Ashling – Chapter 32 (Part Two)

Chapter Thirty-Two (Part Two)

Okay, let’s continue this tense meeting of the rebels to decide the fate of an alliance between them and Obernewtyn. Brydda has just tried to stop Malik from taking control of the meeting, and reminds everyone that they are here to decide on the alliance, and not on humanity and those who are defective. Malik of course has something more to say, and believes that Brydda thinks he is a fool, but he can see that Brydda wants the rebels to work with the Misfits, as part of some secret plan of Brydda’s, and frankly he just sounds paranoid and delusional. He asks everyone in the room, whey exactly does Brydda support the idea of an alliance, and questions whether Brydda is trying to use them to gain control of all the rebels. Dardelan interrupts and says that his father, Bodera, also supports such an alliance, and does this make him have some secret agenda? Malik is surprised by this, and I love the simile that Isobelle uses, and says ‘gave him a startled, look as if a duck had suddenly defended itself against a vicious dog.’

Cassell asks whether the rebels actually need the Misfits. And it is THE question, they are trying to find out, and the one they should use to judge an alliance, not terrible prejudices and discriminations. He asks whether the rebels can win without their help, and I think Cassell seems to be a smart person for drawing their attention to this, I just hope he is reasonable also. Brydda thinks that because there are so many soldierguards, they need as many people as they can get. Brocade is outraged by this suggestion, and thinks that no matter how great their need, they should never accept the Misfits. So he would rather lose, than work with Misfits? I mean really? The anger I feel from that, is high, how can people think like that? And sadly they exist in our world! And he tries the religion card, and says that Misfits are hated by Lud, and if they accept them, then they will be punished by Lud. He thinks that if they work with the Misfits, they will lose, because Lud will spite them. Where on earth is any proof that Lud hates Misfits? Just because random people (aka Herders) say that Lud hates them, doesn’t make it true! Some people just don’t think about things, do they?

And quite sadly, most people in the room, seem to be pondering that very thought, and Brocade has said something that they seem to agree with. Elspeth spotted Malik staring at her, with such loathing, that she knew that he would never be won over, and that he would always work to rid the Land of Misfits. Malik answers Cassell’s question, in the negative, and that to win the war, they need good, strong adults, good armour and weapons, but most of all strong centralised leadership. I think he misses the point that Misfits would eliminate the need for some fighting all together, and that with their help the leadership that should be there, can actually communicate with people, far away. And he has basically decided the Misfit alliance, and moved on to try and win the war of becoming the rebel leader. Malik continues and says that they should strike soon, before the new intake of soldierguards are fully trained. He is trying to take control of the rebellion, and if he did, it is clear that Misfits would be hunted down and killed.

This launches the leaders into a debate about when the best time for an attack actually is. Elspeth tries to take control of the meeting, and shouts at them, that the alliance has not been voted upon. Malik is irritated, and tries to throw her away, by calling her a child who should not be involved in ‘adult affairs’. Elspeth decides to seize up Malik’s challenge, and try to beat him. Elspeth acknowledges the child remark, and uses it, and acts bluntly. She calls out Malik’s desire to be rebel leader, and that he thinks he is better than all the other rebels, and that he desires the power that would be there to claim after the rebellion. It is a smart move, to try and destroy Malik’s control on the other rebels, and cause them to turn on one another, whether it will allow them to see the advantage of an alliance, I don’t know.

Malik is surprised and angered that is ambitions have been named, and even Brydda is surprised Elspeth just said that. Malik could do nothing though, because if he tried to deny it, everyone would know he was lying, and accepting it, would not help his cause either. So he says that everyone has their own set of skills, and his is to lead. Elspeth asks him, what of the other rebels, why not them, when they have the same ability to lead. Malik is mad, and tells her that there has to be one leader of them all, because in battle, one has to make all the decisions otherwise it will be chaos. Elii agrees that eventually someone will have to be chosen to lead. Elspeth is not concerned with the events, and sees a way to trump them all. Elspeth tells them that with farseeking they don’t have to choose, they can each command their own troops, but at the same time, communicate and confer with one another. And once the battle is won, they can decide who should lead, if they indeed need to do that. Elii agrees once again, that even after the rebellion, why could they not continue in the same fashion, without a head leader, but leading their own areas.

