Wait what? I understand that chocca is hard to come by since the Sadorians aren’t coming to the Land because they lost a ship and don’t want to lose more. But Salamander? The slaver? Where does he come into all of this? I’m sorry, but either I’ve missed something, or this is very random. I can see why some people think this is unpolished, since, this introduction sounds as if, oh yeah, you know this already, but we don’t. It sounds like Salamander is attacking all ships that are approaching Sutrium and going up the Suggredoon. So does that mean he is working with the west coast council and the Herders? Well, we knew the Herders were involved with them, way back. The Sadorians will not attack Salamander unless he attacks first, and he is not foolish enough to do so. So for now, the Sadorians, stay in Sador, or try their luck on the coast road.
Brydda asks whether they have one of the plasts for Dardelan, so they can get a spy across, and they do, hidden in the carriage. And at first, they were going to ask one of the Misfits to go across and coerce their way, after a diversion, but, all the soldierguards on the other side, are wearing Demonbands. So the Misfits would be useless. Every single soldierguard is wearing one! The Herders must have had a huge stockpile, and have handed them out, for a price, to guard the soldierguards from Misfit attack. They learned this, from a man who was thrown into the water. Plus added information that Salamander is working for the Herders and Council (this really should have been first) guarding the ocean against any attack forming on this side of the river. Plus of course taking many prisoners to sell of as slaves. Life on the west coast is terrible, as they relied heavily on this side for their food and grain, and fishing is a big part of their diet. But even that has been affected, by poison the Council put into the waters, for some bizarre reason.
Returning to the spy being sent over, Reuvan has nominated himself, and they have found an ‘ideal’ location, where there are no guards, because there is no possibility for ships to land because of rocks. Of course that makes it dangers for Reuvan, but hopefully all goes well. He plans on going and seeing how the rebel networks have survived, and if he finds any, he will tell them what has been going on, and what they hope to do. But really he needs to find out just what the council on the other side are planning. Getting news back across is going to be a challenge, and one suggestion is he wear the plast again and go into the ocean and let the current take him into reach of the rebels.
Ah Brydda can always tell when something is wrong, and immediately picks up that Elspeth and Rushton are having trouble, even though Rushton isn’t even there! Of course Rushton has changed! Everyone has changed, even you after seeing such horrors, imagine how it was like to live through those horrors! Brydda hasn’t no advice for her, just pity, before telling her to go to bed. As always these days, Elspeth dreams. She ignored memories, and dove down above the mindstream, and this was so she could AVOID dreaming. I guess, she doesn’t want those weird quest dreams or Ariel dreams, so she seeks out the solitude of the mindstream, where she will inevitably be caught up in a memory of someone else, which is always useful in gathering information on the Beforetime. I wonder if the Tecknoguild are so lucky to have these dreams, and if they are not, then they must be mighty jealous that Elspeth and others have SEEN the real Beforetime.
Once again Elspeth dreams of Cassy, and again, she is in a plane of some sort. Cassy is upset at the news that her Tibetian lover has died, working as a spy in the Chinon empire. Either he has died, or is being tortured and wishing he had died. Her mother is with her, scolding her for being foolish enough to think Samu would not be caught. Well she is right about one thing, ‘we will pay for his doing what he thinks right’, they certainly will pay for the sentinel project, with their lives and world! Her mother and father are divorced or at least separated, because Cassy’s father is doing things her mother does not agree with. As with many families in the same situation, Cassy’s mother, doesn’t want her to be around her father, because she doesn’t want her getting involved with the project, or being at the ‘facility’. Of course Cassy wants to go to the facility so she can be around the Agyllian and also, possibly, try to break out those kidnapped Misfits.
Cassy will be allowed to go, as long as she tells her mother why she wants to go to university at New Rome (the one under Tor). And of course it is because of the Reichler Clinic, and she explains that William Reichler was a fraud and wrote that book, without actually knowing anything about it, by stealing other people’s work. But now, it is lead by someone (Hannah Seraphim?) and it is the real deal. Of course her mother doesn’t believe her, but she shows her with a mental probe. Albeit a very clumsy one, that would have hurt her mother. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to see how the rest of the memory plays out, and whether her mother believes her, but she certainly sounds mad.
She drifted back into the tunnel dream, but was woken by someone telling her to stop, and not continue, otherwise she will die. Who was that woman? Was it Atthis? And then, the group were on the road again, minus Katlyn who is herb gathering for a few days. The two wagons split up, with Kella and Louis going to Sutrium, while Darius, Zarak and Elspeth continue on to Saithwood. Brydda suggests that Elspeth dirty Gahltha up a bit, since her riding a beautiful horse would send alarms that Elspeth Gordie was coming to visit Saithwood, and Vos would get word.
They reach the blockade, and Brydda begins working his magic to get them inside. Seriously this blockade is intense. They probably scare off most people before they reach them, and if they do, they turn them away, just because they can. Zarak tells them a lie about why they are visiting Saithwood, and Brydda tells them, it is clear they are not robbers, so they can be let in without fear. As soon as they are through and out of sight, they set off at a gallop, fearful of being followed. They soon found Noviny’s home, and brought the wagon onto his path, though it took some effort, as the road was in poor shape. They hid the wagon as well as the horses, just to be sure nobody could see it from the road.
Unfortunately, they aren’t able to tell if anyone is inside Noviny’s home, as all around the place are patches of taint, buried by the Herders to stop Misfits communicating. I do find it interesting that beastspeaking is open to all those who can beastspeak. So beast communication is not a private thing, and if a person can beastspeak they can hear someone else doing it. I guess it is just like regular talking, but some people can’t hear it at all. As soon as they come close to the house, Khuria bursts out. He isn’t impressed to see them, since he thought they would be turned away at the blockade and they would send work to Dardelan, now he is fearful for all of their lives. Apparently a lot more is going on, than anyone else has known, but Noviny will explain himself.
As soon as they stepped inside, Darius fainted, he is quite ailed, but they were able to set him down and let him rest. Noviny arrives soon and gives Elspeth enough to figure everything out. Vos is a prawn for a worse villain. Malik. He has a plan of his own, and who knows what it is, and how badly it will ruin everything they have worked for. Malik deserves to die, and I never say that about anyone! And this is a fictional character!