Oberenwtyn – Chapter 9

Chapter Nine

Elspeth is woken by the door of her room crashing open, and having a girl younger then herself try to tell her that she is here to ‘warn her’, but it is obvious that the poor girl cannot ‘think straight’ and has trouble expressing her thoughts. She has obviously had some sort of trauma or mental illness, judging by her erratic behaviour. Using her mental abilities, Elspeth was able to connect with the girl’s mind and found out her name was Selmar. Elspeth could tell that her mind was basically destroyed, from some incident, which makes me wonder what happened to her. The scene is made worse with the arrival of a ‘girlish’ young boy, who seems to torment and ridicule Selmar, whose reaction to his arrival is one of fear. He acts like he has authority, when he is probably only 11 or 12. He is a devilish, cunning and malicious boy. He is someone I will have no trouble hating.

The boy takes Elspeth to the kitchen, though she was afraid he might be taking her to the Head of Obernewtyn, but it seems Elspeth is not quite important enough for that meeting. In the kitchen, there is a ‘massive woman’ (Isobelle Carmody’s words not mine!) who is the cook, and she greets the boy, whose name is ‘Ariel’. It is clear that the cook favours Ariel, and loves him more than a son, I wonder how such a strong relationship was created. Elspeth is going to be a helper to the cook, and will be worked hard by Andra, the cook.

But it might not be the cook who Elspeth will have to watch out for, it might be her daughter, who seems violent and maniacal. As soon as Ariel left, the girl almost lept at Elspeth with a knife, and obviously has no kindness towards Misfits (which is odd because Obernewtyn is a place FULL of them!). But Andra quickly sorted her out with a solid whack with a wooden spoon and tells her that if ‘Elspeth has no brains she will be a match for you [Lila]’. Obviously not a kind and loving mother-daughter relationship. But Andra tells us that she had to come to Obernewtyn so Lila would not be labelled a Misfit, and that she is trying to find a strong man for her (presumably Ariel, which must be why she loves him so much, and butters him with love) but she is too stupid to try and win his heart. But like Elspeth, I wonder what sort of power Ariel could have, but we will surely find out just the sort of person he truly is.

Andra doesn’t seem too harsh on Elspeth, but commands her to was the dishes (and there are a lot) and then scour the pots, and because she angered Ariel, she will be worked hard, Ariel doesn’t forget about petty anger. But it is such hard work, and Lila torments Elspeth whenever Andra’s back is turned, that I don’t know how long she can take it before she snaps and tries to torture Lila (various methods have run through her mind, by midday, so it is a possibility). It will be interesting to see how long she will be forced to do this work, before doing something ‘easier’, or is this her job forever?

Lunch time rolled around, and hundreds of young children and teenagers came through the doors to be fed. It was not a jovial, talkative time, everyone ate and then left to get back to work. And their spots were quickly taken by another. When the crowd died down, Elspeth was finally allowed to eat, for the first time that day. She was so focused on her food that she did not notice she had company until she had finished. There was a little girl sitting next to her, and was such an innocent and sweet girl that Elspeth did not know how she could be condemned as a Misfit. Her name is Cameo. Unfortunately, Elspeth does not seem to know how to react to the girl, and also has Lila scowling at her, and rebuffs her sharply, causing the girl to ‘darken’ and return to her food.

She didn’t have much time to relax, however, and quickly returned to work. The rest of the day became a blur, and Elspeth had never been more tired. The chapters are quite short, and are verging on too short. Maybe it is just because we are still introducing the characters and the location, and the mythology of the world, but not a lot is happening. Some chapters have had a great deal of things and information thrown at us, but I will be more interested when things actually heat up and the real storyline begins.

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