Brisingr begins as Eragon, Saphira, and Roran travel to Helgrind, the home of the Ra'zac, the creatures that had killed Eragon's uncle, Garrow. There they rescue Roran's betrothed, Katrina, who was being held prisoner, and kill one of the Ra'zac. Saphira, Roran, and Katrina return to the Varden, while Eragon stays behind to kill the remaining Ra'zac. While he is fighting the Ra'zac, it mentions that Galbatorix has discovered the name of all names. Eragon doesn't understand, and ignores the Ra'zac, and kills him. Once he returns to the Varden, Eragon discovers that Katrina is pregnant with Roran's child and a wedding is arranged, which Eragon is to conduct. Just before it begins, a small force of enchanted troops attack alongside Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn. The enchanted soldiers had spells cast by Galbatorix that couldn't allow them to feel pain. King Orrin, King of Surda, discovers a method to kill the soldiers, behead them. Elven spell-casters aid Eragon and Saphira and cause Murtagh and Thorn to flee, winning the battle, causing Murtagh and Thorn to flee back to the Empire. After the fight, Roran marries Katrina. The leader of the Varden, Nasuada, then orders Eragon to attend the election of the new dwarf king in the Beor Mountains. Once among the dwarves, Eragon is the target of a failed assassination, found to be the work of the dwarf clan Az Sweldn rak Anhûin, whom the dwarf Orik then forces into exile. Having earned the sympathies of the dwarves, Orik is elected the new king.
After Orik's coronation, Eragon and Saphira return to the elven capital Ellesméra to train. There, the elf Oromis and his dragon Glaedr reveal that Eragon's deceased mentor, Brom, is Eragon's father. Glaedr also reveals the source of Galbatorix's power: Eldunari, or heart of hearts. An Eldunarí allows the holder to communicate with or draw energy from the dragon it belongs to, even if the dragon is deceased. Galbatorix spent years collecting Eldunari, and forcing the deceased dragons to channel their energy to him through their Eldunari. After training, Eragon visits Rhunön, the elven blacksmith who forges swords for Riders. But Rhunön didn't create a weapon for him because long ago Rhunön took an oath never to create a weapon again after the Fall of the Riders. But after Eragon's many requests, she created a weapon by controlling Eragon's body. And Eragon give a name to sword, forges a sword for Eragon which he names "Brisingr." Before Eragon and Saphira depart for the Varden, Oromis says that the time has come for him and Glaedr to openly oppose the Empire in combat alongside the Queen of the Elves, Islanzadí. Thus, Glaedr gives his own Eldunari to Eragon. If anything should happen to Glaedr, Ergaon would still be able to get advice from him. Then Glaedr and Oromis fly to Gil'ead, while Eragon and Saphira fly to Feinster, the city that the Varden are laying siege on.
Meanwhile, Roran is sent on various missions as part of the military force of the Varden. One of the targets is a convoy of supply wagons guarded by enchanted soldiers that can't feel pain. The unit suffers extreme casualties, and the commander is replaced after losing his hand. During a mission to attack a large enemy force which is raiding a village, plans made by the new commander almost cause the operation to fail, but Roran gives new orders and kills one hundred and ninety-three enemy soldiers, leading the Varden to victory. Despite saving the mission, Roran is charged with insubordination and is flogged as a punishment. After the public whipping, Nasuada promotes Roran to commander and sends his unit on a mission. He leaves in command of a group of both men and Urgals to enforce the idea of men and Urgals working together. When an Urgal, Yarbog, challenges Roran for leadership of the unit, he wrestles the Urgal and forces him to submit. After returning to the Varden, his squad joins the siege of Feinster, a city in the Empire. As the siege begins, Eragon rescues the elf Arya and departs to find the leader of the city, but discover that three magicians are attempting to create a Shade. While racing to kill the magicians, Eragon has a vision through Glaedr's Eldunarí showing Oromis and Murtagh fighting. Murtagh is using power of several Eldunari, and Glaedr and Thorn fight in the sky. Soon Glaedr is badly wounded. In the midst of the fighting, Galbatorix possesses Murtagh and tries to lure Oromis to his side: when he fails, and after Oromis suffers a seizure, Galbatorix uses Murtagh to kill him and Glaedr is killed shortly after. After the vision, the magicians have managed to create the Shade Varaug. Eragon and Arya fight desperately to slay Varaug. Eragon then distracts Varaug by battling him through the mind. Arya then stabs Varaug in the heart. After the successful siege, Nasuada tells Eragon the Varden's plans for invading the Empire. Arya and Eragon are now both known as Shadeslayers.
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