Eragon finally gets around to cleaning his armor. It's been... about a month now? He's not using magic to do it either but instead It was just after dawn and Eragon was sitting on his cot, oiling his mail hauberk. Yes, he's oiling it. After magically cleaning off Murtagh's sword he's oiling it. I would say it's because he needs to conserve his magical energies, but the sword didn't take anything out of him, so why should cleaning the armor? In this case it's merely to be giving Eragon something to do when an archer appears and asks him for help. His wife, you see, has a tumor and is dying from it. one of the Varden’s archers came to him and begged him to heal his wife, who was suffering from a malignant tumor.
Now, I'm not certain exactly when tumors became known and started to be diagnosed as tumors as opposed to swellings or even weird humors or what not. I do know that diagnosing them today requires biopsies and fun things like that. And it takes some figuring out if it is a tumor. I don't think that an archer for a rebellion is going to have access to anyone who can tell if it is a tumor. If he does then the healer should be able to fix it with the can do anything magic. Instead, however, the archer comes to Eragon.
Of course, Eragon goes.
It takes him one sentence to fix it.
We don't even get an overwrought description of what the woman looks like and how she's moaning in pain. We just get:
Eragon found his wife much weakened from the growth, and it took all of his skill to extract the insidious tendrils from her flesh.
Afterward he put it in a jar and gave it to them.
Malignant tumors are dangerous things! They're deadly! People wail about not being able to afford to get them removed or get treatment! They're not something you sweep away in a sentence.
How did he do it? What skills did he use? It took him less than a half hour for him to do it! This is supposed to be something hard for him? Maybe he rolled a twenty on his heal check. Still it should take time.
That's the thing I've been noticing. Magic here doesn't take time. Something as dangerous as removing a tumor takes as much time as lighting a fire. He never spends time composing a spell. It never takes time to work. It just happens.
This incident- the healing of the tumor- is something should be a lot bigger than it is. Instead, he heals her and he's off on his way to Nasuada's tent.
Talking with Saphira he decides that he's going to do audiences. Limp Dog apparently was turning people away who wanted his services. I'm surprised they only started after the archer.
Having forgotten about the woman, he says to Saphira that he needs a sword. When she says get one, he merely grunts.
Lah-dity dah, they're walking.
Before they get to the tent they find Angela doing fortunes for two women.
Opposite Angela sat a tall woman with broad shoulders; tanned, weather-beaten skin; black hair braided in a long, thick rope down her back; and a face that was still handsome despite the hard lines that the years had carved around her mouth. She wore a russet dress that had been made for a shorter woman; her wrists stuck out several inches from the ends of her sleeves. She had tied a strip of dark cloth around each wrist, but the strip on the left had loosened and slipped toward her elbow. Eragon saw thick layers of scars where it had been. They were the sort of scars one could only get from the constant chafing of manacles. At some point, he realized, she had been captured by her enemies, and she had fought—fought until she had torn open her wrists to the bone, if her scars were anything to judge by. He wondered whether she had been a criminal or a slave, and he felt his countenance darken as he considered the thought of someone being so cruel as to allow such harm to befall a prisoner under his control, even if it was self-inflicted.
Next to the woman was a serious-looking teenage girl just entering into the full bloom of her adult beauty. The muscles of her forearms were unusually large, as if she had been an apprentice to a smith or a swordsman, which was highly improbable for a girl, no matter how strong she might be.
They've gotten long flowery descriptions. They must be important for later on in the story. Also my head has met my desk several times. Which isn't really doing my migraine any help. It's that last sentence in the first paragraph that did it. That poor soldier was a prisoner under Eragon's control, as was Sloan. Soldier is dead -he needs a name, poor unknown soldier - Andy. His name name is Andy. Andy died at Eragon's feet in an act of cold blood and Sloan is out there... somewhere... blind and prey to anything. Eragon has no place for moral righteousness here. His indignation is also that of a modern person's. If she was a criminal then it's likely she deserved the treatment. Or it could be that she played some form of emo chicken. Maybe they're scars of pride.
Secondly the teenage girl and it being improbable for her being a smith or a swordsman. Exhibit a: Eragaon, fifteen years old and already a master. Exhibit b. Arya. Female swordswoman. Exhibit C. Nasuada. Exhibit D. Angela. Obviously, though, Paolini is trying to point her out as special forgetting the rest of his world. Of course, then again, it is qualified by highly improbable. So I could very well be nitpicking.
Angela has been reading these two womens' fortunes which apparently she only does for Special People that Serious Ass talks to. So, once again, proof that these women are important and will probably return again. Of course to really hit it over our heads that these women are important we get this:
Eragon hesitated. He knew that Angela rarely cast the dragon bones for the people who sought her services—usually only for those whom Solembum deigned to speak with—as such a prognostication was no false act of magic but rather a true foretelling that could reveal the mysteries of the future. That Angela had chosen to do this for the handsome woman with the scars on her wrists and the teenage girl with the forearms of a sword fighter told him they were people of note, people who had had, and would have, important roles in shaping the Alagaësia to be. As if to confirm his suspicions, he spotted Solembum in his usual form of a cat with large, tufted ears lurking behind the corner of a nearby tent, watching the proceedings with enigmatic yellow eyes.
Let me repeat that: they were people of note, people who had had, and would have, important roles in shaping the Alagaësia to be.
