Alagaësia

Alagaësia

Alagaësia is a fictional land in Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance cycle. It consists of several major regions, namely the Beor Mountains, Hadarac Desert, Du Weldenvarden, The Empire, the Spine, and Surda.

Geography

Beor Mountains

The Beor Mountains are the tallest mountains in Alagaësia, being over ten miles high (nearly twice as tall as Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth). They are located southeast of the Empire, on the side of the Hadarac Desert opposite it. The Beors are steep, have vegetation only at their bases, and feature an almost maze-like network of valleys and crevices. Beneath these mountains the dwarves have one of their cities, the giant Tronjheim, which is located in Farthen Dûr, the largest mountain of Alagaësia.

The region has five species unique to it. Among them are Feldûnost, large goats that the dwarves use for steeds; Beorn, enormous bears for which the elves named the range; Nagra, gigantic boars which the dwarves consider to be a delicious dish, though they are rarely hunted; Fanghur, which resemble dragons, though they are thinner, more agile, and a muddy green color, who use a telepathic shriek to immobilize prey; and Shrrg, a gigantic wolf swift enough to catch a Feldûnost and strong enough to kill a Nagra. Of these, all but the Fanghur are stated or suggested to be dragons' prey.

Eragon and Saphira attempt to fly over the mountains, but as they climb higher the air begins to thin, making their breath difficult. Therefore they return to the ground, later to suggest that they may lure an enemy Rider to the height they have reached in order to defeat him.

The Spine

Inside the Empire, the Spine runs beside or on the entire western coast of Alagaësia. Although Galbatorix has "de facto" ownership, he can not truly call it his own, having mysteriously lost half of his army there. Very few people travel through the Spine, as very few survive. Eragon is one of those few, and it is in this region that he finds the egg that would later hatch to become Saphira in "Eragon". It is also through the Spine that Roran takes the village of Carvahall in order to escape the Ra'zac and Galbatorix's forces in "Eldest". A few remarks by characters suggest that the Urgals make their home in the Spine. It is also suggested that the wild dragons, if any survived the Fall, have chosen to live there.

Most of Alagaësia and the Empire lie east of the Spine. Three main port cities of the Empire exist west of it: Teirm, Kuasta, and Narda. Teirm is the one most accessible to the rest of the Empire, as the Toark River runs from it through a valley in the Spine and the Woadark Lake to Leona Lake. Narda is north of Teirm, and other than going through the Spine as is done by the people of Carvahall in "Eldest", the only way to get to it by land it is to follow the Toark to Teirm and then turn North. Kuasta is isolated from the rest of the Empire entirely by the Spine and the sea. Mountains lie to the north, south, and east of Kuasta, and the sea lies to the west. Because of its isolation, the people of Kuasta have strange customs and superstitions, such as tapping a doorway three times every time they enter and exit a room. Kuasta is also the birthplace of Brom.

The name "The Spine" might be a reference to the Spine of the World mountains in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons.

Du Weldenvarden

Du Weldenvarden is the forest located in the north of Alagaësia. After King Galbatorix slaughtered the last of the Riders, the elves fled to this forest where they have stayed since. Many cities exist in the forest, including the Elven capital, Ellesméra. Enchanted by the singing of the elves, these woods, along with their woodland habitants, grow comparably larger than normal trees in Algaësia. Du Weldenvarden is ruled by the elven queen Islanzadi.

The elf who saved Eragon at the end of the first book is revealed to be a dragon rider named Oromis (also known as "The Mourning Sage" and "The Cripple Who is Whole"), the last surviving rider of the old order. Eragon travels to Ellesméra to complete his training with Oromis. During his stay, his feelings for the elven princess Arya grow. Eragon attends the Agaeti Blodhren, or the Blood-Oath Celebration, an event that celebrates the truce between the elves and the dragons. At the climax of this event, only celebrated once a century, the changes taking place in Eragon's body that would normally take years to complete are completed in one night.

Near the end of "Eldest", Eragon leaves Du Weldenvarden to fight in the Battle of Burning Plains in the south.

