The Stone Key – Chapter 11

Chapter Eleven

So Elspeth has gotten out of Malik’s clutches, and has found Rushton and presumably the coercer knights have come to her rescue. What ensues is probably going to really awkward for Elspeth and Rushton. Dameon is with them, and it is he who comes over to Elspeth, instead of Rushton. Clearly Rushton and Elspeth’s relationship is now no existent, maybe they can make amends.  Of course Dameon wants to know what Elspeth has been up to, but there is a good question as to how they came to be here. But as usual, it has to do with Maryon and her predictions, who else would have foreseen this, and instructed them to come here? As per usual, Maryon foresaw this the day after Elspeth had left, and also told everyone that they must not be stopped, otherwise whatever needed to happen, wouldn’t. And I guess that is true, if they didn’t go to Saithwood they wouldn’t know about the invasion, which would be very bad news. But as usual Maryon was almost certain that Elspeth would be able to succeed without any help. Though the almost isn’t much comfort to Elspeth, who continues to struggle with being at the whim of predictions and fate, but she really should be used to it now, and she shouldn’t get so angry about it.

Of course Elspeth does see the worth in coming here, but her encounter with Malik has left her rattled, and that is to be expected coming face to face with a seriously sick man, whose passion is to kill Elspeth and Misfits, the only person worse would be Ariel. But I think he would do something similar to Elspeth given the chance. Rushton is of course curious of the details, and so Elspeth enlightens him, and when she reveals the invasion, Malik seems to be slightly disappointed, but his plan is ruined. He will have fun with one of the coercer knights who will find out all he knows in front of the Council of Chieftains. Rushton asks Kevrik a few questions about what happened to Elspeth at Malik’s camp, since she was reluctant to divulge too much. I hope that he was asking out of concern for Elspeth and not just to gather information, but who knows.

As soon as Rushton fully comprehends that Elspeth put herself in danger intentionally by being captured by Malik’s men, he isn’t happy. And reproaches her for doing such a thing, since all guildmasters had agreed not to put themselves in danger. Elspeth is furious at Rushton’s remarks, and throws it back at him, suggesting that he and Maryon put Elspeth in danger because they knew what would happen, without Elspeth’s consent. Elspeth acted knowing what might happen, and Rushton never warned her, and even if he did, she wouldn’t have backed away from the journey. Though I suspect she wouldn’t have been successful if she was informed of what was in store, as much as Elspeth believes she would have been. Elspeth is being unnecessarily harsh on Rushton, but he was being harsh on her in equal terms. Nobody chose Elspeth to be in danger, so it is nobody’s fault. Unfortunately the history between the two of them is making everything an issue, when it doesn’t have to be. They seriously need to sit down and figure things out, but Elspeth is too stony and secretive about her emotions so would never do that. So, it will continue, until something either bridges the gap or their relationship is broken entirely.

Thankfully we get a bit of a flashback to see where the relationship went wrong during the gap between books. Rushton over the course of winter was avoiding Elspeth, much to her annoyance. And Elspeth eventually asked him straight out why he was doing that, and he said that it was obvious, there was nothing left in him to feel emotions. After being tortured and drugged, his spirit hasn’t recovered, and so he thinks he is incapable of emotions. It is a hell of a time of Elspeth to have to deal with Rushton after just having dealt with Malik and such a close call to being mutilated. It has been a long few days since coming to Saithwood so Elspeth really needs to rest and give everything some time.

Dameon with his empathy calms Elspeth and takes her mind of things by talking about Obernewtyn. He mentions Gavyn, the strange beast-enthraller, and Dameon can sense that Gavyn wants to communicate, and in fact, he told Dameon that Seely is going to come soon. She is on the west coast, which means she is trapped there, but obviously that is indication that the stand off will soon be over, since Gavyn has a strange accuracy with his own brand of ‘futuretelling’, which is probably through his dreams. I guess it is comforting for all of Obernewtyn to know that those on the west coast are okay, even if, they aren’t sure what is going on there. There had been one other mention of the west coasters in a dream, and it seems there are still rebels there, and that the Misfits have been communicating with them.

Speaking of dreams, Matthew has not been dreamt of by anyone, except Dameon who dreamt of him last night. Matthew was seeking escape to the Land, and was curious in hiding on a ship heading back there after bringing slaves to The Red Queen’s Land, of course that would probably be deadly. And the man with him mentioned The Spit, and Matthew backed off. Is that related to Entina, or is that a different horror for disobedient slaves?

Zarak soon arrives with the wagon with the others, and of course Elspeth has to retell her story to Noviny. At least he can now stop worrying about how to send word out about the invasion. Darius is in a terrible condition, and Dameon seems to think he has withdrawn because of emotional grief, but what has happened to him? It is interesting to see Wenda come to terms with Dameon’s empathy, and it is refreshing to see someone new to Misfit abilities interested. I don’t think I had ever really thought about what it would be like to be an empath, since Elspeth is far from an empath, so it is the least explored. But being an empath would mean you would constantly be barraged by emotions which are uncontrollable. Even if you can put up a block, that would require effort to keep it functional. And of course being an empath would mean emotions are confusing to you, because which ones are yours and which are someone else’s. That is a very interesting dilemma.

Eventually they made it to Vos’ house, where Rushton and the others had dealt with all the armsmen and secured the area. Again interaction with Rushton is tense, and Elspeth starts to think that Rushton hates her and has an aversion to her. Maybe that is true, but I just want it to be worked out. Vos was such a coward that he came out freely when he saw that Malik was a prisoner, and blamed everything on him, which made Malik once again furious, something I can take pleasure in.

Elspeth finally gets a chance to relax and sort out all the events and emotions she has been through, whilst in the bath. She isn’t alone for long as Dameon arrives to summon her for food, but she just wants to talk. After a days riding Dameon was quite sore as you can imagine, for a novice rider, pity they don’t have Kella for some her magic salve, but Wenda will suffice. They talk of the prospects of peace in the Land, because of Malik’s betrayal. Those who supported him, will have to distance his betrayal, so will turn their backs on him, and with Malik out of the picture, things look promising. And since everyone worked so hard to rid the Land of the Faction and Council they have no choice but to reject Malik, since he wanted them back.

As per usual Maryon’s prediction has worked out perfectly, Elspeth and the others didn’t get harmed, and they know of the invasion, have Malik all but gone and even have a plan for capturing a ship, but still there is much to do. Malik must be taken to Sutrium and interrogated, and the Herder’s are still planning on invading, so something needs to be done about them. For now Elspeth needs to rest, and hopefully she will do now that she has cleaned up, and can see the damage first hand, luckily she heals fast though!



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