Encyclopedia Alagaësia: Nasuada

Nasuada was the only child of Ajihad and Nadara. Following her mother’s death, her father was able to break his oaths to the Forsworn Endurial—for whom he was an unwilling estate manager—and take newborn Nasuada with him.

After settling in Tronjheim, they later traveled to Aberon, where Ajihad stayed for a time as a delegate for the Varden. Nasuada’s days there were idyllic in many ways:

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“She told him [Murtagh] about the market streets in Aberon, the capital of Surda, and how, as a child, she had often run away from her nurse to explore them. Her favorite of the merchants had been a man of the wandering tribes. His name was Hadamanara-no Dachu Taganna, but he had insisted that she call him by his familiar name, which was Taganna. He sold knives and daggers, and he always seemed to delight in showing her his wares, even though she never bought any.” (Narration, Inheritance, page 494)

They returned to Tronjheim when Ajihad became head of the Varden, and Nasuada grew up learning about leadership and politics under his tutelage. She would sit on his lap, dozing while he and emissaries from his tribe would talk and smoke cardus weed.

Nasuada matured into an independent person who would sometimes surreptitiously manipulate Ajihad’s enemies—without either his or their knowledge; if persons of interest came to stay in Tronjheim, she would go meet them herself, as she did with Murtagh, Eragon, and Saphira. Readers first encounter Nasuada when she introduced herself to the blue dragon and Rider under the pretense of delivering a simple message from Ajihad. During their conversation, she suggested that Eragon visit lonely Murtagh, who was under house arrest for refusing to allow his mind to be read.

When the Varden got word that Galbatorix’s magically enslaved Urgal army was pouring into Farthen Dûr to wipe out the resistance, Ajihad sent the women and children to hide, and though Nasuada promised to accompany them, she secretly joined the archers for the battle—much to her father’s displeasure.

The Varden were victorious, and the days after the conflict were spent searching out any remaining Kull wandering the tunnels of Farthen Dûr. Ajihad, the Twins, and Murtagh (since released) were on a team together when the Twins betrayed them and, reinforced by a group of Urgals, ambushed the leader and youth. They killed Ajihad and kidnapped Murtagh, all while making it look like they themselves had been captured by the Urgals as well.

Nasuada was devastated but squared her shoulders and moved forward. When the Varden Council of Elders proposed that she take over leadership in place of her father, she accepted. They thought they could use her as a puppet for their machinations, but she maneuvered herself to wield her own power by gaining Eragon’s oath of fealty. (Nasuada and Ajihad had planned for her to eventually take his place, so she was not unprepared for the task. And when Eragon revealed that he had already promised her dying father to support the Varden, everything fell into place. All that remained to secure her position was for Eragon to repeat his oath publically.)

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Shortly after Ajihad’s funeral and his interment in a hallowed alcove, deep in the catacombs below Tronjheim, Nasuada was publically elected leader of the Varden. The council had pressured Eragon to swear his allegiance to the Varden before the audience, which he did, but not in the way they expected; he followed his secret arrangement with Nasuada and swore fealty directly to her, thereby securing her power over the council.

Her first official act was to move the Varden to Surda—King Orrin of Surda had decided to openly back the resistance when they won the Battle of Farthen Dûr—thereby cementing her power and alleviating the resources strain on the dwarves, who had hosted them for decades. Nasuada also publicized that a new Dragon Rider had joined the Varden.

Now that the resistance was preparing to openly move against Galbatorix, it was more important than ever to have the elves’ support. But Queen Islanzadí had cut off all communication with the outside world when she thought her daughter, Arya, had been captured and killed. Nasuada sent Eragon and Saphira to Ellesméra to begin their training, as promised. Arya, Orik, and several other dwarves accompanied them on the long trek to Du Weldenvarden to reestablish contact with the grieving queen.

The Varden’s journey to Surda was long and uncomfortable. Once settled in Aberon, Nasuada set about dealing with the mountain of problems facing the collective. Once a week she held open court to solve minor disputes. Food rations were becoming meager and work progressed at a slow pace in the blazing heat. Shifts were shortened to prevent fainting (or worse) from high temperatures.