The Empire

The term "Empire" collectively refers to the power dominating Alagaësia in the Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini. In the time period of the events of the Inheritance cycle, the Empire is in control of all Alagaësia except for the elven-controlled Du Weldenvarden, the dwarven-controlled Beor Mountains, the uninhabitable Hadarac Desert, and the independent nation of Surda.

Hadarac Desert

The Hadarac Desert is located in the heart of Alagaësia.

The Empire effectively ends at the Hadarac Desert; without the Dragon Riders, it is simply too difficult to maintain a government over the vast tract of desolate earth. In fact, the desert is one of the few things that prevents the king from expanding the Empire to include all of eastern Alagaësia. The Hadarac Desert is the ancestral land of the dragons. Currently, no human lives in the desert besides nomads, a few roaming slavers, and bandits who prey on weary travelers in the area.

Eragon, Saphira, and Murtagh travel through the vast and desolate desert in search of the Varden, often while being chased by Kull. While in the Hadarac, they encounter a group of slavers. Murtagh slays the leader of the bandits in cold blood, which deeply disturbs Eragon.

Eragon, Saphira, and the dwarf Orik flew over the Hadarac on their journey to Surda to assist the Varden/Surdan alliance against the might of the Empire. It requires no longer than two days to cross on Saphira's back.

urda

Surda is a small country in the continent of Alagaësia. Created roughly a century before the story of "Eragon", Surda shares the southwest border of The Empire; it is south of the Broddring Kingdom, from which Galbatorix rules his ever growing empire.

Surda escaped being annexed into the Empire by seeming harmless to Galbatorix. During the past century, Surda has been using up its resources secretly conducting guerrilla warfare with the Empire and supporting the Varden, a rebel organization created to destroy Galbatorix. Because of the disparity between the power of the Empire and that of Surda, the smaller country remains officially neutral, not daring to openly confront the Empire until the second book of the series. The Surdan king at the time of Eragon is Orrin, son of Larkin, who is well trained in battle even though he initially lacks experience and is given to studying chemistry and physics rather than military strategy. King Orrin rules Surda from the Borromeo Castle at Aberon, the capital of Surda. Borromeo Castle is situated on a high bluff, giving its inhabitants and guards excellent views of the surrounding area. Such views serve as a security measure for the castle's safety. The ballista mounted on Borromeo's battlements (as well as the towers circling Aberon) were especially designed to shoot down approaching dragons, a precautionary measure no doubt installed to fight the Thirteen Forsworn and Galbatorix himself.

A year after Saphira hatches for Eragon, the Varden, under their new leader Nasuada, move into Aberon to regroup and prepare to openly battle the Empire for the first time. The Surdan and Varden armies together fought the Empire's forces in the Battle of the Burning Plains, an area that lies immediately northwest of Surda. During the battle, Eragon and Saphira face the Empire's Rider Murtagh and his dragon Thorn.

Lands Outside of Alagaësia

Alalëa

Alalëa is a land outside of Alagaësia, from which the elves first came. Little is known about it. It may also be the origin of the Urgals, as Brom mentions in "Eragon" that they "followed the elves over the sea, like ticks seeking blood". The current location of Alalëa is unknown, though Brom mentions that only the elves know where it is.

Other Lands

In "Eldest", Oromis mentions that humans and the Ra'zac came across the sea from another land.

South of the Beor Mountains is an ocean, where dwarven divers are known to have found coral. This discovery has enforced the Dwarves' belief that they were created out of stone. This has created an argument between them and the elves, who say that coral is actually an exoskeleton of minuscule life-forms that somehow cause it to grow. The dwarves, in turn, argue that all stones contain life, but that only their own priests (presumably because of their training) are able to detect it when it is present in terrestrial stone.

Other lands are implied to exist in the third book, wherein dark-skinned human tribes live who become the allies of the Varden.

Inhabitants

Alagaësia inhabitants include Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Urgals, and Dragons, although the Dragons are on the verge of extinction. There are also a number of creatures whose origins are hidden and are not understood, such as the Ra'zac. There are also societies that have existed or do exist that deserve recognition, such as the Varden, the Dragon Riders, the Grey Folk, and the Forsworn.

