Chapter Nineteen (A long chapter, and a long post to match! You were warned!)
They decided to call the girl, Dragon. It took Pavo more than two days of sorting, for him to complete his collection of books. That would be a tough decision to decide which books to take, and which are potentially going to be left behind never to be read. Brydda didn’t want to go underground, despite there being no ghosts, preferring to keep and eye on the soldierguard patrols along the road, who showed no interest in the ruins, thanks to Dragon and her abilities. Each night, Elspeth set out some food in the hopes of showing Dragon they meant no harm. The food was always gone, but they didn’t see her again, though she was sometimes watching them, and didn’t attempt to scare them off after a few more attempts.
On the third night, talk turns to wondering what powers Dragon has to create the illusions/visions. Elspeth suggests it is a combination of coercing and empathy, which is an unusual combination. The visions that they all see, Elspeth believes came from their own minds, and were then planted back into everyone’s mind, but aren’t actually there. There is some good news, the patrols seem to have moved away, so it will be safe to leave, once they are done. Pavo agrees that by tomorrow he’ll have his collection together, and they can leave. That just leaves Dragon, time is running out for Elspeth to make a connection and bring her with them (I don’t think the others would do it, possibly Kella, but I think she would be too afraid).
So Elspeth decided to take a different tactic, and set out food, and stayed waiting for her to show up. Elspeth nodded off to sleep, but was woken by some noises. Dragon was trying to force Elspeth to leave using her talents, her mind was strong but untrained, and Elspeth believes she is little more than a child. Elspeth offered the pot of food to her, and cautiously she approached and snatched the food and ran away. When Elspeth gets back to camp, Reuvan suggests that Dragon’s curiosity might lead her to follow them once they leave, which is a good point. They have made her curious, and given her food (which must be scarce in the ruins) which might make her follow them. Hopefully, she is one important aspect of the expedition, and without her Obernewtyn will probably fail.
The next night, they left, having disguised and booby-trapped the library, to make sure the Herders never get the books (who knows what they would find, or use them for). If Dragon does leave, then the ruins will not have their ‘guardian’ though people will stay away for a while, because of the rumours of ghosts. They are travelling to Rangorn, following the same route they use to come to Aborium. Brydda spent the majority of his time communicating with the horses, using his new signal language/sign language. I wish we could create a language like that, I wonder if animals have always been able to talk in this world, of if like humans, the Great White has set things off.
They rode all day, and by dusk the next day they finally stopped to make camp. Now we have to wonder what Dragon is doing, did she follow, or is she living like she always has in the ruins. Which makes me wonder, how did she get there, why is she there, what is her story, hopefully she does come so we can know more. Elspeth goes to a nearby stream to wash off, with Darga as ‘protection’. When the exciting happens, Dragon has followed! Elspeth pretends to act natural, and starts to wash off in the stream. Without Darga there, she wouldn’t have really known she was there, until she suddenly popped out infront of her. She was frightened when it looked like Elspeth was ‘drowning’ and seems to, like Gahltha fear water.
There is a touching moment, when Elspeth stands in front of her naked, and Dragon seems mystified, and goes to touch Elspeth, leaving some dirt/mud on her. Then Elspeth touched her, and made part of her skin clean, which amazed Dragon. I wonder how long she has been living alone in the ruins, and has she always been alone? It then gets even better, as Elspeth shares her name, and Dragon has a go at saying it, and it comes out as ‘Esspess’ and then ‘Elspess’. I love it. She doesn’t seem to know her own name, so Elspeth gives her ‘Dragon’ which she seems to accept as her own. And then Elspeth tempts her with food, and sends word ahead that Dragon is coming and everyone needs to act natural.
When they get to the fire, everyone is sitting very still (it would be a funny sight to see that) and Dragon catches scent of the food that Kella has made. Elspeth gives her the pot of food, and she starts eating it. And Elspeth has to admit that she never thought she would be rescuing a ‘half-wild’ girl who is probably more powerful than any of them, she had thought she would find the talent and calmly talk to them, and be off. For the rest of the evening, Dragon listened to them talking, and stared at each of their faces. She eventually fell asleep against Elspeth’s lap.
