The Stone Key – Chapter 12 – Part Two

Chapter Twelve – Part Two

Rushton, Zarak and Noviny (plus others) have headed off for Sutrium to take Malik to the Council of Chieftains to reveal just what he has been doing, and he will be coerced to find out what he knows about the invasion. In the meantime Elspeth and Dameon are in charge of Saithwood, and right now, they just need to make sure that the Herders are not in any way told about the coup that has occurred on land. We just talked about the ethics/morality of empathy, and Dameon interrupts to talk about developments back in Obernewtyn.

Something had Garth very surprised. Apparently the same day that Elspeth and the group left the Tecknoguild camp in the White Valley, Garth was called back to Obernewtyn by Rushton. He came back to Obernewtyn and was told to open Jacob Obernewtyn’s grave. Such a turn around in opinion is interesting, and can only mean that a futuretelling was involved, otherwise it would have never happened. Inside the grave, there was no body, instead their was a suit. Just like plast, but a proper Beforetime radiation suit, and it also had letters and pages from what appear to be Jacob Obernewtyn’s journal.

The letter was to Hannah Seraphim, and he tells writes to nobody in particular, that he is weary and lonely, so decides to leave Obernewtyn. With him he takes the key that Hannah gave him, because, it will now never be able to be placed in their grave, since Hannah never returned. From where, we do not know, but Jacob was making preparations to leave Obernewtyn and it appears he was venturing into the Blacklands around Obernewtyn. Clearly this is now after the Great White, an it seems that ‘everyone else’ has died. It was just Jacob and Hannah, but now Jacob is alone. All these ‘others’ went to the Tecknoguild caves where they collapsed because of the upheaval. Hannah had warned everyone that Obernewtyn was the only safe place from the fallout and upheaval, but people were scared that she got something wrong, and trusted the fact that the caves were a fallout shelter.

And since Hannah was not there when the Great White began or was about to happen, people took a vote. Jacob was talking to Hannah via a computer, so was spared from the collapse. It seems that Jacob left the plast for Hannah in the grave, but how would she know where he was going, unless the clue is in the documents. Even so, the Blacklands are so desolate that where ever Jacob was going had to be close otherwise he would perish from lack of food and water, because he wouldn’t be able to remove the suit to eat or drink. Unless he had some sort of set up like the man from Z for Zacharia, in which he could eat still protected, but I don’t know. A more likely scenario is that Jacob was going to his death.

It sounds like Jacob was prepared with special containers for food and water, and a way to eliminate waste and breath clean air, but even so, where was he going? As it turns out Maryon said that the grave must be opened, but didn’t elaborate as to why. It must be so frustrating for everyone else to get Maryon pop up to say go and do that or don’t do that, but not explain. I know they aren’t allowed to and that could ruin the future, but seriously, some clarity and details wouldn’t hurt! Of course it must be related to Elspeth’s quest, and the Agyllians probably had a hand in everything yet again. I guess Elspeth needed to know about the key, but how is she going to go and find Jacob when he could be literally anywhere in the Blacklands! Elspeth is sure that there is something that only she can understand, some piece of the puzzle left for her to direct her to the key, which at least is optimistic.

Garth as you can imagine was overjoyed with the news, but at the same time he was probably annoyed that it came down to a futuretelling to get permission, but what can he do? Apparently Rushton and Zarak hadn’t left, they are now. Kevrik is also going to Sutrium, and Elspeth says goodbye and thankyou to the man that saved her life, and countless others for without him, the invasion would still only be known by Elspeth, Zarak and Noviny. By the same token, Kevrik feels obligated to thank Elspeth, for freeing him of Vos, and showing him a way out and showing him that Misfits aren’t monsters. Elspeth says goodbye to Rushton, though in a very formal manner, and she is reminded of the night she left Obernewtyn.

We get a repeat of the memory of Rushton saying he cannot have emotions any more because of what had happened to him. Though this time it is more detailed. He explains that he no longer loves Elspeth, he once did, but since he woke up after being in the cloister, he hasn’t loved her and hasn’t felt anything. And Rushton doesn’t even want to remember love, which is heart-breaking for Elspeth. It seems their relationship is doomed to fail, with Elspeth not loving Rushton until it was too late. Obviously Elspeth is hurt, but she seems to blame Rushton for losing his love for her, when he has lost all emotion because of the cloister. I don’t think it is his fault, but if he made an effort it would be different. Will Rushton ever feel again? And wouldn’t trying with Elspeth make recovery easier? And also does this mean Rushton’s aversion of Elspeth is ‘to save her’, to ‘protect her’, by trying to make sure she loses her love and ‘doesn’t get hurt’? Because if it is, then it isn’t working at all.

As Malik rode away between guards, he looked triumphant, which is a strange expression for someone whose plan is now foiled. It is not a good feeling to know Malik is still smug even in all of this. Elspeth was about to coerce it out of him, but she couldn’t bear having to see more of Rushton. Elspeth wonders whether Malik is just smug because he knows Elspeth has lost Rushton emotionally, and he takes pleasure in Elspeth’s pain. Elspeth tries to reassert that Rushton doesn’t love her anymore so she must learn to accept it, but Dameon tells her that he does love her. Which isn’t what Elspeth wants to hear, and is setting her up for more pain. But if it is true, and he believes that, then wouldn’t it be better that Elspeth tried? Dameon believes that Rushton must face what happened to him in the cloister, otherwise he will never heal. The problem is, he doesn’t want to remember. Dameon is very adamant and almost pushing Elspeth to try with Rushton. I know they are friends, but why is he being so persistent? He almost is blaming Elspeth if she gives up, because then Rushton will never feel anything for the rest of his life. It isn’t her fault, and is it bad that she doesn’t want the pain of trying?

Dameon suggests that Rushton must be forced into feeling something, which sounds impossible. She needs to awaken the love that Rushton has, but that won’t be easy. He believes that there must be love, otherwise Rushton wouldn’t care if she were around. And now it starts to make sense. Elspeth’s presence makes Rushton worried because it could force him to confronting what happened, which he is afraid to do, so he pushes Elspeth away. Dameon was very passionate then, and I wonder what his motive is. I know he doesn’t have to have one, and maybe just wants two friends to be with who they deserve, and because he is so acute to emotions he is the best one to help, but it felt like there was something more going on.

Elspeth was quite dazed with the notion of it all, and soon fell asleep back in her room. Once again, she dreamed, and this time it was a memory, of the day her parents died. Solierguards stormed into their house, and took their mother, who screamed for their friends and neighbours to help her. Of course, they did nothing because of the soldierguards, and Herders were with them. Elspeth’s mother was trying to make the people rise up at the injustice, but it wasn’t the right moment for them, they were too scared, and too unempowered. They were taken to the centre of Rangorn, where their father was already on a stake. They were seditioners, so nobody wanted to help them. Even though again, Elspeth’s father this time, tried to empower the town, telling them that there are more of them, than there are Herders and soldierguards, and that they could uprise and start a rebellion.

The fires were lit, and Elspeth didn’t see them burning, since Jes pulled her to him, but she could smell and hear it all. It is an experience that no child should go through. And I don’t see how anyone, could derive pleasure from witnessing this, or have the vile ability to lit a fire that murders people. I guess the Herders are pushed by their religion, and the soldierguards urged on by the lure of coin and power. If people needed any reason to not to doubt the rebellion they should remember the burnings, and remember just how bad things were for everyone.


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