Encyclopedia Alagaësia: Oromis

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Oromis was born in Luthivíra, a city that was once located by Lake Tüdosten. As is tradition when elf children reach the age of twenty, he was presented to the eggs that the dragons had given the Riders. When Glaedr hatched for him, the two trained extensively and traveled around the land for nearly a century doing tasks assigned by Vrael.

Eventually they were asked to teach the next generation of Riders, and so they settled in Ilirea, where they passed their knowledge to one or two students at a time. (Eragon would later describe Oromis’s instruction style as calm and patient but “completely unyielding. No deviation was allowed from the correct path.”)

But challenging years were ahead. A young Rider, Galbatorix, unwisely camped with his friends in the Urgals’ territory in the Spine. His dragon and companions were killed as a result. When he finally made his way back to Ilirea, he petitioned the elders for another dragon. Oromis, a member of this council, denied his request because of the mental instability and poor choices that had led to the tragedy. Galbatorix convinced another Rider to join his cause and the two killed an elder. Then Galbatorix murdered his ally and fled into the night, hiding in evil places for seven years.

Time seemed to lessen concern about the whereabouts of the mad Rider. During Oromis and Glaedr’s tenure in Ilirea, they mentored not only Morzan, but Brom as well. The two pupils formed a close bond, one that became unhealthy in nature. Morzan sought only to belittle and manipulate his friend, while Brom idolized him in return. Oromis was close to separating the two when Morzan allowed Galbatorix into the city to steal a dragon hatchling. The two thieves escaped to unknown places together.

Life appeared to return to normal for a period of three years, but then rumors of Riders’ disappearances began to surface. Oromis and Glaedr were concerned but could not convince other elders to see the danger, so the golden dragon and Rider set out to investigate, taking with them two younger Riders, Kialandí and Formora, who were also troubled by the disappearances.

When Glaedr and Oromis stopped at Edur Naroch to rest, a magical trap sprang the moment the golden dragon’s claws touched the soil. Kialandí and Formora, new members of the Forsworn, had traveled to the tower earlier and slain the elves stationed there; they then placed a clever enchantment, that Galbatorix had taught them, where they knew Glaedr would land. Oromis and Glaedr would have been too formidable to face in direct combat, so magic was the best tactic to defeat them. (Eragon observed Oromis’s fighting style as, “…a perfect blend of control and untamed violence. He pounced like a cat, struck like a heron, and bobbed and wove with the grace of a weasel.”)

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The spell slowed Oromis and Glaedr’s thoughts and movements so they were as thick and slow as molasses. In the meantime, Kialandí and Formora cast many enchantments, none of which hurt the golden dragon and Rider but nonetheless bound and muted them. Then the two Forsworn released Oromis and Glaedr from the slowing spell and sought to bend them to their will in an effort to make them help Galbatorix and his cronies enter Ilirea to surprise the Riders and take the resident Eldunarí.

The mental battle began. Kialandí and Formora had the assistance of a captive Eldunarí, Agaravel, which made up for their inexperience. Many hours passed before Oromis knew that he must risk using magic to free himself and Glaedr. He would have only a few chances to do so, because as soon as the two Forsworn realized he was using magic, they would cast spells of their own. And a wizard’s battle is always a risky endeavor.

Because Oromis was familiar with Galbatorix’s twisted reasoning and also knew the Rider who had taught his foes magic, he could make an educated guess on which words had been used to create the holding spells and what loopholes likely existed. Glaedr went on the offensive and Oromis saw his chance. In the few seconds Oromis had before Kialandí and Formora sensed his intent and began their own magical offensive, and after two unsuccessful attempts, Oromis finally succeeded in shifting not only his and Glaedr’s position on the ground, but also the atomic structures of their bodies, reorganizing them so they were the same but slightly different. This change was enough to render the binding and muting spells the two Forsworn had already cast useless. But by reshuffling his atomic structure, a genetic disease activated that otherwise might have stayed dormant for many years to come, a consequence Oromis had not anticipated.

At the same time, Formora’s next spell bounced harmlessly off Glaedr and Oromis’s wards, but Kialandí’s found its target. It bound permanently to Oromis’ mind and likely worked by affecting the energy around him or limiting his ability to access it. The only mitigating factor was that the spell’s potency was lessened because Oromis had shifted Glaedr and himself simultaneously when Kialandí cast it. (Kialandí had learned this spell from Galbatorix, who had learned it from the spirits possessing Durza.) It’s full effect would not be clear until later.

As all this was happening, Oromis was incapacitated with a fit—the first manifestation of his malady—and Glaedr leapt to fight the two Forsworn, their dragons, and Agaravel.

Glaedr was able to incapacitate Kialandí, and Oromis soon recovered enough to shout for retreat. Glaedr escaped with Oromis clutched in his right claw.

Formora and her dragon gave chase as she swung her sword at Oromis. Glaedr rolled to escape the blow, and so she cut off Glaedr’s left leg instead. Without the extra weight of his leg however, Glaedr outpaced Formora’s dragon. Oromis was able to stop Glaedr’s bleeding but was too weak to warn the other Riders until he and his dragon reached Ilirea.

