The weather was now dark and foreboding, and it was raining again, and Elspeth was in the Druid’s house. The storm made Elspeth think about firestorms, and Pavo’s conclusion that they were a result of ‘electrical imbalances’ caused by the Great White’s ever present effects. Firestorm rain burned, and the only way to put out those flames was to wait until the firestorm rains extinguished them (which is confusing, so there are two different firestorm rains or are they the same?). The Herders took this as another opportunity to talk about Lud, and that they would happen until the world was ‘pure’, and by pure they mean following Herder doctrine. Hauntingly, firestorm flames could even burn stone. The storm seems to be intensifying, which is not good news for their imminent escape attempt.
Erin returns to Elspeth, after disappearing doing whatever that woman does, to formally tell Elspeth of her bonding that will happen tonight. Elspeth, of course already knows this, and acts as if she couldn’t care less about bonding, which just irritates Erin. Quickly things heat up, and Erin is on guard, as Elspeth tries to disable her so the escape can begin. Erin opens the door however to investigate a noise, but Kella is there with an arrow directed at her neck. They tie her up, as she decidedly warns them that escape is futile, and even if they get away, the Druid will come after them, and ‘Elspeth will wish bonding was the only thing waiting for her’. Erin is pure venom, I would have thought most people would be horrified if they found out what their father did to people, but she revels in it, she is just a spoilt brat addicted to power.
Having silenced Erin with some cloth in her mouth, the ‘Gypsies’ play out a little scene, where Elspeth considers killing Erin, and that is when fear is put into her eyes. But Elspeth acts ‘noble’ and ‘lets slip’ the direction they will be travelling in an attempt to throw any pursuers off. Still they decide to put Erin in a trunk, even if they did leave it slightly open so she didn’t suffocate, to be honest I couldn’t care less what they did to her.
Safely away from Erin, they contact Jow for the next stage of their escape. The group of settlement Misfits, still are deceived about where the ‘actual group’ will be headed, as they do not mention they are going through the mountain. The Druid cannot know of their involvement in the escape, so this is risky, for all of them. Elspeth, Kella, Jik, Jow and Peter (one of the other Misfits) all took off to leave the settlement, the lightning did not help them, and they had to split up, lest someone seem the large group.
They are going to let two horses out (who are in on the escape, which is so useful) who will run wild, so all the attention will be on them, and Peter will get the gatewarden to help him, so the gate is unprotected. Hopefully, if all goes to plan (but really in books, when do things EVER go to plan) no one will know they have escape until later, when they will be long gone. The three Obernewtyn Misfits, started to run to the gate, as all attention was on the horses, and Elspeth was about to unlock the gate with her mind, when things started going south.
Another man was in the gatehouse, and did not leave to help capture the horses, and now has Elspeth in his grasp. Of course this is not good news, as now people will know of their escape, but they can still get away because since the man is holding Elspeth, Lidgebaby’s block has no power over Elspeth. She tried to use her powers, not once but twice, but it was pretty weak, and the man had already hit her, when she remembered to use her deep, strong, ‘killing power’ which she has not used since killing Madam Vega (indeed she tried to act like it didn’t exist). Her power rendered him unconscious, possibly worse, but it left Elspeth in a bad condition too, and considering how badly she faired up last time, it is no wonder. Kella unlocked the gate, and then Elspeth took back control, and locked it.
Hopefully the Druid will think that they haven’t escaped, and the man has been struck by lightning. The three of them started to run, trying to keep their tracks minimal, Elspeth was in no condition to actually lead them in the right direction, so hopefully Kella had some idea. Soon they left the range of Lidgebaby, and they were free to use their powers again. Elspeth quickly contacted Domick, who already had Pavo with him (the others must have escaped another time or something, maybe we will hear more later). Unfortunately, Elspeth tripped over a tree root, and fell to the ground and they needed to call Domick for help, as Kella and Jik couldn’t carry her very far.
They all were now at a clearing, including Gahltha and Avra (thought there were more people with them, Matthew and Louis were sent back to Obernewytn, but now there are only 5 people). Kella, being a healer, was able to take the edge off of Elspeth’s pain, though that does mean that she has some of the pain now. Domick has made a raft, but it has been raining lately, quite a lot. Which makes the Suggredoon, a torrent, that only a madman would try to raft in. Elspeth, having to adapt to this situation, proposes that they wait until the morning, when the river might be calmer. But, in an action packed chapter where nothing can go according to plan for the group, Darga arrives, warning that many funaga are approaching.
This leaves them no option, they have to go and hope for the best. They are going to tie themselves on the raft, and basically hope they don’t fall off. Having tied mostly everyone down, Elspeth quickly thought about how they could have been followed, had someone betrayed them (possibly Saul)? But of course there is more problems for the group, as Gahltha won’t come onto the raft. Even as the men approach, and Domick prepares to launch, he won’t move, he’s scared. There is no time to calm his fears, so Elspeth commands him to return to Obernewtyn before he gets captured by the Druid’s men. He left, just as Domick was trying to cut the raft away.
He didn’t quite cut it cleanly so the men were trying to reel them back in, while Domick was trying to cut the rope. He finally got it free, and the raft was now in the rivers control. Looking back on the men, Elspeth could see Gilbert’s face, and his look of surprise, he tried to call out to her, but she didn’t hear a word. They ploughed towards the opening of the mountain, and plunged into it. The ride had just begun…