Eragon, a young adult fantasy novel, is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle. It tells the story of a young boy named Eragon who hatches a dragon, Saphira, out of a mysterious stone he finds in the woods. Eragon bonds closely with Saphira and becomes a dragon rider, drawing the attention of the evil king Galbatorix, who sends his servants, the Ra'zac, to kill him. While escaping from the Ra'zac, Eragon and his mentor Brom become embroiled in plots against the evil king.
The prologue is a scene that will make significantly more sense later in the novel. It opens with a Shade, a nearly human creature of the dark, sensing danger and urging his Urgal companions to be quiet. The group sits quietly as a trio of elves ride– two men and a woman – fully armed with bows and swords.
The Shade and Urgals attack the three elves, shooting down the two male elves with bow shots. The female escapes temporarily, Urgals making chase and the Shade chanting a magical phrase that sets the woods on fire from above on a giant rock.
The Shade jumps from his roost and catches the female elf, trapping her between himself and the Urgals. She quickly removes a blue stone and before the Shade can cast the necessary magic to snag the rock, it disappears. Angered by the interaction, the Shade kills his Urgal companions and takes the elf captive before riding away.