EllesmeraRev01When they arrived, they were dismayed to find that most of the order had left to search for Galbatorix or to consult with Vrael on Vroengard. With some convincing, Vrael and the elders saw the danger. Those that remained or were nearby readied themselves for battle. The city’s resident Eldunarí were sent to Vroengard for safekeeping. Oromis and Glaedr, in no condition to fight, took themselves and Brom and his dragon, Saphira, to Du Weldenvarden, where they hoped to heal and cure both Oromis’s genetic malady and his difficulty using magic . Unfortunately, neither ailment could be fixed. Oromis and Glaedr advised Brom and Saphira not to join the Riders in Vroengard in their fight against Galbatorix but were ignored.

While Oromis could not contribute to the war efforts with might and magic, he did participate in perhaps one of the most important ways: the Vault of Souls. Oromis, Vrael, Glaedr, Umaroth, and a number of others devised a failsafe plan, should the Riders fall to Galbatorix and the Forsworn. A mile under Mount Erolas, they hid one hundred thirty-six Eldunarí and two hundred forty-three eggs in a cavern with a glowing pit of lava at its center that provided heat and light. The vault residents were put into a deep trance, which they would be roused from once several months passed, assuming they weren’t woken prior by the Riders. There were several layers of defense built in: the depth of the vault would mask enemies from sensing the secret hidden within the mountain; the trance would further increase the difficulty to detect the eggs and Eldunarí’s existence; Cuoroc, one of the Eldunarí, was fashioned a metal body so he could physically defend the cavern’s precious contents; entry into the mountain was barred by the Rock of Kuthian, which could only be accessed by those who knew their true names; all memory of the existence of the Vault of Souls, its occupants, or its location was magically stripped from those involved and replaced with a false memory; and finally, the Rider Thuviel agreed to commit suicide by converting energy in his body into an atomic reaction nearby the usual location where the eggs were kept, which would render the island unsuitable for resettlement by Galbatorix and provide an explanation for the missing eggs. It was a well thought-out plan and fully necessary.

When Vroengard and Ilirea were lost to Galbatorix, Oromis and Glaedr knew the most prudent choice was to remain hidden in Ellesméra and wait for the day when another Rider was chosen. Only three dragon eggs remained in existence (to their recollection) and all of them were in Galbatorix’s possession. Nonetheless, Oromis and Glaedr hoped to one day train a novice in the old ways of the Riders and their secrets. Only with a rise of a new generation would there be any hope of Galbatorix’s defeat.

Oromis and Glaedr healed as much as was possible from their injuries, though they would never wield the power of their former selves. Oromis could only control the smallest of spells and would continue experiencing debilitating episodes, while Glaedr would forever be without a limb. Though it was tempting to fly to assist any remaining Riders, they knew that their disabilities would only hinder, and perhaps further weaken, their cause.

Anticipating the time when their services in battle would be needed, Oromis and Glaedr prepared for over one hundred years by filling Oromis’s pommel gemstone with as much energy as they could spare; several elves came twice a week to give as much of their life force as possible without killing themselves. Naegling would be a formidable resource for its wielder. Additional wards were placed on the diamond to protect Oromis, should he be incapacitated while fighting.

Decades passed during which the Empire’s holdings and power solidified. Oromis’s pupil, Brom, survived the war, albeit suffering the death of his dragon, Saphira. Contrary to Oromis’s advice, Brom dedicated his efforts to revenge and the destruction of the Forsworn. In the process, he had a son, Eragon, with Morzan’s consort, Selena. Oromis and Glaedr were informed of the truth but were made to swear that they would never tell the boy about his lineage unless he discovered some aspect of the truth himself.

Fifteen years later, Eragon was the one who found a dragon egg stolen from the king. And it was for the boy that Saphira hatched. Oromis scried the land during this time. He discovered the existence of a Rider and that that Rider had rescued Arya, who had been presumed dead. Eragon had been gravely injured while defeating Durza during the Battle of Farthen Dûr, and his mind was plagued with the Shade’s insidious thoughts and memories. Oromis mentally pierced the shroud of Durza’s influence and instructed Eragon to come to Ellesméra for further training. The elder introduced himself as Togira Ikonoka, the Cripple Who Is Whole, and Osthato Chetowä, the Mouring Sage, telling the young Rider to tell no one. Oromis gave very little information besides. It was enough to entice the boy to come.

The first time Oromis and Glaedr met Eragon and Saphira was a joyful moment for all of them, though Queen Islanzadí, who was also present, was enraged to discover that the ancient Rider (centuries old at this point) had known of Eragon’s existence and Arya’s survival prior to the human’s arrival in Ellesméra. Oromis gently reprimanded the elf queen that she had been lax in her duties through no fault of his.

