I think I forgot to highlight one very important problem with Elspeth agreeing with The Battlegames. It sounds like they all want to leave pretty soon, but how will they get word to Obernewtyn, and then vote on it (but they have to go ahead, otherwise no alliance at all) and choose who to bring, and then get all the way back to Sutrium. When exactly do they want to leave by? It sounded like they meant within a week, can Obernewtyn do all of that so quickly? And who would go? Surely some coercers who are trained as warriors more than the others, and I doubt there would be any healers, tecknoguilders or futuretellers. A beastspeaker would be handy if there are animals, and a plain farseeker probably wouldn’t be handy and empaths could be handy, depending on the tasks. But I’m just excited to go to Sador and we are approaching 80% of the book, which means there is not long to go!
As Elspeth is walking back to the safehouse, she realises just how many issues and problems there are with what she just agreed to. She realises that she has to get to Obernewtyn and back within three days (a lot shorter than my prediction of a week!) and during that time (actually like one full day at Obernewtyn) convincing everyone that they have to go and then actually choose who should go, no easy feat. She would have to leave straight away, leaving Kella and Dragon behind. Elspeth doesn’t see what she could have done differently to get an alliance off the ground, most of them are never going to see Misfits as humans, let alone equals. Malik had almost taken the meeting and became the leader of the rebellion, which would be the worst thing for Misfits, at least they don’t know where they live. Elspeth knew that she had to show guildmerge that there would be nothing to lose by participating, though it would mean casting aside some of their key values and also any notion of being accepted in society and instead just being tolerated. For once there is a good use of the word tolerated, as something people don’t want to be, too often people confuse tolerated with accepted, and think that tolerating someone is good enough, when just be definition of the word, it isn’t.
Moving on, Elspeth can see just how naive they were in thinking they would become accepted as equals, having the same enemies does not make them allies. The Battlegames might have to be where the Misfits, make the rebels respect or even fear them, just to feel accepted, and there will be opposition to such tactics. The healer and futuretelling guilds, were opposed to the coercer competition that was proposed, but this turned out to have positive effects of increasing the ability of Misfits, and sometimes exposing talents that were hidden. Possibly the Battlegames will do a similar thing, and let the Misfits learn from the experience and become better individuals and be a better group. But we have no idea what the Battlegames actually entail, Jakoby did not want to elaborate, only telling them that it was not for the faint hearted, and would test their ability to battle. They need a team of ten, and need to be at Sador within five days. They could not afford to be late, as the Battlegames are only held at a particular time, and that was fast approaching.
Elspeth decides to use her tattoo to speed her journey (I had forgotten all about that, with Matthew and Dragon and the rebels) even though it was dangerous and could lead to tricky questions. And if the tattoo looked too new, Elspeth couldn’t rely on it. Moving back to the Battlegames, Jakoby has offered her ship to take them to Sador, in three days. In the meantime she and Brydda (plus others) are going to try and convince some of the other rebel groups that are not part of this collation to join forces. Jakoby’s daughter was already with her, so there was no need to try and get her from Sador. Brydda is opposed to the idea, and hopes that Elspeth cannot convince the guildmerge to compete. He sees now way that they can win against Malik’s warriors, and thinks he will win, no matter what they actually involve. He is disappointed, because she seemed to have enough votes, and instead she decided to try her luck at an ‘unwinnable’ contest. Elspeth throws his words back at him, because without Malik there wouldn’t be a rebellion, so if they win, they will have him on side as well as Tardis, even if conditionally. He wants her to tell Rushton to send word that it was all a mistake, and Elspeth overstepped her mark, and it would all be dismissed.
Walking into the safehouse’s confines, she sees a Gypsy rig, with Rushton leaning against it. Has her thoughts of him somehow conjured him up here? He tells her he has been waiting for her, after a somewhat awkward greeting from the pair. Elspeth is surprised at his presence, that she wants to know why he is here, and if something is wrong to send him away from Obernewtyn. He explains that Maryon has sent them, so he is not alone. Elspeth realises that this must mean that Maryon futuretold the journey to Sador and has sent those who should compete. At least this makes it easy for Elspeth and she doesn’t have to convince them and be under time pressure, they are here and ready to go. Elspeth clearly understands what this means, and Rushton tells her that Maryon knew she would understand why they were here, as Maryon did not. As always, Maryon told them that it was vital for Obernewtyn, and that is why they went without knowing why.
Now he wants to know why they are here. Elspeth is slow to tell him, but explains that Brydda wanted her to meet with the rebels, and about Malik and Tardis, and her suggestion of not needing a leader, and how Malik would never accept them. Then she tells him of Jakoby’s suggestion of the Battlegames, Rushton is too good at keeping his emotions hidden, that she could not tell if he was angry or mad, instead he says they should go and tell the others to prepare for a ocean journey.
Maryon had sent seven of them, all named by her and there had been no vote in guildmerge. Elspeth was not confident when she learnt of who had been sent. There were the twin empath guildens (Miky and Angina), a coercer (Miryum), a stranger who arrived at Obernewtyn after Elspeth left (Freya), another coercer (Hannay) someone Elspeth would have actually chosen for the games (is it fitting that the Olympic games are on, while we are about to go to the Battlegames?) along with Miryum. The rest of the seven, including Fian a tecknoguilder, where not who Elspeth would have picked herself. If they are not the ones Elspeth would have picked, then why were they chosen? They all greet Elspeth, and then offer their condolences about Matthew and Dragon. Miky mentions something about Dragon, which is odd, and Rushton elaborates, Maryon had foreseen that Dragon would chase after them, but did not allow anyone to go and get her, saying that they needed her to go. Fate, such a key issue in this series, do they actually have any control over their lives, and should they let Fate dictate them?
Elspeth is annoyed, and asks whether Maryon foresaw that Dragon would go into a coma. Rushton tries to be reasonable, and tells her that Maryon may have foresaw Dragon going after them, but she did it in her own free will, and there must have been a reason why Maryon thinks she was needed. She doesn’t accept such logic, because if Maryon had saw Elspeth walk of a cliff, before it happened, would they try and save her life, or allow it to happen because of the futuretelling? But you could never know what the consequences of ignoring a futuretelling or going against it could be, what would have happened if Dragon did not get to Sutrium, and ultimately ended up in a coma? Was she key at any point? Not that I can think of, except we saw the soldierguard captain, and then Matthew would have not accepted to be taken so easily, so I guess there is some point in her presence, but most of it seems to be effects she has had on future events. I forgot of course, that Elspeth would never have found Swallow, so that is a key thing that would not have happened. Such complexity in life.
The new arrivals, tell Elspeth how terrible it was on the road, and how they were searched at the gate, and then their papers were checked against the list. That was a scary time for them, because they had to coerce their way through, otherwise they would be found out. Luckily the guard was not naturally shielded! Elspeth tries to figure out why these people were chosen, why did Maryon think it was vital for these people to go and compete for Obernewtyn? The others do not know of the Battlegames, as Elspeth has not told them yet, but Elspeth tries to think of who else will go, as this group is only seven strong. Even if Elspeth goes, that only makes 8, so Kella or Domick must have to go, but who else? Elspeth asks them, and Rushton tells her that it is Dameon that has also come! Dameon, the blind empath, is set to fight against Malik’s ruthless warriors. Don’t get me wrong, he is a bad ass, but when it comes to physically fighting, I don’t think he has ever tried, he could surprise us, but he is an unusual choice. Blind people are invalids, but Dameon does not seem to be the type to condone physical violence.