Elspeth woke to find Maruman looking at her with great interest. As soon as she woke up, the mental pain stopped. He had been jabbing at her mind, and has given her quite a headache. I thought that it was in response to the danger of the beast, which, could it be the H’yraka? But instead, Maruman gives the ‘excuse’ that Elspeth wanted to be awake early to get to the city under Tor (is that happening this chapter? Excited!). It wasn’t even dawn yet, and Elspeth was thinking of the beast in her dreams. Maruman, invading her thoughts as always, says that it is a real beast, and would have hurt her, if it wanted to. Maruman says that last night, it only wanted to vent its anger, why it did this towards Elspeth, who knows. But he does know that the beast is ‘mad’ with some old injury/hurt, and maybe Elspeth’s venturing on the dreamtrails when she saw it in the horizon, attracted it. Maruman insists that it is a real creature, which lives in a fortress with no door. Apparently it is not the Destroyer, and hence not the H’yraka (though I don’t know if they are one in the same).
Elspeth thinks of seeing Rushton killed by this beast, but Maruman again insists, that that Rushton was only a dream/memory copy, and the real Rushton cannot be hurt (well in her own dreams). Maruman (who seems to know everything) tells her also that the maze she was in, was not the same maze as Obernewtyn’s. This idea of another maze, makes Elspeth wonder if this is the maze Lukas Seraphim had replanted, and maybe the girl’s voice she heard was Hannah Seraphim’s. Maybe she had witnessed the point in time where Hannah Seraphim suggested they move the Reichler Clinic. Maybe the man was Jacob Obernewtyn, who knows.
Ceirwan comes in with some food, and also a warning from Dell that there is a normal storm brewing, which makes him ask her if she will postpone her journey. Ceirwan has a new drink, all the way from Sador, Chocca, I guess like a hot chocolate. Elspeth gives Ceirwan instructions about what to show the Sadorians, the farm, the coercer performance. Ceirwan suggests taking Zarak with her to Tor, to see if he can be trusted with some responsibility, and Elspeth agrees, so long as she doesn’t have to wait for him to show up. Before Ceirwan leaves, he reminds Elspeth to write down her dreams for their dreambook, but clearly some dreams Elspeth will have to censor (though I am not sure that she should hide some of the interesting knowledge of the Beforetime she has gained, hopefully she doesn’t). Ceirwan had a dream, but it was one that shouldn’t be written down for the public (hint, hint), which makes Elspeth wonder what Maryon has asked everyone to do, considering the sometimes personal nature of dreams.
Elspeth tries to get Maruman to answer her about whether the people in the maze where real, but he is being stubborn. So she asks whether he was speaking truthfully when saying he could show her the old doors of Obernewtyn, he doesn’t respond, until Elspeth chides him saying that maybe he can’t do what he says he can. He says that he knows the dreamtrails and he knows where the doors are. Apparently everything that is, has been, and will be is on the dreamtrails and can be accessed, and Maruman could take her, but the beast could scent her out. He tells her that in dream and memories she can be hurt but these don’t translate to real world hurt, but on the dreamtrails the hurt is real, and it isn’t just the beast they must watch out for, the H’yraka is waiting too. Elspeth really to see those doors which look just like the works by Kasanda, and she wants to be sure. But now she has to journey to Tor.
On the way to the farm, Elspeth remembers the last part of her dream, when she was in the flying machine. Interestingly, the Tecknoguilders already know about the Chinon Empire, from their research, and they knew that it was a vast empire which had absorbed many smaller lands before the other powers told it to stop. After that, it closed its borders to everyone, and no longer was apart of the rest of the world. The last scene of her dream/memory where Cassy claimed their destination was a prison, gives Elspeth some thought, the man looked surprised, as if he knew it were a prison. Was this where they kept the stolen Misfits?
Elspeth is joined by Fian, who is interested in tagging along to see what Garth and the other tecknoguilders have been up to. As for Zarak, Javo has him slaving away cleaning a mountain of pots, and he won’t let him go until he is done, which means he is likely to be left behind. Strangely, Aras was there too, had she been punished too and Ceirwan thought it would be good for the two of them to reconcile?
Elspeth asks Fian about Dameon, and he launches into a longing description of Sador, which he too, grew to love. Fian’s love for the mountains however, is stronger. He mentions the coercer-knights, and Elspeth makes him change subject, but is reminded that Miryum’s suitor is here to ‘collect’ her. He is called Straaka. It is a strange situation for Straaka, as his betrothal gifts are now morally repulsive to him, and he is not here to collect her as a wife. He is here to withdraw the gifts (because now Sador does not believe in owning horses) and ask what will replace it. He will ask her to name something for him to do/get that will be equal to the first, but must be difficult to gain so he can regain his honour. If she refuses, it will cause him great shame, and he will be compelled to kill himself, no matter how she puts it. Unless Miryum can come up with something very clever to get her out of this, he will kill himself and it will be her fault.
To try and stall any meeting, Elspeth decides to take her with her, so she can have time to come up with something. As she farsends Ceirwan, Fian says something about Kasanda, which immediately piques Elspeth’s interest. Apparently Dameon had been asking many questions about her, until the Temple overguardian told him not to. It seems they have promised not to speak of her. That promise was to Kasanda herself, and to this day they keep the promise. Kasanda seems to be as secretive as Salamander, keeping her activities hidden from all. But I guess she has good reason, as she only wants the Seeker to find the signs, otherwise the Destroyer will destroy the world.
They arrive at the farm, and that is my signal to stop. Part Two, as always will be up tomorrow.