The Keeping Place – Chapter 7 – Part Two

Chapter Seven – Part Two

So Elspeth and Fian arrive at the farms, having come through the maze. I must admit, that I really want to go to Obernewtyn purely to see the maze and try to get through it without using the signs. They said you would get lost and disorientated by the smell of the hedge, but how big a maze is it?

They spot Alad coming out of one of the farmhouses, and when he approaches them, Fian jokes that he is honoured that the guildmaster has come in person to greet him home (well I hope it was a joke). Alad has been looking out for their arrival, well for Elspeth really, because a bird from Rushton has arrived, and she will want to read what he has sent. It’s not bad news, but not all that much is said, I guess for fear of being intercepted. But it says that a request made by a friend (probably Brydda) was refused (probably to do with the rebellion) and he will be leaving today after meeting with Domick, and will be home in time for moonfair.

Today is the beginning of the farm’s planting season, and everyone assigned to the farms, have been hard at work for an hour, but not without eating a feast. Katlyn is busy clearing up the remnants of the meal, and comes over and greets Elspeth heartily, whilst offering them both some food. Gruffyd is away collecting berries to use to dye the magi wagon, which existence is news to Elspeth. So much goes on in Obernewtyn that even Elspeth, who is acting Master of Obernewtyn, can’t keep up. Elspeth will have to see the wagons later, as she really must be going, but still she stays and talks to Alad about the other Sadorians. Apparently they refused to sleep anywhere but with their horses, and the relationship between both horse and rider, seems to be exactly like a bondmate. The Sadorians didn’t talk much last night, not as much as Alad had hoped, but Alad was told enough to be impressed by the new Sador.

Some of the horses have been so inspired by the Sadorian animal ‘regime’ that they decided to ride off in the middle of the night to go and inspect it (well I think they wanted to, but it would hardly have occurred). There is already talk of creating a ‘free herd’ in Obernewtyn like the herd in Sador, even though there is already a wild herd. The distinction is the wild herd, don’t want anything to do with humans, but the free herd want freedom but will work with humans. The Beasts have decided to send a delegation to see things in Sador, but that will require some planning of how to get them there without everyone freaking out about loose animals. This Beast expedition will work nicely with the Sadorian request for a beastspeaker/skilled fingerspeaker, which Elspeth suggests to be Hannay, as well as a strong beastspeaker, who tend to ignore the fingerspeak.

Elspeth tells Alad that Jakoby and Bruna are likely to rise late and she has suggested they come to the farms to see how they operate, and Alad is eager to talk with Jakoby more about the change in Sador. As for the other Sadorians, they have been taken by Lina around the mountains, and with her, they will be lucky to return before nightfall. She also tells him to fend off any attempt by Straaka to follow Miryum, as it would be shameful for him to do so, as Miryum is escorting Elspeth, and that she will talk to him on the day of the moonfair at moonrise. But what she will say, Elspeth will have to talk to Jakoby and Miryum to see if something can be worked out. Before she goes, she wants to speak to Louis Larkin, but finds that he is at Tor already, as Garth had a lot of equipment to be taken, and Louis drove the cart.

This news about equipment intrigues Elspeth, but all she can do is wait and see. She goes to see Avra, and pay her respects to the pregnant mare, and asks Alad to find some willing horses for Miryum and Fian. As for Fian, he has to get some Gypsy garb just incase they see someone on the road. Seeing Avra, who is close to birthing her foal, Elspeth makes sure that she is happy to let Gahltha go, which she is, because she knows that Gahltha will want to protect Elspeth, just like he wants to protect her. And Elspeth being the Innle doesn’t hurt either.

Elspeth spots Faraf, and the two briefly talk. Faraf is not disappointed in Obernewtyn after hearing about it long ago. She did not go with the Sadorians to have a tour of the mountains, instead she wishes to go with Elspeth to Tor. Even though Faraf is looking worse for ware, Elspeth agrees as it shouldn’t be too hard going getting to Tor. And so, they finally depart. Hopefully next chapter we actually find out what the Tecknoguild are doing! Unfortunately this chapter wasn’t all that interesting, I think it is merely a filler to get from one part to the next, especially the second half of the chapter. But I guess with such a large book, there is bound to be some duller spots, but I wouldn’t want them removed, because they allow more to be explored. Maybe my impatience is just showing itself, as I can’t wait for all these things that are so close to being explained and happening, to finally occur.

 

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