Chapter Twelve – Part Two (seeing as most of these chapters have been split in two, it is likely that The Keeping Place will be finished early November, but we shall see)
Extra preparations for moonfair are underway as Obernewtyn try to battle the elements to keep their festivities happening tomorrow. I can’t help but feel that the weather is a representation of the mood at Obernewtyn. Dameon has not returned, and Rushton is still away. Dragon is tormenting their dreams. Everything is not going the best they could be, and moonfair is the one thing everyone is looking forward to, but, the weather has other ideas. Maybe it could be foreshadowing about the coming storm of events?
Ceirwan comes running into the kitchen, drench by the rain. He had been on the farm with Freya, and he felt an inkling that Elspeth was trying to contact him. Enoch had sent a bird to Alad with information about Freya’s father, and Alad told Freya about it, even though it was Ceirwan and Elspeth who prompted the inquiry. Her father’s name is Brannoch, and until recently, he had been working as a farrier on a Councilman’s farm. However, he got into trouble, and now is working at a councilfarm under a long sentence. These councilfarms are used to purify whitestick, which means that Brannoch is going to die a long and painful death from the radiation exposure. Freya took the news badly, which is why Ceirwan was summoned, as Freya was set on running away trying to rescue him. Ceirwan had to promise her that they would rescue him, though that will be a difficult thing to do, as he cannot know of their involvement.
There is a bit of goodnews, one of the guards at the councilfarm, which is at Kinraide, is Bollange. Now, you might not recall, but it was Bollange, who was selling off slaves to Salamander in Sutrium, and ever since Brydda impersonated him, Obernewtyn (and maybe the rebels) have been tracking him. He is as corrupt as ever, and they can use this to their advantage. They can easily coerce the man to let Brannoch go, but Brannoch will still know someone helped him, which is something they cannot allow, so more of the plan will have to be thought up, at a guildmeeting after moonfair. What Elspeth wanted to ask Ceirwan earlier, was to go to the farms and tell the Sadorians that she would be riding to the Tecknoguild cave, and to inform Gahltha of this too, to see whether he can go with her, or whether they need to ask another horse. But since he was just there, she suggests sending someone else.
Elspeth braves the rain to get to the Futureteller Hall, and startles a few people working on a beautiful tapestry, depicting Misfit history. They have been doing this every year, and the tapestries are presented at moonfair. Elspeth wasn’t supposed to see the work, but it was not surprising to her that it depicted the Battlegames. One of those she startled was called Valda, and rumour was he was courting Rosamunde (there is a name we haven’t heard for a while! Every character keeps popping back up at some stage) who is unTalented and was sent to Obernewtyn before it was ‘freed’. She still treated Elspeth with hostility, as Elspeth did play with her mind and she did love Jes. She now works with the futuretellers. Apparently Maryon had seen that Elspeth would arrive, which angers Elspeth a bit.
She finds Dell in the guildmistresses turret, with some freshly brewed chocca, which makes Elspeth feel more comfortable joining them. Apparently they have a gift for Elspeth. The gift is some embroidered bright red silk. The design is an intertwining pattern of beasts. Maryon tells her that the design came to her in a trance. The Futuretellers have also made a moonfair dress and slippers to compliment the silk shawl.
Elspeth asks Dell about her time watching Dragon, but Dell tells her that she fell asleep, as did Kella, soothed by the music. Dell did dream, but it was about Elspeth. She saw Elspeth walking with a great horde of animals down a path in the middle of the greatest Blacklands. Maryon adds, that they honestly believe Elspeth is the Innle from beast legend. Maryon tries to tell her not to worry about them sharing this information with others, as they can tell this is a thing that needs to be kept quiet. Maryon too, had a dream, also about Elspeth. She saw Elspeth walking a ‘shining’ road, and Dragon attacked, but a black cat jumped in the way. It seems Maryon dreamt of the dreamtrails, and Dragon’s attack.
Elspeth then asks a brave question, have the futuretellers seen Dragon waking up. Maryon answers by picking up a dreamscape, and pointing to a section of blue. That is the number of dreams that have been had where Dragon awakes, but nobody knows in what state Dragon is in when she awakes. So they do not know when she will wake, or whether she will be defective upon waking. However, Maryon has some news that many of them have seen Matthew when they delve into their futuretelling, which is hard with Dragon’s presence. Many of these sightings have been in memories, and in almost all of them, Dragon has swooped in and shredded Matthew to pieces. I wonder whether Matthew has been having Dragon filled dreams, or whether because he is so far away, he has not been affected. I know Elspeth didn’t have dreams near Tor, but because Dragon’s feelings towards Matthew are probably strongest, who knows the range. An interesting thing to note, nobody was dreaming of Matthew before Dragon fell into her coma, it is almost as if she is allowing them to dream of him.
They have had other dreams where Matthew was not torn to shreds, which they think are true dreams, and Elspeth is taking their dream book to read them. Though it is such a big book, she will have to have it brought to her. Elspeth asks about whether anyone has dreamt of Rushton, and Dell has, but he was just riding on the road. Elspeth honestly expected him home by now, and yet, he is not here. Which points to the worst. Did something hold him up? Or something more sinister? As the rain continues to pour down, Elspeth leaves the Futureteller Hall with her new gifts.