Malik tries to gain control, by reminding everyone what Brydda wanted to do, and join forces so they can overthrown the Council. But now because Elspeth has suggested it (and she is Brydda’s ‘toy’) he wants them all to split up, so eventually he and the Misfits can take control (seriously he is delusional and paranoid). Brydda stands up angered by the mere suggestion of this, he did not even know of Misfits, when this all began, and he sees value in joining with the Misfits, and it is not his decision, it is all of theirs. Elspeth adds that she is offering a way for them all to retain independence. Tardis’ man, Gwynedd, adds his support to this, because he knows no rebel leader would want to lose control. Dardelan also supports this, and thinks that they would be able to focus on winning instead on trying to become leader.

Elspeth again offers the alliance, and says that the Misfits can be dispersed to all the rebels, but Malik interrupts. And now he questions, how Elspeth can offer an alliance, when she is not the leader of the Misfits. Malik you forget that Rushton has already been here, and offered an alliance, just because you didn’t go, don’t try and say he is deformed. Instead, he asks why a man would want to lead ‘deformed freaks’ and tries to highlight that their abilities have not been tested. He wants more than people that can talk to each other across the land, he wants warriors who can fight. Jakoby rises, and asks him if they proved themselves in battle, whether he would accept them as equals. He replies that if a cow could match him, then he would accept it (I doubt that very much, he would kill it as a ‘freak’).

Jakoby offers a way out, she tells them that in Sador, they have something called ‘The Battlegames’. It is a series of contests, and is a way to solve a deadlock, and they can see whether the Misfits can use their talents to prove themselves. Elspeth asks who would compete against who. Jakoby suggests an equal number of people from Malik’s rebels, to face the Misfits. Elspeth asks when and where this would occur, and I wonder whether Elspeth is scared to do such a thing, because how could the Misfits, beat hand picked rebels from Malik would would surely try to kill them. Brocade shares his opinion that he does not see why they should play ‘games’. Jakoby says that a trial of honour is fitting at such a divide of opinion, and she offers the Battlegames be held at Sador and the occasion can be used to decide upon their strategy of beating the Council.

Malik looks pleased, and sees this as a possibility of taking control of the rebels. It is agreed then, that the Battlegames shall find whether an alliance would be valuable. Elspeth of course, has a tough decision, because refusing would allow Malik to win, and accepting, would bypass Guildmerge, and all the values it holds. Dardelan doesn’t see fighting between themselves as a good thing but Cassell and Gwyneed both agree with the Battlegames. All rebel leaders will journey to Sador to sort out the rebellion. Now the question is how do they get to Sador, the road is dangerous, and they don’t want to be away for long. By sea, it is only two or three days, and Jakoby suggests this. Elii thinks it is a good idea, even if the sea is something that they don’t love, Brydda wants caution, but it seems he is alone. So it seems it has been decided that they shall go to Sador, let’s hope the boat doesn’t sink, and the rebellion quashed before it begins.

Brocade however questions how they can be sure Sador won’t betray them, which maddens Jakoby and she suggests cutting out his tongue for saying that, but tells him that they do not betray allies. Jakoby assures them, that Sador don’t want any of the Land for themselves, and just want the Herders kept away from Sador. She realises that they don’t have too much honour in the Land, so as an act of good faith, she will keep her daughter in the land, to make sure the rebels do not think they will be harmed. Dardelan offers, Bodera’s house to keep her daughter, and where she shall be guarded. Jakoby says her daughter will not need guarding, but accepts. Now we go to Sador!

 

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