Before your grandfathers' fathers were born, and even before their fathers, the Dragon Riders were formed. To protect and guard was their mission, and for thousands of years they succeeded. Their prowess in battle was unmatched, for each had the strength of ten men. They were immortal unless blade or poison took them. For good only were their powers used, and under their tutelage tall cities and towers were built out of the living stone. Wealth flowed into the cities of Alagaesia, and men prospered.
Though no enemy could destroy them, they could not guard against themselves. And it came to pass at the height of their power that a boy, Galbatorix, was born. At ten he was tested and it was found that a great power resided in him. The Riders accepted him as their own, and he exceeded all others in skill. Gifted with a sharp mind and strong body, he quickly rose among the Riders' ranks.
The Riders grew arrogant in their power and ignored caution. During a reckless trip Galbatorix and two friends were ambushed, his friends killed, and his dragon slayed. For months he wandered, becoming more and more mad, until he was found unconscious by a kind farmer, and returned to the Riders' council.
When the Riders refused to grant him another dragon, Galbatorix grew mad with rage. Vowing revenge on the Riders, he began to hone his use of dark secrets, learned from a Shade. Then, in the dark of the night he stole a dragon hatchling, and convinced Morzan, a weak-minded Rider, to join him in his practice of dark secrets and forbidden magic. Together they gained strength, and waged a war of revenge against the Riders. Twelve more of the Riders, desiring power and revenge, joined Galbatorix, and they became the Thirteen Forsworn.
In the last bloody battle, Galbatorix gained dominance over all, and anointed himself king over all Alagaesia. And from that day on, he has ruled.
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it's the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.