kitchen, Eragon brought a stone platter of food to a low
table. Saphira watched him carefully in case he should have
another attack. Several people tried to approach him, but she
lifted a lip and growled sending them scurrying away. Eragon
pretended to ignore the disturbances and picked at the food.
Finally, trying to divert his thoughts from Murtagh, he asked,
Who do you think has the means to take control of the
Varden, now that Ajihad and the Twins are gone?
hesitated. It's possible you could, if Ajihad's last words
were interpreted as a blessing to secure the leadership.
Almost no one would oppose you. However, that does not seem a
wise path to take. I see only trouble in that direction.
agree. Besides, Arya wouldn't approve, and she could be a
dangerous enemy. Elves can't lie in the ancient language, but
they have no such inhibition in ours-she could deny that
Ajihad ever uttered those words if it served her purposes. No,
I don't want the position. . . . What about Jörmundur?
Ajihad called him his right-hand man. Unfortunately, we know
little about him or the Varden's other leaders. Such a short
time has passed since we came here. We will have to make our
judgment on our feelings and impressions, without the benefit
pushed his fish around a lump of mashed tubers. Don't
forget Hrothgar and the dwarf clans; they won't be quiet in
this. Except for Arya, the elves have no say in the
succession-a decision will be made before word of this even
reaches them. But the dwarves can't be-won't be-ignored.
Hrothgar favors the Varden, but if enough clans oppose him, he
might be maneuvered into backing someone unsuited for the
who might that be?
person easily manipulated. He closed his eyes and leaned
back. It could be anyone in Farthen Dûr, anyone at all.
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