Study Guide

Eragon Chapter 26

By Christopher Paolini

Chapter 26

The Witch and the Werecat

  • Eragon wakes up late the next morning. 
  • Jeod's butler informs him that Brom and Jeod have headed to the castle; they'll be back later that night.
  • Eragon decides to go exploring.
  • He walks all over town, but then heads back to Jeod's for some free lunch. He ducks into Angela's herb shop, though, before he eats. 
  • In the shop, Eragon is checking out all the plants and various items for sale.
  • On one of the shelves, he sees a red-eyed cat. When he tries to reach out to it with his mind, he's surprised to hear the cat talk back to him.
  • At first he thinks that the voice in his head is Saphira. 
  • He picks up a wooden rod that shocks him. Then he realizes that the voice had warned him not to do that—it belongs to the cat. Correction: it belongs to the werecat.
  • Whoa. Werecats are the stuff of legend to Eragon, but here's a live one right in front of him. This one's name is… Solembum. What? You got a better a name?
  • Anyway, Solembum's not giving away his hidden name, so that's what we'll all call him, Eragon included. 
  • Just then, Angela comes in the shop. She's impressed that Solembum chose to speak with Eragon. That's only ever happened with two other people before: a woman and a blind beggar.
  • Angela offers to help him buy something, but Eragon is broke as a joke. Besides, he doesn't have much use for herbs and the like.
  • She then offers to read his fortune. She runs to the back of the store and returns with a set of dragon knucklebones. Since Solembum spoke to him, she offers to cast the bones and divine his fate for free. She warns him, though, it might not all be good news. That woman Selena did not like what she had to tell her.
  • Hey, wait a second. Selena! That's Eragon's mother's name!
  • Eragon agrees to hear his fortune. He recognizes authentic magic words when Angela rolls the bones. This is the real deal.
  • Angela looks at the bones for a while, then says it's the hardest reading that she's ever done. She points to a bone that stands for infinity, or long life. Then she also sees tremendous conflicts surrounding him. There are many paths open to him, but only one is the way to happiness. 
  • Angela continues: one bone spells out doom or death, but another means that he'll have to leave Alagaësia forever.
  • Hmmm.
  • Then some good news: there's an epic romance with a noblewoman in his future.
  • And more bad news: he will be betrayed by a member of his family.
  • All of this is pretty intense for Eragon. He drinks some wine to calm his nerves.
  • Angela wants to know more about Eragon and his friend. It turns out that she's heard of Brom before.
  • Then the werecat comes over to him and delivers two pieces of advice: "When the time comes and you need a weapon, look under the roots of a Menoa tree. Then, when all seems lost and your power is insufficient, go to the Rock of Kuthian and speak your name to open the Vault of Souls" (26.78). Got it.
  • Eragon takes off and heads straight for Saphira. They debate telling Brom about his encounter with Angela. Eragon is undecided.
  • He heads back to town to meet up with Jeod and Brom. They struck out with the records keepers. Brom has a new plan now. It involves teaching Eragon to read over the next week, and some additional details to be discussed later. (Good luck with that.)
  • They all go to dinner, where Helen, Jeod's wife, sits and glares at them. Awkward.