Ashling – Chapter 4

Chapter Four

Everyone rushed back to Obernewtyn to hear what Maryon had futuretold, but she had fallen into another trance when they arrived. The ward could only tell them that the futuretelling concerned the Gypsy and Obernewtyn’s future (is this going to be a recurring plot?). They could do nothing until she came out of the trance, so they all decided to go on with their business. Elspeth and Rushton went to the kitchen for a late meal, and discussed the finding of the Reichler Clinic. Elspeth wondered if Jacob Obernewtyn himself had built Obernewtyn, but Rushton knows from Louis Larkin that his great-great-grandfather (Lukas Seraphim) had built it on the ruins of a building, which presumably Jacob Obernwtyn had built. Has Louis Larkin been around since that time, because that is a very long time! Elspeth tries to consider why Hannah Seraphim founded the Reichler Clinic in the first place, but Rushton doesn’t want to be caught up in trying to solve Beforetime mysteries, he wants to concentrate on the present.

Elspeth disagreed with Rushton’s opinion of the past, he was probably the only person who could trace his roots back to the Beforetime, but he didn’t care. For Elspeth the future, past and present are all linked, and without one there isn’t another. Maryon had still not awakened the next day, and things were starting to deteriorate while everyone waited for the news.

Elspeth had drifted off in the middle of a meeting with Ceirwan and Aras. Aras had come up with a new way of linking farseekers together to focus their energy. Traditionally farseekers would concentrate their energy through one mind, but her new method was better because one mind could only hold so much power, and because of this they could only get to five times the power of a single mind. This new way would allow any number of farseekers to connect and use all their power, virtually removing all limitations on distance. Three farseekers connect in a line, but any number could do it, three is just the ‘basic model’. Elspeth isn’t too convinced with this idea and immediately points out limitations with that arrangements power. But Aras isn’t too disheartened, and explains that this group of three could connect to other groups of three, and then a farseeker not connected could ‘move down’ these lines, and sending it wherever they wanted to go. Now Elspeth understood how revolutionary this idea was, but it had not yet been tested.

It seems that since Elspeth’s dramatic reappearance after her ‘death’ has made most Misfits revere her, and they treat her with awe, Elspeth’s refusal to elaborate on what happened, only increased the mystery. For her it feels like she has become a Misfit all over again, because she has secrets to keep and is basically an outcast. Ceirwan and Elspeth talk of the possibilities for this connection, but concede that it will take a while to perfect it. Apparently in the old method only a few minds could contain the energy, and Rushton’s could hold the most, which is odd considering he has no powers of his own.

The two of them then decide to go and check on Maryon, on the way they discuss further theories (there is a lot of this world’s ‘rules’ that are unknown even to the characters, which is exciting that we can learn things along with them). This time they talk of Garth’s idea that ‘normal’ people are developing mental shields without even knowing. Elspeth can’t see why people would suddenly start forming them, especially if they did not know of the powers of Misfits, and there had always been some who had shields, so why should there be more. But Garth sees it differently, and thinks that these unTalents are developing the shields, inresponse to the Misfit talents being used. Elspeth doesn’t really like this theory, because it makes them only one strand of human evolution, which makes them look like mutations once again, but if you think of ‘real’ evolution, there are multiple strands of evolution for all species, eventually most die out, but some survive on, will it be the Misfits or the unTalents?

Elspeth meets Maruman outside the Healer Hall, he had been gone for some time on one of his fits. The previous fit had resulted in his eye becoming infected and Roland had to remove it, so he now has one eye! He is very guarded with his knowledge and whereabouts on his journeying, but he does tell Elspeth that the oldOne (Atthis) told him to guard the dreamtails that Elspeth walks on. And that one day she will lead beasts to freedom. But we aren’t exactly sure whether we should believe him or what this means. And before we can really try to think of the meaning, Matthew arrives telling Elspeth that Maryon has awoken.

All the guildleaders, including Rushton, were gathered around Maryon, and he directs Roland to start telling everyone what is going on. Strangely Roland directs his talk to Elspeth and not everyone else. He tells her that they cannot do anything for the gypsy because her mind is shielded so they cannot get inside to heal her. And they cannot keep her alive forever. Elspeth then asks Maryon to tell everyone what she saw on her futuretelling. She starts off with very wild, strange ‘predictions’, but eventually tells everyone that the Gypsy must be returned to her people within a week otherwise Obernewtyn is doomed. She believes that the Gypsy’s people will be at Sutirum, which isn’t really good news as it is the main town of the whole Land, and home to the Council. Apparently this is not news to everyone else, just Elspeth, so for some reason they had not waited for Elspeth.

Elspeth wants to know when they will vote on the matter, but Rushton tersely tells her that there will be no vote, and that she will take her. It is such a strange turnaround in Rushton’s opinion of guildleaders being sent on expeditions, that there must be more to the story. Roland tells Elspeth that he will place a deepsleep seal on her so that she will ‘slow down’ and prevent her from dying. Kella will be able to remove the seal once they are in Sutrium, apparently all of this has been planned. Of course, Elspeth wants to know what is going on and why she must take her (I don’t see why they didn’t explain all of this at once, I guess it adds to the tension). Maryon explains that at first she saw that the Gypsy must be taken to Sutrium, but in her second trance which was deeper, she saw that it must be Elspeth, and it wasn’t for Obernewtyn’s destiny but for her own.

She must take the Gypsy to her own people, and on this journey she will figure out what the word swallow means. Otherwise she will be dead before the next Days of Rain (next year). Well, isn’t that a tad dramatic! These futuretellings are always full of doom, never will we just have one where they say that they have to go for a nice horse ride and they will find a solution to all there problems! It reminds me of Professor Trelawney and all her predictions of Harry’s death!

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