Man and Wife is the 23rd chapter of Brisingr. It takes place from the point of view of Eragon.

Summary Edit

Eragon stands on the crest of a low hill and gathered in front are the villagers of Carvahall and about half the men of the Varden, who have come to witness the union of Roran and Katrina. Saphira glides over to join him and he touches her on the shoulder. To Eragon, everything feels like a vivid dream following the earlier fighting and he lacks his normal nervousness at public speaking. The villagers part to make a path for Roran and Katrina and begin singing the ancient wedding songs of Palancar Valley. Roran and Katrina emerge and begin to advance towards Eragon.

Katrina immediately commands Eragon's attention, wearing a light blue dress with a twenty-foot long lace train and carrying a posy of wildflowers. He resolves to thank Nasuada for having Du Vrangr Gata make this gift. A pair of white doves place a circlet of yellow daffodils on Katrina's head, a gift from Arya. Roran and Katrina approach Eragon and once the villagers stop singing, Eragon begins the ceremony. Horst speaks for Roran and Birgit speaks for Katrina, her traditional role as a close friend of Katrina's mother, despite her blood feud with Roran. Eragon asks what Roran brings to the union and Horst states that he brings his name, his hammer, the strength of his hands and the promise of a farm in Carvahall, where he and Katrina may live in peace. This cause a ripple in the crowd, as they realize that Roran is staking his honor on the downfall of the Empire. Eragon asks what Katrina brings to the marriage. Birgit replies that Katrina brings her love and devotion, her skills at running a household and a dowry, including a gold necklace, five rings of gold and electrum and more. At this, Eragon glances at Nasuada, who gives a smile.

Eragon asks Roran and Katrina if they are both pleased with how Horst and Birgit have negotiated on their behalf and they agree that they are. He has them swear vows to each other, then draws a red ribbon and has them cross their wrists. He uses the ribbon to tie their wrists together and declares them man and wife. Everyone cheers and Roran and Katrina kiss. Saphira touches them each on the brow with the tip of her snout and wishes them well. The wedding feast begins. Roran and Katrina thank Eragon and he replies that the honor was his. He grows sober and tells them how fortunate they are, given all that has happened, but Roran cuts him off, saying that they shouldn't darken the day with unpleasant thoughts. Roran clarifies that all three of them are enemies of the Empire and are not safe, no matter where they go. With that, he presents them each a gold ring featuring glpyhs in the Ancient Language, molded from one of the gold orbs he extracted from the earth in "Gifts of Gold." He tells them that he enchanted them to do three things. If they ever need his help, they can twist the ring and say "Help me, Shadeslayer, help me Brightscales," and he and Saphira will come. Additionally, if either of them are close to death, the rings will alert Eragon and Saphira, as well as either Roran and Katrina. Finally, as long as Roran and Katrina are wearing the rings, they will be able to find each other. Roran and Katrina happily accept the rings, Roran stating that he wishes they had them before they were separated in Carvahall. Eragon tells him that he has another gift from and gives him Snowfire, stating that he no longer needs a horse now that he's able to travel as fast as an elf. Roran happily accepts Snowfire and Eragon comments that Roran and Katrina will be rich by the evening with all of the gifts they're being given. He then goes to talk with Nasuada, asking her if she was the one who gave Katrina her dress and dowry. Nasuada asks if he disapproves and Eragon wonders about the Varden's finances. Nasuada replies that the Varden are no longer so desperate, given her scheme to enrich the Varden through lace and since she won the loyalty of the Wandering Tribes through the Trial of the Long Knives. She continues to say that she feels she made a valuable purchase by ensuring Roran's goodwill. She tells Eragon to meet her sometime before sunset so that together they can visit the men who were wounded in the day's fighting.