How exactly does Eragon know this, let us ask. He's just seen these women. He's just seen Angela wrap up a fortune. But what have they done? He doesn't know anything about them. They're two random people. But SOMEHOW Eragon knows what they've done and will do. It's not they might, but they will. That and Paolini's paying attention to them in such detail we know they're important. But I don't want to be smacked in the face with foreshadowing.
It's called foreshadowing for a reason. You see the "shadow" there but you don't realize its importance until later readings when you can go "AH! So that's what it meant!". But now we have this big shining neon sign above them.
Better, perhaps, would have been Angela just talking to them and Eragon noticing that they look strange but without any of this portentous stuff of The Fate of All Mankind!!!!!!! hanging on them.
It doesn't help their case any when Angela asks him to bless them.
I guess dragon riders do get levels in cleric.
Eragon is hesitant because he doesn't want to do a fuck up again, because of his relative unfamiliarity with the ancient language, he had distorted the life of an innocent child. I think he's talking about Elva here, you know? But I think it would have had more impact if he'd actually said Elva and not "innocent child" because names give meaning. Names help visualize things. Innocent child is a lot different than Elva. It's specific. Specifics are good. We can imagine her pink budding lips and horrid violet eyes and those burning orbs hanging around her nose. We can hammer home that this is the person Eragon hurt. Not some nameless bystander.
Like the Archer -Robert let's call him- and his wife -Marion- we'll call her.
Saphira does insist that he do it and tells him just don't screw up this time.
He asks the women their names, and the adult refuses to give it to him as they have much power. This shocks the teenager! Because Godforbid someone contradict the Shadeslayer!! She must be important!! In fact by saying no, it makes him curious about her.
Still he gives her a blessing, “Atra guliä un ilian tauthr ono un atra ono waíse sköliro fra rauthr.”
May you live long and prosper. *makes the Vulcan sign*
Actually, I have no idea what that means. It sounds like baby babble to me. Or better, a story I was told while at work. In the movies a lot of times Jews would play Indians in those cowboy movies. They were told to make foreign noises so they'd talk in Yiddish, insulting people. This is why, in Blazing Saddles, the Indian -played by Mel Brooks- spoke Yiddish. Eragon's speech does look very impressive with all the dots over the letters, but for all I know it could mean, "May you not turn into a chicken and get eaten by a hawk".
Which I think is also an important blessing to have.
To make things more fun, the spell takes out a bit more than he thought it would. Despite his caution, the drop in his strength was more than he expected; his vision dimmed and his legs wobbled and threatened to collapse underneath him.
He gets better.
A moment later, he recovered.
See that line? It shouldn't be in there. The magic, the toll that it took a sentence before that? Has just been utterly erased. Zip. Gone. He hit the magic reset button.
He does the same for the teenage girl. And then Saphira blows fire on them. Maaaagic fire, giving them her own blessing, I suppose. Also the woman has very strong defenses so Saphira has to blow through them to give them her own greeting. As opposed to respecting the woman's wishes and having Eragon be her mouth piece. What's the point of these shields if no one respects them? Every single person it seems that has shields has to have them knocked down or broken. By allies.
The woman, Saphira calls her, "wolf eyes". This brings me in mind of Perrin from the Wheel of Time series. Where upon he has wolf colored eyes and a connection to wolves. If this is true or not with the woman, we shall have to see. Angela calls the woman bladesinger. And then they depart.
When they left Eragon asks Saphira why they didn't get special glowy marks on their foreheads.
Elva was unique. I shall not brand anyone else in a like manner. What happened in Farthen Dûr just . . . happened. Instinct drove me. Beyond that, I cannot explain.
Here again it feels like they are not in control of their actions. Saphira didn't chose to brand Elva, it just happened. She doesn't know why. It Just Is. I would feel better about the instinct explanation if there could be some back up to it like "Dragons do that sometimes because of ex y z ". But there is no basis. It Just Is.
Then again, what other reason do we need?
Eragon asks Angela to tell him who they were. She refuses citing that it's none of his business. His response is that, "Then: “When someone refuses to tell me a certain piece of information, it only makes me that much more determined to find out the truth. I hate being ignorant. For me, a question unanswered is like a thorn in my side that pains me every time I move until I can pluck it out.”
I don't remember this behavior before. Eragon hasn't shown much interest in anything. He knows nothing about his mother but he never tries to find out anything about her. What about his father for even basic examples. Eragon has been spoon fed information he needs and never questions it. The only reason why this is brought up here is so that Angela can point out that then he'll always be in agony for the world is filled with unanswered questions.
And then so that Tenga can be brought up again.
After giving Eragon something to eat and admiring his callouses on his knuckles there's Monty Python reference, I'm sure of it.
“You knit with your own yarn?” he said, surprised that she would engage in anything so ordinary.
“Of course! It’s a wonderful way to relax. Besides, if I didn’t, where would I get a sweater with Dvalar’s ward against mad rabbits knit in the Liduen Kvaedhí across the inside of the chest, or a snood that was dyed yellow, green, and bright pink?”
It's just an ordinary rabbit, innit?
Snood is actually a legitimate word. It's a thingy for a woman's hair.
Finally they get to Tenga when Angela asks him if anything else interesting happened on his journey back.
She was Tenga's apprentice and she doesn't sound happy about it. Serious Ass certainly isn't. She thought he was dead and calls him mad but brilliant. Apparently the questions that he was trying to answer were things like "how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" (Angela's example being “Whether the phases of the moon influence the number and quality of the opals that form in the roots of the Beor Mountains, as is commonly held among the dwarves.” )
After Solembum's comment that Tenga kicks cats, the chapter ends.
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