Prior to the battle, Nasuada, leader of the Varden, had been captured by the Imperial Rider Murtagh and his red dragon Thorn. In Nasuada's absence, Eragon, Rider of the Varden, was made leader of the Varden in accordance with Nasuada's wishes. However, Eragon left for Vroengard with his dragon Saphira and the Eldunarí Glaedr soon after he was made leader of the Varden, returning around a week later with a large amount of Eldunarí from the Vault of Souls. Even though Galbatorix had lost a large amount of troops during the Battle of The Burning Plains his armies still outnumbered the Varden, Surda, The Elves, Dwarves, and the Urgals. His army numbered about 200,000 with more recruits and soldiers arriving from all around the Broddring Empire. The Varden numbered about 85,000 in all.
The night before the battle, Eragon met with the other leaders of the forces of the Varden Alliance to discuss a battle plan that he had formulated. However, Shruikan attacked the Varden's camp that same night, almost causing the Varden to abandon the fight. Soon after, the armies assembled before the city:elves led by Islanzadí, the dwarves under Orik, the Urgals under Nar Garzhvog and the Surdans under Orrin alongside the Varden. However, Eragon's plan was designed to distract Galbatorix with the armies while he and a small group travelled into the heart of the city.
However, news reached the Varden of the Imperial commmander, Lord Barst, who is described as immensely strong and a master strategist. Roran discovered that Barst was aided by an Eldunarí and therefore Roran ordered his battalion to avoid confronting Barst directly.
Meanwhile, Eragon, Arya (wielding the Dauthdaert Niernen), Saphira, Elva, as well as Eragon's elven guards entered the citadel. Eragon, Arya, Saphira, as well as Elva make it to the throne room, while the elves are captured.
Roran continued to fight the Imperial forces under Lord Barst alongside the Urgals but the Urgals often cannot distinguish friend and foe and so occasionally end up killing their own allies. Roran orders the battalion to reform, but is hit by a massive boulder and knocked unconscious. Upon regaining consciousness, he realizes that the stone also killed Delwin.
Galbatorix shows Eragon and his companions the blade Vrangr, formerly the sword of Vrael and now Galbatorix's weapon. Elva attempted to trick Galbatorix with her powers but Galbatorix deprived her of the power of speech. Galbatorix converses with the rebels, informing them of his discovery of the Name of Names. Following this, Eragon challenged Galbatorix to a duel. Galbatorix laughs and instead forces Eragon to fight Murtagh.
Roran had reformed his army such that he could fight alongside the elves but found himself battling Lord Barst. During the battle Baldor's hand was severed. Baldor was sent to the healers immediately, but Barst managed to kill many other warriors, including Islanzadí, before Roran slew Barst by crushing his Eldunarí.
Eragon duelled Murtagh fiercely, injuring him several times. However, Eragon took several wounds himself, eventually winning the duel by stabbing Murtagh in the stomach. Murtagh then betrays Galbatorix using the word to strip him of his wards making him vulnerable. Eragon then engages Galbatorix in a mental duel, eventually defeating him with an Empathy Spell, hence bringing about the end of the Rider War.
- Lady Nasuada
- Nar Garzhvog
- Grimrr Halfpaw
- Murtagh (late battle period)
- Thorn (late battle period)