Elspeth spent the next morning working with Kella and Rilla washing the settlement’s clothes. Rilla’s husband had been killed on the last Tecknoguild expedition, but did not know too many details about it, as the Druid seems to only share information if it suits him. Elspeth was summoned to the Druid and taken there by a boy named Emmon. Though the boy decided that they didn’t have to go to the Druid immediately, and he would rather walk around than learn his spelling (a testament that can be shared with many school children)! He doesn’t even care if they get caught, and assures Elspeth that if they do, he will take the blame. Sounds like a decent kid to me! Elspeth got him to show her around the camp, and she took the time to memorise the layout in case it will help them escape. He even revealed that all the supplies come from the Council’s own stores of supplies, through a friend and ‘oath kin’ (which means they aren’t related, but were as close as blood) of the Druid’s.
Emmon took Elspeth then, to Erin’s twin sister, Gilaine. Apparently the two are polar opposites, Erin is sour whereas Gilaine is gentle and inviting. Gilaine is actually mute and it seems the Druid favours her twin way more than he does her. This stems from his hatred of flawed things, which definitely includes Misfits, which makes him just an old bigoted git. Gilaine was even nice enough to share some of her cooking with Elspeth, and is obviously one of the people that could be trusted in the settlement.
They couldn’t stay there forever, and eventually Elspeth had to be taken to see the Druid. On the way she saw Jik, and because Emmon is not one to follow rules, allows her to talk to him, whilst he pretends to not notice. They quickly talked, and Jik had heard no talk of machines, but there was talk of a place that only the Druid’s helpers could go, which may be the source of the block. His dog, Darga, disappeared when they were taken, and Jik is concerned, but Elspeth thinks Darga will be fine.
Elspeth was then taken to see the Druid, and had chance enough to catch a snippet of conversation about Obernewtyn. Apparently somebody doesn’t want to waste more time on Obernewtyn, but the Druid says that it might be too late to stop a soldierguard investigation of the place, which they must have initiated after they last encounter. The Druid wanted to know, once again, more about Obernewtyn, and it was clear he was interested in whether Rushton was continuing Alexi’s plan to find beforetime weaponmachines, as he was aware of Alexi’s research when he was ‘friends’ with Rushton. Though he seems to not know about the Misfit aspect to Alexi’s research, as Rushton quickly found out that he was more trouble than he was worth, the Druid though seems to think Rushton has continued trying to find the weapons. Elspeth’s information however, has made him look half mad, and not a real threat.
Once Elspeth had been allowed to leave, she returned and shared her news with Kella. They have to somehow get the message to Rushton that soldierguards will be coming, and that they somehow need to fit the story that Elspeth shared, and make Obernewtyn a firestorm ruin. But right now, Elspeth is going to try and find the source of the block and hone in on it, because Rilla is not aware of her return. It is quite a dangerous mission, especially considering she has no powers to help her, but they need to do something, remember they do have a deadline otherwise Obernewtyn falls!
She uses her powers to try and find the source, as she still has them, she just can’t really use them as the block is in the way, but she can still work on the block. She tries to make herself look as inconspicuous as possible, whilst heading in the direction she thinks it is coming from. She heads into an area she has not seen before and starts to approach the edge of the settlement when she considers that she needs to turn around. But suddenly she knew that in the one building nearby, that was the source of the block, and she had to investigate.
Inside, was something she never expected. The room was filled with babies and young children, that kinda makes it sound like there are hundreds, but I didn’t think there were enough women to make this many children, but there are obviously quite a few. At the other end of the room, there was a woman attending to a child, but in the middle, was Gilaine. Gilaine noticed Elspeth enter, and her face fell from shock. The other girl, also noticed her entrance, and went to find out what she wanted. Gilaine, with a few hand movements, explained that ‘she was a friend’ and she was invited in.
Now alone with Gilaine, a difficulty does arise, as whatever questions Elspeth wants to ask, Gilaine can only answer using gestures. So when Elspeth wants to know what exactly is this place, all she can do is point at the children. But, the two accidentally touch each other, and in that instant, Elspeth found out that Gilaine was like Jik, she was an empath and a farseeker. Obviously for both of them, it was a shocking experience. It also tells us that the block does not work on physical contact, and neatly solves the issue of communication.
Elspeth then proceeds to touch Gilaine and send a hello. She responds, but it is quite weak, even though Elspeth though she was strong. They sat down, and tried to hide their contact, lest they look suspicious. Gilaine reveals that there are others in the settlement that are Misfits, and Elspeth ‘is not like them’. Apparently the Druid does not know about them, and believes Misfits are evil, and Gilaine is not too sure herself if her talent is evil. Elspeth wonders why the group stays if it is so dangerous, and oddly Gilaine sends a picture of the boy Elspeth saw in the Councilcourt with his uncle, over two years ago, Daffyd. Gilaine is so shocked that Elspeth actually recognises the boy, that she nearly drops a baby she is holding. She nearly thinks that Elspeth read her mind and found the name, but Elspeth didn’t, and found the idea of eavesdropping on private thoughts to be embarrassing.
The other girl was beginning to draw suspicious, so they didn’t have long. So Elspeth finally asked about the machine that was blocking their powers. Gilaine is confused and doesn’t understand, but when Elspeth sends a ‘picture’ of the block, she realises what Elspeth is talking about. It is not a machine, but ‘Lidgebaby’. She actually points to a nearby cot, the block is because of ‘Lidgebabymind’.
Elspeth is so shocked that the source of all the ‘numbness’ is actually coming from a Misfit BABY! How can a baby have so much power? Imagine how strong it would be when it actually grows up and trains, it would be many times stronger than Elspeth! I wonder if it can farseek, coerce or empath (what is the verb for that?). Or is this a whole new talent? Which opens up the possibility that there are other talents we have not come across! And obviously Elspeth can’t hurt a baby! So how are they going to escape now?