The chapter opens up with Eragon and his entourage stopping at the dwarves' trading outpost, Hedarth. Here they get donkeys, for dwarves cannot ride horses, to continue their travel. Arya refuses to ride a donkey. She runs along with them, often ahead of them, and doesn't tire or show fatigue. They follow the Edda River towards Eldor Lake. Du Weldenvarden comes into view within three days and Eragon notices its immensity and presumes it will have dangerous magic and creatures.
That night, shortly before Eragon is going to go to sleep, Arya comes to him and tells him, mentally, to follow her quietly. Arya leads him away from the dwarves and tells him that he must master elvish formalities as to avoid shaming her or himself. She first explains to him how different elves are from dwarves or humans. They live for so long and as such courtesy is essential. Grudges are not easily forgotten. She also says how elves are fecund and cannot afford to fight with each other. She says there are many customs to be followed and it's better to be rude and competent than rude and incapable. Their politics move in subtle cycles and are seldom clear or static.
Arya begins teaching Eragon the niceties and greetings of the elves. Greeting can be up to three parts and whoever has lower status should usually greet first (or someone with higher status who wishes to honor a subordinate). Dragons are revered by elves and need not acquiesce or subserve to anyone. Formalities differ depending on gender, age, and prestige.
When Arya goes to leave Eragon stops her. Eragon pauses as Arya looks at him. He asks if she is well, for she has seemed disracted. Arya hardens and Eragon realizes she isn't pleased with him. She tells him matter-of-factly that he shouldn't address her with such frivolity when they are in Du Weldenvarden unless he's wishing to cause afront. She stalks away and Saphira tells Eragon to run after her. He doesn't at first and Saphira becomes angry with him. He runs to her and stops in front of her, requiring her to also stop. Eragon starts with the formal elvish greeting for a woman of great wisdom. He apologizes and explains that he and Saphira were just concerned. Arya says she appreciates the concern and spoke badly. She says she will be honest, fear is what worries her. Eragon is thunderstruck and Arya walks away, past him.