Eragon and Saphira began their studies with Oromis and Glaedr immediately. Oromis’s primary goal was to teach his students the principles to guide their decisions. Knowledge of magic and fighting techniques were tools to be guided by critical thinking, logic, and morals based on respect for life in its myriad forms. Other subjects for Eragon included Rimgar, swordsmanship, history, magic, meditation, and debate, along with reading and writing—both in his native tongue and the ancient language. Glaedr instructed Saphira in the way and history of the dragons and Riders, and spent many hours reviewing flight maneuvers. Both Eragon and Saphira were expected to share the things they learned separately with one another. Oromis also gifted Eragon with a dragon saddle made in Vroengard.

While studying the ancient language, Oromis and Eragon discovered that Eragon had made a grave error when blessing the child Elva, while he was visiting Farthen Dûr. Instead of using “sköliro” for “shielded,” he accidently used “skölir,” which means “shield.” Elva, therefore, was cursed to shield others from pain rather than be shielded from pain herself. Eragon would do his best to repair the damage inflicted over the course of the events of the Inheritance Cycle.

Training was complicated not only by Oromis’ infirmity, but by Eragon’s permanent back injury from his battle with Durza. It was unclear how the young Rider could even hope to defeat Galbatorix while afflicted with debilitating nerve damage. But Oromis and Eragon persisted.

Oromis and Glaedr attended the Blood-oath Celebration alongside their pupils. Oromis’s contribution to the event was an illustrated scroll copy of “The Lay of Vestarí the Mariner” and Glaedr offered a slab of red oak carved to resemble an aerial view of Ellesméra.

During each Agaetí Blödhren, the bond between the elves, humans, and dragons was reaffirmed with magic. But this time was like no other. The dragons and their race memory (the Eldunarí hidden within the Vault of Souls) imbued Eragon with new skills and healing; the changes to his form gave him a chance to save the dragons from extinction. Oromis and Eragon returned to training with renewed hope.

Saphira and GladerAW01[5]Soon it became clear that the Varden were under terrible threat from Galbatorix’s army. Although it was nearing the time to send Eragon back to fight with the resistance, Oromis and Queen Islanzadí refrained from telling him for as long as was prudent. In the meantime, the elves gathered their numbers to join the fight against the Empire. When Eragon finally discovered that he needed to return, Oromis gave Eragon three gifts: the belt of Beloth the Wise, a special bottle of faelnirv (a powerful elven liqueur that was enhanced by Oromis to contain healing and restorative properties), and an illustrated scroll of the poem Eragon had contributed to the Blood-oath Celebration. Eragon and Saphira promised to return to complete their training as soon as they were able.

It wasn’t until after the dwarves elected a new monarch, following the death of Hrothgar, that Eragon and Saphira could return to Ellesméra. By then, Eragon thought he had discovered the identity of his father: Morzan. When he confronted his mentors, berating them for not telling him the truth, they explained that Brom was in fact his father and they had been sworn to the strictest secrecy.

This wasn’t the only secret Oromis and Glaedr discussed with Eragon and Saphira. They revealed the true secret of Galbatorix’s success: captive Eldunarí. To Oromis’s knowledge (the memories of the Vault of Souls having been erased), all the remaining Eldunarí in the land were in the hands of the king, and no amount of magically scouring Alagaësia suggested differently. Even when Eragon mentioned Solumbum’s hint about the Vault of Souls and the Rock of Kuthian, no memory surfaced in Oromis or Glaedr.

Before Eragon and Saphira could leave Ellesméra, Eragon needed a proper sword. Since Rhunön had sworn never to create another Dragon Rider Sword, even if she had brightsteel (which she didn’t), Oromis arranged for Eragon to meet with the owner of Támerlein. The weapon wasn’t a good fit for Eragon’s hand or fighting style. He would eventually find the ore and create his own sword, Brisingr, with Rhunön’s guidance. (This process wasn’t without its troubles. Oromis had to intervene when Saphira forcibly woke the Menoa tree to bargain for the brightsteel found somewhere near the tree’s roots: Gilderien the Wise wanted to punish the young dragon and Rider for using violent methods, but Oromis convinced him to stay his hand.)

Errands and training complete, Glaedr and Oromis escorted Eragon and Saphira to Du Weldenvarden’s border. The golden dragon and Rider had taught their pupils everything they could in the time available prior to the confrontation with Galbatorix. It was the moment for Eragon and Saphira to again rejoin the Varden. Oromis and Glaedr flew to aid the elves’ assault on Gil’ead, knowing they would now be of the most use fighting with their brethren on the battlefields. The last gift they gave Eragon and Saphira before they parted ways was most precious indeed: Glaedr’s Eldunarí.

Oromis and Glaedr faced Murtagh and Thorn in the Battle of Gil’ead. Initially, Murtagh and Thorn appeared to be weakening in combat, but then Galbatorix assumed control of Murtagh’s body. The king suspended the Riders and dragons high in the air and offered Oromis and Glaedr the opportunity to join his cause. When they declined, Oromis and Murtagh crossed swords again. But during the battle, Oromis suffered a debilitating attack of his illness and dropped his sword. Murtagh/Galbatorix fatally smote the elf from hip to shoulder. Thus Oromis passed into the void astride his dragon’s back.


 
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Immanuela Meijer

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Immanuela is the Paolinis' executive assistant.