Humans

Humans seem to populate most of the known world of Alagaësía, though they came from across the sea relatively recently. A group of twenty humans came to Alagaësía three hundred years after the formation of the Dragon Riders, and landed in Surda from lands far south of Alagaёsía. (Note: This arrival may be a reference to that of Beowulf in Denmark.) Here they first learned of the existence of Dwarves, with whom they frequently traded for a few years before they left for isolation. The warriors then went northwest and began to settle in an area of isolated land. After two thousand years or so, King Palancar, the current king of the humans from whence the warriors came, arrived in Alagaësia. He and his followers arrived in a valley which was later named after him. Palancar, desiring to expand his boundaries, fought against the Elves three times, and lost.

A group of lords brought a treaty before the Elves, requesting peace without Palancar's knowledge. Palancar was usurped and banished, but he, his family, and his vassals refused to leave the Valley. To prevent Palancar from attacking anyone or rising to power, the Riders constructed the watchtower Edoc'sil (later known as Ristvak'baen) on Utgard Mountain, to watch over Palancar. Eventually, one of Palancar's sons killed his father and usurped the throne. This led to assassination, betrayal, and other such things in Palancar's house, reducing Palancar's once mighty state into a mere shadow of its old self. Anurin, leader of the Elven Dragon Riders, suggested that human Riders be initiated so as to watch and protect human governments, a choice that was very unpopular and led to a huge argument between him and the Elvish Queen Dellanir. Anurin separated the Riders from the Elvish government and moved to Vroengard. They could not watch and protect the governments; therefore their purpose waned, until Queen Dellanir saw wisdom in letting the Riders be free of any government, and allowed them back into Du Weldenvarden. However, this choice did not please her, as now the Riders' power was greater than her own, and therefore no one could watch the watchers, as the Elves used to do. This negligence is said to have led to the eventual downfall of the Riders (known as The Fall) at the hands of now-king Galbatorix.

Humans make up a part of the Varden, an alliance of men and dwarves who resist Galbatorix's rule. Surda is a human kingdom that aids the Varden but is threatened by Galbatorix's empire.

Elves

The Elven race dates back to ancient times, when they existed with other creatures that were bound to the land. Their appearance is that of a fair, smooth-faced human with pointed ears, pale skin, slanted eyes, thin brows, and refined facial features. The Elves are usually thin, but have muscular, strong bodies. Unlike the other races introduced so far, Elves use magic freely, often to transform their own bodies to their liking. The Elves love song and revelry.

The ancestors of the elves came on silver ships from a land they called Alalëa and settled in Alagaësía. It is rumored that Teirm is where they first landed in Alagaësía. Nowadays, they have withdrawn to the forests in hopes of distancing themselves from Galbatorix. The Elves are led by Queen Islanzadí Dröttning, who was married to Evandar and succeeded Queen Dellanir. Islanzadí became Queen after her mate, Evandar, was killed in the Elves' last stand against Galbatorix in Ilirea. Should Islanzadí die, her daughter Arya will become queen, unless she declines in favor of another.

The elves' natural abilities are said to be immense, to the point that even the weakest, untrained elf could defeat a well-trained human in a battle of swordsmanship. At one point in their history, the Elves once had a horrible misunderstanding with the dragons which led to a massive war. Once a young elf decided to track down and kill a dragon as sport. The dragons retaliated aggressively and a war was started. The two races eventually were able to settle their disputes with the help of an Elf called Eragon (the main character's namesake), who had raised a white dragon hatchling and, in doing so, became the first Dragon Rider. To ensure that there would be no more wars between them, the Elves and Dragons gathered at Ilirea to magically join their races together. The Elves provided the structure, the Dragons the power necessary, and the souls of Elves and Dragons melded together. The Dragons received the trappings of language and other things of civilization, and therefore became less ferocious. The Elves obtained great strength and grace, as well as greater ability to work magic. This bond resulted in the Dragon Riders, who were originally diplomats, but gained authority as their power was recognized by all. The Elfish lifespan increased, until they came to consider themselves immortal. Their skill as magicians took the form of song, wherein their voices became a tool of shaping. As a result, all their tools, including their houses, were soon sung out of the source material.

Before the Fall of the Riders, the Elves had many great cities not only located in Du Weldenvarden, but all over the continent; places taken over by Galbatorix during the Fall.

