The Keeping Place – Chapter 12

Chapter Twelve

After a strange and abrupt end of the chapter, we now begin this chapter reading a letter from Dameon. I quite like letters from Dameon, his last was quite insightful and provided a lot of history and information about Sador, but I wonder whether this one will be the same. For some strange reason, it starts halfway through a sentence. Did Elspeth lose a page, or did the Sadorians censor his words? Or did he just forget to start a sentence, or started it on a different page and forgot to send it? He tells us that the Sadorians want to make him an honorary member of their tribe, as we already know. He will be privy to information that all the other tribal leaders, and even the temple overguardian have, which means, he will have information on Kasanda and the continued creation of Temple guardians, which he was barred from. The question is, will he, or can he, share this information with Elspeth (and hence, us)?

We also learn that the Temple overguardian is dying. Nobody, except those within the temple, not even Jakoby, know this news, as it is kept secret. This is the true reason, he has delayed returning to Obernewtyn, and it also shows how trusted he is. One day, his successor will appear to the tribes, and that will be all that is ‘said’ about his passing. He will be in great pain, as he dies, and this pain is not allowed to be eased by medication. Normally a spice would be taken to ease pain, but for the overguardian, during the worst of the pain, he will see his successor. The thought of him being in so much pain, is the reason why Dameon agreed to stay with him until the end. This suffering, has made Dameon even more determined to find out why the temple guardians are so terribly afflicted, and the overguardian has told him that he may only know once he is an asura.

Quite interestingly, he tells Elspeth that he dreamt of Matthew. He knows it was a true dream, and in the dream, Matthew stood naked chained to a block of wood. A ‘strangely clad man’ was examining his teeth, and Matthew allowed it, even though in his eyes there was anger. This makes me wonder (with genuine interest) what it is like for Dameon (and other blind people/vision impaired people) to dream. I assume it does depend on whether the person has always been blind or whether it has been progressive. It is has been progressive, then the person has some idea how things look, but if they have always been blind, they have never seen things. Dameon doesn’t explain how he saw these things in the dream, and I really hope this question gets answered. Of course they could just dream, exactly how they live, by hearing, smelling and feeling things.

Dameon continues explaining his dream by saying that Matthew had whip scars on his back. He was being sold as a slave. There was a sly man, who Dameon noticed, who was watching the sale, and was dressed quite opulently, like the ruler of the land. What is of major interest to Elspeth is that this man was carrying a golden ‘stave’ which was encrusted with jewels, in the shape of a dragon! Was it just a coincidence, that there was a dragon here, and Dragon’s dream manifestation? Pavo once showed Elspeth a map, which said ‘Here be Dragons’, to represent ‘abstract ideas’, and on the map they meant that beyond them, the land was unknown and wild. Dameon says no more about his dream (maybe that was it) and he too is reminded of Dragon, who he still trusts is sleeping, and he says goodbye.

There was a knock at the door, and it was Roland carrying Maruman. Elspeth saw that Maruman’s leg was bandaged, which Roland does not how they appeared, but they just did. The marks were by something that no animal could make, which means, they fear, it was Dragon’s doing. The healer’s have fixed his leg, and given him some sleeping potion, so he won’t be awake for a while, which conveniently means Elspeth won’t be able to discuss her night with anyone. Roland urges Elspeth to make a decision about Dragon. Elspeth doesn’t want her just sent away without a thought, and rationalises that it will take two days to organise something, and she knows that the music is working. Roland isn’t convinced that the music worked, because of the attack on Elspeth, but it only happened because Angina fell asleep. So to be sure, Elspeth wants to create a roster of musicians to play to Dragon over the night, to see if it has an effect on her. Roland still sees it as dangerous, as this one night may cause someone harm, but Elspeth is willing to gamble, as she knows the songs have had an effect. Roland left telling Elspeth that Dell foresaw that she will be speaking with her later. She didn’t decide to, she saw that she would. I think that would be a terrible way to live.

As the sun rose, it began to rain, which is not good news for the outdoor events for Moonfair. Elspeth goes to the kitchen, and finds Angina there, looking very tired. He feels very responsible and guilty for Maruman’s injuries, as he was the one who fell asleep, but who can blame him, it wouldn’t be easy to sing for 9-12 hours! The twins are certain that Dragon is under control when being sung to. In fact, Miky dreamt of Angina playing his gita beside Dragon’s fortress, and she saw that the dragon was listening intently to the music. Only once the music had stopped, did it fly away. Miky also saw Maruman watching the dragon, but he went away before the music stopped. Apparently the twins dream ‘next to each other’. Both of them can go into each other’s dreams, sometimes they dream together. But they aren’t sure if they are simply dreaming of their twin, or sharing the dream, until they wake up and discuss. Once again, that would be a strange experience. I wonder if twins in our world, have similar experiences?

I think that this is good news that the music works, and calms the beast, but will it respond to only Angina and Miky, or can other empath musicians calm it? Elspeth wonders what would have happened if she appeared in their dream, would the dragon be calmed enough to ignore her, or would its rage be too much for the music to control? The twins are aware of the decision to put people on a roster to control the dragon, but they believe only they will be able be effective, because it is very difficult to hold its attention. The twins have decided to have a roster of people watching them, to make sure they do not fall asleep, and a healer can draw some of their tiredness if needed. Angina will sleep during the day, and I guess, his dreams will be affected by the dragon. I do not think Miky is playing or singing with her twin. Angina will even still perform tomorrow as part of the magi performance, and after moonfair, the two of them are going to try and communicate with the dragon, who is only part of Dragon.

Elspeth brings up Dameon’s letter and ask whether the twins have read theirs. He also mentioned his dream of Matthew to the twins, and even if it was a true dream, it would have had to have been a while ago. Unless he is being resold, in that case it could have been recent. The twins are convinced he is being resold, because he knew what they would do in regards to check his mouth, and he had whip marks which they think he got from his previous master. Who knows what the truth is, I just hope that this means Matthew hasn’t been written off.

Tomash interrupts to say that he has added to his maps, as requested, and wants to know if Elspeth would like to see them before they go about inking and colouring it. She will look at it later, but the main concern now, is whether they will have moonfair, as the rain has intensified. With all this rain, Elspeth had to think about whether she wants to still go and see Fian at the Tecknoguild caves about the gadi translation. Fian had been farsought before the firstmeal, and he said he would have to consult some books to translate it (Elspeth had hoped he could read it fluently, which makes me wonder, why not ask Jakoby!). He suggests she come in the evening, as they are having a formal meal with the Sadorians (perfect time to ask Jakoby!). But since the rain is unlikely to deter the Sadorians, Elspeth will go too.

In her room she realised that taking the markings to Fian would likely raise odd questions, and they could easily be destroyed. So Elspeth about copying the symbols. It took her a while, and she put away the original somewhere safe. Elspeth wanted to speak to Ceirwan, but with all the rain, farseeking was not an option, so she would have to find him in person.

This post has gone on for long enough. Not all that much happened, compared with the fast paced action of many of the previous chapters, but we did learn the real reason Dameon stayed in Sador, and that he had dreamt of Matthew. And Dragon finally injured someone, Maruman. Things don’t look good for Moonfair, which is a real shame, but maybe the weather will clear in time!

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