to you, Eragon, that was never part of our plan. I had no choice,
though. They recognized me. I stabbed the white-haired man un-
derneath his chin... It was like when Father cut the throat of a
pig. And then the other, I smashed open his skull. I can still feel his
bones giving way... I remember every blow I've landed, from the
soldiers in Carvahall to the ones on the Burning Plains... You
know, when I close my eyes, sometimes I can't sleep because the
light from the fire we set in the docks of Teirm is so bright in my
mind. I think I'm going mad then."
 Eragon found his hands gripping the staff with such force, his
knuckles were white and tendons ridged the insides of his wrists.
"Aye," he said. "At first it was just Urgals, then it was men and
Urgals, and now this last battle... I know what we do is right, but
right doesn't mean easy. Because of who we are, the Varden expect
Saphira and me to stand at the front of their army and to slaughter
entire battalions of soldiers. We do. We have." His voice caught,
and he fell silent.
 Turmoil accompanies every great change, said Saphira to both of
them. And we have experienced more than our share, for we are agents
of that very change. I am a dragon, and I do not regret the death of those
who endanger us. Killing the guards in Narda may not be a deed worthy
of celebration, but neither is it one to feel guilty about. You had to do it.
When you must fight, Roran, does not the fierce joy of combat lead wings
to your feet? Do you not know the pleasure of pitting yourself against a
worthy opponent and the satisfaction of seeing the bodies of your enemies
piled before you? Eragon, you have experienced this. Help me explain it
to your cousin.
 Eragon stared at the coals. She had stated a truth that he was re-
luctant to acknowledge, lest by agreeing that on could enjoy vio-
lence, he would become a man he would despise. So he was mute.
Across from him, Roran appeared similarly affected.
 In a softer voice, Saphira said, Do not be angry. I did not intend to
upset you... I forget sometimes that you are still unaccustomed to

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