Three days later they arrived at Aborium. It was an ugly town, and it’s own buildings were dwarves when compared to the Beforetime skyscrapers under the mountain Tor (I believe that is the first time we have heard of the mountain name, or maybe we did earlier…). Avra was quite fascinated with the sea, as she had never seen it before, I wonder when Elspeth saw the ocean, was it with her parents, or was it when she was at an orphanage? I can’t remember when I first saw the ocean, so I can’t really describe what it would be like to see it for the first time, I’m sure it is an amazing sight, does anyone remember the first time they saw the ocean?
They had not arrived during the day as planned due to a broken wheel, and it was decided that they should try to enter at night, so they should make camp on the shore of the ocean. Standing in the ocean, Avra talks to Elspeth about a beast legend of a land beyond the ocean where beasts are truly free, and there are no funaga. I wonder if there is such a place. Back at the campfire, Kella also shares that she too had never seen the ocean, and it is beautiful and terrifying for her because it reminds her of how small she is in this world. That can be quite confronting, coming to terms with your own insignificance in the scheme of the world but you are just as important as anyone, including the leaders, celebrities, scientists and forward thinkers in the world.
I quite like that Jik mentions that a Herder once told him that Beforetimers had a machine that could fly men to the stars, and that Pavo concurs but points out that they were good storytellers so it is hard to work out what is fact and what is a story. I’m curious to know if this is supposed to be our future, and if it is, when the Great White occurred, like what was the world like and what technology did we have, because it sounds quite like our world but also slightly more ‘advanced’? Or is it a whole different world, still it would be interesting to see what the Beforetime was like, but I have no idea how that would work.
Still around the fire, Elspeth has the outlandish thought that maybe the Talent they are searching for is NOT a human. Avra quickly counters back with a interesting question, ‘Does it matter?’. Obviously as a human, Elspeth first thought is that humans are amazing and above everything else (no denying that is what we tend to think), but now that they are trying to be allies with beasts, she has to come to terms with accepting them, and working with them. Avra reveals that Gahltha had hoped that the talent was a beast, so it would stop the prejudice towards beasts. Darga adds, that it is a worse prejudice because humans do not realise it (even Elspeth) and that they might now see beasts as equals, deep down they still see funaga as superior. This is mainly because of their/our power, but does this make us better than beasts? It is a deep, philosophical question. One that can actually be explored in this world, much better than our own. The dynamic between beast and funaga will be an interesting one to watch as the series progresses. Will people come to terms with an alliance with beasts, or will they always see them as inferior? And there is sure to be tension between the two in the future, which will make things interesting. Gahltha had hoped the talent would rival Elspeth, and be a beast so then even at Obernewtyn the prejudice would be challenged.
The next morning, the group ventured into Aborium, unsearched with the masses of traders, though it took some hours to get through the crowds. The town was confusing, and the directions Grufyyd had given, though presumably accurate, are harder to follow than planned. They searched all morning, until it was afternoon, and still they had no luck, they have no idea how to get out of the city, let alone to the inn they are looking for. So they resorted to asking for help, but they asked a few people and they did not know about the inn, which is odd, unless they too aren’t locals. Avra started getting concerned about the number of people, so they had to split off away from the crowds. Kella is amazed at the number of people, and that they all seem to be going somewhere.
They went down a road, and found a town square, to which they found out it was the middle of a Moon fair, which explains all the people. Elspeth is going to go on foot to find the inn, as travelling with a cart is just too cumbersome, and Darga will come too, and will be able to run back to them if things go sour. If something goes wrong they will leave and camp again where they did last night. I would have thought that another person would join her, but I guess there aren’t that many in the group any more, and Jik is just a boy, Pavo is ill and Kella needs to look after them and Avra. I just realised that Louis Larkin hasn’t been able to come to the lowlands, like he wanted to.
Eventually Elspeth finds a woman, who she offers her help, and seems to be a kind soul. She is a local, and does indeed know of the Inn, which isn’t too far from them. When Elspeth reveals who she is looking for the woman pales, and becomes frightened, though pretends to have never heard of him. Elspeth leaves to find the Inn, which is only a few minutes away. It is now approaching night time, which is not the best time to visit an Inn, alone, in a dangerous town. Elspeth is going to go in alone, and if she doesn’t come out within the hour, Darga is to go and warn the others.
Inside Elspeth finds the owner of the inn, and tells her that she is looking for Brydda Llewellyn. The manageress tells her that Brydda does live at the inn, but is away at sea, and will return tomorrow night. So she will let her stay until then, it was an offer that Elspeth could not refuse, even if she wanted to. The rooms were downstairs, and Elspeth’s had a window level with the street. To be honest I’m kinda surprised that with no technology they are able to have basements and multi-storied buildings, I know you don’t need technology to do so, but they seem pretty limited in their capabilities as a community, but I guess it is easier than I think.
The woman warns her to stay in her room, as men aren’t used to women being around (in these parts), and because Elspeth tells her that she shall sleep, she will lock the door so she is not disturbed. Why can’t Elspeth lock her own door? Well if Elspeth is correct, she is now a prisoner. And because the window is small she cannot escape through there, but sends a message to Darga. She thinks she can get out, and with her powers I wouldn’t be surprised, but he needs to tell the others to leave before the gates are locked.
Now, Elspeth gets serious, and uses her talent to unlock the lock, and also make it look like it was broken (how exactly?). She devised a nice plan, and stuck her head outside, and yelled at the man who is guarding her, that she had rung the bell three times and no one came because she wants some water for a wash. It is a good plan, as it has thrown the man off guard, and it keeps up the illusion that she doesn’t know what is going on. The man went to fetch the manageress, whilst Elspeth frantically tried all the doors to hide inside. All of them were locked, so she just took a gamble and unlocked the last one and hoped for the best, there was no time to be unlucky. Well she didn’t even have to unlock it, as the man inside opened the door and quickly pushed her inside.
He asked her if she was the one looking for Brydda, which she is. But she seems to have stumbled upon someone who knows him, and likes him, because he helps her, and hides her in a trunk while the manageress tries to search his room. The man makes a fuss about all the noise, and announces that he is leaving. He actually picks up the trunk, while Elspeth is inside and leaves the inn. Safely outside, the man opens the trunk, so Elspeth gets some fresh air. The man is taking her to see Brydda.