Brom's eyes narrowed in his own suspicion. "Who are you? Where did you come from?" He took a step toward Eragon, but then abruptly, as if slapped, the man recoiled. Blinking rapidly and bringing his hand to his head, he looked at Eragon, disturbed.

Eragon's head was spinning. The voices, content with just murmuring in the background before, were now creating a raucous in his head. "What did you do?" he hissed, clenching his eyes shut.


Whipping around only caused his dizziness to worsen. He stumbled and fell to his hands and knees. "Roran?"

Roran kneeled next to Eragon. "Eragon, are you okay?"

"My head hurts."

"Did you hit it?" the boy asked, already burying his hands in his hair under the cowl of the cloak to find an injury.

Eragon scowled and wanted to slap his hands away but was unable to. "No, I didn't," he growled.

Brom's voice spoke up. Unlike before, it was no longer gruff. "Eragon? Did you say his name was Eragon?" he asked, weak and hoarse.

Roran turned. "Aren't you that storyteller?" His voice became hard. "What happened? What did you do to Eragon?" Eragon wanted very much to lift his head and see what was going on, but he still felt too sick to do just that. His head was throbbing. Why were the voices going on like that? Stop it. Surprisingly, they did. Eragon could feel sweat trickling down his temples.

In a weary voice, he said, "let's just go, Roran," tugging on the other boy's coat. Roran was reluctant. "Are you sure? He didn't do anything to you, did he?"


Roran must have given Brom one last look, because there was a pause before he was helping Eragon to his feet. He looped his arm around his neck and started leading them out of the alley.

Eragon was able to give one last look over his shoulder to make sure that they weren't being chased and was surprised to find that Brom was gone.