The Stone Key – Chapter 10

Chapter Ten

Seriously Elspeth, did you not expect to become trapped inside your own head with a demonband on it? I thought it would be a more than reasonable and logical consequence of wearing a demonband that prevents access into it with Misfit abilities, so why should it somehow let them out? At least she gets to experience what it is like for all the ‘normal’ people who have to suffer being trapped in their own minds. Elspeth quickly realised that her plan was now ruined because she couldn’t do what she wanted to do, which was probably direct people to her or something. And as we know she doesn’t have much energy so using the killing power to try and unlock the band is impossible. She is well and truly trapped. She recognises that maybe it is too late to be saved, and works to create a ‘fail-safe’ which will wipe her memory the moment she can no longer bear any torture. I do wonder, is that permanent, it would have to be right? If her memory is wiped, does she forget everything, or just specific Obernewtyn and plan related things?

With Elspeth now safely restrained, Malik’s men removed demonbands which means they know they are dangerous, and it gives a reason why they want to be forewarned of anyone’s arrival, so they can put them on. Malik and the Herders must be very close because it sounds like he knows more about Rushton than anyone else, in terms of what the Herders did to him. Maybe he doesn’t and he is just making himself look that way to psyche Elspeth out, anything is possible with Malik. He is so devious and dare I say, clever, that he is even suspicious that Vos was able to capture Elspeth, almost as if he has worked out that Elspeth allowed herself to be captured so she could be taken to Malik. Seriously, I don’t know the full plan, but it sounds ridiculous, but clearly she has done it for some reason.

Just on cue horses arrived, riderless, and before Malik or his men could ‘shoot’ (did he mean arrows, or do they have guns?) the horses had trampled them. Obviously the men tried to fight, but they are pretty useless since they had been trained to attack riders and not horses themselves. It was a scene of chaos as men were being rounded up by the horses and herded back into a group. The horses were so over-powering that the men dropped their weapons when they saw how savage they could be. But, the plan is not over. Elspeth should be contacting Gahltha, but he doesn’t know where she is. She was about to call to him, but someone decided that they should grab her and drag her away.

Of course it is Malik, but nobody knows she is out there, and you can only imagine what he wants to do to her. He took her far from the camp, making rescue even less likely. Elspeth started to wonder if he was taking her to the cloister, where he could then attack Zarak and the others, but that is starting to get a little farfetched, why would he do that? And it soon becomes clear to Elspeth just by looking at Malik’s eyes, that he wants to kill her, right here, and right now. Well, it wouldn’t be a quick death, where would the fun in that be for Malik? He will draw it out, because that is the sicko he is. He is so perverted that he wants to take out each one of her senses, one by one, starting with her eyes! Elspeth tried to be calm and tried to instil some sense of danger in Malik that maybe someone would come and save her, but I doubt that worked.

Elspeth pictured everyone she loved, and longed to go into the mindstream to deprive Malik her death, but the demonband didn’t allow that. She pictured Rushton and was grateful she could love him, even if it didn’t really work out. Elspeth didn’t want to give Malik any satisfaction so wouldn’t look at him. But then, here is a thud, and someone else is now there, breathing. Who is it? Who has saved Elspeth, or is it even worse, and it is Ariel wanting to kill Elspeth himself? Luckily, it was Kevrik, who had just knocked out Malik, though he still survives.

He arrived (of course) just in time, and had been following them for quite some time, fearing it was too late. He was so angered by Malik’s actions towards Elspeth, and I guess was fearful of the hatred Malik had for her. It is a pity we can’t kill him now, that would be immoral. Now they have to figure out what to do next. They are too far away from Malik’s camp to be of use, even though Elspeth worries about the horses, and the cloister is nearby. But with Malik needing to be carried, that will be a challenge. It was hard going, and Elspeth couldn’t even remove the demonband since it was locked on, so she was still trapped. She thought about her pain, her desires, and about Maruman. Where did he get to, when he was supposed to find her and warn her? Is he okay?

They tried to remove the demonband with a knife, but that failed, and then they had to whack Malik again to prevent him rousing. Elspeth asked what happened after Kevrik woke up. As I suspected, Elspeth made Kevrik believe that being knocked out was to his benefit since he couldn’t be the cause of suspicion about their disappearance. Kevrik saw Elspeth’s part as a great risk, but she’s used to it, and knew they needed to take Malik’s men down so that they could stop the invasion or at least get word to Dardelan. And they will have most of the men on side too if Noviny tells them how wretched Malik is.

They finally reached the road to the cloister, and found a dead armsman, just one of many who would have died today. Luckily, that armsman had a key for the demonband, so Elspeth was finally able to get it off and communicate with Zarak and the others. What relief that would be for her. She found Gahltha, and he and the other horses had everything under control at the camp, and all the men were trapped between a cliff and some horses. Gahltha even sent horses not only to look for her, but to go to Vos’ home and deal with him. Elspeth also wanted to be sure that the invasion went ahead, simply so they could gain a ship for immediate use for the west coast and later the Red Queen’s Land. It was again really risky to allow an invasion to happen, but they’ll be fine I am sure. Elspeth wanted to know more about the invasion and that meant delving into Malik’s mind, but that was something too unthinkable for her to do. I can’t blame her, his mind would be nightmarish.

Less than 20 men had died in the siege, but it still meant there were many men who needed to be locked up, so Elspeth turned to trying to captured Vos and his men. Dovyn (one of Vos’ horses) lead the charge there, and as Vos’ men were foolish enough to think the horses were not out to get them, let them come back to the house without trouble. They threw off any men who tried to ride them, and the men obviously thought they were under attack and the horses weren’t acting under their own command, so they just went and hid inside waiting for an attack. It was a brilliant plan. Those who were thrown off the horses were guarded by a pack of dogs, an experience I think the men won’t forget, same goes for Malik’s men who are being guarded by the horses. Zarak and the others were in the cloister, which meant they were unreachable due to the taint.

Kevrik alerted Elspeth to the fact that Malik was waking, and she checked using her probe, where she found a torture scene playing out, one I guess Malik would have liked to have actually happened. And it seems he is mind sensitive, since he knew that Elspeth was in there. Elspeth was shocked, but almost reveled in the fact that his mind-sensitivity was a minor Talent (at least Garth believes so) so that means HE IS A MISFIT TOO, though he would never accept that, it does make me laugh. Having dealt with Malik for the moment, by threatening to wipe his mind clean, Elspeth tried Zarak again, and this time was successful.

They were coming to get Elspeth, and had found the cloister empty, but something had been going on, since there seemed to be a lot of earth works. Elspeth asks Zarak to get Noviny to rouse up a few trustworthy people to stand guard on the various men, and get the plan further underway. Darius had gotten worse, so he was in needed of more experienced help. Unfortunately, Kevrik alerted Elspeth to more bad news. A group of what appear to be Vos’ men are approaching, and Elspeth is in clear view of the road, so there is no time to hide. Elspeth tried to contact one of the horses to stop them, and found that she could enter easily, and actually knew one of the horses. Elspeth then saw who was riding. It was Rushton! It seems he did come to get her after all! What a turn of events. I guess they didn’t like being rejected at the blockade so over took the men and stole their clothes! It will be interesting to hear their story.


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