The Stone Key – Chapter 9

Chapter Nine

Surprisingly Elspeth and Kevrik had managed to get themselves into Vos’ home without raising the alarm, all the while coercing whoever came in their path to make sure they didn’t notice Elspeth and later Zarak, Noviny and Khuria, trying to escape. They had even opened the door to the cell, when Zarak knocked Kevrik out. And as soon as Zarak sees Elspeth, he is very disappointed, even though that was exactly what he was told to do, be prepared to escape at any moment. And to be honest, Elspeth would have done exactly the same thing if she were trapped. I forgot that Darius and Wenda would also be prisoners, so that means that six of them will have to go unnoticed out of the house, and hopefully Kevrik will wake up and assist them. Elspeth delegates Zarak to make sure that everyone gets out alright, and that they make it to the wagon where Zade and Lo are waiting to whisk them away. But of course, they have to do this all without being noticed by someone who hasn’t been coerced, and that will be the challenge.

As for Elspeth she stayed with Kevrik waiting for him to revive, and she thought about waking him up herself, but decided that it was best not to delve into his mind. I believe Elspeth actually has decided to leave Kevrik there unconscious, in possibly an attempt to make sure he is not blamed or treated with suspicion about the escape, which is good for him, but he will be confused (but that is a good thing). Elspeth made it out without mishap, as did the others, and Gahltha was waiting with some news. Three men from Malik’s camp have arrived, and Gahltha has brought their horses on side, waiting for Elspeth’s orders.

She told one of them their plan of attack, and she laughed at Malik who never suspected that his horses might work against him. Elspeth just made it to the wagon before the men came out to leave. They nearly made it away, but Vos came out yelling for them to stop. Vos wasn’t very happy that Malik wasn’t coming, and urged them send word to him that he should come, but Malik’s men are just like Malik, and don’t really want to stand around listening to Vos, and tell him that Malik wants him to find the missing Misfit, and not worry about the wagon. Which is lucky, since it is tethered to horses and about to be used to escape.

But Vos seems to be on the warpath, and Elspeth was afraid that he would go and check on the ‘prisoners’, so she tried to remove Zarak’s demonband. It is locked, and the taint is so strong that Elspeth’s ‘standard’ powers can’t unlock it, so she draws upon her killing power to help her. Elspeth is slowly getting better at using its power, without allowing it to consume her and take control, or ‘waking’, which you would have to expect. I do wonder whether this power will be crucial later on in destroying the weaponmachines, and whether Elspeth will be ready to control the full power. But it also makes me wonder whether there are others out there with the killing power, we know that Jes, Elspeth’s brother, had the same power, and it was almost as if he was stronger than Elspeth since he was able to access the power without any real ‘training’ in standard Misfit powers. Thinking about Jes, I still want to know who this other child was that helped him out, is he at all important, or is he just a background character and best to be forgotten? My guess is that the Destroyer has to be able to do this too, so does Ariel have this ability? That would just be scary!

Elspeth has no energy to remove any other demonbands, but sets about to create a diversion so the others can get away. Where they will be going is the abandoned Herder cloister, who would think to look for them there! Elspeth sent them on their way, as she has ‘other matters to attend to’, what on earth is she talking about? Elspeth starts to create a diversion by using those men who took off their demonbands as the diversion. She causes them to think they can smell and see fire, which causes them to run off trying to remove these barrels of black powder which they think will explode. That can only mean they have gunpowder, but where did they get that? I guess the Herders have been very busy, does this mean they have guns? Or are they still unsure what to do with it, or do they just use it as an explosive? The ruckus causes pandemonium as the men try to deal with the ‘fire’ and ‘intruders’ all at the same time worry about the exploding barrels.

Unfortunately, men are found to have missing demonbands, and the five are rounded up. Vos realises what is going on, and understands that Elspeth is here trying to rescue her friends, without realising they are already gone. Elspeth tried to run, but quickly fell and was soon surrounded, which Elspeth may or may not have wanted, sometimes it is hard to tell, but she is trying hard to stop Gahltha from trying to save her. Vos arrives with Kevrik, who is wearing the demonband again. I cannot tell whether his loathing is real or just another façade, since they did knock him out so maybe he hates them, but he is trying to gain Vos’ favour by offering to kill her, and then suggesting they immediately go to Malik to show her to him. But Vos is scared of doing that, since Malik has told them only to come once they have sent word (clearly to make sure they are expected and the Herders aren’t around), so Kevrik (who clearly is on our side) suggests that Malik can’t possibly mean that he (Vos) should have to send word. He is very clever, and says that they are both chieftains so they are equal, and Vos can then show him that his own men had failed, whereas Vos’ men were successful in capturing the Misfit. Others around him tried to convince Vos otherwise, but this just made him even more stubborn and furious, so it was decided that they would go to Malik’s camp.

This is really dangerous, is this what Elspeth wanted? Does she want to go and see Malik, when he will recognise her and probably want to kill her? Vos told a vastly exaggerated story of her capture upon arrival, and didn’t get the praise he thought he deserved, as Malik reproaches him from ignoring his commands to send word. It seems Malik has decided it is high time to get rid of Vos and tell him how little he really means, and how little Malik cares about Saithwood and Vos’ ambition. Malik sends Vos away, but keeps Elspeth, who he full well recognises.

As soon as Vos is gone, Malik questions Elspeth, and quickly resorts to slapping and abusing her. Sorry, he didn’t wait for Vos to leave, which meant Elspeth had to pray that his horses would not intervene, since they knew she was Innle. And it seems Elspeth did give herself up to Malik deliberately, but I can’t see why this is a good plan. Vos was very surprised to find out that Elspeth was the mistress of Obernewtyn, but Malik doesn’t care what he is doing, and probably wants him to leave, so ignores him. What does Malik want from Elspeth? I understand the abuse is probably just because he hates her and wants to get revenge, but what’s with the questioning? Which quickly becomes a beating. Malik sends Vos away to release Noviny and Wenda, and thankfully they have no clue that they aren’t even there still. Malik sends one of his men with Vos to conduct an interrogation with the intention of killing Darius and torturing Zarak until Khuria talks and gives them everything, which makes me really happy that they aren’t there and won’t be subject to that. Vos is really concerned about the repercussions for killing Darius and the possibility that he will be implicated and brought up to face charges, which Malik doesn’t care about. Maybe Vos you should have thought about this before you got into bed with Malik and before you started oppressing your citizens.

With Vos gone Malik can deal with Elspeth more personally, though Elspeth is busy feeling the drain on her energies as her body tries to heal itself, a neat trick, but it means she has no resource to lean upon in an emergency. Elspeth was too busy thinking about her pains, that she didn’t realise that one of Malik’s men got up behind her, and when she was ordered to stand. A demonband was placed on her head. Well, won’t that be a nasty experience for her, trapped in her own mind with no chance of getting out. Even if she was at full power, she wouldn’t be able to get out, since she wouldn’t be able to unlock the band, or remove it, and smashing it wouldn’t help. So she is truly trapped in her own mind, like everyone else. I guess she didn’t see that coming, but how will she get away from Malik, and more disconcertingly, what will Malik do to her?


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