The chapter begins with us now at the dinner with the unbonded men. Somehow even in the middle of White Valley, they had lavish, plentiful food. Where are they getting the food from? Is it a farmer that is supportive of the Druid, or do they grow some of their own? You would have expected them to be eating normal or even ‘sub-normal’ food because of their situation. How long have they had to build this settlement, it has been a number of years, but how did they get all the stuff if they are wanted? The Druid’s daughter seems to be outraged that the two ‘Gypsies’ are dining with them, and that the Druid wants them to bond with one of his men. She probably is just jealous that others are getting attention, and just seem to be biased and bigoted towards Gypsies. Elspeth steps a bit out of line and argues back against Erin (the daughter) but all it seems to do is make Erin further enraged and Gilbert excited by her feistiness. The dinner leads to dancing, and Elspeth not having time to learn, as orphanages do not indulge in these things (at least in this land), is not exactly looking forward to any offers.
But her controversial nature keeps most away, except Gilbert, who we learn is the leader of the Druid’s armsmen. Elspeth cleverly refuses his offer of dancing, by showing him her scarred feet, which look like they are in no condition to dance.The two talk and Gilbert tells Elspeth that he too was captured by the Druid, but felt no need to leave. He also let’s slip that the Druid has a friend in Sutrium who is the source of all their luxuries. What he says next is confronting to Elspeth, and also reveals the lack of knowledge of the world in general. As a matter of fact, I myself have not considered the rest of planet Earth in this world, obviously this Land, and the islands aren’t the entire world, but I haven’t considered the possibility of other untainted land. There are even such men that are ‘slavers’ and people tend to go missing to never be seen again, and they are most likely sent somewhere else.
The Council covers up such news of other lands to make sure its subjects do not go somewhere else where they are freer. But who knows what life is like in these other places, would they too have Misfits, or do they have other mutations? Surely they would have the same affects of radiation? Elspeth is even able to get Gilbert talking about whether the Druid would be better than the Council, which he hopes is so. Gilbert doesn’t mind Gypsies or even Misfits, though he cannot share his opinion on the latter, as most of the Druid’s men do not share his sentiments. Gilbert leaves to dance with someone else, and Elspeth is left alone with her thoughts.
She has to grapple with the idea of an ‘enemy’ being nice to her, and the fact that she liked him, and he seemed to like her back. Her thoughts travelled to bonding, and she could never imagine bonding with an unTalent, as she would never be able to bond mentally, and it would be like marrying a statue. Which is quite harsh. She even thinks that if she had to bond with an unTalent, Gilbert wouldn’t be a bad choice, though she thinks of Rushton, which stops any thoughts of bonding. And it is obvious that she would not mind bonding with him, though they have already mind bonded, which is probably a source of their ‘attraction’ to each other.
She concentrated on trying to get through the block, but the harder she tried, the stronger the force back. She would have to find a way to destroy the machine, if she is to really be able to escape. Of course she could be ‘normal’ and escape without talents, but it would certainly make it easier if she could just stun everyone!