The Stone Key – Chapter 18 – Part Two

Chapter Eighteen – Part Two

Well we just left as Elspeth and a coercer Harwood were making their way down the long passageway to see the One. Oh, and they nearly have the entire Faction under their control! Sorry about the sporadic nature of the Obernewtyn posts recently, that will continue tomorrow, I have a wrap up of 2012 in the form of a blogging survey! But I have felt the need to do something different on this blog in the form of different posts about The Hobbit (book and movie) and a piece solely just me writing about a few things. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed something a little different, and it is something I want to continue in 2013! The posts will settle down for Obernewtyn for at least the first half of January, after that, I’ll have to take a break again, but right now, on to Part Two!

So Harwood and Elspeth make their way to the One, and Harwood asks why the One would pick such a location, but really that shouldn’t be a question at all. He clearly is in the best position to see the ocean, and he is so far removed from the whole Faction. If an attack happened, people would take a long time getting to him, in the meantime he could escape, because surely this is not the only way in. And it seems like the One is nearly just a decorative head of the Faction, the Threes seem to run it more than he does. The shadows with them seem interested in their discussions, but should they fear them? Since they are slaves, I doubt they are going to run away and tell someone. Elspeth fills in Harwood on her journey here, with of course, a few deletions.

Before the group make it to the One, they decide to stop so Harwood can deeply coerce Mendi and Zuria, so he can stop having to constantly check on them and their coercion. Soon enough, more coercers arrived, Hider, Colwyn, Sover, Geratty, Yarrow and Ode. Plus, Reuvan. Asra is with Kaga and Tomrick is on watch to see if any ships are approaching. For Elspeth it is so good to see friendly faces. Thankfully, one of them had found a key to remove Elspeth’s demonband, and she couldn’t be more grateful to be free again. Elspeth was still concerned about the shadows, and was reluctant to continue verbally talking, lest they actually turn on them. Harwood coercers them a little, but, they can’t do much more. Once in control of the One, they can find out all they want.

They entered the One’s room without trouble, for they could easily coerce the Hedra and Falc, and force them into a corner. The One was supposedly asleep in the adjoining chamber, Elspeth and a few others went to investigate. They entered a dressing-chamber, then a washroom and then finally the bedchamber. They met a few shadows, but all they did, was avert their eyes. Clearly they don’t get involved and have learnt to literally be shadows. Even though the One was asleep, he seemed to wake up just as Elspeth approached, and immediately he was distraught because she was a woman, and called for his precious Falc. Elspeth tries to enter his mind, but that causes him extreme pain, a block has been constructed to do just that. If anyone tries to go too deep, it will collapse. It seems that his sanity has already been eroded however, and the only person capable of this, is Ariel. Why wouldn’t he have coerced the One? And it is just like him to make sure nobody else can even try.

Elspeth is resourceful as ever, and brings in Falc to question the One, and to soothe him. The One really does want Ariel, and it seems that Ariel has created a dependency for him in the One, to make sure the One needs him, by allowing him to ‘remove his pain’. Ariel is off with a null to ‘unleash the wrath of Lud on the Ludless’. The One hints that Ariel would not hang around the west coast, otherwise he would be doomed. Whatever he is planning to do, it isn’t good and it sounds like the entire west coast will perish in the process. Elspeth can’t help the One, and within a day or two, without Ariel’s intervention, he will likely die from the pain that Ariel has ensured develops without him. But what is interesting, is that Ariel wouldn’t have made it back in time to do that. Did he not intend on returning? Is his time with the Faction over, even without Elspeth’s meddling? Interesting…

They use a bit of empathy to ease the One, and get a shocking piece of information. It is not a weapon Ariel is unleashing, it is a sickness, a plague in fact. One that will be infectious within a few days, and wipe out the west coast. They had always suspected that the Herders started the previous plague, and I guess they have an even worse one in store for the west coast this time around. Ariel found the plague on Norseland, in fact they are remnants of the Beforetime. It is a strange way of dealing with the west coast, what can they gain from wiping everyone out? The One suggests that after seeing such power, people will be convinced of Lud and his wrath. But who will be left to do so? And the One also suggests that the west coast will be populated only be those who are pure and who worship Lud. Does that mean the Faction is moving to the west coast?

Ariel has to be stopped, but that is an unimaginable task. How can they search every city for a null whose appearance and identity they don’t even know? Elspeth suggests they need only look for cities where Salamander has been to, but he could easily go to a few to make the trail cold. They have precious little time, more if Salamander and Ariel are travelling to Murmroth. They need to get the ship repaired, and fast, otherwise everyone will perish, including the Misfits. The others cannot believe the news, but it is just like Ariel to revel in wiping out thousands and thousands of people. But honestly, what does HE get from it all? He is selfish, he doesn’t do things for the Faction or for Lud, or for anyone, without seeking some fort of gain. I think he is done with power, after all he could have made himself the One, but he has condemned the man to die. So what is he seeking? I think he has sided himself with Salamander, who must be closely involved, but still, what are his motives? They can’t just be to wipe everyone out, that would mean he would lose people to rule over, so what is he doing???? And how can they stop him??????? And they thought an invasion was the worst of their problems!


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