Ashling – Chapter 11

Chapter Eleven

Well Idris is here and it certainly breaks the tension between Elspeth and Domick, but I wish we could just find out whether Domick is actually a torturer. He takes them through some back allies and arrives at a house, which Elspeth thinks must be too small to be a safehouse. He tells them that since the plague there are plenty of homes that are abandoned, and this provides an abundance of temporary housing options. Further inside it is clear that they really mean temporary, as everything seems to be hastily put together, and compared to the safehouse Brydda had back in Aborium, this is boring and unhomely. Brydda appears from the darkness, sheathing his knife in the process. It is clear that he is concerned about his safety, and doesn’t trust anyone, which probably is a good thing but it is probably sending him to having constant anxiety, something that isn’t good for his health. This life is certainly taking a toll on him. His hugs however, were unchanged, and are as ursine as ever (if you didn’t know, like myself, that means ‘relating to bears’).

He offers them some broth, and Elspeth’s stomach growls loudly, she has not eaten in a while. Brydda quickly becomes interested in hearing from Elspeth about her travel, which seems to indicate the Council have tightened security and are making sure they know where people are and why they are moving. Elspeth certainly is a keen observer, and picks up quite a lot. And she voices that Brydda’s rebellion seems to be well known, and this means they are becoming careless, it is part of their plan or they have a traitor. It seems that the rebellion is ever closer, but still they cannot do much at the moment, and the Council are probably trying to boost their numbers after the plague and in case Sador launches a war. Apparently crime in Sutrium has trebled since the plague, so increased security and policing sounds logical. Elspeth seems to quickly rise to anger when Brydda seems to avoid a direct answer to the question of whether they are planning to attack the Council openly. Elspeth is angry because if the rebels are launching rebellion then they haven’t included Obernewtyn at all, and instead have been leading them on. Brydda assures her that there is no date for the rebellion to begin, and figures out that Elspeth is here to discuss Obernewtyn’s offer of alliance.

Brydda concedes that there is an issue with the offer of alliance, but he didn’t want to share this information because he hoped to deal with it himself. At present, the rebels do not accept their offer, which annoys Elspeth and believes it is Brydda’s fault. This is not true. Brydda is not the leader of the rebels, he was the leader of the rebels in Aborium, but the leader of the Sutrium rebels (and hence all rebels as a whole) is Bodera, and he and Brydda worked to unify all the rebels who before had been working in isolation. Bodera isn’t quite the leader of all rebels, but he has the most influence over them all because of his long history of leadership. The problem is that Bodera is close to death from the rotting sickness (is it cancer?) from the Great White radiation, and once he dies, it is possible the unity will dissolve. He once worked on the Councilfarms because children were once sent with their Seditioner parents to the farms, where the whitestick is treated and there is exposure to radiation.

The issue with the alliance is not with Bodera, but with the leaders of the two largest rebel organisations. The first man, Tardis who controls Murmorth, is a bigot, and finds the idea of dealing with Misfits inexcusable. He sees Misfits as ‘not whole people’ so he won’t accept an alliance, but good news for Obernewtyn, he doesn’t (unlike his father) agree with Misfit extermination (yay! sarcasm). The other rebel leader, Malik, controls the upper lowlands and Brydda dislikes the man. He is more violent in his attitude of Misfits and thinks that they should be eradicated. There are other leaders who are opposed to the Misfits, but they are more likely able to come around. There can be no alliance without either Malik or Tardis because without them there would be no rebellion, they have the largest number of men at their disposal.

For Elspeth this is terrible news, and basically believes it to be all over. Brydda doesn’t want her to lose hope, but Elspeth is thinking rationally and she can see that people aren’t likely to accept them because of their Misfit status. Brydda believes that they can do it, because right now most of them think of Misfits are ‘shambling mental defectives’ and because many of them are young, the rebels don’t see any gain in having an alliance. It is from this that Brydda believes Elspeth needs to meet with them. Not Rushton, because to the rebels he is their ‘keeper’ Brydda wants Elspeth specifically to meet with them and show that she is no child or defective. Elspeth agrees that it cannot hurt to meet with them, and the meeting will take place soon, within a week. Though he cannot reveal where exactly it will be, in fear of being betrayed.

Of course Elspeth wants to send word to Obernewtyn to see if the guildmerge would accept this happening, but there is not enough time. Idris complains that it is a pity they did not have birds to send their message back to Obernewtyn, just like homing-pigeons were used in the war. It is a smart idea, but of course Obernewtyn do not have birds that have been raised. But Brydda realises that maybe Elspeth can talk to a bird and convince it to take a message to Obernewtyn. Before anything can happen, Reuvan crashes into the room.

He tells them that there is talk of Salamander being in Sutrium. Brydda has to leave at the news of this, but promises he will come to their safehouse soon to talk further. Domick reveals that Salamander is the name of the leader of the slavers. He is the one who runs the slave trade! Domick also asks Elspeth why she didn’t tell him that she was here to check on the alliance, and questions whether she is here to check up on Domick, but though this is kinda true, she doesn’t tell him that!

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