As per usual, the epilogue is not quite connected to the previous chapter, as it is sometime into the future, and (I’m just trying to remember, and probably am wrong) all epilogues contain just Elspeth and Maruman, and this one is no different.
Elspeth is back in Obernewtyn, and it is snowing. Maruman is asking Elspeth what her answer will be. She is not sure, but they have begun to find it, both Rushton and herself and the guildmerge and beasts. Maruman says that Elspeth will never make the funaga-li accept them. Maruman and Elspeth seem to be having a debate on their change in tactics away from fighting, to accepting. Elspeth thinks that maybe they shouldn’t be trying to get people to accept them, and making them, is not what they can do.
Elspeth remembers back to when they left Sador, Jakoby and Brydda had come to the ship. Miryum’s Sadorian suitor had also come with them, with Faraf and the horse that Malik rode, Zidon. He offered them to Miryum, and Jakoby explains that they are a gift. Miryum takes them, and the man was burning with desire for Miryum, and then just turned and walked away. But what Miryum doesn’t know is that they were a gift for bonding, since she has accepted this means she has accepted to be his ravek. When he is ready, he will come for her. Now Miryum is so surprised her mouth falls open.
Jakoby then asks something of Rushton. She and Bram would like one of the empaths to remain in Sador as a guest of the Earthtemple. They have much to talk about, and the Misfits have shown the Sadorians things they never expected. The Misfits go to discuss this offer, and Dameon says that he will stay without any hesitation. He believes that this is why he was sent along, after-all he did nothing in the Battlegames. Miky and Angina are horrified, and want to offer themselves, though they don’t understand, when it is not a sacrifice, and it is actually an honour to stay here. Dameon wants to learn about these people, and maybe teach them some things too. So it is decided, Dameon will stay for one season, and when winter is over, they will come and collect him. The two horses Miryum’s suitor has given her will also remain here, because they aren’t too interested in going on the boat.
Rushton doesn’t want to leave Dameon alone, so he asks for someone to stay and be his eyes and guard him (from what exactly, I am not sure, especially when the Sadorians are honourable and would fear hurting Dameon). Fian offers himself, and not only will he protect Dameon, but he has much to learn and report back to Garth. Hannay suggests he could protect Dameon best, but there is no need for guarding him.
Saying goodbye to Dameon was harder than Elspeth had expected. She has already lost Matthew, and now it feels like she is losing Dameon as well (basically her only two friends). But she has gained Rushton and I think they will be spending much time together. Elspeth thinks she will not survive without him, but he reminds her that somehow he was able to cope when she was long gone from Obernewtyn. Elspeth tries to tell him that Rushton needs him, especially now, alluding to the new emapthic regime, but Dameon says that Rushton now has everything he wanted.
The twins also say their goodbyes to Dameon, quite tearfully, and reminding him that they will be in charge of the Empath guild, but only until he returns. He and Fian depart, and Rushton comes to Elspeth and tells her that Dameon needs to do this, and it isn’t forever. Then Brydda comes to wish them farewell, and he expresses his regret that things had ended differently. But Rushton (now understanding) says it is for the best, and that an alliance is no longer the best thing for them (and never was) as the two parties want completely different things. Elspeth offers Brydda their everlasting friendship regardless of the alliance, and he accepts.
He now had his rebellion to plan, and they back to Obernewtyn. Safely in Sutrium, they found that Domick had not returned from his Council expedition, so they continued on to Obernewtyn. Dragon was still in her coma, and Elspeth thinks that one day Matthew may return, but it is still home. Maruman asks her what she will do if Atthis calls her away from Obernewtyn, before they solve their problems of acceptance. Elspeth says that she has promised and will follow the call, but she has five secrets to uncover and must return to Sador and see Swallow again. All this will take much time, so Elspeth is not too concerned. She thinks that maybe the call will not be for many years, until she is old and grey (unlikely) but she has finally learnt that this shouldn’t mean she must live in fear of the journey. And that she must take her life now, as it is, and enjoy it, while she can.
Three books down, and three (that are published) remain! So halfway through the series (though the next three books are increasingly longer). Tomorrow will be my summary, and then something else, also connected to Isobelle Carmody, and then onto ‘The Keeping Place’!!!