he used to be a Dragon Rider. His dragon's name was also Saphira, but an evil Dragon Rider named Morzan killed her. Brom then avenged Saphira's death and killed Morzan. After telling Eragon this, Brom dies.
Murtagh becomes Eragon's new companion and they travel to the city Gil'ead to find information on how to find the Varden, a group of rebels who want to see the downfall of Galbatorix. While stopping near Gil'ead, Eragon is captured and imprisoned in the same jail that holds a woman he has been receiving dreams about. When he breaks out of his cell, he discovers that she is an Elf. Murtagh and Saphira stage a rescue, and Eragon escapes with the unconscious Elf. During the escape, Eragon and Murtagh battle with a Shade – a sorcerer possessed by evil spirits – named Durza. Murtagh shoots Durza between the eyes with an arrow, and the Shade disappears in a cloud of mist.
After escaping, Eragon contacts the unconscious Elf telepathically, and discovers that her name is Arya. She tells them that she was poisoned while in captivity and that only a potion in the Varden's possession can cure her. Arya is able to give directions to the exact location of the Varden: a city called Tronjheim, which sits in the mountain Farthen Dûr. She also adds that they have only four days to reach the Varden or she will die. The group go in search of the Varden, both to save Arya's life and to escape Galbatorix's wrath. When they arrive in Farthen Dûr, Eragon is led to the leader of the Varden, Ajihad. Ajihad imprisons Murtagh after finding out that he is the son of Morzan. Ajihad tells Eragon that Durza was not destroyed by Murtagh's well placed arrow, because the only way to kill a Shade is with a stab to the heart.
Eragon is at last able to rest, but a new invasion is imminent. As the battle begins, the Varden and the Dwarves are pitted against an enormous army of Urgals, deployed by Durza and Galbatorix. During the battle, Eragon faces the Shade Durza again. Durza, having gravely wounded Eragon's back, is about to capture him but is distracted by Saphira and Arya. Durza's attention is diverted long enough for Eragon to stab him in the heart with his sword. After Durza's death, the Urgals are released from a spell which had been placed on them, and begin to fight among themselves. The Varden take advantage of this opportunity to make a counter-attack, forcing off the Urgals. While Eragon is unconscious, someone called The Mourning Sage contacts him telepathically and tells Eragon to come to him for training in the forest of the Elves, Dû
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 the 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.
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