Garzhvog’s childhood was typical for young Urgals. He grew up in a small village deep within the heart of the Spine. Hunting and other rites of passage dotted his upbringing. This included defeating forty-two rams in single combat and strangling a cave bear to death with his hands (a kind of coming-of-age quest). Eragon would later describe him as “a brilliant commander and as great a thinker and philosopher as Oromis himself.”
Garzhvog eventually earned leadership of the Bolvek tribe, a role that would become more complex than he anticipated. During the events of the Inheritance Cycle, the Urgals were running out of resources to feed their increasing numbers. Galbatorix promised that if they served him, they would receive good land in exchange. The Herndall, the leaders of the Urgals, agreed to his proposal. But it turned out the king’s intentions could not be trusted. Durza enchanted the Urgal war chiefs and forced the different tribes to work together—they were Galbatorix’s disposable troops. When Durza died during the Battle of Farthen Dûr, Garzhvog and the rest were released from the spell. The Herndall sent Garzhvog’s brood mate to find out why Galbatorix hadn’t kept his end of the bargain. She never returned.
Joining the Varden
So the Urgals offered their allegiance to the Varden and it was Garzhvog’s job to negotiate the treaty. All his people wanted in exchange for joining the resistance was revenge against the king and land to expand into. Nasuada agreed.
The partnership worked fairly well, especially with Garzhvog as the point of contact between the races. His willingness to prove the Urgals’ worth and the good intentions were clear. He would participate in most, if not all, of the battles against the Empire. When Eragon destroyed the Ra’zac in Helgrind and his whereabouts were unknown, Garzhvog offered to follow Arya in search of the Rider, though Nasuada asked him to remain. Later when Eragon needed to attend the dwarf monarch election without Saphira, Garzhvog ran alongside him all the way to the dwarves’ holdings. During this trip, the Kull shared many of the nuances of his culture, from its history to family life. Most of all, he acknowledged the absolute need for the Urgals to find a way to live peacefully with the other races; if Garzhvog’s people did not, they would become no more. Once Eragon was safely within distance of Mount Thardûr, Garzhvog returned to the main force of the Varden and resumed his position as war chief, which had temporarily been entrusted to his blood brother, Skgahgrezh.
While the humans never seemed to get used to the presence of the Urgals, Angela the herbalist and the werecats had no such foibles. Eragon, having already returned from the dwarves, chanced upon Garzhvog, his brethern, and some werecats listening to one of Angela’s tales. At the story’s conclusion, Garzhvog slipped Angela a sea green crystal, which she accepted. (Readers were never privy to this act’s significance.) Everyone began to disperse, but when Eragon asked about a place, Stavarosk, that Garzhvog mentioned in passing, all activity stopped. Garzhvog simple could not believe that the story of Stavarosk, the largest defeat of Galbatorix’s army, was not known throughout the land. Determined to rectify this issue immediately, he and a few other Kull went in search of a Varden bard to instruct the poor fellow in the history of the Urgals.
Each battle brought the Varden closer to victory and finally Galbatorix was defeated. Nasuada was crowned high queen of Alagaësia. Everyone held their breath to see if she would hold up her end of the bargain with the Urgals. She did, granting them large swaths of land along coastal regions of the Spine and on the fertile plains between lake Fläm and the Toark River. However, Garzhvog warned her that the next generation of his brethren would likely soon forget their treaty in the search for battles to prove themselves.
A Future for Urgals
His warning was noted. Before Eragon and Saphira left Alagaësia, they stopped by one of the Urgals’ new villages near lake Fläm. Garzhvog and his tribe threw a feast in honor of their arrival. The Rider proposed games, to recur every few years, in which rams would be free to match themselves in combat against foes of all races to win honor. Most of the other Alagaësian leaders had already agreed to participate. In addition, Urgals would be included in the dragon pact so that at least one of their number could become a Dragon Rider. Garzhvog and the Herndall accepted with gratitude. Perhaps this would be enough to ensure the peaceful coexistence between the different powers in the land.
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