It is finally time for the expedition to depart, and the weather is miserable and foreboding. I believe it is the first time Elspeth has been away from Obernewtyn, and she will return to the lowlands. It will be significantly warmer than Obernewtyn, so maybe her feet can get a chance to heal a bit faster. Maruman is still incoherent though is awake, so Elspeth still has been unable to talk to him, or anyone, about the ‘scene’ with the Agyllians. Rushton decided that it was best not to tell anyone else that the expedition had the fate of Obernewtyn riding on their backs, so Elspeth has to hold that burden by herself on the journey. Jik was quite excited to go on the journey, as his role in the expedition’s success has been kept from him as well.
Jik already proves to be of benefit, because he has been to Sutrium and saw enough to help Domick get a picture of the city. He also has been to Aborium, where the group may need to gather supplies. Aborium is where all the Herder ships dock from Herder Isle. Jik’s dog, Darga is going to accompany them on the journey. We learn that Gahltha means leader, and it is possible that I decided his name too early… Gahltha’s chosen mate, a mare called Avra will take Domick on the journey. Mira and Lo will be pulling the carts. I think it is good that they can speak to the animals, and find out their names and have relationships with the animals that are so valuable to their survival. The message of animals having a voice, but we just can’t hear it, is a profound one throughout the series so far, and there are lessons that we should learn about animal rights here in our own world.
Alad has warned Elspeth that all the horses that Gahltha has chosen, have deep allegiance to him, and in an altercation it is clear which side they would choose. Their guise as being Gypsies is kinda risky, as people don’t really like Gypsies and don’t trust them, but it is the only way for them to travel without drawing suspicion as strangers. They even tanned their skin with dark berries and wore clothes that were ‘favoured by Gypsies’ to make the group look more authentic. Though I doubt their guise would hold up with real Gypsies.
It is clear that they have taken great lengths to protect Obernewtyn’s existence from the Council, as if any are captured, all of them have in place coercive blocks that would erase all of their memories if they were in an emergency. Only Jik was unable to be blocked, as he has no training, so Elspeth or Domick will have to wipe his memory if need be. That is pretty extreme that they would wipe their memory, would it be theentire memory or just those of Obernewtyn? Would it even be reversible? Let’s hope they have no need for these measures.
As they departed the weather worsened, and it began to rain. Elspeth is not a very good rider and it won’t be long before Gahltha uses this to his advantage, as he is already aware of her incompetency. But the journey is underway now, and if they don’t return successfully before winter, there may be nothing of Obernewtyn to return to.