Ashling – Chapter 18

Chapter Eighteen

Elspeth arrives at the safehouse just to see Reuvan (the rebel, in case you forgot him) leaving on a horse that had once been at Obernewtyn for refuge. The horse, Halda’s appearance, shocks Elspeth slightly, but she recalls that Alad believed the Beasts to have sent their own to the rebels to be involved in their own rescue missions and expeditions. Apparently Brydda’s steed, Sallah, is leading a lowland Beast guild, and they have created something of a spy network, good for the horses to do their own thing and be free from funaga. Reuvan was sent here to look for Idris, who has disappeared. He does not stay for long as he needs to continue to search, but oddly he doesn’t seen to acknowledge Elspeth’s offer of help. I guess he is just concerned for his friend.

Once inside, Elspeth asks whether Matthew tried to farseek Idris, but he says there would be too much taint for him to find him. So Elspeth decides to give it a shot, but she too had no luck. Though she only has limited energy from today’s events, but even so she feels like her energy is being siphoned away, is this from her net of pain, or is something else wrong? Idris did not return last night from an errand, so hopefully he has not be caught by slavers or the Council or the Herders, each would be equally bad news. Elspeth is relaxed by the news that he has only been away one single night, but finds Reuvan’s extra anxious behaviour strange, something else might be going on here.

Elspeth talks to Maruman, and he tells her that she is tired because her body is healing herself, and soon they will leave, and travel to a place far away. It sounds like she is about to go on her fate journey, but considering there are 4 more books after this one, I’d say that would be unlikely. But most concerning for Elspeth is that Maruman says he has been guarding the dreamtrails and fighting the h’rayka away from Elspeth. H’rayka means one who breaks and rends, so it is a frightening idea that this thing is coming after Elspeth in her dreams, though the exact nature of the dreamtrails is not known. Elspeth believes this h’rayka might be the Destroyer, and finds it confronting that she never though of the Destroyer as someone she would meet, merely as someone doing the same journey as her. Then Elspeth thinks that maybe the Destroyer is just seeking out the weaponmachines, and not Elspeth, I don’t know which idea is more terrifying. Maruman tells Elspeth that the h’rayka is one who brings destruction, so maybe it is the Destroyer, though it could be a different being.

Elspeth becomes angry at Atthis, who has not called her yet, when the Destroyer must be already on his (or her) journey. But Maruman tells her that she is already doing Atthis’ bidding, because Maryon’s futuretelling was sent to her by Atthis. Maruman is a very sly cat, and he doesn’t really give Elspeth any direct answers, maybe he needs to do this to protect Elspeth and let her find her own answers, but it sure is frustrating. So instead Elspeth is left to her own thoughts to try and figure it all out, she still seems to feel a bit peeved that Atthis doesn’t directly communicate with her and uses other minds to talk to her, which to be honest is quite understandable but still feels a little arrogant. But she comes to a poignant conclusion, that she should stop waiting for the call to go on the next journey, and actually start living her life and let it take her where she needs to be. It is a really important realisation for Elspeth and hopefully a permanent transition in her life, maybe she can finally act on her feelings for Rushton.

Kella brings her back to the real world, and notices that she has blood on her back and wants to examine the wounds, but they have already been tended to. The amazement on Kella and Matthew’s faces would have been a wonderful sight, before Elspeth launches into explaining all that happened to her. A few things were left out, like her kiss, and the Govamen tattoo, because Elspeth just likes to keep some things to herself, I guess she has never lost her secretiveness from the Orphanage. But with the story told, they could discuss how they can take Iriny to them, because right now everyone will be on the lookout for Gypsies.

Elspeth’s focus is turned to Dragon, and Kella tells her that she is still unconscious, so whatever Elspeth did, she did it strongly. Breaking through her shield, wasn’t thought possible to Kella and Matthew, but I guess Elspeth is not at all an ordinary Misfit. Domick arrives home, and he is told the day’s events. He seems concerned about Idris’s disappearance and when Elspeth says she could not farseek him, he even suggests that he may be dead. Domick then makes the even more morbid comment, that for Idris, death may be the best thing to wish for him, because if he is alive, his treatment is surely worse than death. Domick has to point out to all of them, that having Idris missing endangers them all, because he knows of the safehouse, and someone could easily torture out that information, so his disappearance is something to be concerned about. Not only is the safehouse in danger, but Obernewtyn also.

Matthew couldn’t believe Idris would give up Obernewtyn’s location or existence, but Domick, who clearly knows more about things that anyone else, tells him that in the hands of a skilled torturer, he would tell them everything. Is this supposed to be a hint that he is torturer, so he would know what Idris would be in for, or is this just an ‘innocent’ comment?

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