King Orrin was slow to rally his citizens to fight the Empire, and even as the delays mounted, he declined to lend the Varden more gold for food. Nasuada stormed out of his laboratory following his refusal, accidentally knocking over a bottle of acid in the process. It splashed over her dress and ruined a good portion of the lace. While troubleshooting ways to save the expensive material, Nasuada thought of an excellent solution to the Varden’s financial issues: she would raise the funds by having her magicians produce lace, which she would then sell at competitive prices. Orrin, when he found out about her plan, was flabbergasted that the war could be funded by such a relatively minor product and also irate that his own weavers were losing their clients to the cheaper option. Ever so sweetly, she offered to loan him money at a reasonable interest rate.

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Even with that issue solved, there were many to replace it. Solembum and Angela noticed something odd about the baby Elva, who Eragon and Saphira had blessed when they first arrived in Farthen Dûr. The child was growing at a prodigious rate and now appeared to be about four years old, despite only weeks having passed since the blessings. Nasuada was summoned to investigate.

Elva, her eyes now a vivid shade of violet (the same color as the Helgrind priests’ crystals), explained that she had learned to speak that week in order to talk with the Varden leader.

Eragon’s magic, gone wrong because of a grammar error, enabled Elva to sense all current and upcoming troubles of the people she encountered, and compelled her to come to their aid—regardless of the harm it might cause her or whether she wanted to or not; any attempt to resist its influence caused her to suffer. As an infant, it was not physically possible to assist those in need, and so she grew, consuming lots of food to fuel the changes. (Her rations were increased to keep up with her appetite.)

Elva wanted the war to end for obvious reasons, so she offered her services to Nasuada. The child’s ability to foretell what would happen to an individual or group was limited to three hours before, at most. Because she could sense exactly what pained others—physical, metal, or emotional—Elva knew precisely what to say or do to sooth those pains. The downside to this was that she needed to stay indoors in order to protect herself from being forced to sacrifice herself for someone. The only person, perhaps in all of Alagaësia, that Elva could not read was Angela, and the herbalist was not sharing the secret of how she accomplished this with anyone else.

Nasuada privately discussed the situation with Angela, who promised to keep an eye on the girl—especially because it wasn’t clear whether or not Elva would be a force for good. (The herbalist hadn’t been able to read the child’s future with dragon knucklebones because of how many lives Elva would affect.) So for the moment, Nasuada tabled the issue—she wasn’t comfortable inviting the changeling into her life just yet.

Click for a larger image and description.Later, Nasuada was in a meeting when Elva burst into the room and knocked her to the ground just in time to ensure she would not be killed by an assassin’s metal dart. In between rounds of vomiting, Elva explained where to find the Black Hand hit man and detailed his motivations. When Nasuada sent her magicians to track him down, they found him exactly where the girl had said he would be. They weren’t able to capture him alive, but found enough information in his mind prior to his death to confirm Elva’s account. It seemed that most of the Black Hand assassins were trained to use spells to aid their espionage/killings. The Varden leader’s conviction that magic users would need to be governed properly in order to prevent abuse solidified. From then on, leader and changeling were often together, though it was an uneasy alliance.

The first time Elva accompanied Nasuada to a meeting with Orrin, his advisors, and the Varden Council of Elders, the adults were uncomfortable, something Nasuada had strategically planned on; it unsettled them to have a witch-child in their mix. They discussed new intelligence that Galbatorix had used an illusion to hide the number of forces on their way to intercept the Varden: there were at least 100,000. Until contact was reestablished with the elves, the resistance was hopelessly outnumbered. Nasuada sent a plea to the dwarves for their aid, who immediately sent troops to help. It was time to start the invasion, ready or not.

Eragon and Saphira eventually concluded the first part of their training and returned to the Varden on the Burning Plains. Nasuada placed Eragon in command of Du Vrangr Gata.

Soon after, a group of Kull unexpectedly petitioned to speak with Nasuada. Her advisors, including Eragon and Jörmundur, felt it was too dangerous; the Rider was especially prejudiced, calling them monsters because of past negative experiences, but Nasuada ignored their complaints and granted an audience.

The Urgals’ offered an alliance, in exchange for which they wanted revenge against Galbatorix and, if he were defeated, additional territory to settle. Nasuada accepted and immediately issued a notice that anyone who attacked or killed the new recruits would be punished in the same manner as if they had assaulted a human.

