The Keeping Place – Chapter 17 – Part 2

Chapter Seventeen – Part Two

Miryum and the coercer-knights have just left Obernewtyn to go find out information about the rebellion, even if the landfolk don’t know anything, they will be able to get a sense of the mood in the Land. Also, while they are at it, they are going to look for Rushton, who still has not returned from his trip to Sutrium to meet with the rebels, and try to convince Domick to come back.

Left alone, Elspeth felt very tired, and she thought she should go to sleep, Angina had gone to Dragon straight after guildmerge, so that issue would not stop her from sleeping, but she just felt too ‘unsettled’ to sleep. She thought about Maruman, as he slept on her lap, and what he would say, when she told him they might have to leave Obernewtyn. He was getting old, and sleeping rough would do him no good. Elspeth mind always drifts from one thought to the next, as she thought of Kella, who would try to meet Domick on neutral ground once in Sutrium. She had been told to not make contact with the rebels, especially if that is why Rushton has not returned. Elspeth was thinking what Domick would say and do, when he saw Kella, but she dosed off.

Once again, Elspeth dreamt, this time, surprise, surprise, she dreamt of Ariel. She was walking along a road with a sense of urgency, and there he was, proudly saying that all roads lead to him. He would like to walk the road together, as he has many things he would like to ask her. Elspeth felt a sense of danger, and Ariel’s mouth then became full of sharp teeth. Elspeth ran, and something came after her, and knocked her down. She woke.

I wonder what is worse, dreaming of Ariel all the time, or being attacked by Dragon? Elspeth wondered whether Ariel would have anything to do with the forthcoming strife, and maybe he was sending the Herders to investigate them. It might be far-fetched, but who knows what Ariel is up to. Then Ceirwan entered with some breakfast, and as he opened the blinds, Elspeth felt foolish for worrying about a nightmare. But maybe it is equally foolish to ignore such a recurring dream. Ceirwan asks if she dreamed, and reminds her to write in the dreambook, otherwise Sarn, who is looking after the book for the farseekers, will be on her case. Elspeth has dreamed of Ariel four times now, surely that must be significant.

Elspeth asked Ceirwan if anyone succeeded in getting Kella’s owlet off of her shoulder, as she can’t really walk through Sutrium, unnoticed, with a baby owl. Unfortunately, nobody has succeeded, and it is likely it will have to be caged to stop it following her. However, there could be hope with Gavyn, who as we know, is unique, and has much skill with animals. Elspeth asks Ceirwan to get Tomash and Wila to talk to Seely to find out what she knows first hand. Ceirwan tells Elspeth that Fian is looking for her, just as he leaves, which means that he has translated that passage, and I can’t wait to see what it says! Elspeth felt a little guilty focusing on her own personal destiny, when Obernewtyn’s fate hung in the balance, but she has found from experience, that her own quest is linked to Obernewtyn, so all will work out.

Elspeth heads down to the kitchen, and finds Seely. Seely asks if Obernewtyn is about to be invaded, with a hint of accusation, that they were promised safety, and now they might be in danger. Seely has even heard talk of a rebellion on her journey to Obernewtyn, but she dismissed such talk, as it is fairly common. Elspeth explains that if the rebels win, it may be them who will come to Obernewtyn to attack, because they are ordinary people, who have lived listening to the lies and propaganda of the Herders, and grown up learning to hate Misfits, they are just as dangerous as Herders are. Even the comfort Elspeth tries to give to Seely, the girl still breaks down crying, believing it all to be bad news, and that nowhere is safe for her and Gavyn. She even questions whether she should have brought Gavyn here, and then thinks that they will not be able to leave, because they know of Obernewtyn. Elspeth tells her that she can leave, but leaves out that they will forget all about Obernewtyn. Seely makes up her mind that unless things get very bad, they will stay. Elspeth then asks her if she would be willing to help them, by telling them what she knows about the Herders and the Council.

At first Seely believes she doesn’t know anything, but Elspeth tries to tell her that living with a Councilman, and then Herders, would have left her with information, without even realising. Then she tells Seely that it is her knowledge of the way things work, that has allowed them to escape, not just Gavyn. That may be slightly exaggerating, and it was basically all Gavyn, but smart of Elspeth to use this tactic. Zarak comes over to help convince her to let them talk to her, even suggesting that she doesn’t have to remember, as they could use the coercers to help find the information. Zarak comforts her by saying that he was put through the same thing when he arrived (don’t know if that’s true) and it won’t hurt at all. Seely asks if it will be like what Gavyn does, which is visibly painful, but as Gavyn is a child, he can’t quite control his talent, like the coercers can.

Elspeth could see Ceirwan returning with Gavyn, who was being followed by Rasial, and also had Kella’s owlet with him. All Gavyn had to do to get the owlet with him, was pet it. For Kella, that was a tad upsetting, that the owlet didn’t really mind leaving her, but she is relieved that it has gone. It seems Maruman is the only creature that hasn’t fallen in love with Gavyn, even though he is a temperamental, old cat, I wonder if there is something more to it. Gavyn and Seely leave to go off and explore the farm. Javo comes over to give Elspeth something to taste, and it didn’t taste very nice, but Javo explains that it is a travelling cake, well it is something to eat that won’t spoil, but is nutritious, and won’t take up too much space.

Suddenly Elspeth feels a mental probe, that clumsily knocked into her mind shield. She asks it to identify itself, and finds it to be a young Beastspeaking guild candidate, Rori, who hadn’t chosen yet, because she could coerce with equal talent. Elspeth found out that they were in one of the fields planting, and they have found a dead bird, with a message. They think it might be one of the birds that Rushton took with him, and they weren’t sure what to do with it. The note is not from Rushton, but it is about him. It says that he will die if, but Rori’s mind falters, so Elspeth decides it best to find the girl in person and read then note herself. As Elspeth rushes to get to the farm, a million questions enter her head. Who sent the note? Was Rushton okay? Was this person trying to warn them, or were they trying to threaten them? Was Ariel somehow involved? The bird is dead, had it been lying their, with its message for days? And does this mean it is too late to save Rushton? Quite terrible to leave us hanging there, waiting to find out what the message says, but such is the way of the writer. And if you have read The Hunger Games you would have experienced that at the end of nearly EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER, which would have made ending there, very difficult.

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