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Fire in the Sky pt.4 Edit

Warning: TVtropes links inside.

Having awakened from passing out Eragon is apprised of the situation. Murtagh has fled on Thorn after healing him up. They can't get to him in any reasonable time. And then Eragon remembers Brom's ring, which would have been awfully helpful during the battle. It's a good thing he forgot about it isn't it? Or they actually might have easily won. And they would actually have to deal with Murtagh which might have actually led to some plot. Alas, this does not happen. When Eragon suggests that they go after Murtagh, Saphira says they shouldn't because they wouldn't have the support of the elves. But...isn't the power in Brom's ring much more than the elves...?

Right. Logic.

Eragon mopes about not being able to defeat Murtagh and how he can't seem to defeat anyone without help, such as Durza. He did kill the Ra'zac without help though. And he wants to be able to defeat things without any help. I guess because only pansies or weak people need help with things or need support.

Lots of Heroes don't seem to need it. They just have sidekicks. At least on the surface, but in reality a lot of them make up a team or a family and without them the heroing can't get done, for the well done stuff.


An example of what Eragon is going for could be Tristan from the Fifth Sorceress. There he had no help in doing things. EarWig only gave advice, but the advice didn't have to be followed because whatever he did was right. He was the sole defender of the realm as it were. He was the only savior. This can follow the archetypal hero in the broadest of sense. The Chosen One to be more exact.Eragon comes off as the Chosen One.

However not every chosen one is a Chosen One and they don't go at it alone, but instead have a support group that helps them in ways that they are incapable of. The Fellowship of the Ring is a good example of this.Frodo isn't a designated Chosen One. He chooses to accept the responsiblity to destroy the Ring. He didn't have to do it. Since he couldn't do it by himself; not knowing where to go, how to protect himself or find food, a group of people were chosen to support him. Even then, when he left the Fellowship, he still had support fromSamwise. Physical and emotional support. He couldn't do it alone and his relationships with Sam and later Gollum made the story that more interesting.

By not wanting a support group, Eragon believes that all he needs is power not to fail. Saphira even says that We must become more powerful.. Power is, apparently the only thing you need to succeed against the bad guys. As opposed to cunning and a plan. This needing to become more powerful reminds me of having to gain more levels before you face the big bad in D&D. And likely he'll be doing someLevel Grindingso he can try and  take a level in bad ass. Only when he's powerful enough will he be able to defeatGalby in a one on one fight. Which is likely the way it's going to go down. It makes him look like someone who is interested only in brute force and not tactics.

They don't need to be smarter or more clever, but more powerful. This seems to go along well with his previous actions of hitting it with an anvil when a hammer would suffice.

Eragon and Saphira also puzzle over how come Eragon's wards didn't work against Zar'oc (the sword). They come to the conclusion that it was because it's a Speshul Magic Sword that can cut through any sort of magic tossed at it. Kinda reminds me of lightsabers.

Wait.

That's probably exactly what they are.

Damnitall.

Special swords made especially for the dragon rider that can cut through anything and are special colors. Right. Totally lightsabers.

Scuse me while I go hurl myself off the balcony.

Ouch.


Then they notice that they're being surrounded by a bunch of King Orrin's horsemen. Why? Saphria supposes that they're being protected from something. The battle is raging near by and there is insane laughter out there. I'm not sure why they need to be protected... but yeah.

It turns out the laughter is coming from an evil soldier. Orrin and his men come retreating up and they are being followed by a living zombie. I say living zombie because no matter what the soldiers do to the guy he keeps on coming in an astounding lack of biological understanding.

Oh, as a brief aside, we've finally passed page 200. Taken long enough?

So, zombie soldier.

King Orrin tries to talk to the zombie and asks him what is he and how can he do what he does. This is his response:

The unbalanced chuckles intensified, then the soldier said, “You cannot hurt me, Surdan. No one can. The king himself made us impervious to pain. In return, our families will live in comfort for the rest of their lives. You can hide from us, but we will never stop pursuing you, even when ordinary men would drop dead from exhaustion. You can fight us, but we will continue killing you as long as we have an arm to swing. You cannot even surrender to us, for we take no prisoners. You can do nothing but die and return this land to peace.”

