The Stone Key – Chapter 16 – Part One

Chapter Sixteen – Part One

Elspeth has just asked Lark’s father Hevlar whether or not he wants to save his son. That might be okay in a normal circumstance, but she did it using her powers! In the process freaking him out, and endangering herself. Is it a gamble that pays off?

Luckily for Elspeth, Hevlar didn’t freak out entirely, and kept his calm by simply asking who just spoke. Elspeth reveals herself to him as a Misfit, but explains she is not a monster, and for his safety, he should only think his replies. Elspeth uses her personal story to win Hevlar over, explaining how her parents were burnt alive for opposing the council. Hevlar felt pity towards Elspeth but began to become suspicious as to how Elspeth is communicating with him, and then questions her as she reveals she used Lark to make him remove his demonband. Elspeth asks for his help and tells him that she could control him, but wishes for his help, instead of using him like an enemy. Elspeth is hoping to show Hevlar a different way out, to save Lark and his wife. Which I guess must be removing the Herder Faction entirely, because how else could they be safe?

Hevlar says he cannot stop the invasion, and is doubtful that those on the Land are prepared to take control of the powerful Hedra. Which is a fear I share, because now we have seen how devoted they really are to their cause, and it is scary. Quickly Hevlar’s mind catches on to Elspeth’s plan for the ships to be taken by Misfits and rebels, and I think there is hope there, but he is still doubtful that they could overpower the Hedra. Elspeth gives him a strong promise that if things don’t go well, she will coerce the Herders to believe that Lark and Hevlar defended the Nine, and his men drove off the Mutants, so that they would be safe. That is a big promise considering she can’t access any minds when they are wearing Demonbands, so unless they remove them, she can’t do a thing she just promised. At least she explains that she can do this, but only if they remove their demonbands, I was beginning to think Elspeth was lying to her new friend.

Elspeth wants to test all of Hevlar’s crew to make sure they won’t betray them, but Hevlar is so confident in his men, that he basically refuses. Elspeth tells him that they must take over one of the Hedra, and preferably get to the Nine. But Hevlar thinks that that will be impossible since Kaga keeps watch over the Nine constantly, and he won’t be overcome by even all of his men combined. He does however, suggest that he can put a potion into his food, a sleep potion. That would knock out Kaga, and then they can take control with ease. Kevlar becomes suspicious of Elspeth, and wonders what will happen if he refuses to help her. Because, of course, Elspeth will want to overtake the ship with or without Kevlar’s approval, so would she control him like she said she wouldn’t. The answer appears to be yes, but she assures him that she would only do so because she wants to overpower those men who are threatening not only her, but Hevlar and Lark as well.

Suddenly the connection is broken as it begins to rain, and I am quite confused, because I am sure that she could communicate in the rain at one point, maybe I am mistaken, but right now, she has no communication with Hevlar. And it turns out that Hevlar knew where Elspeth was all along, or at least suspected something. Because a Norselander quickly uncovered Elspeth, and was directing her to get up. Elspeth followed a Norselander that Hevlar trusted like a brother, Oma, down into a small cabin. Inside was Lark, who looked much older than Elspeth had pictured from Hevlar’s own mind. Which is very interesting, because it shows that love is blind. Or in fact, that our own perceptions are false, and are based on our emotions. We see what we want to see, and not what is really there, because Hevlar truly thought that Lark was little more than a child, and so, he pictured him that way. It does make me wonder, just what would the world look like, if I were able to look at it with another person’s eyes, or even their brain? How different would it be?

When Elspeth is revealed as a woman, Lark is astonished. Nobody had expected her to be a woman, but that is quickly overlooked, as Oma questions her to get a sense of this Misfit. The cabin they are in is Oma’s, and it is safer than Hevlar’s, as Herders could have entered at any moment, given his position as shipcaptain. Elspeth is extremely tired and almost passes out in the cabin. Hold on, Elspeth says that she spoke for the first time when she asked for water. But didn’t she tell Oma that she doesn’t think Hevlar has betrayal in his nature? And also when she replied to Lark about where her bruises came from? Another inconsistency?

