The Keeping Place – Chapter 16 – Part Two

Chapter Sixteen – Part Two

Elspeth has just said goodbye to our Sadorian friends, and is wishing Rushton would hurry up and get back to Obernwetyn. Rasial, Zidon and Faraf are with her, and Rasial sympathises with Elspeth about losing a mate, her mate was killed by funaga. Zidon tries to help by saying Elspeth is not very old, and maybe she can find another bond mate. Whoops, Zidon was directing that to Rasial and not Elspeth (I thought that was a little insensitive, given Rushton has not been confirmed dead yet). However, Rasial tells Zidon that she will never have pups. Elspeth would about to respond, when Rasial started to growl. She does not respond to Elspeth’s questions, and when Elspeth sends out a probe, she finds nothing. Elspeth tried again, and she found other animals, but they were scared, not scary.

Elspeth could see Faraf had moved closer to Zidon, and Elspeth asks what is the matter, and Faraf replies, funaga. How could there be people there, who were undetected by Elspeth? Is it other misfits? Surely the Herders or soldierguards did not figure out how to become invisible! Elspeth cannot believe there are any other humans around, she can’t sense them, which I guess shows how much faith she puts in her own abilities. Rasial tells her that there are humans, and she can smell them. Elspeth came around to the idea that maybe someone is hidden behind a coercive ‘blanket’, so she thinks about her killing power, and how she was able to wield a small amount of the mindstream, so she should be able to control a small portion of her killing power. Using her killing power, she sent out a probe again, and it was much stronger, and she found that there indeed were two people around them, behind a strong coercive shield.

Elspeth asked the animals to wait for a moment, as she goes to find the people. Soon she found a young girl, around 12 years old, and a little boy, both cowering in a dead tree. As soon as Elspeth came into view, the boy cried, and the coercive shield vanished, that must be one strong boy to produce such a strong shield. The boy apologises to the girl, a Seely. The two are clearly runaways. Seely tells Elspeth that they heard noone lived in the mountains, and those that did died in a firestorm, and the rest were wiped out by the plague. Elspeth assures them that  she doesn’t have the plague and that she won’t hurt them. The girl and boy both looked like they could be children of wealthy parents, which makes it a possibly dangerous situation to take them in. The girl asks if she has food, and says that she has coins to pay, but Elspeth instead asks about the soldierguards. Seely says that the soldierguards may be looking for them, but not up in the mountains. Nobody knows that they are up in the mountains, as Gavyn, the boy, hid them from everyone they encountered. Elspeth decides to help the two children, and leads them over to a clearing where they can have a drink, before they are taken back to Obernewtyn.

Seely questions how Elspeth found them through Gavyn’s shield, and Elspeth tells her that she is a Misfit. She is shocked, and I think at the same time relieved because she thought Gavyn was just a freak, and that there were no others like him. Elspeth asks whether the Herders are following them, but Seely’s eyes just burn with hatred, as she says they would like to find them, but they do not know there are up here. Once the children had drunk their fill, Seely decided to tell Elspeth their story. Gevyn and Seely are not related by blood, but Seely had been adopted by Gevyn’s parents, who were distant relatives, after her father died from the plague, and her mother died in childbirth. The family she had been taken into, treated her like a slave. She became friends with Gevyn’s sister (correction, mother), who was promised to a councilman, when they married, Seely went with her as her personal maid. Life was much better there, and the councilman was a good person, but just quite old for her friend. Eventually this friend, got pregnant, and when she gave birth to Gevyn, she died. Things were okay for Seely, until the councilman got a new wife.

This new wife had two grown sons from a previous marriage, the woman acted kindly towards Gevyn, but only when his father was around, otherwise, the woman detested the boy, because the councilman’s fortune would go to him, instead of her sons (always down to greed). The eldest of this woman’s children, was a Herder, and whatever he inherited, would be given to the Faction, and would pave the way for promotions through the order. Then Gavyn’s father died, and ‘Lady Slawyna’ took over the councilman’s wealth. She could not harm Gavyn openly, otherwise suspicion would be laid upon her, so she would have to be cunning and make it look like an accident. Seely watched the woman closely, trying to protect Gavyn from her, whenever possible. Gavyn’s abilities, eventually started to draw the attention of the Lady, and she was starting to get suspicious. Lady Slawyna spoke to her Herder son, and they agreed he would have to be looked at and if Gavyn was a Misfit, there was no question of him getting anything of his fathers. Since Seely overheard this conversation, she knew they would have to go on the run, and she never realised how difficult that would be.

