Ashling – Chapter 15

Chapter Fifteen

So we skip forward a bit, and miss Elspeth’s fruitless first attempt at gathering information, instead we find her in the bath, trying to recover from all the riding. She had tried to use her farseeking to gather information, but every single Gypsy had a mental shield, which means that there has to be something common between them and this is no coincidence! I’m sure Garth would be fascinated. And two Twentyfamilies Gypsies that Elspeth tried, had even strong shields, which means Gypsies all have natural mind shields. Elspeth could just go to their subconscious but there would be no value to doing so. Elspeth even tried talking to a few at a well, but they were really suspicious of a newcomer and became hostile. Elspeth also found, actually some information this time, well actually an observation, that some buildings were buzzing with static, so the Council have actually used stone from Oldtime ruins to build buildings, even though it is against their beliefs. The ocean and Suggredoon also had high levels of taint, which leave Elspeth’s energy reserves depleted from trying to work around them.

Elspeth almost just wants to let the Gypsy go and see where she goes, but I don’t think that qualifies as ‘returning her’ and she won’t find out about swallow. But as she begins to unwind in the hot bath, things don’t seem so bleak. Maybe there are Gypsies with really weak shields, or not shield at all because of their limited Gypsy blood. And being seen two days in row is probably not a smart move, and she can’t coerce any of them because of their shields, so she would have to resort to physical disguises.

Elspeth’s thoughts drift back to what would be happening back at Obernewtyn, and when Elspeth first met Rushton. She also remembers when she has left Obernewtyn on their expeditions, the first time Rushton had waved, the second nothing, their relationship is so strange, I wonder if they will actually do anything, or if it will just remain awkward forever. It just gets stranger when Elspeth thinks she might be afraid of Rushton, because that is the first word she thinks of. She once was afraid of being reported by him, and his deep green eyes frightened her, but why should she be afraid now? They have such a deep bond, even a mind bond, how could she be scared of him? Pondering this further, Elspeth realises that she is afraid of herself, well actually committing to Rushton and acting on her feelings. I guess she is only a teenage/young adult, she has to go through these difficult feelings, otherwise she wouldn’t be real. She thinks of Dragon and her unrequited love of Matthew, is she acting the same as Matthew towards Ruston’s love? Does she love him?

Elspeth doesn’t want to think about this, and right now she does have other things to worry about, so she tries to push them from her mind. Instead she is drawn into thoughts of guildmerges, and the round room, and Avra sitting next to her and Maruman on her lap. For Elspeth and Obernewtyn guildmerges and guildmeetings were the core of the community and were at the heart of their values, and created community and hope. In Sutrium, neither of these things existed. Elspeth longs for Obernewtyn, and it is strange that just days ago she wanted to hurry off to Sutrium. I guess you don’t realise how much you love home until you can’t be there.And this is how she feels about Rushton. Elspeth is concerned by opening up to Rushton, she will lose herself, which I guess is a valid concern, having a partner must surely change your life, and it is impossible to remain an individual, when you are now two people sharing a life. But for now, Elspeth must take control of her Gypsy situation.

Hurrying out to the kitchen, Kella comes in and informs Elspeth that Dragon has disappeared, and she is nowhere to be found. Matthew, who is also in the kitchen, is most shocked at the news, and if I’m not mistaken is quite concerned, maybe he too has feelings for Dragon but is just too afraid to act or maybe too embarrassed. Kella has looked everywhere, and Dragon is no here, she must have run away. And the likely reason, is Matthew. Now they have to find her, and hopefully before anything bad happens to her, even though she is more than capable of looking after herself.

Matthew shares that she may be at the market, because she has wanted to go ever since they arrived, but he didn’t take her, which makes Kella very frustrated and causes her to lash out at him and say that maybe she’ll die and he’ll be free of her. I think Domick is not the only one who has been changed by Sutrium. But Elspeth takes control and sends Matthew to look for her, while she tries to farseek her, before also starting a search. Elspeth was able to find her quickly, she was in the market, and Elspeth sought out Matthew to tell him Dragon’s location. Matthew is going to go to her, and Elspeth on Gahltha will be there shortly.

Elspeth is really concerned that Dragon, with her unforgettable beauty, will draw attention to herself, and if she becomes scared with start using her awesome powers, and nobody will forget her then. And the market, is a large one and it is the busiest time of day, so hundreds of people will be witnesses.Elspeth has to tie up, and dirty Gahltha, which delays her arrival. But making things worse, a band of soldierguards are arriving in the market, making anything that Dragon might do, a lot more dangerous. Elspeth catches some of their conversation, and learns that it is the Herders who are financing the invasion of Sador, very interesting. What’s more even soldierguards seem to think the Council might lose control, Herders have a lot of coin, and the soldierguards don’t care where their wages comes from.

Elspeth sends word to Matthew  of the soldierguards and possibly Herders. But she is greeted with a barrage of images, which she was not prepared for, so Elspeth focused and made use of his eyes to see what was going on. They could see a Herder priest, a high ranking one, giving a speech to a crowd, with two Herder guards. But this is not the bad thing, Elspeth spots Dragon, who is standing infront of two small children, protecting them. She is shouting at the Herders. What is she doing? This is so dangerous, even though I lust for someone to confront the Herders, there are consequences. Will she be killed for this? Who cares about Gypsies now?!

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