Once Elspeth gets some water Oma continues to question her, and asks how she came onboard, and whether ‘her people’ were waiting for the invasion. He seems to believe that if the Herders find out that they have helped Elspeth, they will be slain, as will their family, right down to the last generation. Elspeth openly admits there is danger, but tries to assure him that she will do as she promised and protect them when the time comes. Oma finds this an interesting tactic, and is a little perplexed that Elspeth doesn’t tell them that they should help simply because the cause is right. But all this is ignored as the sound of boots and bells alerts them all.

Lark arrives and announces that the Hedra are retreating! Somehow, they have been driven back!! What is going on? But this isn’t the best news for those onboard, since Elspeth hasn’t had time to coerce anyone! Everyone is now involved in getting the Hedra back onboard, so Elspeth will have to wait in the room, silently, and in fear. If the Hedra are about to come back, I guess that means they won’t be getting the ships for their own now to invade the west coast and later the Islands. Pity, that was a good plan. But now how is Elspeth going to survive on this ship, she will be found, surely?

And right now, that is the question she is asking herself. How can she get off this ship, and now she has put a lot of others, who are all good people, in danger because of her actions. She believed she could single-handedly gain control of a Herder ship. It was ambitious, but foolish. Elspeth was left wondering if the retreat of the Hedra was because they were driven from the beach, or had there been a fight. And if there was a fight, were there causalities? So many possibilities were elicited from the sound of the Hedra back on board. Some joyful, and some down right depressing.

Then, it sounded like the ship was preparing to set sail, which means Elspeth is going to Herder Isle! Where Ariel could be! As the ship turns away from the Land, Elspeth looks out a pothole to see torches on the beach. She wonders if Rushton is among them, but then that makes her wonder if Dardelan had arrived, but surely they had, otherwise how where the Hedra forced back? Then Elspeth realised, that nobody knows where she is! Took her a while to realise that nobody was coming to save her, because nobody knows she is actually on a Herder ship being taken to Herder Isle! There is no way out for Elspeth, she will be found at some point on this journey, and she can’t coerce her way out of it. And her plans to use the Nine to control everyone is impossible now there is an entire force of Hedra onboard.

Somehow Elspeth almost believes that the Norselanders will be able to protect her and get her out to their town, where she will hide until Dardelan and the others build a ship and overthrow the Herders. Which could be years! How does she expect them to explain a new face in such a town? She realises this later, that the Faction would soon find her, and then the whole village could be in danger. Of course Elspeth wonders if Maryon had foreseen all of this, and told them all nothing, because if she has foreseen everything else, why not this too? But then, what was Elspeth purpose on this vessel? I guess that is something we have yet to figure out.

Soon, Elspeth, tired and now warming up, fell asleep. Again, it is her dream of walking through a tunnel. Then she was flying, then she was talking to Matthew. He is talking to someone else from the Land, and Matthew is trying to hear something, and is trying to convince this other person, that the slavemasters came out of nowhere and killed the Red Queen, and enslaved everyone. And now, there is a ship ‘with its strange white-faced lord’, and he wants thousands of slaves! Where did he come from? This lord, wants the slaves within a year, and he will return with enough ships to carry them all, and with great payment. They don’t have thousands of slaves, which I guess is why Salamander is desperate for a bloodless ‘reinvasion’ to get a lot more slaves. Matthew is set on finding out where this lord came from, and wants to listen to seamen to try and find out.

The dream dissolves, as Elspeth wakes up with Lark’s face in front of her. And that is where I shall end. But that dream is vastly intriguing. There are other lands? I guess I knew that had to be true, since the Red Queen’s Land, the Land and Sador can’t be all that is left, but where does this man come from? Is it from Chinon, but that is Asia, and there is no talk of an Asian appearance. How about Tipoda? Well that is Australia/New Zealand (from my guess), which could make sense, but that is so far away, maybe that makes it impossible. So I guess that leaves Mericanada, which is America, and that would make some more sense, but who knows. Will we ever know? But this is all very tantalising! But why did it have to come in such a dramatic time for Elspeth as it is? I guess Isobelle Carmody just wanted to taunt us at all these other things, while we are trying to figure out how Elspeth can get out of this pickle!

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