Ashling – Chapter 29

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Elspeth spent the day sitting by Dragon and holding her hand. She reflects on the fact that she brought her to Obernewtyn, and now once again she is locked away from them, alone. I wonder how anyone can help Dragon, or whether it is a just something she can only do herself, and we will have to wait for her to be ready and to come back to us.

The night looked like it was going to be a cold one, so Elspeth went outside to see if Gahltha wanted a blanket, but he did not. Elspeth comments that Maruman has been away a long time, I wonder where he has gotten to. He responds that Maruman is doing what he must do, to which Elspeth asks if he knows where Maruman is. He tells her that the voices of ‘madness/chaos’ call him when they want and he must hear them, the ‘strain of guardianship caused them to call.’ It all sounds very mysterious. Maruman is the guardian of the dreamtrails (I keep writing dreamtails, and I think I may have done this in the past, woops). Now Gahltha is taking his place while he is away, and Gahltah was not aware of the strange realm of the dreamtrails. Elspeth needs to clarify that Gahltha has been told by Maruman to guard her dreams, and he says, yes. This is concerning for Elspeth, as who is trying to hurt her in her dreams, and how, and why?

Brydda riding Sallah, arrived, and Elspeth wonders whether Sallah has spoken to Brydda about Elspeth being the Innle, but Gahltha says that such beast secrets, are not for funaga ears (except of course Innle’s). They ride out away from the safehouse, ready to stakeout the warehouse. Brydda informs Elspeth that most of the soldierguards, who were occupied looking for her, are now in Kinraide, making their journey considerably safer. They talk of the soldierguard captain, and why Daffyd had now knowledge of him. But it is quite likely that the captain is hiring himself out to whoever will pay him, the slave trade could not be as large as it is, without at least some officials being bribed. They go forth on foot as they get closer, and leave the horses at a house that has been home to some rebels keeping watch on the warehouse.

Speaking to those inside they learn the general layout of the area. There are four pier warehouses, all owned by the Herder faction, and leased out. There are four piers, and four further storage sheds, one for each of the warehouses. Apparently the Herders have only recently bought them from the Council. There are two ships scheduled to wharf tomorrow, and one of them may be the slave ship. Currently there is a Faction boat docked, and there are a number of seamen about, loading up the boat, so they cannot get too close. There has also been a group of soldierguards running training exercises on the banks of the river,with their camp also nearby. The presence of the soldierguards is something that the slavers must hope that they do not have tomorrow, trying to move 100 slaves.

Elspeth decides to try to contact Daffyd, since they have nothing better to do. They don’t expect to find him, but she did. And he has some news, they weren’t expecting. The slaves are being loaded RIGHT NOW, all the talk of tomorrow, was a lie. They are going to leave as soon as all the slaves are onboard! They have no time, and there are seamen and soldierguards about. How on earth can they possibly save Matthew now?

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