The Keeping Place – Chapter 23 – Part Two

Hello everyone! I’d just like to say thankyou to everyone who has come to my site and has been reading and posting comments and liking, it means a lot to me. I’ve now had over 3150 views, with nearly 1000 of them coming from this and last month! Which is incredible! Seriously, incredible! Part of this increase in views, is probably because I started blogging about The Casual Vacancy as soon as it came out, and made an effort to blog about it every day, as well as keeping The Keeping Place going. I have been lucky enough to have enough time to do that recently, but in the next 3-4 weeks, time will be stretched, meaning I will have to alternate between The Casual Vacancy and The Keeping Place each day, to make sure I can keep up with other commitments, but still blog and cover both stories. Once The Casual Vacancy is complete, I will return to blogging The Keeping Place and the rest of the Obernewtyn Chronicles on a ‘full time’ basis. I do have plans on what I will be doing after The Obernewtyn Chronicles, but since that is quite a while away (and I don’t know if I’ll finish The Sending and be able to move onto the final book The Red Queen or not, since the release date is unknown) I won’t release those plans, but I am excited for them. Once again, thankyou!

Tl;dr Starting today, posts about The Keeping Place and The Casual Vacancy will alternate daily

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Chapter Twenty-Three – Part Two

Having just come back from the rebels’ meeting, Gevan got the fire going, and they had some tea (who was the idiot who decide to have tea the drink, and tea which is dinner/supper? Makes things complicated!). Gevan has to admit that he is impressed by the rebels, they seem to want the best for the Land, and no longer want to be the dictators of the land (well Malik might). Those Battlegames changed everything, and it was all because of the Misfits (who wouldn’t have been involved at all, if for an intricate web of events leading them to Brydda). Elspeth can see that if the rebels win, life should be normal. But there still is the prediction from Maryon about strife which is lurking in the background. Gevan points out that maybe it isn’t Obernewtyn specifically, but the mountains in general, and he has a good point. They tend to take things personally, but it might not be Obernewtyn itself at threat. Gevan also suggests that they start looking for Domick as well as Rushton. His disappearance is suspicious given Rushton’s, and they may be linked. Possibly the same kidnapper took them both.

Elspeth feels the urge to return to Obernewtyn, so they can start organising who to send and where, that is of course that the guildmerge don’t just refuse Elspeth’s actions. Gevan agrees Elspeth should get going, and suggests they plan a meeting for the final decisions when he returns, a day later. Elspeth left the same way as she came, winding around the perimeter. The moonfair was drawing to a close, but there were about two times as many people about compared to when they came to Sawlney, so it was hard going to leave. And many folks were under the influence of alcohol and ferments, blocking paths, and causing Elspeth to turn around and backtrack. Once Elspeth had passed through the outskirts, the roads thinned of people. Not many travellers were out at night, given the threat of robbers, and since dusk was approaching, the roads were largely deserted.

As Elspeth rode back to Obernewtyn she thought of the rebellion, and how she could hardly believe it would happen in a week. Though the plans sounded strong enough, Elspeth knew from experience that things rarely went as expected, and the best plans were thrown into chaos by an infinite number of unforeseeable things. And since Maryon had foreseen trouble, the rebellion might not be as smooth as they hope. Elspeth urged Gahltha to gallop, and then once he was tired, went along at his own pace. After a few hours, Elspeth decided to stop at a roadside tavern. Elspeth didn’t stay long, as the tavern was full of ‘dodgy characters’ eye lustfully at her. Elspeth took her purchases on the road for another hour before stopping to eat.

Elspeth thought of Rushton and shed a few tears at the uselessness of it all, before falling into a sleep. Elspeth slept deeply, and she dreamed. She actually dreamed of Matthew, something I don’t think she, personally has done before. He was walking along a red earth street bordered by buildings built from red stone. Elspeth hardly recognised Matthew, it had been a few years after all, and she was impressed with his muscled physique. Well being a slave does mean you have to work hard, and I guess this is the ‘reward’ for such effort. He seemed to be searching for someone or something, and he looked fearful that he was being followed. He stopped outside a door, and knocked.

A girl beckoned him inside, and Elspeth would have gasped if she were able to, because the girl was undeniably Gilaine, Henry Druid’s daughter. Elspeth opened her senses (strange to think she can do that in a dream) to hear her greet him telepathically. Matthew apologises, but she says do not worry, and asks if he was followed. Matthew tells her about a carving he saw (we heard about this from the dream book) where he saw a woman, the lost Queen of these people. The current rulers are the puppets for their Gadfian masters. So are they in Gadfia, or nearby? Gilaine says that maybe Salamander rules the Gadfians. She knows about the story that the Red Queen will return with her sceptre and drive away the slave masters. Even though Matthew is sure there are enough slaves here to drive away the slave masters themselves, the people will not act until the Red Queen returns.

The Red Queen vanished, along with her daughter, some say Salamander took them, others say the Gadfians. Gilaine thinks the current leaders just killed them both, and let everyone believe they could return. Matthew has a strange look on his face, and asks how old the daughter was when she was taken, she was five, and that was answered by a woman named Bila. Something terrible has happened to Bila, her bondmate was taken to ‘the pit’, where nobody returns. Matthew sends to Gilaine that this cannot go on and they need to have an uprising, but Gilaine explains that these people will not do so until the Red Queen comes, because it says so in a prophecy. Matthew tells her that it is only a matter of time until he and Jow (Daffy’d brother) and all the others are sent to the pit. They do not know what happens in the pit, but there is word of the beast of the pit, Entina, that devours them.

Before the Red Queen was taken, there was no slavery, there was no Entina. When she returns, it is hoped that Entina will disappear. A bell rings out, and Bila tells Matthew they have to serve their masters, and tell him he has to go now. Elspeth wakes up. Well this is interesting. There is a beast called Entina that devours people? Is it real beast, or is it just a cover for the slave masters to kill the useless people? And who is this Red Queen, and where is she? And will Matthew be safe?

Elspeth wakes to find it is morning, she curses herself for sleeping, but Gahltha says that she needed sleep. They return to the road, and Elspeth thinks of her dream, and wonders what a strange coincidence for Matthew to find the others. One good thing is that, even though they are slaves, they seem to be able to move quite freely. Elspeth wonders about the others that were taken with Gilaine, what about Lidgebaby, is he still alive, still controlling the others? He would be a child now, what is he doing with his immense powers? Elspeth wonders if Matthew ever dreams of them, or of a dragon, or is Dragon’s coma only causing them to dream of him? We could only find out if we could talk to him, pity you can’t do that in your dreams.

It is almost trancendent for Elspeth to think about how many different aspects of her life she has. With her quest, and Rushton, and the rebellion, and Matthew, there are so many different things going on at the same time. But Elspeth resolves that until the rebellion was over and Rushton was back as Master of Obernewtyn, she would have to wait to explore these dreams and find the signs.

Well that is Part Two complete, we are two thirds of the way through The Keeping Place, and things certainly are set for a fast paced, riveting, suspenseful home stretch. The rebellion is just days away, and the Misfits are going to be right in the thick of it, so it will be interesting to see how it is played out. And there is still poor Dragon, is she ever going to wake? And will they find Rushton? At least they don’t have to evacuate anymore…

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