The Keeping Place – Chapter 20

Chapter Twenty

After Brydda’s visit, Elspeth was able to keep up her determination to find Rushton and to protect Obernewtyn, and threw herself into achieving these goals. Firstly, she talked to the guildleaders and all other people possible, and found that the desire to remain at Obernewtyn was universal, and really that shouldn’t be a surprise. Even though another guildmerge had not been called, so no decision had been made, the focus shifted away from evacuating to Sador, to retreating to the higher mountains. The Sador evacuation was still part of the protection plan, to keep up the illusion that they have left, but everyone wants to stay, and that’s what they’ll try to do. Gevan admits that nobody will come close to Dragon’s illusions, but they will be able to create a believable illusion to make people see Obernewtyn as damaged, and not worth being taken over. The Empath guild also lend their support to the illusion with a proposal to send out feelings of unease around the building. They also make a good point that they have to create somewhere near Obernewtyn to pretend they were living there, as Obernewtyn was ruined.

The coercer knights continued to look for Rushton but only heard rumours of a rebellion that were normal, and talk of Henry Druid, even though he has not been around these parts for many years. Supplies were organised, and Grufyyd made extra wagons for the Sador ‘exodus’. The Futuretellers were hard at work delving into their minds, but all they came up with was a feeling of danger and betrayal. Or they dreamed of Matthew in the strange red land.

Once a guildmerge had been called, Elspeth was relieved that everyone agreed that they should make a number of safe houses around the Land. They would like a farm in the highlands, and a place like they had in Sutrium previously. It is a good idea, so they can evacuate some people out of Obernewtyn if need be, and have some places where Misfits are actually safe. Roland makes a good suggestion to slowly buy up remote holdings to create a network of ‘havens’ and Garth reminds them that there is always the city under Tor, which is true, nobody has really given that any thought. Though moving there would be challenging having to go across the public road. Even if Garth’s motives are for exploration, it is still a good suggestion. A beastmerge was called with Rasial in charge, as Arva and Gahltha were spending time in the wild with their foal, and the beasts were still concerned about beast sales and gelding, but they had to admit that with the rebellion now was not the time to really act. But the beasts have been planning things, when the rebels came up, Sallah (Brydda’s horse) and Avra were discussing ways of sabotage for the gelding/beast sale places, but Alad was not privy to such details.

The farseekers finally got a variation of the whiplash mindmeld to work, after many hours of trial. Though Elspeth has been too busy, so has Ceirwan with other matters to get involved. The morning the magi were about to leave, a note from Brydda arrived saying the rebels agreed to meet in Sawlney and see the Misfits. No trace of Rushton had been found. Elspeth though of Matthew and how she would never have found him unless Daffyd arrived (even though they still lost him), and she wonders where Daffyd is now. Is he any closer to finding Gilaine and Matthew? He would be interested in their dreams of Matthew in the Red Land, but I wonder if he might have his own dreams of Gilaine and Lidgebaby given their strong connection.

Elspeth saw the three magi wagons prepare to leave Obernewtyn, farewelled by a small crowd. There were 10 magi, three empath musicians, and Kella, Freya and  Ceirwan. Enough time had been planned for their journey in case Bergold stopped them along the way to ask (more like demand) a performance. They would stop in Arandelft and stay there and perform before moving to Sawlney for the big affair. The rebel meeting would take at the end of the moonfair, just when festivities were at their peak. The three wagons moved off, and the group started singing just as a troupe of Gypsies would, until it could no longer be heard, as they travelled away from Obernewtyn.

Elspeth spots Gavyn playing with a bird, and Alad comes over to say that he is a very special child. He is an empath, coercer, beastspeaker, which is an unusual combination, but he is able to make any animal do his bidding, which is quite a lot of power. Hopefully he is not evil. Eventually everyone leaves to get on with their own things, and Elspeth is left alone. Not long in solitude, Elspeth spots Fian running towards them. He had hoped to see the magi off, but is too late. The mountain survey took longer than expected. They found two large caves close together that they could use for refuge. They even found a small cave with an opening to the sky (not really a cave then) with a hotspring which keeps the cave warm and damp. These caves are over a day away, more if with supplies, which makes it a bit of a journey. But the remoteness is a good thing, keeps prying eyes away. And it just goes to show how vast the Land is, and how far the mountains go for this to even be an option.

Elspeth reminds Fian that he was looking for her a few days ago, and he remembers about the gadi. He doesn’t have it now, but will bring it tonight. Right now he has to get back to the Tecknoguild cave as they are having a meeting about the ‘Hide’.

At supper there were many empty cars with the knights and magi away, so people were feeling a bit dejected. Some empaths decided to play some music, and it brightened the mood instantly. Elspeth was sitting with Zarak and Aras, and was explaining that when she went to meeting with the rebels, they would need to lead the farseekers. There really wouldn’t be that much to do with so few people about, but someone has to be in charge just in case. Zarak however suggests that they leave a council of farseekers in charge, since he and Aras were working hard on the whiplash merge, and that the job of leadership would be better if it were shared out. He has changed! Elspeth agrees, and Zarak already has a list of people he thinks should be on the council. The two wards have been getting close, and Elspeth hopes that Aras, who looks like she has feelings for Zarak, isn’t going to fall into unrequited love, as Zarak is basically taken with another girl already. Since Dragon and her unrequited love of Matthew, Elspeth was wary.

Not all much is happening right now, I guess it is a calm before the storm, but things are progressing. What I can’t wait for is the gadi translation! Hopefully we will get that really soon.


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