It is said they loved the seas more than anything and probably had many cities among the coast. Ellesméra is the Elfish capital city after The Fall, and is located in the heart of Du Weldenvarden. It is protected by arcane barriers that make it impossible to send any item or thought to Du Weldenvarden by magical means - it is unknown if these barriers prevent anything else. To enter Ellesméra, you must pass the Gatekeeper, Gilderean the Wise, or it is impossible to enter. He has existed since the Dragon War with the Elves, and is the wielder of the white flames of Vandil and is Prince of the House Miolandra. It is known that the typical Elfish greeting is touching your middle and index finger to your lips and quote a blessing made by a dragon when the two races where banded together.

The original blessing is:: "Atra esterní ono thelduin": "Mor'ranr lífa unin hjarta onr": "Un du evarínya ono varda".

which translates as: "May good fortune rule over you": "Peace live in your heart" : "And the stars watch over you".

the greeting phrase however is slightly modified:: "Atra esterní ono thelduin": "Un du evarínya ono varda".and if you want to be really formal you can add;: "Un atra mor'ranr lífa unin hjarta onr"

Because they speak in this language, the Elves are unable to lie, though they can conceal the truth or imply one thing while meaning something else. In conversation, the person of lesser status speaks first, the one of higher status second. If one is unsure which person's status is higher, one waits for the other to speak, and if he/she does not, one may speak. A higher ranked person may also speak first if they wish to honor a subordinate.

The Elves are known as the "Fair Folk"; their greatest weakness is their vanity. They often use magic to change their appearance to better suit who they really are. The Elves have used their exceptionally powerful magical abilities to create their homes in the forests of Du Weldenvarden by melding the trees and plants in various ways to create a living area. All Elves abstain from eating meat because they value life very highly (though Arya is often described wearing leather clothing, it is also known that Arya's mother found the feathers of her coat on the ground. It could be implied that Arya got the leather from an already dead animal. ), and they "sing" their weapons and tools from the trees and plants, using magic to send energy into them and give them certain attributes. This technique is used by Rhunon, creator of the Riders' swords and the most accomplished swordsmith in Alagaësia, who charms the Riders' swords so they will be eternally sharp, will never break, and cannot be stained by blood. This technique also led to the creation of the Menoa Tree, where the Elves celebrate the Blood-Oath Celebration ("Agaeti Blodhren" in the Ancient Language). The Menoa Tree was originally a Singer, called Linnea, who was disappointed in love. After killing her insincere fiancé, Linnea sang herself into a pine tree.

The Dashelgr Invocation

The Dagshelgr Invocation is the name of an elvish event in Du Weldenvarden. The Elves participate in the Dagshelgr festival every spring "to keep the forest healthy and fertile". Their song is for the trees, the plants and animals, and helps all these to prosper and thrive. Without the Elves the forest would be "half its size". [Paolini, "Eldest", 214] Hearing the song, all the humans, dwarves, animals, and elves are fueled with a passionate sexual desire. While elves can resist the call, the songs can be deadly to dwarves and humans. Even Dragons are affected, as shown by Saphira.

This event was first documented in chapter 23 of Eldest, and has been compared to a seasonal rite.

Dwarves

The Dwarves first lived in the Hadarac Desert, before its increasingly barren climate forced them into the Beor Mountains. They are short and stocky humanoids with long, dense hair, and have seven toes on each foot. The Dwarves have long lives, but are not immortal. They are polytheistic and devout.

According to the Dwarvish religion, Guntera, King of the Gods, is a warrior and a scholar, but is moody and therefore requires sacrifices to please him. The dwarves worship him on grounds that he is said to be creator of the universe. It is said he was born to a she-wolf at the dawn of the stars, battled giants and monsters for a place for his kin in Alagaësia, then married Kilf, the goddess of water. An image of him appears in the third book to bless the coronation of Orik.

Urur is the master of the Heavens and the air, and his brother is the god of fire, Morgothal. The brothers loved each other so much that they could not separate - hence the sun and the stars, and the dependence of fire on oxygen.

