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Eragon wakes up on the anniversary of the day in which his mother, Selena, who had mysteriously disappeared for some years, returned pregnant to Garrow asking for help. After giving birth to her son, she asked Garrow and Marian to take him, claiming she had to and left to never be seen again.
Eragon shows his cousin, Roran the stone he found during breakfast. After breakfast, they start working on the fields for winter as they wait for the traders to arrive at Carvahall in order to sell the stone. They wait for weeks until they find carriage prints over snow.
The next morning they leave for Carvahall, where Eragon and Garrow unsuccessfully attempt to trade the stone. While Eragon explores the city on his own, he finds out that the Urgals are migrating southeast and have attacked villages. This was why the traders took so long to come: the insecurity in Alagaësia, along with rumors of a Shade. After buying a snack, Eragon heard a discussion at The Seven Sheaves (a tavern owned by villager Morn) where traders and villagers are talking about the "efforts" made by Galbatorix against the rebellion known as the Varden. After he has heard enough, Eragon left for dinner at Horst's house, where he met up again with Roran and Garrow. Soon after supper, people gather for the storyteller Brom, a friend of Eragon, best known at Carvahall for his narrations.
Brom's story describes the times of glory of Dragon Riders, keepers of peace in Alagaësia. He tells how the Riders found a ten-year old boy named Galbatorix in Inzilbeth, who possessed an incredible power and was taken for Rider training. Advancing through a learning period, Galbatorix overcomes his peers and joins the Dragon Riders. One day, on a trip with two friends, they are ambushed by Urgals. Galbatorix manages to kill his enemies, but his friends and their dragons die, and an arrow severely wounds his female dragon Jarnunvösk, who also dies. Galbatorix went mad at the loss of part of his power and his dragon, and wandered across Alagaësia hopelessly looking for death. He came to the realization that the Riders might give him another dragon, so he tried to make it back to the Riders. A farmer found him unconscious one day and called the Riders. Galbatorix did not wake up until four days later where he made his petition for a new dragon to the Council of Elders. Upon realizing his madness, the Elders rejected his request for a new dragon, and Galbatorix started to plan his revenge.
With the help of a fellow sympathetic Rider, Galbatorix set a trap for one of the elders and killed him. Eventually, Galbatorix double-crossed his companion, killing him and escaping. After some years, Galbatorix who had been in hiding, met with a young Rider called Morzan, who had been persuaded into joining Galbatorix's cause. By leaving an open gate at Ilirea, now called Urû'baen, Morzan allowed Galbatorix to steal a newborn black dragon called Shruikan and murder it's rider. Galbatorix used Dark magic to bind Shruikan to himself, replacing his first dragon and his power. Over time, Morzan was taught by Galbatorix the dark magic Galbatorix learned from a Shade. Once Morzan completed training, and Shruikan was mature enough, both Riders attacked. Twelve corrupted Riders joined them, and became known as the Forsworn. The Riders fell as a result of the unexpected attack, causing the elves to be exiled and the dwarves to go into hiding underground. Vrael, leader of the riders, was amongst the few to survive the attack. At the battle of Doru Araeba, he fought Galbatorix and defeated him but hesitated to kill him, thus allowing Galbatorix to wound him on the side. He remained in hiding at Mount Utgard before being tracked down by Galbatorix, where they fought again. By kicking him "in the fork of his legs," Galbatorix was able to behead Vrael. With such amount of power, he established the empire and made himself king.
After Brom's story is finished, Eragon can see what he thinks is a tear in Brom's eye. When the festivities of the day have ended, Eragon, Garrow, and Roran head home.