Chapter 40 (Continued)
So Elspeth has had a pretty busy day, she has been dressed up for the feast, she has witnessed Jak’s gift of the taint-eating insects, she has gone to the Earthtemple to collect a message from Cassy via a computer powered by a crystal and also a stone sword, she has gone for a swim with Bruna, and met Daffyd in Sador, all the while pondering Salamander, Jakoby and her quest. So without a doubt, she deserves some sleep, since it is nearly dawn again. But as so often happens, when you want sleep the most, it doesn’t come to you.
Instead, Elspeth forms a probe, but almost as if she didn’t do it herself, like someone else did it? She sent it, or it went as it chose, out to the desert, where Elspeth’s probe took on a spirit shape. Elspeth could see the aura of the desert, a shifting, yellow-gold and white. And now it becomes clear what is going on, it is a very ingenious plot device for Isobelle Carmody to show us what is going on in the hunt, with Bruna. Bruna entered one of the isis rifts, and Elspeth followed, her own curiosity allowing her to merge with Bruna, so that Elspeth sees the world through her eyes, just like she was able to do with Matthew. Strange how this works though, since usually it would be next to impossible, and both people need to be quite familiar with each other and their minds, but this isn’t Elspeth under control, this is Talent pure and unadulterated.
Through Bruna’s eyes, Elspeth sees Dardelan, but not as we’ve seen him before. He has dressed for the occassion, and I’m sure there is a bit of highlighting and exaggerating on Bruna’s part, but his aura is a dazzling display of gold and flashes of diamond white. Bruna is so surprised to see him here, but he knew that she would come here since it was ‘her favourite’, and he made Andorra lead the way. Apparently Dardelan has ‘won’, but he isn’t going to send up the sparks which usually signify this, since it was slightly unconventional.
But Bruna cannot believe that Dardelan is here, she hasn’t changed as a person, she won’t sit at home while he is off fighting, so it is Dardelan who has changed. He drove Bruna back to Sador where Jakoby said she would be happiest, but soon found that what he had done was stupid since he loved her. Dardelan did not notice Bruna’s change into a woman, and had been pushing her away because he still saw her as the ‘child’ she once was. But now he is here to beg for forgiveness, even though he is also here on other business. Last night when he heard another man talk of hunting her, he was filled with jealousy (just as Jakoby planned) and decided to join the hunt, though he thought maybe he deserved it after they way he treated her.
It turns out well in the end, and Bruna and Dardelan will be together, whether they stay in the Land or in Sador who knows, but Elspeth feels slightly embarrassed being a witness to such private matters, so quickly leaves before something more happens. Finally Elspeth falls asleep, but she goes into the dreamtrails instead of down into dreaming. Quickly it seems the H’yraka arrives, though Maruman beats him to it, and warns Elspeth that she shouldn’t come here alone, and should in fact choose not to come to the dreamtrails, it is too dangerous. But right now there is some drama, Elspeth is being summoned back to Obernewtyn, immediately, Atthis’ voice has grown weak, but whether this is ‘The Summon’ we don’t know. And now with Elspeth and Atthis’ conversation repeated, I fear that it is Atthis who is going to pay the price for saving Rushton, she did after all give some sort of golden energy to Elspeth. And my guess is that that was her life force, sounds corny, but what else was it then?
But right now Elspeth has to escape the dreamtrails as the Destroyer tries to reach her, and this is an important moment, because usually Maruman says the H’yraka, and not the Destroyer. So does that mean these are two different people/things? And if so, then who are they? Without a doubt, one of them HAS TO BE Ariel, surely, come on, I actually think it is almost a let down if Ariel turns out to just be an evil guy, why hype up all this drama about him being the Destroyer, if he turns out to not be. I get that makes it mysterious and shocking, but if he isn’t the Destroyer he must be the H’ryaka (I’ve forgotten the proper spelling), the one who brings destruction. I mean maybe they are just the one and the same, but I’m not so sure. Anyway Elspeth falls into a dream where she is in that same tunnel, but this time there is Matthew calling out for her. A tad random, and Elspeth thinks that maybe it is a true dream, but why is Matthew there. Unless of course that this is a true dream, and that this tunnel is where the weaponmachines are, and that Matthew is actually there, which gives rise to an interesting theory (rot13 for safety from stray theories): znggurj vf gur qrfgeblre, pncvgny yrggref zvffvat gb cebgrpg gur snpg gung v nz hfvat anzrf! Honestly I cannot wait to finally find out what is really going to happen and who is who. Though that will be a sad day since the Chronicles will be over.
Waking up, Rushton is there with Elspeth, he has been up all night practising gadi with Bram, something that isn’t easy. New languages are exceptionally difficult, especially those with fundamentally different pronunciations and sounds, but languages make things interesting. They have also discuss Daffyd’s theory, and it may help the tribes agree to go ahead with the voyage. Right now though, Elspeth must return to Obernewtyn, and Rushton says that they will be leaving for Sutrium soon enough, and that they will then have word from the owner of Stormdancer as to whether they can use the ship. Then they will all be in the one place to plan further about the expedition, plus it will be an ideal time to discuss the future of these lands, and what place Misfits have in them. Already Gwynedd wants a Misfit school on Norseland and Westland, so kids don’t have to travel so far away from home, which is a good idea, though it means that Obernewtyn as the one place where Misfits are, will no longer be the case. And then, both high chieftains are serious about having two beasts on each of the Councils, even if there will be strong opposition, they are vital since their part in the rebellion was vital. And they need to set up some healing centres in Westland. So in a very long winded way Rushton has been giving Elspeth her instructions when she returns to Obernewtyn, he will have to stay and discuss things, but they will all travel on the Umborine back to Sutrium. However, Elspeth is going to have to go along the coast road, since she must leave now, and Obernewtyn is closer that way. Um, when has Elspeth been along it before? That makes little sense, I don’t remember her doing so, unless she just went for a ride, or when they were investigating that as an escape route, be even so, I don’t remember this happening!
The parting between Elspeth and Rushton is a hard one, after finally coming together at last, they must now separate. It is so hard for Elspeth to lie to Rushton about her identity, but she cannot let it out, even to Rushton. Who knows what that would cause, maybe it would make Rushton the Destroyer? The two of them say their final goodbyes, as Elspeth prepares to depart back to Obernewtyn!
A very short little epilogue, as Elspeth, Maruman and Gahltha return home. On the coast road Elspeth ponders her dream with the Destroyer, and she is confused about why Ariel didn’t appear as herself, which gives further evidence that maybe it isn’t him. It is a bit of a wrap of the latest mysteries, and what is going to happen soon enough, the trip to the Red Queen’s Land (though, with the FINAL book titled that I guess it won’t be until then).
I feel like that in every epilogue we have Elspeth constantly thinking and Maruman saying something about this, and about how humans are always caught up in thought. Their journey to Obernewtyn is nearly over, but as Maruman says, it is only the beginning. Again, talk of a wolf howling, so maybe, just maybe, this is foreshadowing that wolves will be involved!
At the very end, we find a list of all the characters, which is so critical since there are A LOT of them! And being at the back is better than the front, since then you aren’t spoiled with the names of new people. But sadly it says H’rayka is equated with the Destroyer, unless that is just based on present knowledge I am not so sure.
Tomorrow of course I start The Sending with a prediction post! But I shall also have something to wrap up The Stone Key like I normally do!