The Keeping Place – Chapter 30 – Part Two

Chapter Thirty – Part Two

So the Misfits are retreating back to Obernewtyn. Well not retreating, Elspeth has ordered everyone to return under the pretence of allowing Rushton to heal in the best place. In reality, the Agyllians have ordered her back to ensure her quest can be completed. So they are ready to go, Rushton is in a carriage, being cared for by Kella. She wasn’t too happy leaving, but agreed to since she was the only person would could help Rushton. Once they get to Obernewtyn, she won’t want to hang around too long, as this healing centre has become her focus, not Obernewtyn. That, and hoping that Domick will be found, just as Rushton has been. Which is a good question, where is Domick? Was he with Rushton? Did he kidnap him? But I also wonder whether Kella leaving Obernewtyn would have an impact on the Agyllians warning, whether every Misfit has to be there until everything is alright, or whether they just need to all go now, and then they can leave again. And what if Misfits are not quite at Obernewtyn, like in the tecknoguild caves or under Tor?

It is now, for the first time, Elspeth and us really consider what life will be like for Misfits. With the burnings now over, the Misfits are ‘free’ to wander around the Land. So will people want to stay at Obernewtyn? What is Obernewtyn’s future going to look like? Elspeth is doing everything she can to distract herself from Rushton’s condition. A really important question is who actually took Rushton? And why? Why would they want the Misfits to join the rebellion? And will we ever find out? Does Rushton even know? Was it even about the rebellion? Or was crushing Obernewtyn via Rushton the main purpose of the kidnap? Though there is still the question if Ariel is involved.

The trip takes no time for us, and Rushton is immediately taken to the Healer Hall. The Gypsies, who took the injured back to Obernewtyn, had immediately left, even though Elspeth had wanted them to stay. I guess they really don’t like hanging around. Apparently Obernewtyn made them uncomfortable, I wonder why. Obernewtyn had been left in the dark about the rebellion since Zarak who was the messenger was stuck in Saithwood. Remember Miryum? Oh yeah, that was chapters ago! Well she is said to have gone to Sador, but nobody knows. I guess since Elspeth is in shock, time seems to fly past. They hold a guildmerge, where Gevan tells everyone the events of the last few days. That’s right it has only been a few days!

He reads out Dardelan’s temporary laws, but we don’t really get to find out what they are. Either that means Elspeth doesn’t care, or maybe Isobelle Carmody didn’t want to have to write these laws, and have people think that’s what she would want. At least right now, nobody is racing off away from Obernewtyn. There is still the west coast to contend with, Rushton who needs to be healed, and those who need to heal from the White Valley. So nothing has really changed. Angina was beginning to heal, and Dameon spent much of his time by his side. Dragon was still in her coma, and since Angina couldn’t sing to her, that meant nighttime was dangerous once again. Maruman had to constantly protect her, but even so, Elspeth had to have her fatigue drained away every day to survive.

As the days progressed, and Elspeth could hear talk of normal, everyday things again, the rebellion and all that had happened began to feel like a dream. And it always happens to us. After a nice holiday, you feel as if it never really happened once you get back home, left with only memories. Even once you finish a book, you feel a bit numb, thinking it is all over. But this numbing for Elspeth is serious, as she is sliding into depression. The fact that her return to Obernewtyn has resulted in nothing, makes her feel under-whelmed. The urgency that Maruman gave his warning, it made her and me feel like something would happen straight away, that her arrival would do something, but so far, nothing.

But at the root of her depression, lies Rushton. So far nothing has really changed with him either, and every time Elspeth sees him, he looks just like Dragon in a coma. And the lack of sleep doesn’t help her heal herself. Roland was optimistic about healing Rushton, with the heap of a futureteller, delving deep into Rushton’s mind. But right now, nothing can be done until he wakes up. The sleepseal should have worn off already, but with a ravaged mind, who knows what it will do. Roland muses that he wishes to speak to Darius, the beast healer, about Rushton. Someone had neglected to tell Elspeth that the Gypsies were still in the White Valley, and Roland wants to go down to see him soon. The Gypsies are building a monument for the Misfits who died because of Malik. That feels like an eternity ago for Elspeth.

Roland explains why Darius is such a good healer. He doesn’t just heal the body, but the mind as well. In beasts, the spirit is closely related to the body, so if the spirit is damaged, the body will never heal. And this applies to humans, but to a lesser degree. Hopefully if they can try to heal Rushton’s mind, it will translate to physical changes. Roland casually mentions that Gavyn actually foresaw that Seely was in danger. Which is interesting, since no futureteller foresaw anything of the sort. I guess having a bond with Seely allowed Gavyn to have a truedream about her. Apparently Seely was hiding from ‘the bad men’, but we can’t really tell what he means. But the good news is that he knows that she is okay, and hasn’t really given her another thought. He is a very strange child.

Roland has some suggestions for Dardelan’s laws, and Kella will take them to him, since she is the only one returning to Sutrium in the foreseeable future. Elspeth hasn’t actually made time to read them, so I guess when they were read out to her, she was in a daze. The beasts have approved the laws, but want tough laws detailing what humans can do with beasts. But they actually can see just how precarious Dardelan’s position is, and how implementing such laws would be challenging, even at the best of times. Their first desire is that no animals are physically or mentally abused, and then eventually they would want all animals freed. They would also want no animal to be raised for food, but are willing to wait. The real thing that would help their cause would be to teach children the fingerspeech and how to understand beasts. Once people find out and accept that beasts are intelligent, it would make it easier for them to come around and treat them with respect. Roland suggests Elspeth join him when he goes to see the Gypsies. I think that would be for the best. Even though she doesn’t really want to leave Obernewtyn just in case, but I think she needs to, who knows, this might be why she needed to come back.

Elspeth thinks of the last of the gadi messages. About seeking a sign, but she can’t figure out why that would be at Obernewtyn. She is supposed to see out someone who does not about the thing she is looking for. Which isn’t exactly easy. It sounds as if the person is alive, but who knows? She is supposed to go somewhere she hasn’t been before, but Obernewtyn is one place she has been a lot. And I don’t think a literal definition would make sense. At least Elspeth realises that Maruman didn’t say the last sign would actually be in Obernewtyn, so maybe she will find where she needs to go whilst back in Obernewtyn. She has always been where she has needed to be in the past, and I don’t see what that would change now.

Just so happens, the sign does come. In the form of a letter slipped under her door from one of the Tecknoguild. Apparently Garth has found a monument. A monument that is under Tor and actually under water. If she wants to see it, she had better come soon, because it will surely amaze her. Well there we have it, this is why she has had to come back. Garth sounds as if the monument might become inaccessible soon. So can’t wait!

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