Ashling – Chapter 5

Chapter Five

And straight away Elspeth has left on the expedition to ensure Obernewtyn’s and her own safety. There are trees in the world that are called Ur, which surprisingly from a Google search I can learn that it was a town in Mesopotamia and also the name of a super-continent, did not expect that! Matthew  has come on the expedition with her, even though she did want to go alone, but she was outvoted, and Matthew volunteered. Just before Elspeth left, Rushton came to her to ask if she would find Brydda’s allies and find out whether an alliance is possible. He is concerned that he has not heard anything from them in response to Obernewtyn’s offer, but there are rumours that they want to launch a rebellion within a year, and this may be taking precedence on talk of alliance. Thought of a rebellion is tantalising, but of course if those who take power from the Council and Herders, still hate Misfits, then Obernewtyn has not gained any advantage, in fact they would be in danger, because these rebels know of their existence. If they lose, Obernewtyn would still be at risk, as it is likely that the knowledge of Misfits would be given to the Council, so Obernewtyn’s best choice is to get involved with the alliance, and Rushton thinks if they don’t want them in an alliance they will have to take the first move in rebellion and force them to accept them as allies.

Rushton, Dameon and Ceirwan had seen them off. It was not without drama, as Dragon had figured out that they were leaving without her, and had a tantrum. It took all of Dameon’s powers to stop her chasing after the carriage.

Elspeth wondered if they would reach Sutrium before a storm broke, as they are just passing through Glenelg Mor. Elspeth tries to get Matthew to take control of the horses, because it would look suspicious if no one was controlling them, but he points out that Gypsy horses are usually trained to direct themselves whilst their owners sleep, and why would people be out in this weather. As if to spite him, a lone rider galloped out from behind them. The rider, was someone from Sador, who was very exotic looking, and had golden skin (which I assume people in the Land do not have) and had a purple cloak (can I assume that people in the Land, do not have exotic colours either). Matthew seems to be very interested in Sador, and proclaims that he will go there one day. Apparently the road to Sador had opened up during the last year, as the taint receded on the west shore (which means that on the map, north must be down, for this to remain accurate).

Both Maruman and Gahltha are with Elspeth on this expedition, because they take their roles very seriously and must protect Elspeth and that means going wherever she goes. The detail of the journey that Elspeth’s life was at state, was kept from the majority of Obernewtyn, including Matthew, but he is keen enough to sense that there is something else going on. It will take them a full day’s journeying to get to Sutrium, leaving them 5-6 days (if you discount the day they wasted waiting for Maryon) to find the Gypsy’s people, and save Obernewtyn. I really wonder how Obernewtyn (and Elspeth’s) fate are intertwined into the expedition. Part of the journey involves Matthew and Elspeth recollecting on the past events of the series (as a way to recap for all those who had forgotten).

Eventually they reached the city, it had grown since Elspeth had seen it last. Around the city are three huge soldierguard camps, so security is quite tight, making entry into the city an anxious time for the pair. Elspeth has to ride Gahltha for the rest of the way, otherwise it would look very strange to see a horse without a rider. Back at Obernewtyn, horses are not ridden without their permission, as beasts and humans are equal, so Elspeth’s riding skills are some of the best, because Gahltha insists she ride him everywhere.

As they near the outer gate, Elspeth prepares herself by altering her appearance (to onlookers) to that of a Gypsy boy using coercion, and this Gypsy disguise makes Elspeth feel braver and ‘more capable’ than herself. There was a long line of traders to get into the city, which meant a long wait, but it was less likely that there would be extra scrutiny. Suddenly, the horse pulling the carriage, Jaygar, mentally said that he will ‘kill/trample the funaga’, and started to move forward towards some people. And the chapter ends there, with Jaygar’s threat to trample innocent people, what has gotten into the horse?



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