Ashling – Chapter 23

Chapter Twenty-Three

Swallow believes that Elspeth and her friends are Seditioners or escapees from Councilfarms, which I guess is right, though he doesn’t know they are also Misfits. He doesn’t want to know if he is right, but when they meet again next time, there will be no lying. Elspeth is confused to think that they will meet again, but he doesn’t want to elaborate, instead telling her that he believes it is her from the ancient promises because there are some in the Twentyfamilies that have the power of (in essence) futuretelling. It is an ancient power passed down from the beginning of his people. One person with the power, foretold Iriny’s capture and when Swallow returned to Sutrium, told him that she would be returned by those who had her. This makes me wonder if somehow Maryon and this person almost communicated to each other and organised to return Iriny (though not literally, but in some ‘mystical’ way).

So Swallow waited for them to arrive, and trusted that he would find them. Then he had a dream, where someone spoke to him, like the first D’rekta heard, and told him to be at the market at a certain time and location to find Iriny (was this Atthis?). Elspeth saw that this was news to Marie as well. He addresses her, and tells her that even though he is no seer, he had to believe his dream. So he went to the market, and saw her and Kella, and tried to speak to her, but of course, she rode away from him.

Then once more, the voice spoke to him, and told him to go to a different market otherwise all the ancient promises would be broken. The voice told him to save her, because she is everything to you. Elspeth is shocked by the similarity in their stories, both being sent out by dreams to find one another. He knew that such voices do not speak to people to save one single girl or man, but for much higher reasons, and acknowledges that Elspeth somehow made his horse go lame. When he was applying the tattoo, he knew that she was involved in the ancient promises that were first foretold by the first D’rekta. Marie paled at the news, and Swallow confirms that he had a dream, and saw Elspeth speak to him the words of the ancient promises where they first were made.

This is all too much for Elspeth, once again she is being caught up into ancient tales of a saviour. First the Agyllians, then all the beasts, and now the Gypsies. Is there any other prophecy she is involved in that we don’t know about? Swallow continues to reveal, that he will be beside her when the time comes. Elspeth of course, wants to deny it, but even she knows that it is likely  she is somehow involved. The sun is starting to rise, and it will become too risky for Elspeth to stay any longer as more people are out and about. Before she goes though, Swallow wants to know whether she will drink and accept his toast. She accepts, drawn by her curiosity and her instinct.

Marie wants to inspect Elspeth’s whip marks, but they are already healed, thanks to her slave. But Marie is doubtful, and seems truly shocked to see they had healed, maybe it wasn’t the slave but Elspeth? It is time for her to go, and she says a quick goodbye and gets on Gahltha.

I quite like that even Elspeth is wondering why when she looks for answers to questions, she only comes away with even more questions! There are so many questions that need to be answered, but they won’t, probably not until the end. Now Elspeth just thinks Atthis has used Swallow, just like she has with Maruman and Gahltha, and weaved Elspeth into their legends. But, I wonder if Elspeth just happens to be the one to unify all the legends, and was destined to do all these things, even without Atthis’ interference. She cannot wait to report back to Obernewtyn, and Garth, about everything she has learned, especially the meaning of swallow, and the Gypsy tattoo.

Elspeth, tired from the day’s events, falls asleep still riding Gahltha, and he wakes her up as they approach the safehouse. They nearly collided with Matthew riding Jaygar, who was trying to find Elspeth. It’s about Dragon, something has happened. She has been complaining about her head hurting, but Matthew can’t tell her what has happened, he is too upset. Maybe he is feeling guilty for his mistreatment of her. Elspeth runs upstairs, calling for Dragon, but finds Kella, also upset. She finds Dragon inside the healing section of the house, laying in the same bed the Gypsy had.

Kella explains that she heard Matthew and Dragon arguing, and then she heard a thump, Dragon had fainted. Elspeth doesn’t understand, and underestimates the situation. Dragon hasn’t just fainted, she has gone into a coma, and Kella can’t reach her. So now we have another person who can’t be healed. What happened to Dragon, is it the same thing as the Gypsy? Or is it because of Elspeth smashing through her shield? Will she survive? How can they help her? And now we know why Matthew feels so bad, what were they arguing about/

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