Early morning, a man rode to them with news, their escape and attack on the ship was the talk of the town. There are now rewards for information and the capture of Brydda, Kella, Pavo, Jik and even Elspeth, for escaping the inn. The story of the attack is blown out of proportion, and is exaggerated and made up by the Herders who claim he cut thirty throats without warning. The ship was found, empty of the Herders who could have been taken by slavers, unless they saved them, but obviously they can’t reveal their link with them! But it is not all ‘good’ news, the Herders plan to start searching for them, and will quickly leave the town and search around the outskirts. Do people live inbetween the towns, like farms, because they surely must, and does no one travel much because we haven’t encountered too many people, unless they aren’t on the main roads, but then how would they be so easily found by the messenger?
It is still dark, and they are going to go to the library, as it is likely to be the safest place to be right now. All main roads will be guarded soon, and Aborium has watch towers which will be looking for movement on the plains, they have to go now. As they were riding away, Brydda decided to create a language of signs to communicate with the horses, with Elspeth’s help to translate between him and the horse. He was very interested in their abilities, and was highly interested in Jik’s empathy, which can alter people’s emotions, which he thinks would be useful in battle. I don’t think he is the type to misuse or backstab the Misfits, but there are plenty that would, so any future alliance will have to be pretty fair and balanced.
They can now see the ruins, Pavo saw them first. He is progressing badly with his sickness, and his hair and teeth have begun to fall out, making him look elderly. Getting closer to the buildings, it is clear to see that they are in a bad condition, and are definitely ruins. Brydda doesn’t want to get too close, lest they raise the spirits, and suggests they stop nearby, as no one would think they would hide out here. Elspeth and Pavo, are inclined to start searching for the library (well it is really Pavo that wants to). So, it is only Brydda that doesn’t want to go, as the others are happen to start looking.
Pavo quickly figured out their position from his maps (even though he no longer needs to read them, having memorised them) and can direct them towards the library. Some of the roads were blocked by rubble, and they had to take a detour, without the maps and Pavo they would never find the library. As they went deeper into the ruins, their apprehension increased as they began to feel watched by the ‘ghosts’, though most of it sounds like it was all in their heads, and their own thoughts are making things happen (PLACEBO EFFECT) and I wonder if Jik wasn’t accidentally emanating some of his scared emotion too. It was now quite a spooky atmosphere, and the ‘wind’ didn’t make pleasant sounds either.
But they aren’t too far away from the library, when they encounter a pile of rubble, and there is no way around this one. It would take weeks to try and clear it, so Pavo decides to climb over the rubble. Elspeth has a good point, how can paper survive when the buildings have all been destroyed, paper is a lot more fragile? Reuvan suggests that they leave while they still have the chance, as the atmosphere is worsening, and the sensation of being watched is increasing. But Pavo has found the entrance to the library. Elspeth, though now she doesn’t really want to be here, goes over to help him. He has found a door, that has been locked from the inside, which is where Elspeth’s talent can come in handy. It is a very complex lock, obviously someone wanted to protect these books a lot. Elspeth was able to open it, now ready to be explored.
Elspeth quickly went to get Kella and Jik to join the searching of the library, Reuvan will stay with Avra. The library was underground, and the ground is tainted so Elspeth cannot communicate to Avra back outside. As they went deeper into the room, they found dead bodies, some small like a child’s. People must have been trapped in the building when the Great White occurred, and they eventually died from starvation and thirst. Pavo tells us that it is possible that this was supposed to be a ‘shelter’ against nuclear attacks that humans built, but obviously something has gone wrong for these people, as they didn’t survive.
Further into the building, and through some more solid doors that Elspeth had to open, they found the books. There are thousands of books, filled with Beforetime knowledge, it would be a dream come true for them all, especially Pavo. How amazing would it be to come across something like this, a secret library! I love books, and this would just be amazing. I do think it is interesting that it is assumed that these books are written in ‘English’ otherwise they won’t be able to read them, unless they find dictionaries and start learning new languages. The books are only preserved because of the seal on the doors, keeping them dry.
There are obviously only so many books they can take, so they are looking for maps, books on machines and healing, and as libraries usually are, similar books should be next to each other. They all take a section and start looking. Some of the books they find are really confusing to them, because they are fantasy stories, something that it seems our friends, know nothing about. I guess storytelling has been banned by the Herders. Jik found some pictures of a Beforetime city, and Pavo had to explain that artists did not paint them, but they are actual pictures of the place, ‘somehow preserved’.
Elspeth was confused by all the ‘trivial’ things we wrote books about, oragami, how to dress your hair, how to make a garment, I guess to them, it doesn’t make sense how we can have so much time to do things, and so much information for us to access. It is quite strange, that we can google just about anything and find information and opinion on it, and considering the internet is not all that old, it hasn’t taken long for nearly everyone to be connected. Elspeth also found things about all our machines, and cars and planes, and was struck with how much knowledge is gone for ever, and now can see that focusing on the past is pointless, and that they should focus on the future. I am in between, the past and future are equally important, you have to know where you’ve been and where you are going to go. But what is important is focusing on now, and what you are doing at this moment, because there is no other time to do things, than now.
Pavo laments over the fact that all these books will quickly decay, as the pneumatic (is that the right word?) seal is broken, and nature will take its course. He knows that he will not be on any future expeditions, but he wants to be sure that these books aren’t all lost. Elspeth finds a most curious book, ‘Powers of the Mind’. She reads some of the text and finds out that Beforetimers seemed to know that the mind had powers (like the current talents) but they were ‘locked’ waiting to be unleashed by a ‘catalyst’ (The Great White!). It has some pretty ‘revolutionary’ thoughts for Elspeth and other Misfits in the book. It suggests that they are at the forefront of evolution, and that because they are ‘different’ they are ridiculed and tormented, waiting until the rest of humanity catches up.
The book mentioned some abilities that we know about, some that we haven’t encountered, and doesn’t mention empathy (apparently it is called empathising, but I think empathy is just as good) or coercion/coercing. There is a lot more interesting ideas for Elspeth to explore in this book, which she pockets, but Pavo thinks he heard Reuvan call out, so they have to go. When Elspeth gets back outside, she cannot find Reuvan, Avra explains that he ran away. Something scared him, but Avra didn’t see it. It is then, that Elspeth experiences such fear, that she knows why Reuvan ran away. She screams, and the others come to investigate, and they too can see images of fear.
It is erupting into chaos, when Darga barks away the scary ‘demons’, causing something/one else to scream. Something odd is happening. Elspeth contacts Darga who wants them to come to him. When they arrived, they found Darga and ‘a thin, ragged figure’ in the corner. It was a girl, covered in mud and dirt, but the girl starts barking and growling at the group, it is then that Elspeth realises that it is the girl that is causing the ‘ghosts’ and their fear. Darga found their scent, and followed all the way from Aborium, and found this girl causing the others fear, but he himself was immune, as she cannot ‘beastspeak’.
The girl is near ‘wild’ and Elspeth plans on trying to ‘tame’ her, but first they have to let her go. Elspeth cannot connect to her mind using her powers, she probably has some sort of shield, and presumably she is the powerful talent they were all looking for. They decide that they have done enough for the night, and collect everyone to set up camp. Brydda is unsure whether Elspeth will be able to ‘tame’ the girl, but Elspeth has to for Obernewtyn, and for the girl herself.