Ashling – Chapter 28

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Elspeth is so shocked she sends her chair to the ground. Daffyd is outside and he knows where Matthew is. They both rush downstairs and find Daffyd standing there. He has changed, just like Brydda and Domick, because of his decisions in life. He looks troubled and is much thinner than Elspeth remembers. He apologises for not coming earlier, but they are very watchful. He is risking a lot to be here, even for a short time, as Ayle will be suspicious (the slave trader). Daffyd knows where Matthew is, but he wants Elspeth to promise something first. He wants her to promise that she will not do anything to endanger the possibility of Salamander exposing himself, as he believes it is soon, but if Elspeth scares him off, the chance will be lost. Ayle has the five slaves, and is set to deliver them to Salamander. And if they are to save him, they must do it at the last minute, so Salamander is not alerted to the danger.

If they do not, there will be a lot of dead people, and they will never get an opportunity like this again, and it is likely Matthew and Daffyd will be killed in the process. Elspeth agrees and is sure Brydda will do the same. Daffyd finds Brydda’s desire to stop the slave trade, commendable, but it is a tough job, and even with Salamander dead, others will likely take his place. As for Daffyd he is still looking for Gilaine and the others from the Druid’s Camp. Salamander once had them, and he is the only link to them that Daffyd has. Matthew is being held on the banks of the Suggredoon waiting to be taken by Salamander. Matthew had been drugged, and Daffyd nearly exposed himself when he saw Daffyd there, and was worried that something was afoot and would spoil his own plans. He had the job of dishing out further drugs, and let Matthew’s fall to the ground. Only yesterday was his mind clear, and Matthew was able to communicate with him to explain things.

Elspeth doesn’t understand why she wasn’t able to contact Matthew despite all her efforts. But Daffyd explains that the building is over the Suggredoon, and it is tainted (he even describes glowing and deformed fish) stopping her talents from reaching him. Everything is beginning to fit into place, but still we do not know about the soldierguard captain, and it seems neither does Daffyd. Elspeth doesn’t press him, and asks about Gilaine and Lidgebaby. It is a long story, too long for now, but he knows they were sold as slaves, and Daffyd wants to find out where Salamander sold them, and to whom. Domick tells Elspeth that the day that she and Brydda first had the meeting, Ayle told Domick that Salamander had decided to come by boat and collect the slaves from the warehouse. This was a ‘streamlining’ of the process, so instead of going to Morganna, they would use a wharf in Sutrium and take the slaves from there. Ayle had been given a ‘promotion’ to oversee the Sutrium arm of the slave trade. Salamander is to come on the boat, himself, a chance too good to miss.

Daffyd wants to farseek Salamander’s mind to find out where he took Gilaine and the others. If that does not work, as it probably won’t because of Salamander’s nature, he will resort to more physical and painful means. If he does not remember, then he will die. It seems out of character for Salamander to expose himself, but since it is the first time this has been done, it seems he does not trust anyone else with this task. Elspeth doesn’t understand why he would want to use the river, when there are ferry checkpoints, but apparently the sea wharves are more controlled than the river wharves, by the Council. It will have to be a large ship for all the slaves, which will draw attention, so it is odd. But there are going to be more than a hundred slaves taken in this round from Sutrium. But this is only the beginning, and they expect a whole lot more later down the track. The ship is to come, tomorrow.

Daffyd reminds her not to act until the last minute, but Elspeth thinks that really this is already the last minute. Elspeth actually suggests that Matthew might try to commit suicide by jumping into the river. She obviously means that he should jump and then they shall try to rescue him, because it is unlikely they will be overly concerned about a suicide and the river shouldn’t harm him. That plan might be the only one that could work, but still it is dangerous. There will only be four guards, so it is possible they could overrun them, but without too much preparation things don’t look the best. At least they know his location.

Daffyd leaves, and Kella comments that should could pick up his anger, it nearly burned her. But Daffyd loved Gilaine, and is connected with Lidgebaby, and he lost his brother, so no wonder he is angry. I as well as Elspeth wonder how they survived the firestorm and how they ended up in the hands of the slavers. I’m sure we might hear the story at some point.

Brydda steps out of the shadows just as Kella asks what Elspeth will tell him. It seems Brydda has listened in on their conversation, so he knows everything, which isn’t all that polite. But he did not intend to overhear, he did not recognise Daffyd, and then realised that his presence would not be appreciated, so instead hid. Brydda tells Elspeth that he wants Salamander dead, so he does not object to capturing him and questioning him, and he will do whatever he can to make sure that happens. Brydda will need to devise a plan, and Elspeth wants to alert Daffyd to such a plan, but will have to find a way to get him outside at the warehouse. They are going to go tonight, and stake out the place, and try to talk to Daffyd.

Brydda had come to tell Elspeth that Malik has agreed to meet her, only though, if they change the location. He proposes that they meet in Sutrium, because it is ‘truly neutral’. Malik bypassed Brydda and sent his word straight to Bodera, which means that Malik is beginning to see Brydda as an enemy. Bodera thinks it is a good idea, and they cannot refuse Malik’s suggestion. Brydda is concerned though, that having this meeting in a permanent rebel house, and having everyone know of the location earlier than usual, will be dangerous and open up the possibility of sabotage and betrayal. All the rebel leaders in one place, if something were to go wrong, the rebellion would basically be finished, and that is a risk Brydda would rather avoid, but he has no choice, they need to meet.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s