Her decision was well thought out. The Urgals were integrated into many levels of the Varden (later including guarding Nasuada). Eragon’s bias shifted as he interacted with Garzhvog and after he searched a few of their minds for malicious intent (of which there was none).

Freestock-photo_18961_20101106-modifiedThe Battle of the Burning Plains loomed closer. Nasuada named Eragon as her successor, should she fall. She also sanctioned Angela’s offer to poison thousands of enemy troops the night before the confrontation was to take place, an unpleasant tactic, but necessary because the Varden were far outnumbered by the Empire forces.

When the time came to attack, Nasuada rode into battle, directing the various leaders and factions to follow. The skills of all their members were substantial, but there were still too many of the Empire’s troops. The tide changed with the arrival of the dwarven forces, but reversed again after Murtagh and Thorn joined the battle, slayed Hrothgar, and appeared to somehow beat Eragon and Saphira as well. It was an enormous relief to find out that this wasn’t the case. (Murtagh had told Eragon that the latter was the son of Morzan. Nasuada later hid Eragon’s parentage from the general public, as people would distrust the Rider if they found out.) Adding to the confusion, Roran and the other refugees from Carvahall arrived during the battle, which Roran contributed to by killing the Twins. The Varden finally won.

Nasuada welcomed the new arrivals into the fold. Eragon and Roran petitioned to make a covert trip to Helgrind to rescue Roran’s love, Katrina, from the Ra’zac. Only with the advice of Saphira, did Nasuada grudgingly accept that the risk would be worth it.

While they were away, Nasuada had her own adventures. First, Jörmundur insisted she increase the number of guards watching out for her, which she haggled over until they compromised at six, and then she insisted that they be comprised of members of each group aligned with the Varden. The guard detail would be known as the Nighthawks.

That settled, the next issue was Fadawar, her mother’s cousin. He came to ask for prestigious positions in the Varden for himself and other tribesmen, solely because they had family and tribal ties with Nasuada. When she declined, Fadawar challenged Nasuada to a Trial by the Long Knives. She agreed, knowing it was the only way to secure her power over the Wandering Tribes. The stakes were high–should she lose, the Varden would fall under Fadawar’s leadership—but Nasuada held on to the certainty that Elva provided: Nasuada would prevail.

After nine cuts, she did. And when her advisors wanted to heal the wounds magically, she said no. Her victory would be nullified if she cheated in any way, such as by healing more quickly, so she contented herself with Angela’s poultices and stitches. She let Fadawar remain chief of his own tribe so long as he swore to obey Nasuada as his warlord. (Elva revealed that she had actually foreseen that Nasuada would fail, but had told the leader what she had needed to hear in order to win, much to the Varden leader’s discomfort.)

Shiprock, NM, the inspiration for Helgrind

Shiprock, NM, the inspiration for Helgrind

Saphira, Roran, and Katrina returned from Helgrind without Eragon; the Rider had mysteriously stayed behind. (Readers know his secret reason was to punish Sloan, Katrina’s father, who had been held captive with her; the old man had murdered Byrd and betrayed the villagers of Carvahall prior to his imprisonment with the Ra’zac.) Arya set off alone to find him, much to Nasuada’s distress. Arya and Eragon did locate one another and contacted the Varden leader to let her know that they were relatively safe.

Roran’s reputation suggested he would be a good asset, so Nasuada directed him to serve under Marland Redbeard, who would report back on his abilities. When Roran asked Nasuada to delay his assignment slightly so that he and Katrina could be married by Eragon, Nasuada agreed, because Katrina was pregnant.

Queen Islanzadí finally reestablished contact with the Varden, following the revelation that her daughter was still alive. In addition to rallying the elven forces, the monarch sent twelve spellcasters to protect Eragon. The group arrived just before Eragon and Arya’s return from the Empire. (Nasuada had rushed out to see them without taking the Nighthawks with her, a fact that Captain Garvin chastised her for, saying that they needed to appear to be the strongest warriors and could not do so if she did not accommodate their presence.)

The elven spellweavers’ minds needed to be examined for duplicity, and Nasuada selected Garvin to do it. Although he determined that their intentions were honest, he never fully recovered from his excursion in their minds, though he later was able to return to his duties. Another problem brought by the newcomers was that Nasuada found herself affected by Blödhgarm’s seductive musk. Elva instructed the Varden leader to think of Horehound candy to distract her from the pheromones’ effects, and Nasuada later ordered the magician Trianna to create an amulet that protected her from the scent.

