The Keeping Place – Chapter 21

Chapter Twenty-One

Elspeth did not sleep until Maruman came into her chamber, he was getting old, but still woke her up when Angina was getting tired and Dragon was getting restless. I wonder if Elspeth is correct in assuming Maruman was wrong when he said she was not dreaming, he is a very intelligent creature, and he usually says what the right thing, even if Elspeth doesn’t understand what he is talking about, if she understood, she would see it is correct. We skip forward a day or two, just before Elspeth is to depart to Sawlney, the night before actually. She was sleeping, and sank into a memory from the mindstream, excellent we are still going to see some more about Cassy!

We are in a memory of when Cassy painted one of the Agyllians, for the logo of the Govamen department that focuses on research of Misfit abilities. Cassy was absorbed in her painting, and then had a stunned look on her face. Elspeth opens up her mind, and she finds that the Agyllian, who is actually Atthis, is speaking to cassy. Cassy cannot believe it! She does not know of her power, but heard Atthis previously, Elspeth also realises that it isn’t specifically Atthis, but is an ancestor of the bird, the Elder of the Eldar. It almost sounds as if the Agyllian is now able to communicate with Cassy because of experiments the Govamen have done on it, but I’m not sure. Interesting to think that it is only the Govamen that allowed Agyllians to talk to humans, if it is true. The Agyllian also used its powers to make sure Cassy wanted to paint the bird, so they could talk. The Agyllian needs her help, there are others in this facility, humans, who need to escape. The Misfits that were taken by the Govamen from the Reichler Clinic.

Cassy cannot believe that she is telepathic, and she was even tested by the Reichler Clinic, but the results showed she was ‘normal’. But clearly not. So the Misfits that were stolen, had no family to make sure nobody would miss them, clever, but devious. Interestingly, the Elder says that most of them were black. I don’t recall hearing that Cassy was black, and then she later says she has a ‘rich white daddy’, but I do find it interesting that racism continues even in this future. That black people, were still impoverished, because they weren’t allowed to be educated and get work, like everyone else could.

Cassy, speaking of her father, gets quite emotional, and the Agyllian comments that her anger, burns it (not sure if a male or female). Cassy was lucky to not live in the ‘rim slums’ and she is right in saying that for some reason nobody does anything about the poor and the disadvantaged, even though, ‘civilisation has come so far’. She makes a good point that it is almost like the leaders want the slums, so they can feel good about how much stuff, and how better off they are. Cassy asks about the prisoners, and the Agyllian says they are being tested on, just like the Agyllians. The Elder wants Cassy to tell a specific person that the Misfits are here, and nobody else, otherwise they will be killed. Cassy will have to speak to the other Misfits, if she is to find out how to contact this woman. The Agyllian knows that Cassy will not be brought back to see it ever again. The Agyllian tells Cassy that she can talk to the other Misfits using her mind, but Cassy is doubtful. Unfortunately, Petr Masterton arrives, and announces that their time is up, and drags Cassy away.

Cassy puts on all her charm to try and ask Petr for another day with the bird. But he says that tomorrow representatives from the World Council are going to arrive, and will want to see the bird. Cassy flatters Petr further by saying what an important place this must be if they can get the World Council here, and slyly asks if there is other parts to their operation. Petr says the birds are an important aspect of something very important. Cassy points out that Petr used to say the birds were pointless, and he says that the birds are part of a long term experiment, and are the result of cloning, and have unique frontal lobes, where paranormal abilities lie. One drawback is the bird doesn’t reproduce very well (like pandas) so is on the verge of extinction, I guess the Great White saved them, as humans no longer encroached on their habitats, and didn’t hunt them. Other birds, were subject to further genetic modification, but they went too far and they died. Cassy packs up her drawing tools, and Maruman interrupts to say thatAngina is tiring, and Dragon is getting restless, and she should wake.

We skip forward again, and are now travelling to Sawlney for the meeting with the rebels. I guess nothing is really happening now, so we are skipping to the important bits, so it is a change from the beginning where it was action after action. Elspeth stops at a roadside tavern for a glass of juice and a bit to eat. The owner asks Elspeth if she knew of a huge troupe that had been past recently, referring to the magi, Elspeth plays dumb. The woman says she almost thought them to be Twentyfamily, and mentions the high honour of being chosen to perform at the Councilman’s daughter’s bonding. All of her patrons were amazed by the magi when the performed, and the town of Arandelft were agog form their performance too. It is excellent to hear that the magi have been so well received by people, hopefully they can start to change attitudes.

Elspeth rode off, just as a group of soldierguards arrived at the tavern, which is good timing, since that would have been annoying if they had entered, when Elspeth was eating. As Elspeth approached Sawlney, the roads started to fill will people, so Elspeth used a touch of coercion to make sure they could slip through without trouble, as Elspeth and Gahltha ambled through the crowds, both of them searched for information. Elspeth found no indication anyone had seen Rushton, and the most interesting thing she found were two thieves looking to steal someone’s purses. Elspeth hoped they found a traitor in the midst of the rebels who had captured Rushton, and if they didn’t they would reveal the kidnapping and see how everyone takes it.

Traffic slowed to a crawl as they neared Sawlney, and traders had set up stalls on the sides of the road to sell marked up food and water, and wares. There were some grumbles about the speed, and a fight even broke out, interestingly one of Malik’s men were involved (he had no thoughts about Rushton, and Elspeth could see a lot of hatred in his mind). Elspeth decided to let her mind rest from probing, and turned to thinking. I’ll continue tomorrow.

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