The Keeping Place – Part Two – The Road to War – Chapter 11

Part Two – The Road to War

Chapter Eleven

The name of this section is very spoilerish. I’m guessing this means the rebellion is not far away. Unless there is some other, unforeseen war between Misfits and the Council, or the Council and Herders, or maybe the Land and Gadfia, or Misfit and Misfit. That certainly would be a plot-twist. Even though we aren’t sure what this war is going to be, we now know it is fast approaching.

That night, sleep did not come easily for Elspeth, she was too busy thinking about the number of Herders and how they burned her parents. Eventually though, she did fall asleep, and at first it was just a chaotic jumble of the day’s events, but then she was pulled into something, a memory.

Elspeth was in a garden, and she could see mountains in the distance, behind a high wall. There was another girl who was seated on a stool, with her back to Elspeth. The girl was drawing the mountains with charcoal, and she was quite talented. Someone else approached the garden, and the girl turned, Elspeth could see that it was the same girl from the flying machine. It was Cassy, and now, Elspeth could see that she could have easily passed as a Twentyfamily Gypsy. The person who was approaching, caused Cassy to scowl, it was a man she called Mr. Masterton, though he wishes her to call him Petr. Petr goes on to say that the Director showed him some of Cassy’s sketches of the ‘flamebirds’, and he thought them good. However, her sketching the flamebirds infringes on the rules of this place. Petr, is the head of security in this facility, which is a top-secret establishment, and the birds were apart of a ‘sensitive’ research initiative, and having a picture of them, is troubling for him. What he goes on to suggest, is that she can draw the birds, but it will a commissioned work, to create a logo for the organisation.

Oh, is this how the Govamen got their distinctive Agyllian logo? All the other proposals for the logo, were rejected, and Petr wants Cassy to create one. But Cassy detests this place, and in her own words, ‘would rather create a logo for axe murderers’, and I think that speaks buckets of her hatred. This Petr however, won’t take no for an answer, and knows just how to get her to change her mind. He mentions that he will have to inform the organisation’s superiors about the directors rule breaking. Not only are they the director’s superiors (I guess Cassy’s father) but also her mother’s. Petr also mentions that these people would be very interested in Cassy’s associated with Tiban rebels.

She has no choice but to agree, and Petr gives her a piece of paper with the design of the logo (created by himself) for Cassy to create into a full colour work. Elspeth could see that it was indeed the Govamen Agyllian design. Cassy requests to see the birds again, so she can paint them, but Petr says that’s impossible. But Cassy plays her cards, and says that if they want something that is realistic and actually good, she needs to see the birds again, she works by drawing real life, not imagining things. And just like Cassy, he has no choice but to concede. As Petr walks away, Cassy looks triumphant, as if this is the exact thing she had been hoping for.

Elspeth’s dream however, is interrupted by Dragon, so she flung herself out of the memory, and into another one, one from her as a child. Elspeth was in a wooded area near her house, Jes and her father were in the fields and her mother was picking herbs. Elspeth had been picking mushrooms, but was distracted by a butterfly. As Elspeth ran to follow it, she was greeted by Maruman. Maruman tells her that Dragon is looking for her. Maruman did not know it was Dragon, but he followed the dragon, and watched the fortress and then found out it was Dragon. He believes Elspeth is in danger, and that she must wake, as Dragon approaches.

Elspeth doesn’t want to leave, she wants Maruman to take her to see the doors of Obernewtyn on the dreamtrails. He warns that Dragon is looking for Elspeth, even if she is confused by Angina’s singing. So Elspeth uses her trump card, she tells him that the oldOnes request him to take her to see the doors (though it is true, and she isn’t just lying). Maruman agrees, and says that they must go and prepare/change to go on the dreamtrails. This is exciting! I did not expect to go on the dreamtrails so soon, I thought it would be later on in the book.

