Elspeth is somewhere underground, probably the Tecknoguild cave. And Fian is showing her phosphorescent insects that are actually EATING the Great White taint/radiation, without getting radioactive themselves! Actually Elspeth is not at the Tecknoguild cave, but is inside the mountain Tor, where the Beforetime city they found in The Farseekers is located. The Tecknoguild had spent a lot of time and effort cutting out the rock from the opening of the cave all the way down to the ‘lake’ inside the mountain. I really wonder how they did this, because they have like no technology, and it seems like a really difficult thing to do, maybe the rock was really soft and it wasn’t very far, but to me a mountain is rock solid (no pun intended) and it sounded like it was a far distance. Elspeth again wonders how on earth the Beforetime city largely survived from all the earthquakes and upheavals, maybe fate had a reason for keeping this city around (foreshadowing!).
They are all on a guild leader expedition to the lake, with Rushton and Garth (possibly others, but we don’t know yet). Garth wanted to show them something. They arrive at a building, one that is five-hundred stories (that’s right, a 500 story building!) and is apparently quite stable as some of it has been buried under rock. To get inside the building they have to use a window or cut in a door, the front door is not accessible. Garth suspects that this city was one of the last built before the Great White, because of its superior technology which helped it survive. There are some strange things that he has found, but he does not elaborate, though he too says that maybe them finding this city was preordained.
They enter the building, and travel up a few flights of stairs. What Elspeth sees next, nearly stops her dead with surprise. They are inside the Reichler Clinic, specifically the reception. This is the same organisation that was mentioned in a Beforetime book on the powers of the mind, and it was this clinic that proved the existence of mental abilities. Apparently Elspeth had shared the book after this calmed down at Obernewtyn, and some feared it was a work of fiction, but actually finding the clinic proves everything. Beforetimers would come to the clinic to be tested to see if they were ‘paranormal’ or a Misfit. Garth had not thought that they would find much information in the clinic, as everything has basically degraded. But, it seems those who ran the Reichler Clinic, had planned ahead, and preserved their information in waterproof ‘plast’.
All of this is very exciting, but it only gets better! Covered in this plast is paper, and on the paper is a ‘code’, and the Tecknoguild have started to understand this code, which Beforetimers called Jerman (sounds just a bit like German, doesn’t it?). They have been able to decipher enough to understand a bit about a different Beforetime organisation, and the Reichler Clinic wanted to keep secret their information, including results that showed people who tested as ‘latent’ were actually Misfits. They were hiding this information from a powerful organisation called the Govamen (I love it that these real things pop up in a fantasy book, but it isn’t quite the same spelling). This ‘government’ were linked to a huge store of weapons, and made a profit by selling these weapons. They were supposed to be stopping wars, but instead they promoted it and became wealthy. And you can draw any real world parallels you want!
Apparently the Govamen wanted to use these paranormal abilities and turn them into weapons. The research cell in the Govamen had a symbol, and it is three Guanette birds flying in a circle. This department of the Govamen, had actually started to alter the minds of animals to produce artificial Misfit talents! The clinic were afraid that they would start kidnapping people for their testing, especially Misfits. This is all very good, but this is not what Garth wanted them to see, that was something more important.
On the wall was a mural, strangely, it was a mural of Obernewtyn, well the area that Obernewtyn was built on, it was exactly the same. So strangely the valley that Obernewtyn is in, hasn’t changed at all since the Great White. But again, there is more to this that is much more exciting. Inscribed below the mural is ‘Presented to the Founder of the Reichler Clinic, Hannah Seraphim, by her devoted admirer, Jacob Obernewtyn.’ How revolutionary! Rushton is related to Hannah, a Beforetimer! And they are living in Obernewtyn, clearly named after Jacob!
But before they can start to try to unravel the interesting mystery, someone is calling them. Matthew was hurrying towards them, and Elspeth first thought that he was coming to report news of a scan of the local area for Misfits. But when Elspeth got out of the building to meet him, it was clear there was a lot more to it. He was farseeked (or farsought?) by Ceirwan, apparently Maryon had a futuretelling prediction about the Gypsy they had rescued. We all know what these visions are like, and Obernewtyn is probably at risk! I wonder what they have to do now. Is it another expedition? And why can’t we find out more about the Reichler Clinic and Hannah Seraphim! The Beforetime, is looking like it will be very interesting!