We return to Elspeth who has woken up after falling in the snowstorm. She doesn’t know how long she was out for, but her body is starting to feel numb, like the onset of frostbite. Elspeth had walked and walked until she had to rest, and was going towards a clump of trees for some shelter, when she heard the sounds of wolves, which spurred her into a ‘run’ and led to her fall. She has a nasty bump on her head, and decides to try and warm up her toes, before they get too damaged from frostbite. (I think I just noticed how inconsistent I am with tenses, and I’ll try to be more consistent with them in the future, but should they be past or present? Past seems to happen more naturally, but present makes sense as the story is always ‘happening’, what is your opinion?). She rubbed her entire body that felt numb, until they all felt normal again. She remembers that she actually had a task to do, and hopes that she isn’t too late.
She hears a noise, and looks up to find yellow eyes staring at her, maybe the wolves have found her after all. But, it is good news after all, it is none other than Maruman. He sees almost angry that Elspeth was never able to escape from Obernewtyn and find him, but he is a strange cat. Maruman was able to find Elspeth following her trail, so he is a very smart cat too. Elspeth tells Maruman that she needs to help a friend, that helped her, and Maruman seems to find loyalty admirable, and wants to help Elspeth. Maruman tells Elspeth, in his usual vague, mysterious way, that danger is in the mountains, but Elspeth will fulfil her prophecy there too. He tells her that she must ‘seek the darkness and destroy it forever, and everything else is less important’. Elspeth however cannot forever Rushton, and goes to help him.
‘Several hours later’? This journey is taking hours? I wouldn’t have thought there would be that much time, and why would it take so long for Alexi and co. to get to their cave, or is it just because it is snowing and Elspeth has no idea where they are going? Maruman is of great use, and allows Elspeth to avoid another fall or worse into a pool of water covered with thin ice. He also is able to tell Elspeth that they are entering wolf territory, and best be on their guard. Eventually they began to see the mountains.
It took another hour to reach the granite mountains, but they could not easily find any cave. Maruman unfortunately goes into one of his fits of delusion, and becomes of no further help for Elspeth, and probably scares her instead. She wraps Maruman up in her coat and leaves her in a small cave, she on the other hand contemplates using her Farseeking to find Rushton. That however would expose her to the machine, which she would not be able to escape from. She decides to try to find the cave for a little while longer, which pays off as she finds it in 5 minutes.
I wonder what she is going to find in the cave, and whether she will be able to save Rushton?