The wedding feast continues, with the men of Carvahall and the Varden testing each other in sparring and two elves give a demonstration of swordplay. At sunset that evening, Eragon joins Nasuada as promised and heads to the tents containing the injured warriors, which he and Nasuada spend over an hour visiting with. Along the way, Eragon sometimes casts a spell to heal someone or relieve discomfort, but is careful not to drain too much of his strength. The tents include not only those wounded in the day's fighting, but also those who have not recovered from injuries inflicted during the Battle of the Burning Plains. Eragon comes to a man who has lost his left leg below the knee and two fingers on his right hand, his eyes covered with a strip of black cloth. The man grabs Eragon by the elbow and tells him that he has been waiting for him "ever since the light." He explains that he saw a vision in which Eragon and Saphira were on the field of battle and were like a blazing sun, as were Eragon's brother and his dragon. Eragon replies that he has no brother, but the man says that Eragon cannot fool him, for he can hear the whispers of minds. "You hide yourself from me now, but I can still see you, a man of yellow flame with twelve stars floating around your waist and another star, brighter than the others, upon your right hand." The man continues that the light from Murtagh's soul appeared to shine through him, as if others illuminated him. Eragon asks who these others were and the man replies that he felt them raging as if they hated everything in the world, but they were hidden from sight. The only thing he's sure of is that they weren't human. He says that he sometimes wonders if Galbatorix has managed to capture the gods themselves. Eragon asks which gods and the man replies that it does not matter. Eragon grunts that he might be right.

A healer pulls Eragon aside and tells him to forgive the man, as the shock of his wounds has driven him mad. She says that he rants about lights that he claims to see and seems to know things that he shouldn't, but he gets it all gossiping with the other patients. Eragon replies that the man is not mad, but rather has an uncommon ability. He tells the healer to inform a member of Du Vrangr Gata should the man's condition change. He asks how the man was hurt and the healer replies that a soldier cut off his fingers when he tried to block a sword, then later a missile from a catapult crushed his leg. At that point, he began screaming about the light and the pupils of his eyes turned white. Eragon thanks the healer for her help. When he and Nasuada finally leave the tents, Nasuada asks him what he is thinking and he replies that he'd "be lucky to understand more than a small portion of the strange world they live in". He relates what he heard from the man and Nasuada suggests that he tell Arya about it. Eragon returns with Saphira to their tent and Eragon thinks about the wounded men and what many of them told him: We fought for you, Shadeslayer.

1. The Gates of Death | 2. Around the Campfire | 3. Assault on Helgrind | 4. Divergence | 5. Rider and Ra'zac | 6. To Walk the Land Alone | 7. The Trial of the Long Knives | 8. Winged Tidings | 9. Escape and Evasion | 10. A Delicate Matter | 11. Bloodwolf | 12. Mercy, Dragon Rider | 13. Shadows of the Past | 14. Amid the Restless Crowd | 15. To Answer a King | 16. A Feast with Friends | 17. Intersecting Sagas | 18. Making Amends | 19. Gifts of Gold | 20. I Need a Sword! | 21. Unexpected Guests | 22. Fire in the Sky | 23. Man and Wife | 24. Whispers in the Night | 25. Orders | 26. Footprints of Shadow | 27. Over Hill and Mountain | 28. For My Love | 29. A Forest of Stone | 30. The Laughing Dead | 31. Blood on the Rocks | 32. A Matter of Perspective | 33. Kiss me Sweet | 34. Glûmra | 35. Clanmeet | 36. Insubordination | 37. Message in a Mirror | 38. Four Strokes upon the Drum | 39. Reunion | 40. Ascension | 41. Words of Wisdom | 42. The Whipping Post | 43. Among the Clouds | 44. Butting Heads | 45. Genealogy | 46. Two Lovers Doomed | 47. Inheritance | 48. Souls of Stone | 49. Hands of a Warrior | 50. The Tree of Life | 51. Mind over Metal | 52. A Rider in Full | 53. Greaves and Bracers | 54. Leave-taking | 55. Flight | 56. Brisingr! | 57. Shadow of Doom | 58. Sunrise