But they eventually made it here, and Obernewtyn will welcome them, and the information Seely might have on the Herders and Council could prove useful. Then of course Gavyn appears very powerful as well. Gavyn was able to hide them from everyone, so nobody either saw them, or remembered seeing them. Elspeth praises Seely for making it this far, and asks if she can ride, but she hasn’t before. Gavyn on the other hand is a beastspeaker, and has already talked to Faraf, and wants to ride her. Seely rode behind Elspeth, and they only travelled slowly. Seely asks if Elspeth lives alone, yeah alone with hundreds of other people (how many Obernewtyners are there?). Gavyn asks about the two men back in the pass, and Elspeth tells them that they were watching the pass, and they will be very surprised to find out that they slipped past them. Elspeth tells Seely that there are many Misfits here, but there are ‘normal’ people too.

Elspeth tells her that nobody really comes up here, and they are the first, and it was only Rasial that detected them. Rasial and Gavyn stare at each other for a while, as if communicating, but Elspeth couldn’t hear anything. Seely was shocked to see Obernewtyn, as she thought it was burnt out in the firestorm, but Elspeth just assures her it wasn’t. As they dismounted, Gavyn got off by himself, and then proceeded to get down and squat, and stare Rasial in the eyes. Ceirwan comes out and greets them, and the horses depart, and for the first time Elspeth hears Gavyn’s mind, and it sounds like someone singing, maybe he has empathy too, but coercion and empathy, have never been seen together, as if they are polar opposites, that cannot co-exist, but there is always a first. As the group moves inside, Seely calls for Gavyn to come, but he wishes to stay with Rasial, she however says that she will come with them. Very interesting.

Elspeth left Ceirwan to settle Gavyn and Seely, and set about to eat some breakfast, and plan what to do today. She would like to see Avra’s new foal, but that may not be possible, as Avra would like to limit the foal’s exposure to humans. She would also like to find out what happened between Miryum and Straaka, as surely he would be awake now. Elspeth thought about what to do with the coercer-knights as they cannot be a separate guild, as they are based on talents, so they would have to create a sub-guild in the coercers just to keep the peace. Gavyn would need to be looked over by Angina, Gevan (Gevan, Gavyn, and Garth, too many G names) and Alad, to see the full extent of his talent. And Seely would need to be questioned by Tomash and Wila to see what she knows about the Council and the Herders, a coercer could sit in, and get more information from her mind, but that would be quite invasive, and Seely would have to agree to such a thing. Elspeth even thought about what they could do for Freya’s father, and how they could help him, without letting him know he was helped. Zarak comes over to thank her for the wardship, and it seems he has already matured to the role.

Maryon enters the dining hall, and it looks as if she has some big news. She has foreseen a great time of upheaval. It is not just in Oberewtyn, it is Land wide, and there is much death and bloodshed. It can only mean one thing, the rebellion. And Maryon believes it (though she isn’t sure it is the rebellion) will start within 21 days. But the rebellion will take a while for the rebels to take over, and Obernewtyn will have time to prepare for any strife in the mountains. But even so, if Malik decides to hunt them down, there could be real danger to Obernewtyn. Unless they evacuated, but that would be a major undertaking, and unless they went to Sador, they would eventually be found, and could they really leave Obernewtyn? Hopefully Rushton will return to make the long-term decisions, otherwise Elspeth will have to step up.

Maryon has also foreseen something worse, treachery, but she doesn’t know any details. They will have to start planning tonight, and Elspeth is calling a guildmerge just for that reason. For now, this news will have to be kept just to the guildleaders, otherwise panic and chaos would ensue. We all knew rebellion was coming, and now Obernewtyn have to decide what they are going to do about it.

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