On Eragon and Arya’s arrival, Nasuada publically praised the Dragon Rider, Saphira, and Roran’s efforts to eradicate the Ra’zac. It was also important for the Varden dignitaries to see and shake hands with Eragon, a tedious process for all. King Orrin, who demanded to know the real reason Eragon had stayed behind at Helgrind, was growing increasingly jealous of Nasuada and the power she held. She didn’t always have the patience to answer his concerns or tiptoe around his delicate ego, which didn’t help matters. It was a surprise when both Orrin and Nasuada—now privy to the reasons for the Rider’s actions—agreed that Eragon’s decision to spare Sloan was a good one.

Eragon and Saphira left their audience with the leaders to wash up, having agreed to join Nasuada for dinner. They were completely surprised when they went to meet her only to find a welcome home feast planned by Nasuada and Roran. The villagers of Carvahall were all there to celebrate together. Afterward, Eragon reminded Nasuada that he intended to attempt to remove Elva’s curse. Nasuada did not want to lose Elva’s skills and hoped that Eragon might only pretend to try and cure her. The Dragon Rider refused and suggested that she present her concerns to Elva, allowing the young girl to make her own choice.

The next day Nasuada made her case to Elva, but the girl did not budge. She wanted Eragon to undo his faulty spell. And so he tried. But despite his best attempts, Eragon was only able to remove her compulsion to help others. Now able to choose her actions, Elva was elated. She dismissed her caretaker Greta and dramatically swept out of the pavilion. Angela followed with a dramatic exit of her own, declaring her irritation at now having to spend years teaching Elva how to behave. But at least Nasuada had not lost an effective weapon.

1001-johnny_automatic_armed_cutterGalbatorix sent five boats filled with the Laughing Dead down the Jiet River to confront the Varden. Initially Nasuada and the rest of the leaders thought it was a suspiciously small force to contend with. But then Murtagh and Thorn joined the fray. Worse yet, the Varden soon discovered the enemy troops could not feel pain and were very hard to kill in battle. Eragon and Saphira, with the aid of the elven spellcasters, were able to drive off Murtagh and Thorn, and many casualties later, the resistance defeated the ground forces. But the victory felt empty in the face of so much loss. Nasuada tasked Du Vrangr Gata with finding a way to duplicate the spell Galbatorix used to create the Laughing Dead. She felt it would be good to have several hundred voluntary swordsman, immune to physical pain. Readers never hear whether the spellcasters were successful.

The heavy mood lifted for Roran and Katrina’s wedding, which Eragon officiated. Nasuada kindly gave Katrina a dowry comprised of valuables given to the Varden leader by the dwarves. It was good to celebrate one of life’s simple moments.

Orik wanted to have the Rider attend his wedding as well, but Nasuada refused to pass on the invitation because she was worried that it would distract Eragon from his duties.

Nasuada knew that the dwarves were still in the process of electing a new leader, following the death of Hrothgar during the Battle of the Burning Plains, and that for the good of the Varden, the matter needed to be settled as soon as possible.

Because Eragon was an honorary member of Durgrîmst Ingeitum, he could potentially sway the proceedings in favor of a monarch who would support the Varden cause, but it was vital that the resistance not be left vulnerable in the absence of Eragon and Saphira. Eragon and Nasuada argued strenuously, but neither could come up with a better alternative than to have the elven spellcasters cast an illusion to suggest that Eragon was still with the main force. In the meantime, Garzhvog escorted Eragon to the Beor Mountains, while Saphira remained behind. She would later fly to join him in Farthen Dûr for the coronation and while there also attempt to repair Isidar Mithrim. The Rider and dragon would then return to Ellesméra for the final portion of their training with Oromis and Glaedr.

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Nasuada moved the army towards Feinster and sent Roran to raid Empire supply trains under the command of Martland Redbeard in order to test Roran’s skill and character.

Roran proved himself under Redbeard, but Nasuada was still not confident in his abilities. His next assignment was under Captain Edric, whose leadership proved disastrous. When she sent Edric and his men to eliminate Empire troops pillaging Surdan lands, they encountered forces over twice the amount anticipated. Edric made terrible strategic decisions, so to avoid defeat, Roran mutinied and assumed control of the men. His decision turned out to be correct. Nasuada understood the necessity of Roran’s actions but could not condone the behavior itself; his efforts were rewarded with fifty lashes, shortly followed by a command post of his own.

