The Keeping Place – Chapter 27 – Part Two

Chapter Twenty-Seven – Part Two

Malik’s betrayal is fresh in the mind’s of all Misfits, but at the moment, Swallow and Elspeth are having quality time talking to each other. We have just learnt that Swallow is now the ‘King of the Gypsies’ or the D’rekta, and that his people once were in the Red Queen’s Land, where Matthew and Gilaine are. Apparently the D’rekta at the time had a vision of something and then travelled to the Land with some of her people, carrying a child, whose father was the brother of the Red Queen. Swallow continues to believe Elspeth is involved in these ancient promises, but no more will be said on that, until some time in the future.

However, Elspeth decides to ask Swallow about Kasanda. He says that he hasn’t, but he could be lying. Elspeth explained that she was a woman who carved stone, which Swallow says, could be an indication that the D’rekta could have taught her how to carve, since carving was a great skill of the D’rekta. The D’rekta had learnt it during the Beforetime, but perfected it, in the Red Queen’s Land with their stonemasons. The D’rekta taught stonecarving while she was in the Land, she was a master carver. Elspeth struggles to compose herself, as she wonders whether Kasanda and the D’rekta are the same people! Kasanda was a Gypsy! That would make so much sense, since she has been in the Land, has been in the Red Queen’s Land, has been in Sador.

Swallow misunderstands, and thinks Elspeth cannot believe that a woman could carve stone. He explains that it was once common for women to carve, and that the D’rekta wasn’t just skilled with stone, but glass and jewels also. She taught her skills to her people, which allowed the Gypsies to make a deal with the Council. Apparently Swallow doesn’t know the name of this D’rekta, or doesn’t want to tell Elspeth. Elspeth has to struggle to contain herself and not ask questions that would make Swallow suspicious or make him become silent on things connected to the ancient promises. Elspeth asks what happened to her after she came to the Land and negotiated with the Council. What is shocking is that the D’rekta did not negotiate the safe passage, though a statue that marks the pact is her work. Which is basically the third line from the door!

Elspeth asks why she didn’t make the negotiation, Swallow replies that she had a vision that took her away. Elspeth is disappointed then, because she thinks that means she wasn’t taken by the slavers like she had thought for Kasanda. But, to the contrary, Swallow is surprised, and asks how did she know that. Elspeth has to choose her words carefully, as she has been warned by Atthis from revealing too much about her quest, and simply says that she has had dreams. As for how her vision took her, there is some debate. The slavers took her while she walked alone on the beach, but the day before, she had told them that she would go on a long journey, from which she would never return. She urged them to obey the ancient promises to help her vision. The D’rekta’s son argued that she knew that she would be taken, and knew that she had to. The son took the role as D’rekta, and made the pact with the Council. Swallow cannot tell Elspeth where Kasanda’s carvings are in the Land, but admits that they still exist.

He does however tell her that Kasanda’s son (let’s assume the D’rekta is Kasanda) was born on the west coast. Elspeth then realises that Swallow is a direct descendant of the D’rekta, meaning he has Kasanda’s blood in his veins. Elspeth now believes it must be him that travels to Sador for the fifth sign. Swallow can help Elspeth no longer, she he cannot reveal such ancient and protected secrets, especially now he is the leader. Swallow asks what Elspeth is going to do now, and all she can say is that she needs to help the other Misfits across the Land trying to fight with the rebels. Swallow and the Gypsies are not concerned about the rebellion, and believe that if the rebels do take over, they will just make another agreement with them. The funeral fires for the horses and beastspeakers were ready to be lit.

It is time for Elspeth to leave, but not without thanking Swallow for his assistance. She however asks if they could take the wounded back to Obernewtyn, he agrees, but says that maybe one day, he will have something to ask of her. Elspeth had thought she would ride with Miryum and Gevan to Sutrium, but Miryum had vanished with Straaka’s body during the night, some believe she is going to Sador, to bury him, the way he wanted. Kella will take Miryum’s place, as she has done all she can for Angina, and Darius is more than capable of keeping him stable on their journey. Lina will also accompany the group.

Once they leave the White Valley and reach the Brown Haw Rises, Elspeth tries to find Ceirwan, and she is a little scared of using her powers again after they were so destroyed. He immediately wants to know where they have been, he saw Malik’s group ride past ages ago, but it was too quick for him to figure out what was going on and make sense of their thoughts. Elspeth quickly explains that yes people died but in essence Malik betrayed them. It is so unfortunate that there will be some rebels who will see this all as just an unfortunate accident, but they have to know that Malik did this on purpose!

Elspeth asks about the rest of the rebellion. The soldierguard camp was taken smoothly, and it was now a prison. Elii’s rebels who took the camp, rode to meet the others, before taking Sutrium. Vos’s group arrived later, and the reason why Elspeth couldn’t reach Khuria is because he got knocked out by ‘accident’, and he has been recovering in Saithwood. The rebels have been able to take over the three Coucnilmen’s holdings in Sutrium, with only two wounded. One of the camps and the Councilcourt were both taken without a hitch, the rest of the targets he is not sure about. The Cloister has been locked up, and nobody has moved in or out for over a day, suggesting the Faction knew about the rebellion and are holing themselves up.

An hour later they met up with Ceirwan and sent Freya back to Obernewtyn to let the others know what has been going on. They approached Sutrium at sunset. The streets were clearly deserted, even the gates were unmanned, which is slightly concerning. They decide to ride to the Councilcourt where the rebels have set up their command centre. On their way, many a curtain twitched at the sound of hoofbeats, and the plague notices, which looked authentic, were clearly visible. Elspeth tried to contact Zarak, but it would not connect, though that is not a major concern in Sutrium. Elspeth was about to try to locate Tomash when Gevan pointed out that there weren’t even any guards to the Councilcourt. Something must be up.

Brydda’s horse, Sallah comes over to ask the beasts to join them for a beast meeting. Sallah also asks for Elspeth to make sure that the rebels put some effort into protecting beasts, but if Malik can’t accept Misfits, how on earth could he accept beasts? They climbed to reach the door of the Councilcourt when it opened. It was Dameon! He is back! Where did he come from? He embraces her, and tells her that he knows about Rushton, and that he would never let something keep him away from her.

I did not see that coming! But what is going on? Where are the rebels?

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