In the Dwarves' religion, Sindri is the mother of the earth, and Helzvog is the favorite of the Dwarves' gods. After the giants were eradicated, Helzvog believed that Alagaësia should be populated; though the other gods disagreed, he secretly created the first Dwarf from the roots of the mountains. Learning of this, the gods created various other things: Sindri created Humans from the soil, Urur and Morgothal created Dragons, and Guntera created the Elves.

The Dwarves' burial rituals say that all Dwarves must be buried in stone; otherwise, they believe, their spirits will never join Helzvog in his stone halls. If one does not complete the ritual by joining the dead dwarf with stone, they will be banished from their clan and never spoken of till their deaths.

Dwarves and dragons did not coexist easily. Before the Dragon Riders were established, Dragons made a habit of stealing gold from the Dwarves and eating their livestock, causing tension between the two races. As a result, the dwarves refused to be included in the pact between the elves and the dragons; thus, there were never Dwarven Dragon Riders.

The Dwarves are split into thirteen clans. As well as a King who rules over all the Dwarves, there are thirteen Clan Chiefs who elect the new king when the old one dies. These Clan Chiefs wield enormous power; many are against Eragon, resenting the new Rider.

In the course of 8,000 years, there have been 43 Kings, the first being Korgan and the forty-second being Orik, a prominent Dwarf in Inheritance; assuming the monarchy was never interrupted, this apparently means dwarves live for 200 years at least. Volund, the hammer of Korgan, first of the Dwarf Kings, is wielded by the current Dwarf King. In Book One and Two, they were led by King Hrothgar before he was killed by Murtagh, as were four other Dwarven magicians who were drained of their life in an attempt to save their King. Orik, a friend of Eragon's, is Hrothgar's heir; and is nominated as king after the assasanation attempt on Eragon

The Dwarves are possibly the finest smiths, rivaled only by the Elves. In "Inheritance", it is said that Orthiad, one of the Dwarves' abandoned cities, had beenthe capital Dwarven city before Tronjheim was created in Farthen Dûr. Tronjheim is so large it can house the entire Dwarf nation if facing emergencies, which has happened three times. They have created many marvels, including the "fists of steel" consisting of spikes attached to a warrior's hand and the armor worn by Riders and their dragons.

Humans use the form of rune writing which the Dwarves invented. The Dwarves ally and secretly house the Varden, giving them much aid. They, along with the Elves, have pledged their support to the Varden, and have sworn that when needed, they will march against Galbatorix.

Urgals

Urgals are a race that serve an antagonistic role in "Eragon", but become Eragon's allies in "Eldest". Like the Elves, Urgals are not native to the land of Alagaësia, having followed the Elves from Alalëa. Urgals resemble humans with "bowed legs and thick brutish arms made for crushing", and very large bull-like horns. They have small yellow eyes, seven toes on each foot, and grayish skin. The Urgals are usually split into small clans which fight with each other over food, land, and power. The Kull are a particularly strong subspecies of Urgals, and are strong enough to match any non-magical being of Alagaësia. The average height for a Kull is eight and a half feet.

An Urgal's rank within its society or clan is determined through combat skills; the more an Urgal kills, the more authority he or she is given. In "Eragon", the Urgals were magically forced to fight together against their will by Durza, a lieutenant of Galbatorix. Durza led this Urgal army when they attacked Farthen Dûr; but when Durza was slain the enslaving magic was lifted, and the clans turned on each other. This allowed the Varden and the dwarves to defeat the army.

In "Eldest", the decimated Bolvek Tribe approached the Varden, seeking revenge on Galbatorix for having betrayed them by going back on his promises. The Varden formed an alliance with the tribe, who proved to be worthy allies despite original misgivings that the Urgals would betray them. Bolvek war-leader Nar Garzhvog later accompanies Eragon on another errand.

Dragons

Dragons have lived in Alagaësía since ancient times. The skin of a Dragon is nearly impenetrable, though the thin membrane of their wings can be pierced. Their scales glitter like gems. They have eye color identical to that of their scales, and their teeth and neck spikes are usually white. The Dragons start to breathe flame when they are five to six months old. The flames most often share the color of the dragon's scales; some can impressively hold the flame for hours. They never stop growing until their deaths, making them very large creatures.