The integration of the Urgals into the Varden was not always smooth. A human, Othmund, murdered three Urgals in their sleep. Nasuada sentenced him to hang for his actions. She had as much reason as anyone to hate the Ugralgra, but she did her best to put her hesitations aside in favor of the newfound alliance between the races.

The dwarf election was a success for the Varden: Orik was elected king, and he immediately committed support to the resistance. As planned, Eragon and Saphira flew to Ellesméra to complete their training with Oromis and Glaedr. When the young Rider and dragon rejoined the Varden, they knew how Galbatorix had become so powerful: captured Eldunarí. They shared this information with Arya and Nasuada—along with the truth of who Eragon’s father was—and news of Glaedr and Oromis. The Varden leader was overjoyed to hear of their existence and crestfallen to learn of their deaths (though Glaedr remained alive in his Heart of Hearts). Nonetheless bolstered by any information on how to defeat Galbatorix, Nasuada directed the resistance farther into Galbatorix’s lands, seizing Belatona next.

Right after conquering the city, representatives for the werecats arrived to offer assistance to the Varden. King Grimrr Halfpaw agreed to ally with the Varden in exchange for battle equipment, rations of poultry and liver, and—should the Varden defeat Galbatorix—a single place of honor adjacent to the throne for visiting werecat dignitaries’ exclusive use. Nasuada agreed, after having their minds inspected for dishonest intentions. The werecats’ shapeshifting abilities had wonderful effects on the quality and accuracy of covert surveillance in enemy cities.

The Varden’s success in battle had unintended complications. One such problem was that the Empire troops that surrendered or defected could not be trusted because all of them had been forced to swear oaths of allegiance to Galbatorix. Nasuada simply didn’t have enough people to guard the prisoners of war.

It was vital to conquer Aroughs, which had resisted all other attempts, so that the majority of the Varden forces stationed there could return to the main group for the assault on Dras-Leona and Urû’baen. Nasuada sent Roran to take over the siege. He succeeded and was promoted to lead a battalion in future battles.

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Dras-Leona was well defended, especially with Murtagh and Thorn standing guard, so for some time it wasn’t clear how to conquer the city. Even Glaedr, in Eldunarí form, had no easy solution for Nasuada, much to her disappointment. Using information provided by Jeod, Nasuada sent Eragon and a number of others into a secret tunnel that led to the city sewers. (She had hoped to convince Elva to help, but the girl would not.) While they infiltrated the city from below, the rest of the Varden forces attacked outside the walls. Eragon’s team overcame extreme hardship and was finally successful in opening the city gates, securing the resistance’s victory.

Because of how long it had taken to conquer Dras-Leona, and the potential for sabotage, Nasuada was keen to leave as soon as possible; the army moved north while Martland Redbeard was put in charge of overseeing the city. Even though she had taken precautionary measures, disaster was just around the corner. That night, Murtagh, Thorn, and a group of Empire soldiers infiltrated the camp and captured her. Nauada had named Eragon as her successor, so in her absence, he made sure events progressed as smoothly as possible.

But Nasuada’s continued existence was no sure thing. She awoke in Urû’baen, secured to a stone slab. She knew that her only task now was to resist any of Galbatorix’s attempts to extract information. The king didn’t immediately make an appearance—for days her only caretaker was an unnamed man devoid of empathy. While he did not torture her, she suspected her reprieve wouldn’t last forever.

Galbatorix asked her to become his servant, which surprised her, as she had expected that his goal was to extract information. But it was her leadership skills he prized; he already knew all there was to know about the Varden. She felt even worse when she discovered that it had been Murtagh’s idea to capture her. Though she knew the cost of declining to give the king what he wanted, she did it anyway.

And so began a cycle of pain and refusal. Galbatorix, and Murtagh by his command, tortured Nasuada. The first time she had a break from it, Murtagh came alone to visit. He drunkenly explained that Galbatorix had been planning to assassinate her, and so Murtagh, in desperation, had convinced the king to force her into servitude instead. The Rider explained the difficulties he had faced growing up as the son of Morzan in Galbatorix’s court and the process of being forced to bend to the king’s will. And Nasuada began to have compassion for him.

