The Keeping Place – Chapter 2 – Part 2

Chapter Two – Part Two

So why didn’t the Sadorians go the way of the Gadfians? Firstly, the women led the tribes, and it is just a fact that women are less ‘attracted’ to war and violence than men are. Secondly, they had their first outside visitors, strangely enough from Gadfia. These Gadfians told them that they no longer lived in Gadfia, for it was destroyed, but they still think of themselves as Gadfians. It was a strange chance that the Sadorians met these Gadfians, because the two had to be at Templeport at the same time. And the Sadorians only go to Templeport once a year, when a species of fish beach themselves for an unknown reason. They are only there for a week, so the meeting was definitely a rare chance. When the Gadfians learnt that the Sadorians valued women and did not worship Lud, they probably would have killed them, but they were vastly outnumbered. Instead, they asked for women to go and join them to live somewhere else, so they could start a new colony.

Apparently, the female Gadfians had ‘offended’ Lud, and could now not bear ‘normal children’, clearly that would be from all the radiation they were exposed to. The Gadfians were furious when the Sadorians suggested that it wasn’t just the women who were incapable of producing healthy children, and they were turned away without any women. The Sadorians were worried that the Gadfians would return, so left the coast early that year, and over the years they forgot about the encounter. Three years later however, 5 Gadfian warships full of warriors arrived, the Gadfians had timed their attack to coincide with the same time the Sadorians would return. Many were killed, as the Sadorians were unprepared for the attack, and over 100 women were stolen and taken away with them. But the Sadorians didn’t lose everything, they fought enough to stop one boat from departing, and then used that design to build two more.

They forced the Gadfian captain to teach them how to sail, and after two years they were ready to seek their revenge. They had no idea where this new Gadfia was, as the captain killed himself to prevent them finding out anything further. They searched and found the Land, and continued on past it, but only found endless Blacklands, so they turned around. They sailed for many months past vast spans of Blacklands (interesting that they decided it was indeed this way, and not the other way, even though they only sailed for a while past the Land). Soon the land flattened and they found where Gadfia once was. Fian has found maps to prove that Sador and the Land are only a very small part of a much greater landmass which included Gadfia.

Soon they started to see little settlements separated by Blacklands. They conducted a small raid on one of the settlements to find that these people called themselves the New Gadfians. The woman they had captured (who hated the Gadfians) told them that the ships that were constructed were a joint effort by the three largest settlements with some additional  help from some of the smaller settlements. No ‘normal’ children were born from Gadfian women (and men), and the women were beaten savagely and even sacrificed, because of their ‘sins’. When the Sadorian women were brought back, even some of them produced ‘defected children’ (maybe it is the men’s fault after all, or there is so much radiation that the foetus is harmed in utero). The defects were thought to be because the Sadorians were not learned in their religion, so they were taught about it, and any woman who birthed a defected child was killed for not truly believing.

The captive woman, led her to some rebels in this New Gadfia, and together they took the 3 largest settlements over three nights, without losing anyone. They tried the leaders in a court ruled by women, and carried out executions. The Gadfian women begged to be taken back to Sador because the remaining men would rise up and kill them all. The Sadorians agreed and they attacked all the smaller settlements until all the Sadorian women who were taken, and remained alive, were saved. They returned to Templeport victorious, after almost two full years away. There were a large number of other women who were stolen from other Lands and many of those women were pregnant, and they could not travel around the desert. So the Earthtemple was formed (the caves were already there, so they didn’t have to do anything) as the first permanent settlement. All the children were deformed, but those who survived were cared for and they became the first Temple guardians.

An interesting question is whether Gadfia (it was not destroyed by the Sadorians) is where Salamander takes his slaves, and whether he learnt the trade from the Gadfians themselves. Another question, is Salamander a Gadfian in the first place? We know nothing about him, so how can we be sure he came from the Land and not Gadfia or some other land? But did the Gadfians survive without women to bear children that weren’t deformed? Or maybe they just stole children instead of women to raise as Gadfians. As Dameon says, it is a chilling thought. Elspeth and Dameon cannot help but think of Matthew, whilst thinking about Slavers, is he in Gadfia?

Dameon moves on (also weren’t there 3 things that stopped the Sadorians becoming Gadfians? Or was the second one just a really long one and the third will be later?) and talks about what he is doing in Sador. He is working, treating the ill, and the irony is not lost on him that the guardians are treating the ill, when they themselves are dying. The guardians’ deformities are terrible, and Fian’s emotions tells Dameon just how shocking they are, which makes it no wonder they cover themselves up when outside. If the Herders learnt of the guardians who are deformed, it is possible they would force the Council to attack Sador to wipe out the ‘atrocities’. He has not been able to find out how deformed Sadorians are born, as the guardians never have children, and this one point is the only time when the Sadorians are not friendly with their answers.

Now we arrive to point three, the arrival of Kasanda. She was one of the women who were saved from New Gadfia, she was very ill, and had been beaten savagely for defending women (she was too old to carry children herself). She was not from the Land, but some other place, and had knowledge of healing that she taught the Sadorians even as they were healing her. She was very influential, and it was her idea for the Earth temple, so where did she come from? Kasanda is another sore point for the Sadorians and they do not tell him anything further about the woman, even though he has been taken to their prized spice fields. Speaking of these spice groves, they are an amazing sight. The spice grows in the shade of huge trees, which they built the two ships (which are still sailing) they took to New Gadfia. They do not take much spice, as it is hard to find, and it does not grow anywhere else. It seems that the shade from the trees which is thick, and the sap from the trees, provide the correct conditions for the spice, not even the isis pools are acceptable.

He continued to speak of the uses of the spice, but Elspeth was really searching for more on Kasanda, the woman that we know was a futureteller, and has foreseen Elspeth’s destiny. Elspeth was keen to find out more about the doors that once were on Obernewtyn before they were burned, to see how they arrived here, when the carving looked so similar to Kasanda’s in the Temple. But how could Kasanda have carved these things, when she had been old when she arrived in Sador? Could she have had the strength to carve the doors, and the time to hide them in the Land? Probably not. Maruman interrupts her thinking to say it is her destiny to destroy the weaponmachines, something we already know.

I guess this serves as a reminder of Elspeth’s destiny and of the Destroyer (who Elspeth doesn’t think of a person, I am interested that she does not immediately think of Ariel, like I tend to do). Though she does know that the Destroyer is trying to reach her in the dreamtrails and maybe in real life too. The Destroyer must be a strange being for using the weaponmachines would mean his death. Elspeth thinks he must be like the Gadfians who think their reward will come after death, but I wonder if the Destroyer just thinks that he will be able to control them and doesn’t know what they will do to the world.

Elspeth’s resolve to follow her destiny has not wavered since her time in the Temple when she learned of the signs. Before Elspeth can stay too peaceful Ceirwan returns telling her that Miryum and Roland are fighting again. And Elspeth is not happy to have to leave to sort them out. I am really glad that we have learnt a lot more about the history of Sador, even though there are big gaps in some of the information, it is still a very detailed history, which I am happy to have. And this history though it answers some questions, just asks even more!

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