Since the Dragons are physically bound to the land, they possess magical properties. They cannot voluntarily use their magic, except for their fire; but feats of magic impossible to any other being are known to occur without warning. After the creation of their bond with Elves (and later humans), they gained such things as articulate language and a more calm way of thought. The dragons and riders have a special bond such that they begin to think with one mind, sharing senses and emotions. This is demonstrated in both Eragon and Eldest. The dragons will only hatch when someone they deem good enough to be their rider touches the egg, due to an enchantment

Within a Dragon's chest (placed around the sternum) is a gemlike organ called the "Eldunari" or "Heart of Hearts". At birth and throughout life, it is colorless and anatomically useless. However, a dragon may chose to transfer its consciousness to the Eldunari, which is then disgorged. Thereafter a dragon may live on as if nothing had changed; but when it dies its memories continue to exist. Eldunari obtained of living dragons may be used as a means of easy telepathy, while those of the dead may be used as a source of energy and information. Galbatorix keeps many and uses them as a way of augumenting his own power.

Dragon Riders

In early history, an Elf, not knowing the intelligence of the creature, killed a Dragon in the manner he would kill a deer. The mistake caused a large-scale war between the Elven and Dragon races until both races united in the Dragon Riders' organization, a peacekeeping force whose jurisdiction came to extent over all the peoples of the land. Answering to no higher authority, the Riders were unsupervised and therefore opened themselves to the risk of a disaster, which occurred when the young Rider Galbatorix led a rebellion that crushed the Dragon Riders and their leader Vrael and brought an end to this peaceful rule. Notable Dragon Riders include Eragon, Brom, Murtagh, Oromis, and Galbatorix himself.

The Dragon Riders are, in conception, similar to the Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern from the series of the same name.

Werecats

Werecats are telepathic beings with the ability to shapeshift from feline to human-like forms. Much like a werewolf shapeshifts, but at their own will. They are described as large, fierce-looking cats with lean bodies, powerful shoulders, and oversized paws. They also have shaggy manes, which surround their angular faces. The werecats' origins and natures are very hard to understand because of the cryptic way in which they communicate, never fully explaining themselves and often speaking only in riddles. It is said that if a werecat takes the time to speak to you whatever they say should be taken seriously. They tend to keep to themselves and only appear to help in random times of need. It is said that during the heyday of the Riders, they were as renowned as Dragons. In the Riders' time, they were the favorite pet of Kings and Elves, although Werecats decided when they would stay and leave. Their race has begun to deplete over the years, although why that is so is not explained.

A notable Werecat in "Eragon" is Solembum, who gives Eragon advice and guides him a few times. In "Eldest", another werecat is seen, Maud, but little information is revealed about her, other than the fact she stays with the Elves in Ellesméra and is probably the pet of Queen Islanzadí. Besides that, little information has been revealed about her, although there are hints of a possible connection between the two, as they both show some sign of knowing each other.

hades

Shades are sorcerers possessed by demonic spirits; a possession that occurs when a sorcerer allows a spirit to possess them for greater magical strength, or if a sorcerer summons a spirit too powerful for them to control, and the spirit takes possession of them. This creates a Shade; an immensely powerful and diabolically evil spellcaster. All Shades are sorcerers, in that they use the strengths of spirits in order to accomplish magical tasks; but a sorcerer controls the spirits he uses, whereas a Shade controls neither the spirits nor his actions.Shades are as strong and fast as elves. A Shade can only be killed by penetration of the heart; in any other case, it will vanish and later be resurrected. Only four beings have ever succeeded in destroying one and remaining sane and/or alive; Laetri the Elf, Irnstad the Dragon Rider, Arya the elf, and protagonist Eragon. It is unknown whether there are any other Shades in Alagaësia at the time of the book, though Paolini did say that it was possible that another Shade might turn up. No new Shades were seen in "Eldest", though Durza was often discussed. In the third book, another does appear, but is killed almost immediately by Arya.

Ra'zac

The Ra'zac are extremely powerful beings who cannot use magic.

The Ra'zac lifecycle goes as follows: when the Ra'zac are born, they are known to their parents as pupae, and they develop a roughly human exoskeleton that allows them to hunt humans, who are their natural prey. As described in "Eldest", they have shining black skin, a humped back where future wings may be hidden, a sharp beak, a barbed purple tongue, and huge, lidless eyes having no pupils or irises. At twenty years of age the Ra'zac shed their exoskeletons and emerge as fully grown .