Going forward, Murtagh visited Nasuada when able. He explained that if she could hold on for a bit longer, the Varden would arrive at Urû’baen’s gates, and he helped her by magically easing her pain and numbing her ability to feel it in the first place.

Through it all, Nasuada remained determined to find some way to take revenge on Galbatorix. An opportunity presented itself when her anonymous jailer failed to find a spoon she had secreted from her meal. She shaped the metal into a shiv, then used it to kill the jailer and harm two guards before she was again bound to the stone slab.

Burrow Grub by Christopher Paolini

Burrow Grub by Christopher Paolini

Galbatorix rewarded her actions by setting a burrow grub loose on her, the parasite free to eat its way underneath her skin. She lost consciousness. When she awoke, Murtagh came to ease her pain as best he could and warned her that the king would now start manipulating her perception of reality. The two conspirators hatched a plan that each time the illusions began, Murtagh would touch Nasuada’s mind with his own (a mental signature that Galbatorix could not reproduce), and when the illusions ended, Murtagh would once again contact her. Nasuada took some hope from having an ally, knowing that she would never have survived the king’s attentions without Murtagh’s help.

The Varden finally arrived at Urû’baen. While the main forces assaulted the gates, Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Elva, Blödhgarm, ten elven spellcasters, and the Vault of Souls Eldunarí infiltrated the citadel. The king had set many booby traps along the hall to the throne room, and while the adventurers cleared them, not all made it through; Blödhgarm and the elven spellcasters were magically held in stasis and transported away by a clever spell, leaving only Eragon, Saphira, Arya, Elva, and the Vault Eldunarí to confront Galbatorix.

At first it seemed impossible to defeat the king. He immobilize all of his remaining opponents with very little effort. There in the throne room, Nasuada gagged and bound to a stone block, Galbatorix forced Murtagh and Eragon to duel. Eragon barely managed to win, but the fight and subsequent conversation had an unexpected outcome: Murtagh and Thorn realized that their true names had changed through Murtagh’s love for Nasuada. The red dragon and Rider were no longer bound to the oaths they had sworn to the king.

Using the name of names, Murtagh stripped Galbatorix of many of his wards. This was still insufficient. Finally, Eragon desperately cast a wordless spell augmented by the Vault Eludunarí to force Galbatorix to understand and feel the effects of his actions on all beings in Alagaësia, from his birth going forward. This was too much for the king; he cast a spell to convert the energy stored in his cells into a nuclear explosion that destroyed much of the citadel and spread radiation poisoning throughout the city.

The adventurers, including Nasuada, survived, thanks to Eragon’s wordless spell to protect them from the fireball. After healing his and Thorn’s injuries, Murtagh immediately set about healing the worst of Nasuada’s wounds. Knowing his and Thorn’s presence would anger the dwarves, they decided to fly to unknown locations to recover from their traumas.

Even with the help of Murtagh’s spells, Nasuada was nowhere near recovered from her time in Galbatorix’s “care.” Besides the mental issues resulting from torture, her body had wasted away as well. Nonetheless, she pulled herself together to meet with the leaders of the various races and groups to elect a new ruler of the land.

The options were gradually narrowed to Nasuada and Orrin, the latter refusing to concede because of the contributions he, his family, and the Surdans had made for generations. Nasuada offered a compromise: Surda’s borders would expand until the nation was twice its original size and, in exchange, Orrin and his descendants would continue to rule their land as they saw fit but would swear allegiance to Nasuada as high queen, promise aid in defending borders, and agree to restrictions on magic users. Even with this fair offer, Orrin refused—his pride wouldn’t let him accept. Only the pressure of Orik, Arya, and Grimrr forced Orrin to concede. Nasuada was elected high queen.

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The coronation was held three days after she had been chosen. It was a simple ceremony, during which Orrin publically gave his allegiance and Orik, Arya, Grimrr, and Garzhvog—representatives of each of their races—swore friendship.

