The Keeping Place – Chapter 17

Chapter Seventeen

Well things have begun to heat up, the rebellion is set to begin in less than 21 days, and there is treachery, upheaval and bloodshed coming to the Land, and to Obernewtyn. Good thing they have the futueretellers so they can actually predict these things before they happen, and they can start planning what they are going to do.

But this sort of news creates panic throughout communities, and in the guildmerge it has already become chaotic. Elspeth tries to rein things in, and becomes logical for a minute, we aren’t 100% sure that Maryon is talking about the rebellion. Now that may be true, but as Gevan points out, what else could it be? And before they can plan everything, they need more information, and a rebel would be the best place to start, so they really should go and talk to Brydda, and while they are at it, they can find out what has happened to Rushton. Elspeth is concerned that Brydda hasn’t told them about the rebellion, but Alad points out that maybe they don’t know, and something will set off the fighting. Elspeth says that most of them have been assuming the rebels will win, which is very presumptuous, and that they will come and attack them, but what happens if the rebels lose? Miryum says that from what they have seen of the rebels, they will win easily, against the soldierguards, who aren’t really trained very well, and are no more than bullies against defenceless farmer. Side note that Miryum is a little angry that Straaka has agreed to stay at Obernewtyn, until she is free to go.

Elspeth points out that they may think the rebels will win, but the Misfits were confident that they would win the Battlegames, and look how that turned out. All she is trying to do, is make sure that they are not presuming what the threat is, and leaving themselves open to an unexpected threat. Gevan says that the magi performance in Sawlney in 10 days it the perfect place to test the waters of the Land, and see what is brewing. So it is decided that they should go, but they have to do more than that. Miryum suggests the knights ride out to find out what they can learn. Roland is of course against the idea of the knights going out, especially when the magi will be going out, without having the risk of causing more trouble. Elspeth steps in and says that it will be some time until the magi depart, so how could it hurt Obernewtyn to let the knights go out and find intel, so long as they are discrete. Elspeth also asks Gevan to release the knights from his command, to the Master of Obernwetyn’s, so the coercers no longer have to worry about the knights and the looming split.

Elspeth turns to Roland, and says that the Healers can go out, as they normally do, to gather herbs, so long as they are back before the 21 days, and Roland says they can gather information whilst healing people too. All this information gathering is going to be with different people, so it will be interesting to see what they can find out, and to see what people think of a rebellion, and losing the Council and the Herders. Elspeth tells Gevan to send coded reports via birds back every day or so, whilst out with the magi. Elspeth announces that Kella will travel with the magi to Sawlney and then go on to Sutrium, to seek out Domick (and Rushton) and to find out what is going on with the rebellion, before coming back to Obernewtyn, before the deadline.

Moving away from intelligence gathering, Elspeth wants Alad, and the beast guild, as well as the Tecknoguild to start planning possible evacuation from Obernewtyn, and the logistics of that. Alad is concerned about the planting of crops because of the spreading of his people, but Elspeth is right in saying that they may not be here to harvest, which is a really sad thought. But nothing is going to be done about evacuation, until they can sort out how it would work; how long would it take to get to Sador, which route would they go, what would they take, etc, etc. Escaping to Sador will be a challenge considering a rebellion could be occuring, and even without a rebellion, a progression of wagons would be sure to draw suspicion on the open road. They will have to travel through Councilman territory, or go through Herder territory, or go through Malik’s territory, who wouldn’t let them pass freely. And what about the beasts, travelling with beasts as half-breed Gypsies, will attract ire, as everyone suspects them to have stolen the beasts, and since many of the beasts are runaways, there is truth to their argument. Angina suggests that they will have to evacuate in small groups, some with wagons and beasts, some without, and maybe making sure people don’t really remembered them.

Aras suggests that maybe the soldierguards won’t be an issue, because they will be drawn to Sutrium and the lowlands, where the rebellion is likely to be started. But there is Malik to worry about, as he wants them wiped off the face of the planet, and will do anything to make sure that happens, possibly even coming after them if they leave the Land, though good luck finding them in the Sadorian desert. Then Zarak asks a question everyone was too afraid to, what about Rushton? Elspeth remains cool, and says that they cannot waste time speculating what has befallen him, and until they find out from Jakoby or Brydda, they should plan, just like Rushton would want them to do. In the meantime, the futuretellers will be doing all they can to find out more information via their own means. Guildmerge broke up, after going on for some hours, with everyone concerned about the days ahead and what they would involve.

The Tecknoguild caves could be blocked off to protect their work, but if the valley was invaded, who knows how long it would be until it was found. Miky, always the empathetic optimist, suggests they made a deal with the rebels so they can stay in Obernewtyn, but with a guy like Malik, that would never work. Even if he wasn’t their leader, he would try to make the lives of the Misfits hell. Then there were the concerns for the animals, many of them would die, regardless of their evacuation route. If the went to Sador, many of the ill and elderly would not be able to follow, and would fall prey to predators, and if they just hid in the mountains, there wouldn’t be enough food for them all, come wintertime. Though, what the beasts want to do, is up to them, humans cannot decide for them.

Miryum comes over, and says that maybe the rebellion is not the strike Maryon predicted, but if Malik does not become leader, he will cause havoc for the rebels, and possibly start a war between rebels. Later that night Miryum comes to Elspeth to inform her that the knights are ready to depart, and they will return before the magi depart, which is in three days. Miryum has decided to disguise the knights as a band of mercenaries, hired by a councilman, and they will make sure the people believe that story. As for Straaka, he has insisted to ride with the knights. But since he would stand out, he is to ride alone into the towns, but he wants to be close enough so he can protect her. Seriously Miryum I think Straaka, even given all the customs he is abiding by, is a perfect guy, and truly loves you, so maybe you should consider marrying him. Elspeth tells her to not cause trouble, because the last thing they want to be doing, is setting of the very strife predicted (which would be the worst thing ever). And that’s the thing with futuretelling, I never know whether the predictions are ones that are self-fulfilling in the way that predicting this event, causes it to happen, because someone tries to avoid it or do something about it. But hopefully these are one of those times, where that doesn’t happen.

As a secondary objective, the knights will be looking for Rushton. They will be asking for a trading Jack who seduced their master’s daughter, which alarms Elspeth! But the idea is a good one, even if Elspeth considers it to be a form of revenge for Straaka. And so the knights depart. There is still quite a few days until the rebellion begins, so even though things have started to heat up now, the real action won’t be for a while.

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