Ashling – Chapter 41 Part Two

Chapter Forty-One Part Two

After the first two Battlegames, all 10 Misfits are remaining, while only 9 rebels remain. I think the rebels are confident that they have been successful so far, but I still see the Misfits as winning, but the qualities they are portraying are probably not suited to fighting a war. We will have to wait and see how things change up this time, and how many games will actually take place overall.

Game Three. The dice are again rolled, and this time, it is ‘The Pole’. Three competitors are needed for this game. I’ve just had a thought, what would they have done if on the previous game, three, four, even the entire ten, competitors were chosen? Because one person could not possibly carry two people up that wall. Would it be a different game, would there just be pairs climbing up the wall? Or would this never happen because of the Earthgoddess? So the group huddles up to decide which three should tackle The Pole. Hannay offers himself as if the pole is a weapon he has had experience, but feels dejected at his previous failures. Angina tells him that he did not fail, and was able to conquer the wall without her making him feel brave. Miryum offers herself because pole fighting is her ‘speciality’ and now they know aggression is rewarded, she thinks she can give them aggression. Rushton also offers his own services, because of his skills with a pole. Daffyd makes up the three.

Dameon warns that it might not be fighting with a pole, which was the basis of their selection, but it is too late and Jakoby calls them over. The chosen six went over to the armouring tent to get ready. When Jakoby announced the game, it was clear they had made another wrong decision. This game had nothing to do with the ‘common sport’ of pole fighting. Instead, the poles were long thin pieces of wood high up in the air connecting two ledges, two such constructions were only an arm’s width apart. They have to get all three members across to the other side, one at a time, without falling. But, Miryum is the stronger coercer, and she fears heights the most out of everyone. The rebels though also seemed concerned and unhappy with the explanation of the game, and they were probably thinking the same as the Misfits. The six returning holding short staves to use as balancing poles.

Miryum was clearing concerned about the task she will have to do. As they move into position, it is Rushton that goes first, and he does so with the grace and balance that allowed him to remain steady out at sea. The first rebel however, went slow, clearly fearing the task. Daffyd was already making his way across as the first rebel finished. The second rebel was much more agile and went out with confidence. He decides to employ the violent tactics that the others have used, and without warning, he strikes Daffyd with his stave. Daffyd dropped his own stave and was clearly unbalanced. But, unfortunately for the rebel he was too busy laughing to see that the stave had fallen onto to straddle the two walking poles, and he stepped forward only to trip on the stave. I would say that such thing is karma, and he had no chance to stay on the pole, and fell with a terrible scream. Considering he was trying to knock Daffyd off the poles, I am not overly concerned with the rebel, but still it is a terrible way to go.

But Daffyd was still in a precarious position, trying to regain balance. Rushton shouts some advice, and after a while he stepped forward again, but misjudged it, and he too fell. Instead of falling off completely, he caught hold of the pole with his arms. He hung there for a while, before going hand over hand to the ladder. Coming back to the ground he sees where the rebel fell, who is now motionless, he is dead. What is sad and terrible is that neither of the two other rebels had even looked at the man or tried to see if he was alive, they don’t have very good comradery, and it is each man for themselves. The first rebel to cross yells and pushes the remaining rebel, making him hurry to cross. Clearly they don’t even care that their ‘brother’ was just killed and are just concerned with winning.

Miryum was not fairing well, she could not take her eyes of the dead rebel. Rushton was concerned and tries to make her focus on him. The two of them climb the ladder together, and the third rebel is also fearful of the height, and is making his way slowly along. The first rebel, again stooping so low, decided to start yelling abuse and taunts at Miryum, and to be honest, I wish it was he who had fallen. Rushton was on the finishing side of the pole, Miryum at the start, transfixed on him. He tells her to move across at whatever speed she likes, but to not look down, and to keep focused on him. She stood still for some time, but then started to move. She inched out to the exact middle of the pole, and made the mistake of looking down and seeing the dead rebel.

Both Rushton and Daffyd yell encouragement, and Daffyd suggests she swings the rest of the way like he did. Hannay doesn’t think she can do it, but Miryum cries out that she is strong and she can do it. Rushton walks out to her (much to the anger of the rebels, who are protesting his actions) and speaks to her softly, coaxing her along. The third rebel had made it to the end, and just like the first rebel was jeering and exorting the coercer to ‘join the dead rebel on the ground’ (WHAT AN ***************************! Now I don’t even care if all of them die, in fact I wish death upon them, they are terrible human beings, that don’t deserve to live.). Rushton slowly grabs Miryum’s stave and slowly pulls her forward, all the while encouraging her. She started to walk, and the true dexterity and skill of Rushton is shown as he is able to walk backwards, whilst leading Miryum across.

As they both made it to the other side, all the Misfits were crying and cheering. The rebels on the other hand were accusing them of cheating, and formally puts it to Jakoby. She is not sure of how they cheated. Malik uses such foul language that I want someone to slap him, and if nothing happens I want to jump into the book and strangle him. He claims that without Rushton’s help Miryum would never have made it across (and he calls Miryum some terrible words that no one, especially not a man, should say about a woman). Bram (in my mind he is telling to stick the protest where the sun don’t shine) says that the Misfits showed great courage and great devotion to one another. He says that maybe there was too much devotion as Rushton would have fallen with her, had she lost balance and taken their leader down with them. And thinks that a wise leader does not risk himself in that way, not for any of his warriors (sorry I really disagree. A true leader is willing to assist their ‘warriors’ because no individual is more important than one another, sure the leader directs the others, but without warriors the leader is nothing. Rushton did a great thing, and showed great courage and compassion, something a leader needs.). Bram then goes on to PRAISE (how can he praise such a thing oaorsjtouishgo;uahr;oghae;roihja;os) the single-mindedness of the rebels in trying to thwart their opponents. But suggests they had better reduce their zeal, as it had cost another of their players, they now only have 8.

He expresses regret at the death of the rebel, and says that they can’t lose all their warriors in one battle, in case in the larger scheme of war, there are many more battles to come. Not a single (as far as we are told) of the rebels look concerned or regretful or upset or sad or disturbed that one of their own had DIED. I guess they are warriors and must come to terms with death, but you shouldn’t just throw your fellow warriors aside once they have died, especially when it is really in vain in a GAME.

Elspeth tells us the next game is called ‘The Ride’. Hopefully the Misfits can better judge this game and chose the most suitable candidate/s for it. I wonder how long it will be before Elspeth gets involved, after all she is the main character and will surely want to get involved. Same goes for Malik, will he risk himself at any stage, or does he think himself too valuable to risk?

 

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