The Lethrblaka resemble Pteranodon in most respects, but are implied to have forelegs. When mature, they can reproduce by laying eggs. The pupae/Ra'zac have many terrifying abilities, including the ability to see on a cloudy night, track scents keenly, jump higher and move quicker than any human. Their most terrible weapon is their evil breath, which fogs the mind of Humans. Dwarves are less affected by this, and elves are immune to it entirely. Their only weaknesses are their fear of water and bright light. The only Ra'zac who still survive the genocide against their race perpetrated by the Dragon Riders have been so far unnamed. They were discovered by Galbatorix and enlisted in his service. They work for Galbatorix as his personal dragon hunters and are housed at Helgrind, a rock formation near the city of Dras-Leona.

The Ra'zac are quite similar to the Nazgûl of Lord of the Rings in appearance and the fact they often ride around, hunting enemies of those they serve. Another possible similarity is that they ride around on flying mounts, which is strongly hinted in "Eragon", and is confirmed in "Eldest".

In the Eragon movie, the Ra'zac were killed early on; one strangled by Eragon with a branch, the other impaled by Brom. This version showed them as undead-like monsters summoned by the Shade Durza and sent to kill Eragon (rather than capture Saphira) and described them as Durza's personal assassins.

The Ra'zac finally met their end in "Brisingr" when Roran and Eragon launch an attack on Helgrind to rescue Katrina. The Lethrblaka are killed by Saphira (one inside Helgrind, the other as it flees towards Dras-Leona) while Roran dispatches one of the Ra`zac, but the other escapes. Eragon remains behind to slay the last one, finishing it off in a final duel. It is discovered then that the Ra'zac Roran killed was a female, and that the two had some degree of sibling bond for each other.

Grey Folk

The Grey Folk were a powerful race that created "Gramarye", the art of using the ancient language to control magic. This act, which confined magic to the extent of rendering it safely manipulable, is said to have drained the Grey Folk of their vitality, leading to their extinction. Other than that they predated Elves and were presumably an anthropoid race, little else is revealed. The Grey Folk also, before extinction, put a spell on the ancient language making it impossible for speakers of it to lie when using it. The reason for which they did this is unknown.

Languages

Although much of Alagaësia speaks a common language, which is rendered as the readers' language, there are a few others as well. These are spoken throughout the books by the different races.

The Ancient Language

The Ancient Language was originally spoken by the Grey Folk, a now-extinct ancient race. Its use allows communication with wild animals and grants command over nature itself, but forbids the speaker to make any statement that is known (to the speaker) to be false. A currently complete list of words and phrases can be found under ancient language The Ancient Language is based on Old Norse. [ [http://www.teenreads.com/authors/au-paolini-christopher.asp Author Profile: Christopher Paolini ] ]

The Dwarf Language

The Dwarf language is rough-accented. Unlike the Ancient Language, it was not based directly on a real language, but was mostly invented by Paolini. Not much is known of its grammar, though the suffix "-n" seems to denote plurality.

The Urgal Language

The Urgal language is a very rough language consisting of grunts and other noises. Some Urgals also speak the common language. When greeting war chiefs, Urgals raise their heads and bellow. The proper response is usually to butt heads. Baring the throat is treated as a sign of trust, and lowering the head a sign of challenge. Laughter is expressed as a gurgling sound in the throat. Urgals will also rub the tips of their horns when there is mention of evil as demonstrated in "Brisingr".

The Nomadic Language

The nomadic language is a language introduced in Brisingr in which the only known word is -no, which is an honorific suffix attatched to the name of someone you respect.

References

* [http://www.shurtugal.com/?id=cycle/christopher/qanda Christopher Paolini Q&A] from [http://www.shurtugal.com Shurtugal.Com]

External links

* [http://www.alagaesia.com/ Official website] , which includes [http://www.alagaesia.com/christopherpaolini.htm autobiographical comments] from Paolini
* [http://inheritance.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page Inheriwiki] , the site of the Inheritance Cycle Wikia


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