The Keeping Place – Chapter 31

Chapter Thirty-One

The next day Elspeth, Dameon, Gavyn, Roland and Zarak departed for the White Valley. I guess this will be a time for Elspeth to see the Gypsies again, and see their monument, but also to take a look at whatever Garth was hinting at. Dameon joins the group because he really just wants some good sleep, as his dreams are haunted by Dragon. Her dragon form is causing him to have nightmares, involving Matthew. Dameon tells Elspeth that he dreams as he lives, and that is without seeing, which is a question I have often wondered. His nightmares recur, so he has gotten to know a high level of detail about his whereabouts. He is in some sort of stone quarry, but he can still smell the sea. Whips are cracked, and all around Dameon are workers being pushed on by their masters.

He tries to move about, but is herded as a group down a steep trail. In his dream, even he is whipped, which is actually very interesting. Eventually the path leads them underground, then there is a roaring of a beast, and then he wakes up. This beast is not Dragon, and strangely Dameon cannot feel any emotion from the beast when it roars. He wonders whether it is just a symbolic creature, but I’m not so sure.

Elspeth thinks about Gavyn, who is riding on Avra. The boy is very strange, it is almost as if he is a beast. Indeed Avra’s foal treats him as another horse, and treats every other human with suspicion. With Seely gone, Gavyn has no human connection. And I really wonder why the beasts don’t think he is Innle. I guess Innle could lead the beasts to freedom, which I think Gavyn would be able to do, since all the beasts love him. But maybe Innle makes humans allow the beasts to be free, which Elspeth would be able to do, but really that would be Dardelan and his laws. The whole beast mythology is an interesting aspect of this story, and right now, out of Elspeth’s ‘three quests’, this is the one I least understand. ‘Leading the beasts to freedom’, could have so many meanings, and we don’t even know if Elspeth actually is Innle. And how do all these beasts know that Elspeth is Innle? But I really do think that Gavyn is going to become really important in the future. I also wonder, what will he be like when he grows up completely? Will he almost be like tarzan?

This is the first ‘expedition’ that has occurred since the rebellion, so even though the Misfits aren’t going to be persecuted by any governmental power, things are still in a weird state. What will Landfolk think of Misfits and their abilities? And what will happen when these abilities start getting used? People will forever see Misfits as a threat, and their abilities highlight that. Since people will think that they will be used against them, so people will be both fearful and jealous. Though if the Misfits take a proactive stance, and police themselves, and show that they won’t be misused, people might come to accept them. There is of course benefit for the un-Talented such as the healing and possibly farseeking, so maybe if the Misfits show their value, people won’t become resentful.

They reach the mountain late in the afternoon, with nobody about. They decide that they might as well go into the caves now, Zarak and Dameon will try to find the Gypsies and invite them to a feast. As soon as Elspeth makes her way down to the city, Garth is there to welcome her. There seem to be more machines around, and the three same divers have just come up from their latest dive. Elspeth asks why he didn’t just bring the monument back to Obernewtyn, since Elspeth can’t really just race around, but this would be impossible. Elspeth had assumed it was out of the water, but this isn’t exactly the case. They have managed to break of a section of it, but it is vital that Elspeth sees it. Garth leads her to this fragment. It appears to be ice, but is actually glass, and not just any glass, glass fashioned into a face. But not just any face, ELSPETH’S FACE! What is going on? How can her face be there?

I guess those questions would mystify everyone else apart from Elspeth. It clearly is one of the signs that Kasanda has left. And since Kasanda foresaw Elspeth, she would know what she looked like. The full monument is in the foyer of the Reichler Clinic building. They have been so far unable to get into the basement of the building, and that might be impossible. The thing is, there is an airlock in a foyer, and once that is gone, things are likely to collapse and fill with water. So the monument will be destroyed. Elspeth wants to find out more about this monument, so asks one of the divers. Apparently it is an enormous statue, and it is the first thing you see once you climb the stairs into the foyer. There are many beasts carved into the monument, which is interesting, because does that hint at Elspeth’s part as Innle?

There were words on the monument: ‘Though the transparency of now, the future’. Which makes very little sense. Elspeth decides that she must see the monument. And she is prepared to dive down there, right now! Garth is alarmed! She isn’t trained! But, the thing could be gone at any moment, and Elspeth has to see it. Zadia, one of the divers, offers to take her. Roland is the only one actually concerned for Elspeth, and as the Master of Obernewtyn, she can’t afford to risk her life. But as Master of Obernewtyn, she can do what she wants. For once Garth is truly distressed. So this is it! Elspeth dons the scuba suit, and is given a weight belt. She gets goggles and then the breathing tube.

Elspeth enters the water with Zadia, and they prepare to dive. Until Zadia was satisfied that Elspeth was breathing normally through the tube, they did not move. Then, Zadia dived, and Elspeth followed. And that is where I will leave things. It might be a few days until this is continued, since I am almost finished with The Casual Vacancy, and want to wrap that up over the next few days. After that, it’s full steam ahead onto the ending of The Keeping Place, and then onto The Stone Key!

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