Eragon and Brom enter an herbalist's shop to ask which house belongs to Jeod. Angela (the herbalist) teases them about how they phrase their questions, but eventually tells them what they want to know.
Angela is trying to prove that toads don't exist, only frogs. Angela is…odd.
They leave the shop and go knock on Jeod's door. At first there's no answer, but then his wife comes to the door. She tries to tell them that Jeod is very busy, but eventually goes to get him. (Doesn't anybody do what they're asked right away in this town?)
Jeod comes to the door. He's an old-looking fellow with a big scar on his head. He recognizes Brom at once, shocked to see him. He's happy, though, but says that they can't talk there. He ducks back into his house and comes out again with a rapier (a long, skinny sword) by his side. He's also got on a fancy hat and cape. Well, then.
They walk toward the city's citadel, where, Jeod explains, all the business owners are forced to keep their offices. He leads them through the gate and into his designated room in the castle.
At last, they can talk. In a castle.
Jeod and Brom reminisce about the time when they last saw each other. They were separated in some kind of "turmoil" in the city of Gil'ead. Eragon gets the feeling that they're leaving out a lot of details since he's sitting there.
Brom explains that he fled to Carvahall and laid low after they were separated.
Then he quickly changes the subject to Eragon's quest to find the Ra'zac. He explains their plan to track the Seithr oil shipments and asks if Jeod can help.
Jeod agrees; he'll put them up at his house while he helps them.
Then he compliments Eragon on inheriting such a unique name.
Brom asks Eragon to go check on the horses. Eragon knows that he's being asked to leave so that Brom and Jeod can talk in privacy.
He takes the hint, though he's not happy about it. But then realizes that he's got magic on his side.
He whips out a pack of cards and starts to shuffle—ah, we kid. What he really does is use magical super-hearing to eavesdrop on Brom and Jeod's convo.
Jeod is complaining about how the shipments to a place called Tronjheim are not getting through. Maybe there's a traitor in their midst. He suggests that Brom take Eragon to Tronjheim, but Brom says that the dwarves would "tear him apart" (25.70). Dwarves!
Instead, Brom decides to send word to someone named Ajihad. Plan decided. They get up to leave.
All of this eavesdropping has left many questions in Eragon's mind.
They walk back to Jeod's house and, along the way, he lets them know that things ain't exactly wonderful on the home front. He's got financial troubles, which doesn't make his wife Helen very happy. In fact, instead of eating in, it might be a better idea if they go out for dinner.
Brom and Jeod catch up on old times over a yummy meal at a large tavern. Afterward, they head for home, but Eragon wants to walk around for a bit. Jeod warns him to be inside the city walls before dark, and they part ways.
Eragon high-tails it outside to meet up with Saphira. They discuss their plan to track the Ra'zac. Maybe magic can help them search through the records.
It's getting dark. Saphira takes Eragon down to the ground, and he makes it back to the city gates just in time. He makes his way back to Jeod's and finds him and Brom in the study. They discuss their plans to search the shipping records.
Eragon is afraid that he won't be of much help. You see, the thing is, Eragon can't read.
Garrow never taught him, but Brom tells him that Garrow knew how to read himself.
No big whoop, says Brom. I'll just teach you to read myself.
Jeod is excited by that. He describes himself as a "bibliophile," a lover of books. Shmoop's got that title, too.
He points out all the books in his study, and Brom pulls down one called Domia abr Wyrda, or The Dominance of Fate. It details the history of Alagaësia, but has been banned by the Empire.
Jeod is tired, so he heads off to bed. Brom and Eragon head to their rooms, too, but Eragon has one more question before he hits the sack. He wants to know if he can use magic to call up an image of something that you can't see.
Brom says that, yes, the practice (called "scrying") is possible, but only with things that one has seen already. You have to look into a reflective surface. Brom gives him the magic words (not "please" and "thank you"), but tells him not to use them tonight.
Eragon tells him that he wants to scry his cousin Roran to make sure that the Ra'zac haven't gotten to him. Brom tells him that this is definitely a possibility. Way to cheer things up, Brom!
But it's unlikely that the Ra'zac will harm Roran, even if they catch him. King Galbatorix likely wants to see if Eragon will join him, so he won't want to kill his cousin and risk turning Eragon against him. So that's the good news.
But (we knew this was coming), here's the bad news: if the king ever does get the chance to invite Eragon into his service, it will mean that he's close enough to kill Eragon if he refuses.
Brom says that dying for what you believe in is easy—people do it all the time. "The real courage," he says, "is in living and suffering for what you believe" (25.195).
With that, Brom has delivered yet another pep talk to send Eragon off to bed.