The Keeping Place – Chapter 10

Chapter Ten

So with all the guildleaders assembled, Elspeth asks how they’ve been sleeping. This causes some, understandable, outrage at Elspeth for calling a meeting to ask such a question, when some of them were doing important things. But Elspeth shuts down all argument by saying that she is the Master of Obernewtyn and will do what she likes. Alad again says he has been sleeping poorly for many nights, and Elspeth again asks about dreams, which we already know the answer to. She then asks Gevan the same thing, and he has been sleeping badly as well. He too admits he has been dreaming (one dream was about Selmar and how Ariel and his wolves went after her), and in fact he has been dreaming a lot lately. Elspeth questions Roland and Angina and they too confess they have been dreaming quite a lot.

Maryon rolls out the dreamscape that she has brought with her. In the Futuretelling guild they have many dreamscapes, some shorter term, some for a week, and this one is the longest one they have. She too has been dreaming a lot (though that is not uncommon), but for her entire guild, it is becoming harder to futuretell, and many (if not all) of their dreams are of the past. Elspeth informs everyone that people are sleeping badly at Obernewtyn and dreaming of the past, and that away from Obernewtyn everyone sleeps well, and dreams ‘normally’. Even though the Futuretellers have only been recording the dreams of everyone for a short time, it appears that the number of dreams have dramatically increased. In the more senior Futuretellers they have noted a significant increase in the number of ‘ancestral memories’, and there has also been an increase in nightmares.

On the dreamscape there is a section of overlapping red threads, which represent a recurring nightmare. This is the same nightmare for many different people, and I can guess, it is to do with a dragon. The strange thing is, recurring nightmares are usually a warning about something, like a firestorm, but this nightmare does not concern anything ‘real’. Elspeth asks if the form of the nightmare (the winged beast) could be disguised as something real (aka Dragon), but Maryon is confused as warnings are not usually disguised. Alad is quite surprised to hear that others have been dreaming of the dragon, and Gevan also comments that some of the coercers have commented of dreaming about this beast. Gevan points the finger at Maryon, asking why she did not tell them of this earlier, but she is not to blame, instead it is Roland that feels he should have spoken up sooner.

He knew that the healers were dreaming of this beast, and if he had known others were dreaming of it, he would have spoken sooner. He thought it was isolated to the healers, and it was because of their proximity, to Dragon. Roland is sure that it is Dragon who is tormenting everyone’s dreams. The beast is a representation of Dragon’s mind, and at first the healers thought it was Dragon reaching out for help, but it soon was clear that the beast does not appear to know it is Dragon. Since Elspeth has dreamed of it many times, she too feels responsible, and the hint about it living behind a fortress with no doors (as in Dragon is stuck in her own mind, i.e. the fortress, and no one can get to her, i.e. the no doors). The healers have tried to talk/communicate with the beast, but it is truly mad, and does not respond, or just tries to attack them.

The troubling thing is, it appears to be getting stronger. This may mean that as this dragon grows, Dragon becomes weaker. Maryon says that it is a danger both to Dragon, and everyone else. Everyone else cannot comprehend the idea that this beast can actually harm people, and does more than just trouble people’s sleep. Maryon tells everyone that the Futuretelling guild have had to stop all delving into the mind, because with Dragon around it is too dangerous. Alad wonders if the beasts have been dreaming of Dragon, but we do know that Maruman has seen her. Reminded of Maruman, Elspeth was about to race of and find him, but Roland told her to let him sleep.

Elspeth recalls to the group how Maruman comes into her dreams, and last time the beast attacked. This surprises Roland, as the beast only shrieked or swooped the healers, never attacked. Even though Dragon loves Elspeth, this love may make this dragon feel abandoned by Elspeth, so wants to attack her. Now the question is, what can they do about it? Knowing about this issue is one thing, but actually being able to do something is another thing entirely. It is clear that Dragon is increasingly becoming a danger to everyone, especially Elspeth. But what can they do, she is unreachable? One clear option is to move Dragon away from the main house. However, the Tecknoguild cave is likely to not be far enough. So it is suggested that the city under Tor will be a good location, apparently the group are not concerned with the tecknoguild being affected. Though their ability is unlikely to be affected, they will still have to contend with nightmares and disrupted sleep.

But Elspeth doesn’t want her sent away anywhere, but it is something that must be considered. Angina has a suggestion, he would like to sing to her and this singing may be able to calm the beast and get through to Dragon. He wants to start immediately, to see if whether the singing will have any effect, and Maruman can tell them. It is a great idea, and shows that maybe the twins aren’t so ineffective, especially separated. He goes to leave, and Elspeth tells him to sing the song of the princess who cannot be woken. It is a fitting and ironic song, but let’s hope it will work. However, they cannot sing forever.

I think now is a good time to stop. The next section is the last part before the beginning of Part Two. It will be interesting whether the singing will be able to calm Dragon, and whether it will make an immediate effect on everyone’s sleeping habits and their dreams. One downside, is that we won’t have so many memories from the past to enjoy. But there are more serious things to consider

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