Impervious to Pain. This is what they are, however being impervious to pain doesn't mean that their bodies won't stop working when injured. And yet this is what they do.

Bowstrings twanged like badly tuned lutes, then a score of spinning arrows leaped toward the soldier and, an instant later, struck him in the torso. Two of the arrows bounced off his gambeson ; the remainder penetrated his rib cage. His laughter reduced to a wheezing chuckle as blood seeped into his lungs, the soldier continued moving forward, painting the grass underneath him bright scarlet. The archers shot again, and arrows sprouted from the man’s shoulders and arms, but he did not stop. Another volley of arrows followed close upon the last. The soldier stumbled and fell as an arrow split his left kneecap and others skewered his upper legs and one passed entirely through his neck—punching a hole in his birthmark—and whistled out across the field, trailing a spray of blood. And still the soldier refused to die. He began to crawl, dragging himself forward with his arms, grinning and giggling as if the whole world were an obscene joke that only he could appreciate.

Look, Boromir was able to withstand all those arrows too, but only for a little while and through a courageous effort. And then? He died. Why? Because he had a bunch of fucking arrows stuck in him, not because he was effected by the pain. He's bleeding through the lungs (though how Eragon can know this, I don't know) and the neck, shoulders and arms and who knows what other injuries. This man should be dead. Biologically speaking.

Since he's not, he's obviously a zombie.

In fact, he even dies as a zombie. Apparently they can't do anything once their heads are cut off.

Most things can't do anything once their head is cut off... I'm just saying.

Paolini, I believe, is trying to present a scary figure here. An unstoppable soldier that just keeps on coming no matter what you do with a chilling mad laugh. The problem I'm having here is that the laughing should be causing a physical/emotional reaction to Eragon for it to be truly disturbing. However he continues to have the same bland emotional state. A plank that merely records and informs but never goes deeper than the surface.

Galby seems to have been handed the idiot ball here. Having someone immune to pain isn't really the best way to create an unstoppable solider. Let me rephrase, having someone immune to pain isn't the logical way to create an unstoppable solider despite what is shown. Having someone immune to damage on the other hand...

The problem with being unable to feel pain means that you're unable to take care of yourself. That's the point of pain, to let you know something is wrong with a part of your body and take care of it. If you get damaged enough you shouldn't be too much of a threat because you wouldn't be able to move or you would die from things like, I don't know, blood loss?

Now if you're immune to damage then you don't have to worry about things. You can just keep on taking the hits and keep on coming. That's what makes people like Superman, the Juggernaut, Wolverine, the Borg, the Traquse so scary and dangerous. They can take the damage and keep on coming at you. It doesn't stop them. You throw a tank at the Hulk and he keeps on coming.

Zombies are scary because they keep on coming as well, but also because if they bite you you'll die and turn into one. However they're pretty easy to kill. Cut off their head or shoot them there and they're dead, in most instances.

Alas, however, Paolini seemed to have gone for the 'cooler' sounding thing. After all anyone can be immune to damage, but pain? Now that's novel sounding! Never mind the fact that the reason why being immune to pain is a bad idea...

In a dramatic gesture king Orrin grabs one of the urgals axes and chops off the soldier's head, where upon he declares: “They can be killed,” ... “Spread the word that the only sure way of stopping these abominations is to behead them. That or bash in their skulls with a mace or shoot them in the eye from a safe distance. . . ."

Duh?

It took them this long to figure it out? Why? Are they really that dumb? Also the list gets less dramatic when you add more ways that they can be killed. It's like "You can only kill them by cutting off their heads! Or stabbing them in the foot. Or spitting on them. Hell, just looking at them funny works too. " The more you add to it, the less of an impact it has.

Talking to one of the urgals, Eragon wants to know if they were all like that. The urgal says “All men with no pain. You hit them and you think them dead, turn your back and they hamstring you.” Clearly they didn't kill them very well. And even if they didn't have an immunity to pain it is possible they could do the same thing. He says it is not natural and that it made them think there were spirits.Eragon replies with the stupidest thing, that they'll soon have a way to protect themselves against them.

