Brom and Eragon enter Daret with Saphira hiding nearby.
The place looks empty; dust devils twirl through deserted streets.
As they move in further, a wagon is suddenly pushed in front of them to block the path. Out jumps a rough-looking dude with a bow and sword, ordering them to halt. Other archers pop up from surrounding roof tops. Yikes.
Eragon and Brom are ordered to explain themselves, and Brom replies that they're just looking to buy supplies.
The men reluctantly agree to fetch them what they want, but Brom and Eragon have to stay right where they are. The villagers have had too many scrapes with Urgals lately to trust strangers.
Brom gives them his shopping list, and someone is sent to fetch the items.
In the meantime, the man who stopped them offers his name: Trevor. He asks them for news of what's going on elsewhere, and Brom tells them about the massacre at Yazuac.
Though Trevor is upset by this, he tells them that the people of Daret refuse to leave their homes. He's been put in charge of defenses since he used to serve in the king's army.
Meanwhile, the runner comes back with the requested items, including a pair of gloves that will nicely hide Eragon's gedwëy ignasia from prying eyes.
Eragon and Brom head out, with a message from Trevor to pass along. He wants them to tell the Empire about what's going down around there, since nobody's sent any help. They promise to relay the message.
As they head out of Daret, Brom scolds Eragon for not using his powers to sense Trevor's intentions telepathically. Eragon didn't know that he had this power, but then Brom says he should only use it sparingly. Like, not to eavesdrop on strangers in besieged villages, Brom?
Brom suggests practicing mind-reading on cats, as they're interesting creatures.
Eragon asks if others could read his mind, and Brom says yes, but that he'll know if someone tries to enter his mind. If they do, he can put up a wall to protect his thoughts, but it takes lots of practice to do so.
Eragon thinks that the more he knows about magic, the more it creeps him out.
They meet back up with Saphira, and she is not happy. She's mad that Eragon keeps getting into sticky situations without her. She pins him to the ground and demands that he ride her the next day.
Eragon's not too wild about this idea. We're guessing the memory of chapped thighs stays with you for a while, but eventually he agrees. Saphira lets him back up, content.
That night at camp, it's time to spar again. But this time, Brom wants to use real, live swords. Uh oh.
Not to worry. He shows Eragon how to blunt the edge of his sword with magic. They can still break bones, though, he says, so be careful.
They spar with the swords, and both are bumped and bruised in the mock battle.
Eragon, though, has more bumps and bruises than Brom does. Just sayin'.