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Having fulfilled his obligation to attempt to remove his curse from Elva, Eragon considers how to spend the rest of his day. He asks Saphira, who is planning to bathe in the Jiet River, how long she will be gone. She tells him that it will be a few hours, as she intends to catch two or three deer, though she may have to fly some distance, as the Varden have killed so many. Eragon warns her to not go too far or she might encounter the Empire and she replies that "humans taste just as good as deer," though she hates biting through metal armor. Eragon notes that his Elf-guards won't want her riding alone and asks if she would allow a couple to ride on her back. "Today, I hunt alone!" she replies and takes off. She and Eragon agree to fly together later that day. Blödhgarm approaches and asks after Saphira, seeming "displeased" with Eragon's explanation, but keeping his objections to himself.
Next, Eragon finds a large square of open space where some Varden are practicing with weapons and uses a spell in the Ancient Language to sift through the earth for particles of gold, which he molds into three spheres. He takes a moment to admire the orbs, thinking about what it would have been like to be able to do that when he was in Palancar Valley, but noting that he hasn't felt so fatigued since the time he carried Sloan down from Helgrind. He travels to a cook tent and eats a large lunch, then heads to the encampment of the villagers from Carvahall. There, he hears the sound of metal striking metal and Horst hard at work with his sons Albriech and Baldor. The two talk and Horst explains that he was allowed to work closer to his tent, rather than with the other blacksmithes in order to help look after Elain, who is having a difficult pregnancy. He says that the Varden were thrilled when he told them that he's a smith, as they're short on metalworkers, and gave him all of the tools that he was missing. He asks if there's anything that Eragon needs and Eragon asks him for the whereabouts of Gedric. Horst tells him that Gedric should be practicing the sword and spear with the rest of the men, about a quarter of a mile away. Eragon thanks him and heads on his way.
Once he reaches the field, Eragon talks with the leader of the drills and is able to secure a brief release for Gedric. "What can I do for you, Shadeslayer?" asks Gedric and Eragon tells him that he has already done it and he has come to thank and repay him. Eragon proceeds to explain that the ox hides that went missing from Gedric's drying hut were stolen by him. He states that he preferred to think of it as "borrowing" them, but he now knows it was stealing and he wishes to apologize to him and repay him. With that, he gives Gedric one of the spheres of gold. Gedric says that he cannot accept it, as the leather was not worth that much, but Eragon says that he is haggling upward and he considers the hides to be worth every ounce of the gold. Gedric asks just what the hides were used for and Eragon explains that he fashioned Saphira's first saddle from them. Gedric is astonished at the idea that he tanned the leather for a Dragon Rider's saddle. He bows to Eragon, then proceeds to the villagers to tell them his story.
Next, Eragon proceeds to another tent and knocks on the pole. He is greeted by Jeod's wife, Helen, who gives him a cold look and asks if he's there to see Jeod. Helen, with some reluctance, invites Eragon in. Jeod greets Eragon and asks him if he'd like any food or drink. Eragon agrees to a cup of tea. Helen prepares tea and biscuits with a detached air and Jeod gives an apologetic smile. He explains that Helen resents him because his position with the Varden is not as prominent as she had hoped; she is used to having servants and did not bargain on the life of a common swordsman. Eragon asks if he feels that the Varden ought to show him greater consideration. He responds that he is satisfied with his lot, but he's not sure what to do about Helen. Eragon then notes the large number of papers in the tent and asks him if he's become a copyist. He explains that since he was the one who originally discovered the secret passageway into Galbatorix's castle in Urû'baen, the Varden have set him the task of searching for similar weaknesses in other cities. He admits that it is not likely he will succeed, but there is definitely a possibility he could prevail as the cities of Alagaësia are too old not to contain various secret entrances.
Helen returns with the tea, her anger having somewhat subsided, leading Eragon to wonder if she overheard some of his and Jeod's conversation. Jeod asks Eragon why he has come and Eragon says that he is there to tell him how Brom died, as he agreed to do following the Battle of the Burning Plains. Jeod is startled at first, but agrees. He tells his tale and asks if Jeod knew that Brom was a Dragon Rider. Jeod states that the Varden told him before he ever met Brom. Jeod reminisces on how he had believed Brom to be dead, speculating that Brom must have discovered some great secret while he was fighting Morzan and his dragon that caused him to abandon everything that was his life up to that point. "You met Morzan, didn't you?" asks Eragon, wanting to know what Morzan was like. Jeod questions Eragon's interest and Eragon notes that Morzan's son is his mortal enemy. Jeod describes Morzan and then Eragon asks if he ever met Selena. He feels sick as Jeod describes Selena's apparent brutality, relating a story in which she slew twelve of Morzan's finest swordsmen by using the word "heal" in the Ancient Language to heal them of their fear and hate, then slitting their throats. Jeod goes on to state that Selena passed away soon after Brom killed Morzan, as if she was so fond of him, she could not live without him. Eragon reveals in turn that Selena did indeed love Morzan, at least in the beginning, as Murtagh is her son.
As Eragon contemplates various questions, he accidentally shatters his mug of tea. Helen helps to clean up, and as Eragon apologizes several times, she and Jeod tell him that it is no big deal. Jeod says that he has something for Eragon and presents him with a copy of Domia abr Wyrda, The Dominance of Fate. He says that it has proven most valuable to him and suggests that Eragon study it at every opportunity, as the lessons of history have much to teach. Eragon is stunned, as he knows the book to be rare, but Jeod reveals that he's had several copies of it foisted upon him since he joined the Varden. He tells Eragon to look after the book and Eragon agrees. Eragon asks what Heslant the Monk, the author of the book, was a monk of. Jeod tells him that he was monk of the Arcaena, a sect that has dedicated themselves to collecting all knowledge to preserve it against an unspecified future catastrophe. Eragon calls it a "strange religion" and Jeod states that all are to those who stand outside them. Eragon turns to Helen, saying that he has a gift for her. Noting how much she and Jeod risked to help the Carvahall villagers, he presents her with the second of the gold spheres. Helen appears thrilled and he suggests to her as one avenue of possible enterprise that the dwarves are low on mead and have the means to buy as many casks as they want. Helen replies that she shall build an empire even bigger than her father's. Eragon then tells Jeod that his gift is from Saphira, who has agreed to let him fly on her when they have a spare hour or two. To himself, Eragon is pained, as he had not consulted Saphira about this gift. Jeod tears up, shakes Eragon's hand, and thanks him. Eragon makes his farewells, accepts some more thanks and exits. I have a book, he thinks with delight, as he heads for his tent to deposit the book for safekeeping.