Elspeth has no idea what Maruman means by ‘prepare’, but saw that Maruman was rising in his consciousness, but not quite waking. Elspeth felt a surge of energy, and saw a silver chord appeared from his body, like an umbilical chord. Light flowed from the chord, and pooled into Maruman’s dream form, a tyger (tiger). Then Maruman’s consciousness shifted from his body, to this tyger. Now in this form, Maruman instructs Elspeth to do the same as he just did, otherwise she cannot travel on the dreamtrails. So Elspeth gave it an attempt, and tried to coerce a chord out of her body, but nothing happened. Maruman tells her that she must draw from the mindstream to create the chord. Elspeth quickly sinks down to the mindstream, and reached an equilibrium of being pulled into the mindstream and the pull to rise. Now Elspeth had to figure out how to access the mindstream, if she touched it, she would die. So how can she create the chord?

Elspeth imagined the a small stream flowing up to her, at first nothing happened. Then, it slowly moved towards her, and the small journey cost her a lot of energy. Elspeth was quite nervous as the stream approached her, in case she had made a mistake, and touching it would kill her. She rolled the dice and grabbed the stream. It flowed into her body, and coursed through it like blood. She willed her body to slowly rise. The thread that linked her to the mindstream, thinned out as she rose, until it was like a thread of spider web. Now at the top of her consciousness, Elspeth coerced the link to the mindstream to again fill her body. It was a strange sensation, as she felt all the levels of her mind and the minstream, all at once, and she now knew what it just might be like for Maruman, to hear a constant babble of voices.

The light flowed from the end of the chord, and now all Elspeth had to do, was move her consciousness into this new form. Probably easier said than done. Elspeth willed her eyes to open in this new form, and her mind rushed over. Now, Elspeth was floating above her body, which was slouched in a chair, where she fell asleep. What a strange, and yet really cool experience to be able to have. Elspeth saw that her body, wasn’t quite a body, it was shaped like a body but was surrounded by a halo of light. Everything in the room glowed, and Elspeth had to try and remember just what the room normally looked like.

The halo of light surrounding Elspeth body, is her aura. Her aura, was golden and a deep violet, but contained a streak of white with a crimson spot on it. Maruman informed her that this was the life that she took, Madam Vega’s. Whether you believe auras exist is really irrelevant, as this is fantasy, pure and simple. But I really like this concept, and I really wonder how Isobelle Carmody thought of this idea! Maruman also told Elspeth that if her chord to her body broken, she will die. Maruman tells her to ride him to through the dreamtrails, as Dragon will not be able to sense her, while riding him. As Maruman moved up, Elspeth thought that the Misfits always went deeper into their consciousness, and had never tried to go higher than their consciousness, and it brings about a whole new wave of possibilities.

Maruman rose higher and higher, and then they were flying around in the sky. Now, they were flying through the air, they were at a high altitude, so high in fact, Elspeth could see the peaks of the tallest mountains, those the Agyllians live on. They came to a set of clouds that became like roads, separating into pathways in the sky. Maruman landed on the clouds before the fork in the road. Getting off of Maruman, Elspeth felt a drag on her back, from a heavy cloak, but when she went to remove it, she felt wings! Maruman informed her that she could change shape at will on the dreamtrails, but there was no time for learning that now.

Maruman hurried them on, walking down on the of the paths. Elspeth must now focus on the doors, as Maruman does not remember them, so she must do the work. At first Elspeth thought of the last time she saw the doors, as they were burning, but Maruman quickly told her to think of before they were burnt. The sky changed in dramatic fashion into night. The area around them materialised into trees as the scene changed into the first time Elspeth saw the doors, the first time she came to Obernewtyn. Everything felt real now, as Maruman urged her forward, and to hurry. As they rounded a corner, Obernewtyn itself formed in front of them.

Just as Elspeth was about to exclaim that this was Obernewtyn, Maruman pushed at her to hide in the trees. It was then that a carriage arrived. What’s going on? It seems Elspeth and Maruman are not alone on this dreamtrail. If this is Elspeth’s first ‘memory’ of Obernewtyn, does this mean that she is actually arriving to Obernewtyn? We’ll have to find out, tomorrow!

 

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