I’m not really too sure where Elspeth is going (maybe I didn’t pick up on the hint in the previous chapter, all I can think is she is going to the Tecknoguild caves, but they are quite far away, I know we’ll find out soon though) and we are given almost a ‘scenic tour’ of a part of Obernewtyn. Now this part could clearly be left out (unless there is some minor detail that is foreshadowing something) but I don’t want it not here, because it deals with the sense of continuity that was ‘lacking’ in the first two books (I think in ‘Ashling’ it was fixed, because I didn’t pick up on any of the issues I had in the first two novels). Also we get to see some parts of Obernewtyn that aren’t really that important (like the herb garden where Ariel once kept his wolves, useless knowledge, but I guess a ‘homage’ to what once happened in Obernewtyn). She continues on her journey, and she comes to a ‘secret’ laneway. Apparently it looks as if the maze and the outerwall of Obernewtyn are ‘one’ but really there is a laneway inbetween. Trees and shrubs hid the opening to this laneway
There was a bench with a rose growing next to it, in this laneway, and Elspeth does not know how they came to be here, and she couldn’t ask anyone otherwise her secret spot would be expose, only Maruman also knows of this place. Why the laneway exists is a mystery, maybe to provide a path from the entrance of Obernewtyn to the farms without having to in the maze, who knows? Lucas Seraphim who built Obernewtyn, would know, but Elspeth can’t just go and find him, and any evidence of his thinking had been lost. Elspeth knew she ought to tell someone of the laneway so a much faster way to the farms could be used, the maze continued to be slow going, even when signposted, but she couldn’t give away her secret place, and surely a tecknoguilder would find it eventually. As the tecknoguild has become obsessed with finding more about the Reichler Clinic and Hannah Seraphim, they are on the lookout for the graves of Hannah and Jacob Obernewtyn on the grounds to see whether the two were bonded or bore offspring.
The Reichler Clinic had even acted publicly and told everyone that the talents they found were weak and uncontrollable, a lie to keep the Govamen off their backs (though they weren’t convinced). Hannah Seraphim had found out that the destruction of the previous Reichler Clinic was devised by the Govamen to kidnap some of the Talents to conduct research on (all this has been found out on the plasts the Tecknoguild have found). The last thing that was documented was the plan by Hannah to rescue the Misfits, but the Holocaust was approaching, so no further documentation was made. Garth believes that Hannah would have documented the history of the Clinic and that she herself was a Misfit (why else would she make the clinic?). The plasts uncovered in the reception of the Clinic were largely useless as they were apart of the façade presented to the Govamen. The Tecknoguild cave was slowly being excavated as this was the site of the laboratories of the clinic and the Tecknoguilders believe there to be more records somewhere, but it is slow and dangerous progress.
As Elspeth thinks about the Tecknoguilders and their projects we get (again kinda recap, but with added bits to keep those with no need for a recap interested) information about them that we haven’t really heard before. Like Jak’s (very close to Jik, but not the same person) personal interest in small insects which seem to be able to absorb Holocaust poisons without harming themselves. He wants to find a way to use the insects to clean the Blacklands, an ambitious task, but good luck to him. This thinking (in a very circuitous way) leads to wonder what Garth was doing at/under Tor. He must think the records in this basement/cellar will be vital, but how will he access them? It becomes clear to Elspeth that Garth must have planned his own trip to coincide with Rushton’s absence (who is not a fan of investigating historical puzzles, tending to look at what can be done now about the issues of the present) so Rushton could not openly object. This ‘coincidence’ and the mental slip and obvious command to not say anything about how they would get to the cellar from the Tecknoguilder, is very suspicious, and is clear evidence that whatever is going on, it is highly contentious, debatable, and probably dangerous.
The Tecknoguilders are renounced for their lack of personal safety in order to obtain knowledge, so Elspeth decides that unless Garth returns tomorrow, she will be going to see him (I actually hope that he doesn’t return so we can go and see what is going on ourselves). She would also use that chance to ask Garth about the Govamen, and find out why they used Agyllian birds as their symbol, just like the Twentyfamily Gypsies. Elspeth’s thoughts are interrupted as Maryon ‘pushes’ her way through the trees and shrubs to this ‘secret’ laneway. Elspeth didn’t really appreciate Maryon’s company, because there is always the chance that Maryon will ask questions about her secret quest, because as a futureteller, she could or probably does know about Elspeth’s destiny. It’s not that Elspeth hates Maryon, she just doesn’t really like futuretellers in general, especially because they resign themselves to their visions, and abide by them, even though there are usually terrible results (Jik, Dragon, etc).
Once again (though I am liking it, because we are given a clear and detailed overview of things that have been discuss/hinted at before, but now everything is combined to produce a information paragraph) we are recapped about Futuretellers, and we learn that in the beginning the novice Futuretellers have to be saved by their seniors from memories/dreams/thoughts that divert them in their subconscious as they delve into the mind’s depths. The Futuretellers, like Tecknoguilders, craved knowledge, but they were concerned with life and understanding themselves deeply (as well as predicting the future and understanding the past). Maryon says something interesting, that the maze was already here when Obernewtyn was built and Lukas Seraphim just replanted it.
Maryon goes on to say that she dreamt of Rushton swimming in dark waters. Of course this is haunting news from a futureteller, but she says it is hard to know if it is a truedream as futuretelling has become difficult recently, as if some disturbance is disrupting things (things are focused on the past and not the future). But this dream is not one of danger. Maryon has been meaning to speak to Elspeth about setting up a dream record, to see patterns which may identify true dreams. It sounds like a good idea. Each guild will have to keep track of its own dreams (whatever they can remember at least) but it will help piece together things, adding to a ‘dreamscape’ looking for patterns. Continuing talk of dreams, she warns Elspeth about letting the empaths continue tampering with dreams, as it will become dangerous and is not natural. She has had premonitions about Dameon too, but doesn’t want to say too much because even she is unsure of the truth.
Elspeth asks about the dreamtrails, and Maryon says that only the most senior among them even dare travel the dangerous trails. Because the dangers are real on the trails, but she doesn’t want to say too much more. They have a nice conversation about who makes their destinies, as telling someone a prediction and then the decisions of others both impact on the direction people take. Elspeth then asks her how she came to be at Obernewtyn. And like nearly everyone else, it is a sad tale. A man lusted after her, and she rejected him, and he came after her. Her family died tried to protect her, and then she woke up in Obernewtyn, proclaimed a defective. She had had a dream the night before this occurred that her sister would die, it was a frightening true dream for a girl. Maryon has given herself to destiny, and I think being a futureteller would be one of the worst talents to have.