Among her first acts, Nasuada directed Eragon to place enchantments on Urû’baen and the surrounding areas to prevent Galbatorix loyalists from taking action against her. After a reasonable amount of security permeated the capital, Nasuada sent Eragon and Saphira to Dras-Leona, Belatona, Feinster, Aroughs, Gil’ead, and Ceunon to release everyone from their oaths of allegiance to the dead king. She also wanted Eragon to bind the soldiers and nobles there to the same restrictions he had placed on Urû’baen, which he refused to do on grounds that it was the same strategy that Galbatorix had employed; the capital was one thing, but all of the kingdom was another. After reflecting on the issue, Nasuada agreed with Eragon. Teirm refused to join the new country, instead petitioning to become an independent city-state. The queen agreed, so long as they swore allegiance and honored her upcoming laws on regulating magic users. Kuasta and Narda had no hesitations to joining Nasuada.

To cement loyalty, Nasuada immediately used the vast funds in the treasury to feed and clothe her warriors, and repair the capital—now renamed Ilirea in honor of the city’s heritage. And she gave five gold coins to each of her subjects. Other dangerous magical artifacts left from Galbatorix’s hoard were kept secret between the queen, Saphira, and Eragon.

Elva remained in Nasuada’s council, residing in the queen’s grand hall. The girl opted to keep her abilities when Eragon offered to remove them with the name of names. She could embrace her identity by choice now. Unbeknownst to most others, Elva was able to soothe the worst of Nasuada’s trauma from her torture. (The queen shared the story of her imprisonment with only a few, including Eragon.)

Nasuada survived three assassination attempts—one of which left her with broken bones—with the help of Eragon, Elva, and the Nighthawks. When security measures around her increased, no more attempts were made. Two uprisings by Hamlin and Tharos the Quick were squelched.

True to her word, Nasuada honored her commitments to her allies. The werecats’ representative was given a padding cushion in a place of honor next to the throne. Roran was named earl of Palancar Valley. And she granted lands to the Urgals, who had sworn fealty.

The queen was determined to regulate the magic users of Alagaësia, for the “good of the many.” She asked Eragon to head a task force to accomplish this, but he declined, disturbed by her methods. Instead, he declared that he and Saphira, the Eldunarí, some elves, and the dragon eggs (formerly hidden in the Vault of Souls) would leave Alagaësia to rebuild the Riders in a place of safety, away from the temptations of power. After some protest, and after Eragon explained why he would not teach anyone else the name of names, Nasuada understood and gave her blessing.

Eragon tried to prevent future conflict between the nations by insisting that the dwarves and Urgals be added to the Dragon Rider pact; additionally, he established competitive games to allow the Ugralgra a non-warfare setting to prove their mettle against one another and members of other races.

eggAW01-pnet-greenThe time soon came for Arya, Fírnen (hatched from the last egg in Galbatorix’s possession), Eragon, Saphira, Roran, Katrina, and baby Ismira to leave for Ellesméra. While both Eragon and Roran would be able to stay in contact with Nasuada via magical means, everyone understood that this very well could be the last time they met in person. Nasuada and a few others witnessed the farewell, among them Birgit, who had not forgotten her vow of revenge. Birgit demanded restitution from Roran for the death of her husband, a custom that the queen attempted to dismiss, but Roran insisted that it be honored. Nasuada respected his wishes and, fortunately, he walked away with only a small cut on the palm of his hand.

After the departure of Eragon and Saphira with their charges, Nasuada’s realm continued to stabilize to some degree. Eragon eventually notified the queen that a new Dragon Rider hold was nearly completed somewhere to the east of Alagaësia.

Scholar Jeod Longshanks recommended Nasuada call the areas under her control the Varden Kingdom, but she refused on grounds of its similarity to “Du Weldenvarden.” And naming it after herself or her family was not appealing either, so only time would tell what the kingdom would come to be known as.

Nasuada requested help from Arya and Fírnen twice in subsequent months: once in order to subdue a rebellious earl, and again to investigate the disappearance of the mysterious hermit Tenga. When they arrived at his hut, the green dragon and Rider found four dead spellcasters, who had been sent to inform Tenga of Nasuada’s new policies on magic, and no sign of the hermit himself.

Nasuada was nonetheless determined to control the magic users of Alagaësia. Though she had made great strides in uniting the races in peaceful coexistence, her decision to pursue this plan could very well lead to troubling times for the new nation. But which legacy—one of freedom or one of suppression—she would come to be known for is a story for another time.


 
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Immanuela Meijer

About Immanuela Meijer

Immanuela is the Paolinis' executive assistant.