This chapter is called “and the walls fell”. Just as long as I don’t have to listen to Def Leopard while it happens.
We rejoin Eragon after our lengthy interlude with Roran. It’s been so long I can hardly remember what he looks like or what’s going on. And Chris doesn’t stop to tell us, for once, so I’d have to consult my memory or something. Luckily, Chris sticks to what’s already happened but from Eragon’s point of view. Eragon mentally cheers as the cathedral collapses.
Eragon smiled to himself, proud of Saphira. When it came to spreading chaos and destruction, dragons were without equal. Go on, he thought. Smash it to pieces! Bury their holy places under a thousand feet of stone!
If this were an authentic medieval setting or if Chris was making an allusion to the crusades, Eragon’s attitude would be a perfect fit. But Eragon’s supposed to have been trained by the elves in logic, right? I’d think a pragmatic hero would see the value in keeping a large, fireproof structure with lots of room might be useful. But he cheers to watch it collapse because they prayed to the Ra’zac which was stupid because they’re ugly. Now if you don’t mind, Eragon’s going to go worship the ground Arya walks on.
Then he resumed trotting down the dark, winding cobblestone street, along with Arya, Angela, and Solembum. There were a number of people already in the streets: merchants going to open their shops, night watchmen on their way to bed, drunk noblemen just emerging from their revels, vagrants sleeping in doorways, as well as soldiers running pell-mell toward the city walls.
Wow, I guess the homeless in Dras-leona are a cut above those where I live. I’d think the screaming of people on fire, soldiers raising the alarm and the ringing of the bell would have woken most of them up. I was wrong, these are hardcore hobos. ‘What’s this? The city’s being attacked again? Screw it, I’m getting my forty winks. Wake me when the invaders roll out to the next city.’
Oh wait, now we’re told that everyone running away is looking back at the cathedral, drawn by the noise of two dragons fighting. The noise apparently rumbles through the city and terrifies everyone. Huh, that’s strange. Then they dump the “novitiate”—I’m really starting to hate that word—in an alley. Eragon says that though they promised to take him along, they never said how far. That’s the douchebaggery that Eragon’s known for.
As they run along, Eragon is once again reminded of the last time he was in Dras-Leona. Yes, Chris, wer get it, Eragon was there before. If you wanted to remind everyone you could have inserted a brief summary before they entered the tunnel. And it’s too late now to start playing on reader nostalgia so just quit it. They come across some stagnant sewage and both Eragon and Arya shield their noses but it doesn’t bother Solembum and Angela.
Which doesn’t make sense. This is a time period where there’s no plumbing or running water. Smells like human waste might be a nuisance but it’s unavoidable in the camp. And Arya, please don’t tell me that elf scat don’t smell. Then Eragon notices werecats watching from the rooftops. Apparently they didn’t want to bother helping out to keep their involvement a secret.
Again, I call you out on this one, Chris. There were priests that saw Solembum mauling the hell out of their friends and they ran away. You can bet your ass that they’re going to tell people about it just as soon as they can. Plus any magician worth their salt would probably notice there are thinking cats wandering around when they’re scanning for enemy magicians. The werecats aren’t going to be a secret for much longer. They finally get to the gate and Eragon is dismayed.
The presence of the soldiers dismayed Eragon, but he was even more dismayed to see that the city’s defenders had piled a huge mound of rubble against the inside of the gates, to keep the Varden from battering them in.
Well, damn. That’s just not fair. The enemy is trying to prevent the Varden from getting inside? Don’t they know that they’re only supposed to put up a token resistance before getting rolled over. Eragon thinks a distraction is in order and he sends the plan to Saphira but doesn’t tell us. The Imperials spot Eragon and crew and shout “rebels”—they’re easy to identify by their Varden branded t-shirts—and attack.
Arrows bounce off Eragon’s wards and some kill Imperials. Exciting isn’t it? Being as the bad guys are beyond useless, they know the only way to overwhelm Ergon is through sheer numbers. They figure they can force him to grind so hard he rage quits. So he does something incredibly stupid by holding the sword at his waist and spinning. That’s one of those moves that works in a fighting game but just looks silly in reality. Plus it only works if everyone stands perfectly still.
Fun fact, dragon’s blood burns. Saphira flies over Eragon and past the gate, followed by Thorn and a drop of one of their blood lands on Eragon which burns like hot grease. The Imperials, distracted by the air show, get back to dying at the hands of the protagonists. Arya and Eragon then go back to back and wonder how they’ll kill the hundreds that remain. Arya shouts “magic” and they begin to cast spells at the soldiers.
Which makes me ask, why weren’t they doing that before? I thought that Oromis taught Eragon twelve, or was it thirteen, killing spells that took less energy than it took to move a pinky. Shouldn’t Eragon then be using his energy to kill with magic and using the sword as a last defense? And if he can drain energy from animals to kill them, why not soldiers? Couldn’t he drain half the Imperials while using their life force to wipe out the rest?
Saphira and Thorn fly around, Eragon’s magic does nothing and Murtagh shouts that they’re under his protection. Eragon panics because Murtagh knows that Eragon’s not on Saphira’s back. Angela throws down a vial that chokes a bunch of soldiers and makes their skin breakout in mushrooms. Eragon’s thinks all hope is lost because everyone is tired and their ruse has failed.
Then he decided to tap into Aren, the ring he got from Brom. Eragon draws on it and says that it’s agonizing and ecstatic feeling. Good to see you’ve finally gotten around to reading Robert Jordan’s books, it’s just a pity you had to steal from him too. Eragon uses the large store to blow open the gates and move the rubble, which Chris will just not shut up about.
Finally, after describing the broken gates and rubble some more, the Varden wander into the city. The Imperials were apparently stunned by Eragon moving rocks and don’t move to attack him now that he’s tired. The Imperials now get beaten badly by random Varden. Except for a few that are holding Arya and draggin her away while attempting to kill her. Eragon runs to save her and when he sees them trying to stab her with daggers. And I can’t for the life of me figure out how they can’t manage to stab her since they’ve gotten a hold of her. I guess they just keep missing.
Eragon rescues the spunky princess who says she could have done it on her own. They rest as the Varden drive the Imperials back. Saphira lands and nuzzles him while wolfelf allows himself to look normal again. The elves all gather around and ask questions and feel sad about Wyrden’s death. And then Eragon goes back into panic mode because a shadow flies overhead.
Apparently Thorn and Murtagh didn’t bother trying to stop the invaders. They just took off to take a break and give Eragon a second to catch up with everyone. Eragon jumps onto Saphira and the elves circle them while getting ready to defend themselves. Murtagh has been taking lessons from cartoon villains because he doesn’t bother attacking.
“Brother!” shouted Murtagh, his augmented voice so loud that Eragon covered his ears. “I’ll have blood from you for the injuries you caused Thorn! Take Dras-Leona if you want. It means nothing to Galbatorix. But you’ve not seen the last of us, Eragon Shadeslayer, that I swear.”
‘I’ll get you my pretty! And your little dog too!’ Thorn and Murtagh then fly off while everyone stands around slack jawed. Gee, anyone thinking that he’s retreating because he’s weak? Anyone want to chase after him and try bringing him down? Oh, right, that doesn’t fit into the plot.
Elf scat does smell, only it smells like roses, perfume, and the morning dew on a nicely-cut lawn.
“Go on, he thought. Smash it to pieces! Bury their holy places under a thousand feet of stone!” I somehow can’t help but feel that PaoPao may have been channeling a bit of himself with this one …