Study Guide

Eragon Chapter 56

By Christopher Paolini

Chapter 56

Arya's Test

  • Eragon wakes up feeling refreshed. He flies on Saphira, then finds Orik.
  • He asks Orik about Nasuada. It turns out that she's a lot of help to her dad, Ajihad. Orik doesn't know who her mom is, though.
  • Eragon's ready for this testing business. Orik shows them where to go. Even though he advises against it, Saphira goes with Eragon and Orik to the training fields.
  • At the fields, both humans and dwarves are practicing their sword work and their marksmanship with bow and arrow. The humans and dwarves tend to stay with their own kind.
  • They meet Fredric, a big, bearded fella with a ginormous sword. He seems to be old sparring buddies with Orik. 
  • Fredric's been told to test Eragon's fighting skill. He proposes they start with bow and arrow.
  • Before they can do that, though, everyone's least favorite Twins show up. Double boo.
  • They demand to test Eragon's magic before they test his weapon skills.
  • Eragon heads with them to an empty part of the field. Saphira promises that she'll help him through the test.
  • Before they get started, the Twins want to know if Eragon will join their magic club. 
  • Nope.
  • The Twins aren't happy, but they begin the test. Eragon has to do the tasks they set out for him.
  • The first task is to lift a stone to eye level. Easy-peasy, thinks Eragon, but then he feels the Twins assert their mental energies against him. He struggles to raise the stone with this mind, but then Saphira gives him a boost and he does it.
  • The tasks continue in this same way: the Twins trying to stop him, but Eragon prevailing with Saphira's help.
  • Eragon suddenly realizes that the Twins are eavesdropping on the magic words he knows. From then on, he uses simple combinations so as not to give anything away.
  • After more than an hour of testing, they're down to the last task: Eragon must use a silver ring to "summon the essence of silver" (56.39).
  • Come again? Eragon doesn't know the ancient, magical word for silver. He'll give it a shot, though. 
  • As he begins to cast the spell, though, he's interrupted. 
  • It's Arya, shouting for him to stop. 
  • She rolls up, peeved at the Twins. Shame on them, she says, for asking "what only a master can do" (56.45). She pronounces Eragon competent, then tells the Twins to shove off, which they do.
  • Arya then casts the spell, summoning the essence of the silver ring. 
  • Then she demands "the right of trial by arms" (56.48). It's about to go down!
  • Eragon readies himself. Saphira doesn't think that Arya intends to hurt him, but he's not worried. He decides that he'll take it easy on the elf.
  • Bad idea. 
  • Arya is as good with a blade as our man Eragon is. They go at it for a long time, until finally she slips through his defenses and brings her sword up to his throat. The good news is that Eragon's passed the test. (What happens to the ones who fail?)
  • The crowd goes wild. Eragon and Arya have put on quite a display of skill. Eragon's bummed that he lost, though.
  • Arya motions to a distant hill, then takes off. It seems she wants to meet with Eragon.
  • He jumps on Saphira's back, and admits to her that he finds Arya sort of hot. Saphira is jealous, but she says that she's not.
  • When they arrive, Arya speaks to Saphira in an ancient language, then thanks Eragon for saving her life.
  • They go for a stroll. Arya relates how she was captured by Durza the Shade and tortured for information on where Saphira's egg went. She's grateful for being rescued.
  • She tells Eragon that she's going to stay with the Varden and help Ajihad. Eragon needs to continue his training, though. With the elves. They won't have to leave for a few weeks, though.
  • Eragon is a bit miffed at having his life planned out. He asks if she was aware that he could see her in his sleep.
  • Arya says that she felt his presence at times, but was not aware that anyone could scry in their sleep. (Today, we might call this "sleep-stalking," but Arya doesn't seem to mind.)
  • Eragon then asks Arya about Brom's ring. It matches the symbol of her tattoo. 
  • Arya says that such a ring is only given to the closest friends of the elves. It's like an elven BFF ring. Eragon should keep it for protection's sake.
  • P.S., she says, don't let anyone know about my tattoo.
  • Their walk comes to a close. 
  • Eragon heads to get a bite to eat, then tracks down Murtagh. It's not hard because, you know, he's in prison. 
  • Actually, when Eragon sees him, Murtagh is staying in a pretty sweet room, with rugs and nice furniture. (Eragon, meanwhile, is sleeping in a cave with a dragon. Who's got it better?)
  • All in all, admits Murtagh, he's got a pretty sweet deal. He would stay in that room even if he was allowed out. He knows he gives the Varden the creeps.
  • Eragon fills Murtagh in on what's been happening lately, and Murtagh says that Arya must be a pretty powerful elf.
  • Eragon asks Murtagh if Nasuada visited him, and Murtagh responds with glowing compliments about her, saying that she's fit to be a princess.
  • For some reason, his praise fills Eragon with a sense of foreboding. Hmmm…
  • Eragon asks Murtagh when he plans to get out of ritzy jail, but Murtagh says that he's safe, rested, and content to stick around.