Part Two – The Song of the Waves
Chapter Fifteen – Part One
So Elspeth is clinging to a rock in the ocean, and being circled by what she thought was a shark. Turns out, the animal is a kind shipfish, and it doesn’t want to eat her, but looks like it is trying to help her. The shipfish have a musical voice, and can hear Elspeth’s thoughts without physical contact, and it seems that they have an entirely different beast language to those on the land. For example, Innle is Morred-a, in shipfish. Elspeth remembers that Dragon’s mother, called the shipfish Vlar-rei, in Dragon’s dream thing, which means, that the Red Queen was able to communicate with aquatic animals, something that no Misfit on the Land has been able to do previously. I guess that is because of the taint in the water that is so close to the Land (because of the taint in the Suggredoon). But if I remember correctly, further out, the water cleared up, and on their way to Sador, Elspeth was tempted to communicate with the ship fish, but she didn’t want to disturb them.
This particular Vlar-rei, called Ari-roth (they seem to like hyphenation), has ‘answered the call’, and is offering her help to Elspeth (at least I think it is a she). Of course, Elspeth wants Ari-roth to take her to the shore, because she can’t survive much longer out here. If Elspeth wants to be taken somewhere she better grab on tight, and picture where she wants Vlar-rei to take her. Elspeth decided to go to where Noviny told her about, so she can follow the Herder ships.
Surprisingly it was dusk now, Elspeth had been away for many hours, and she can only wonder what is going on with Gahltha and Wenda and Linnett. Are they prepared for the invasion? Or are they already being overrun? While Elspeth rides on Ari-roth, she feeds her ohrana, something that is making Elspeth’s aura stronger. Maybe it is life-force, but whatever it is, it is some powerful stuff (Elspeth thinks it is spirit energy). This is a very special thing that is taking place, because usually Vlar-rei give ohrana only to other Vlar-rei, but because ‘Mornir-ma’ asked that Morred-a be helped, it is such an honour to help Elspeth that Ari-roth is giving her ohrana. Is Mornir-ma, Dragon’s mother, because Dragon is known as Mornir. If that is the case, Dragon’s mother, sang a beautiful song to the beasts of the water about Elspeth, and how she would need help, and that these beasts must help her.
Mornir-ma, could also be the original Red Queen, who possessed the same talents as Dragon’s mother, and was told to do so by Cassy, who had foreseen a need. Luckily for Elspeth, she had all these people looking out for her, and ensuring that whatever eventually happened, Elspeth would be able to survive and carry out her quest. But the real question is, how did Ari-roth know that Elspeth needed help? Apparently, Elspeth said a word, which was sent out across the waves, and Ari-roth responded. And that word, was Maruman! Mornir-ma, told the water beasts to help Morred-a whenever she called out Maruman, for she would be in great need, and that without her, the song of the waves would end.
Elspeth’s mind continues to reel at just how intertwined everything is, and how everything is just so connected. But she does wonder how Ari-roth managed to hear Elspeth’s cry, when she was surely far away at the time. Can sea creatures hear astonishingly far? Do the waves literally carry messages for them? The Vlar-rei, can travel very quickly, and soon enough they were out to open water, Elspeth feeling more calm, relaxed and inspired than ever before. Ari-roth begins to sing, and Elspeth can’t understand the words, but knows the meaning through Ari’s thoughts. She sings about the moon, and the two sides, and how the waves love the moon so much that they calm themselves to reflect its image. As of the true meaning of the song and why Ari-roth is singing it, Elspeth will not know, unless Ari explains, which she does. Apparently she is making an offering to the waves.
The moon was high in the night sky when Elspeth and Ari-roth reached the first of the beach steps, where two of the ships were already anchored. The Black Ship must either be at the third beach, or going to Sutrium. Elspeth needed to know whether the warrior priests had already gone ashore, or where they still on board. It appears that the force is on the land now, and Elspeth knows it might be safer to go and follow them, and farseek Gahltha and the others. But, Elspeth is a gambler with these things, and brave, so she is tempted by the ship boat next to one of the ships. Elspeth wants to find out what is going on ashore, and then, take control of the ship. Very ambitious, and maybe foolish.
To cover their approach to the ship boat, Ari-roth dives down under the water, and what a ride that was. Elspeth was concerned if Ari-roth realised that Elpseth couldn’t hold her breath as long as she could, but Ari-roth knew that, and told her to be quiet or the sharks (azahk) might be drawn near. But soon enough, they were back above the water, though their presence has been heard. That is easily fixed though, as Ari-roth provides a spectacle for those watching, as Elspeth gets into the ship boat. Luckily for her, there was a ladder up to the deck of the ship. Unluckily for Elspeth, without the ohara, she soon realised just how hungry, thirsty, tired, cold and hurt she really was. So it took Elspeth multiple attempts to try and climb up the steps, but she soon fell, and crashed back into the ship boat.
She immediately hid herself under the canvas cover, just in case someone was altered to her presence by her crashing. Luckily she was hidden from sight just in time, as someone comes over to check out the noise, but is told that maybe it was a board coming loose (since the ship is being repaired). The senior Herder, Elspeth heard talking to Salamander was onboard, and disregarded any superstition about ship fish as nonsense. Sadly, he and the eldest seaman, were wearing demonbands, probably since they were so close to the land. The younger seaman however, was unbanded!
The seaman’s name, who is little more than a boy, is Lark, and his father is the captain of the ship. He and his father are from Norseland, which the Herder’s control. He was a stowaway on the vessel so he had no demonband to wear, which is lucky for Elspeth. The Herder took his father away to inspect maps, and he was worried about the repairs being undone. The Herders had forbade them from doing proper repairs, because that would mean they would have to stop. And it was the priests who were at fault for the damage, as they mistimed the exit from the cavern, because they took charge when better people were on hand. His father had taken a huge gamble when Lark was discovered, and refused to captain the ship if Lark was thrown overboard or punished in any way. I guess when you are integral for a mission, you get your way. But as soon as you are no longer needed, you will pay!
Elspeth had begun to be so engrossed with the boy and his thoughts that she forgot what she needed to do, which was gather intel. But since Elspeth is about to get on track, now seems like a good time to end, and continue tomorrow, since this has gone on long enough. And what is sure to come, is very different from what we have just seen.