Mental powers were used by magic wielders for various purposes. When a person gained the ability to use magic, he or she also learned to reach out with his or her mind, doing a range of new things.
Mental powers were silent and impossible to detect unless they touched your mind, whereupon you would feel the presence if you were trained. When an inexperienced magician opened his mind for the first time, he felt a terrible sensation of openness.
The uses of mental powers included touching minds with other beings or animals, taking control over these minds, and protecting themselves from the same. An advanced spellcaster could also open his mind to everything in the immediate area, allowing him to sense an incoming attack. Mental powers were a good tool for communication, and an excellent weapon to use in a fight, but full of difficulties. If a magician touched the mind of an ally, they might think that he was an enemy and counter-attack, or simply shut him out. Opening one's mind would also temporarily leave one vulnerable to an enemy's mental attack.
The range of a mental power was increased with experience. Galbatorix, Oromis, Arya, Däthedr and certain elves, all of whom had used magic for decades (over 100 years, in Galbatorix's case), were able to contact people on the other side of Alagaësia using their mental powers.
Magicians often used mental powers to create mental shields, concentrating on a single thought to prevent an enemy magician from reading their other thoughts, or entering their mind.
- Roran Stronghammer
- Eragon Shadeslayer
- Murtagh Morzansson
- Dragon Riders
Mental powers were an essential part of large-scale combat. A defensive magician could use a magical shield to keep rival magicians from destroying the troops he or she was guarding, or search out their rivals using their mind.
Magicians could use mental powers to speak to one another. It was rarely used for casual exchange, however, as it was a profoundly intimate experience to speak using the mind.
A magician could break into someone's mind and read his thoughts. Oromis taught Eragon to open his mind to the presence and thoughts of others in order to lessen the risk of ambush.
Role in the booksEdit
Dragon Riders and their dragons communicated using these powers, since dragons were incapable of mundane speech and their minds were already bonded to their Rider's. Eragon and Saphira communicated in this way throughout the book, and used their mental powers whenever they were fighting an enemy or trying to communicate with someone at a distance.
Users of this magicEdit
Virtually every magician and dragon in the Inheritance Cycle was capable of using mental powers, with varying degrees of strength. The strongest user of mental powers, besides Galbatorix, was Murtagh. Even before he became a Rider, Murtagh could keep all but the strongest magicians out of his mind; Eragon and the Twins both tried and failed to breach Murtagh's mind. When he fought Eragon at the Battle of the Burning Plains, Murtagh's mental attack was so strong, it forced Eragon to retreat behind his own barriers. Murtagh was also able to hold his own against the combined mental strength of Eragon, Saphira, and thirteen elves during their second battle, and the powers of Oromis and Glaedr during their arial duel over Gil'ead (though his mental strength was augmented by the Eldunarí).