Eragon’s cousin, Roran, returns to the farm where he and Eragon grew up, which was destroyed by Galbatorix’s sinister agents, the Ra’zac, in an attempt to find Saphira’s egg; the attack also killed Roran’s father, Eragon’s Uncle Garrow. Roran has determined to rebuild the farm so that he willhave something to offer when he proposes marriage to the butcher’s daughter, Katrina. Pondering why Eragon left the village after causing so much trouble, Roran then returns to the town of Carvahall, where he has been living with the family of Horst, the blacksmith.
Roran visits the local tavern, where a trapper is relating news from other parts of Alagaësia: there is increased turmoil everywhere, Galbatorix’s forces are massing, and there are rumors, which Roran doubts, of a Shade and a new Dragon Rider.
Then Roran meets Katrina, who upsets him by bringing up the idea of marriage before he has improved his prospects enough to make a respectable proposal. She tells Roran that Sloan, her father, is trying to press her into other matches, and asks him to formally ask for her hand before it is too late.