Which is silly. The magic that keeps them from feeling pain is only directed at them. It doesn't do anything to anyone else. The best way to protect themselves against these soldiers is to kill them like you would any ordinary man. Now that they know that it can happen (which they should have in the first place) there shouldn't be any problems. They just have to be extra careful with how they hit the guys.

Nasuada shows up and wants to know what happened. Orrin tells her that the first charge went well but then, the soldiers got up he shuddered. “We lost our nerve then. Any man would have. We did not know if the soldiers were invincible, or if they were even men at all. When you see an enemy coming at you with bone sticking out of his calf, a javelin through his belly, and half his face sheared away, and he laughs at you, it’s a rare man who can stand his ground

Okay, this guy has bone sticking out from the leg, has a javelin through his stomach and half a face missing and he can still move? Yeah. He should be dead or dying. Pain or not. Pain doesn't keep the body from not moving when it shuts down from injury. It just makes it so you don't know why you've suddenly passed out.

Enough bitching about that. (For now)

Orrin tells Nasuada that they lost about six hundred men to those immune to pain fellows and a lot of injured folks too. The spell casters turned out to be utterly useless because they couldn't kill the guys by, you know,fireballing them or something. Really. What is wrong with a good fireball? I don't know what they did, but they all fainted. Maybe this is some sort of magic user thing. They're utterly useless and they faint a lot. Certainly very unique trait.

Worrying about all the dead for a brief second, Nasauda then turns to Eragon. She lets him know that Roran wanted to fight but she wouldn't let him because he was getting married soon. IE: Roran is getting special treatment. I'm sure there are lots of others out there who would like to get married to their sweethearts soon too.

I am reminded of a passage in the bible when the Jews were gathering up an army to attack some place or another. The leader called out and said that all those men who had wives but no sons were excused, and those who had fields but weren't harvested were excused and a few other things. Thus they got only men who were able to focus on the battle itself and not have to worry about things they left behind, I think. And this applied to the entire army, not just one special person. And using this logic,Roran will never be able to fight because then he won't be able to enjoy being with his wife and then being a father.

Really, I'm getting sick of all the special privileges heaped upon the protagonists because they're the protagonists. It's unrealistic and annoying.

She then tells him to find out when the wedding is going to be so that she can attend with the note of the Varden need a happy event. Except the Varden aren't invited. Eh, they can enjoy vicariously then.

Eragon goes and checks on his elf harem and makes sure they're okay. Also so that they can heal up Sphira and him. Then, harem in tow, he goes to find Roran and Katrina. They have been arguing about something, which they stop when Eragon shows up and look like naughty children.

Roran and Katrina were arguing quietly and intensely when Eragon spotted them standing by the corner of Horst’s tent. They fell silent as Eragon and Saphira drew near. Katrina crossed her arms and stared away from Roran, while Roran gripped the top of his hammer thrust through his belt and scuffed the heel of his boot against a rock.

Honestly, that's the image I get. Two children who were up to something and when they see the adult suddenly aren't doing anything wrong.

Intelligently for once, Eragon suggests that maybe they should hold off the wedding because you know, people might want to mourn and bury their dead. Selfishly Roran and Katrina say no. Why?

“No,” said Roran, and ground the tip of his boot against the rock. “The Empire could attack again at any moment. Like they just did. Tomorrow might be too late.Except that Nasuada won't let you fight. If . . . if somehow I died before we were wed, what would become of Katrina or our . . .” He faltered and his cheeks reddened. Well you should have thought of that before you fucked her senseless, shouldn't you have?

(Thank you Alec, the peanut gallery). The points are however valid. They're more concerned about their own problems than those of the people around them who might not want a celebration. Nor might not be ready for a celebration. Especially since they want it in one hour. This selfishness makes Roran's leadership abilities and caring for the people merely a informed ability. We don't see him do it. Instead we seem him actively do the opposite. He should have respect for the dead and their families and hold off the wedding for at least another day. But he doesn't. So he's a jerk.

And thus ends this chapter.


Brisingr
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