Nothing is known of Barst’s early years except that he was the son of Berengar and that he was rumored to have killed a wounded ox with a single punch. Whether inherited or awarded, his earldom included an estate nearby Gil’ead.

He had a reputation for strength, ruthlessness, and cunning—perhaps even prior to his association with Galbatorix. His vassals feared his swift, unmerciful response to crime and disputes (often execution).

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Barst drove his horses into the Ramr River to spite the elves when they forced him to flee his estate during the events of the Inheritance Cycle. Eventually the king sent him to “recruit” new soldiers for the army:

“…so he goes to this village and orders all the men to join Galbatorix’s army. Same story as always. Only, the men refuse, and they attack Barst and his soldiers. . . . Well, Barst was too clever for them; he had archers posted around the village before he went in. The soldiers kill half the men and thrash the rest within an inch of their lives. No surprise there. Then Barst takes the leader, the man who started the fight, and he grabs him by the neck, and with his bare hands, he pulls his head right off! . . . Like a chicken. And what’s worse, he ordered the man’s family burned alive as well.” (Unnamed soldier, Inheritance Deluxe, page 120)

Others claimed he had eaten his victim’s heart afterwards. It was clear that, rumors aside, Barst was a formidable opponent.

The Varden eventually made their way across the Empire, capturing one stronghold after another until they were finally at the gates of Urû’baen. Galbatorix put Barst in charge of the army and equipped the lord with a large captive Eldunarí hidden under Barst’s breastplate. Barst’s already formidable speed and strength were enhanced to superhuman levels with the assistance of the dragon heart of hearts.

No matter how many tactics the Varden tried to defeat Barst, none of them seemed to work. Elves, dwarves, Urgals, humans, and werecats alike fell under his mace. Even Queen Islanzadí, in a duel with him that was likely to be remembered for decades to come, was killed.

Ultimately it was Roran and his allies that succeeded. They knocked Barst to the ground with many large stones, and then repeatedly struck his wards until they finally gave out. Yet even that seemed inconsequential—Barst was still functioning—until Roran managed to break the Eldunarí hidden in the lord’s breastplate. The energy released incinerated Barst’s body within his armor.

With his defeat, his troops were demoralized and quickly fell to the Varden. All that remained of Barst’s legacy were a few tales of the Battle of Urû’baen and his ashes trampled through the streets under the boots of his victors.

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Immanuela Meijer

Immanuela is the Paolinis' webmaster, archivist, and all around "make-things-go" Renaissance woman.