The next morning they left for Rangorn, hoping to arrive by nightfall, but Dragon refused to ride in the cart or on a horse, and ‘walked’ alongside them, never getting tired. Later on, Brydda seems to get a ‘feeling’ about his parents, and he has his ‘knack’ so it isn’t something to be dismissed, so he and Reuvan are going to ride ahead to investigate, as they are currently going slowly with Dragon. When the group arrive at the Ford, where they arranged to meet the pair, they were not there, so the group decides to set up camp and wait for them. It’s now pretty miserable, and they have no dry wood to light a fire, so this look pretty bleak.
Not that long after, Gryfyyd arrives having ridden Brydda’s horse to them. He seems quite withdrawn and hastily calls them to pack up came and come with him, things do not look good. As they head towards their home, Gryfyyd reveals that the soldierguards were with them yesterday, and if the group were earlier, they would all have been taken. Apparently they were looking for Half-breed Gypsies. It seems that the Druid hasn’t forgotten about them, and might have tipped off the soldierguards. Even though things seem to be bleak, when they arrive at the cottage and get a hot meal, things are quite joyous, apart from Pavo’s further progression of his illness, it seems he doesn’t have very long to live. But he is content with his life, and is not afraid to die, I think it is nice that he was able to find the library and be involved in the expedition, I’m sure it made him happy.
After they had eaten, Katlyn was able to convince Dragon to wash! Now alone with Brydda, Elspeth can talk to him, but it is Brydda who starts the conversation, and has worked out they come from Obernewtyn. It seems that Obernewtyn is not yet safe, and they still have to get back to make sure it survives, though Brydda does offer refuge with him, if they ever need it. Elspeth is also able to have some final words with Pavo, who seems to have accepted his fate, and is content with it. I obviously don’t know abouteveryonebut I hope that everyone finds some sort of peace when they die, I don’t know if this happens, but I hope it does.
The whole group came back inside, and there was laughing and singing, and for once they were happy and having fun. Then Katlyn brought in someone who Elspeth assumed was a stranger, but in reality it was Dragon. But she looked so different, having now washed, her beauty was visible and she was stunning. Everyone was stunned, there was now way to know what lie underneath all the dirt, I guess once again, it is true that you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Elspeth took the opportunity to tell Katlyn and Grufyyd everything about Obernewtyn, leaving no secrets between them. Their journey home to Obernewtyn is going to take quite a while, and they don’t really have all that long, and they have to go across the river to avoid Sutrium. I really want to know about the distances between each of the cities, because it would be very interesting to know how far the group have travelled, and how far they are away from home. Of course it is a pity they cannot use the Olden pass because of its poison, which seems to confuse Brydda, but all talk stops as Dragon and Darga hear that a lone rider is approaching.
It is Domick, someone we haven’t seen or thought about in a while. He has come to warn them that they all have to leave, tonight. Obviously Domick hasn’t met Brydda, Dragon, Reuvan or Idris, but he has heard of Brydda and not just from his parents. He is well known and talked about in Sutrium, and soldierguards around the land are looking for him. Domick has been busy in Sutrium, gathering intel and making a place for him in the big city. He even managed to get a job working in the Council, even though he was just a ‘cleaner’ he had the perfect position to listen to the goings on of the Council.He heard everything, from talk of Brydda to the Druid, it just goes to show how important it was for Obernewtyn to get eyes and ears on the Council.
He even found the Druid’s ‘friend’ in the Council, and also the Herders (something which is odd in itself). This ‘agent’ was brilliant, and ruthless, and could do things no one else could, like make Brydda’s man talk and expose him. He didn’t hear much about Obernewtyn, except that this ‘agent’ believes something is going on there. He never saw this agent but he was talked about often. He was very secretive, and Domick could only capture glances of him when he was cloaked. But this did not stop Domick from trying. He eventually started to get closer to finding out who this person was, and found that his voice was oddly familiar.
He heard the agent talking, and found out that he was sending soldierguards right now, to Rangorn to get Katlyn and Grufyyd, in the hope of capturing Brydda. Domick overheard this all hiding in a cupboard, and after the meeting, the agent was alone and it was then that Domick was able to catch a glimpse of him. It was someone he knew, and someone we do too. It was Ariel!
I could end this in two ways, one freaking out about Ariel, the other in ‘suspense’. But I think I’ll go with the former. As if it is Ariel. How is this happening, didn’t we all think he was dead?! How is he so powerful, I bet he is using his powers to control everyone! How did he find the Druid, or did the Druid find him? So many questions. I seriously want him dead! That is the end of Part Two, what’s going to happen next?