Unable to sleep with the storm unleashing itself, Elspeth decides to inspect another mystery from Cassandra, the stone sword. Who the owner is, and what they need a stone sword for are very pertinent questions. But as to why it is up to Elspeth, because she is the Seeker, and I’m guessing it will help her quest. It is either to do with Dragon, or maybe Swallow, since the Gypsies were fond of stonemasonry, maybe it is a sign to them about the ancient promises.
She then realises that though there is gadi on the hilt which she cannot read, Fian could try to translate it, just like the gadi on the doors of Obernewtyn. As to her other device she was given in Sador, she can’t really show anyone without some awkward questions. So she settles for asking Reul at every moment about computermachines, and as a Tecknoguilder he is happy to talk. The Tecknoguild are hopeful to find an Ines like machine in the Tecknoguild caves, which is highly possible because Jacob referred to one in his letter, but if they can ever find one, that works, that is unlikely.
The next moonfair is approaching, and Dardelan is going to use it as an opportunity to officially announce Obernewtyn as a settlement. At the same time Rushton, Jak, Seely and Dameon all should be returning around that time. It will be a three-day long affair and ordinary Landfolk are invited, which should be very interesting, the first time that Misfits can be open about their powers. I wonder if they will reveal that the magi are just Misfits, or are they keeping that secret hidden? And the Misfit children, from the Beforetime complex (or Oldhaven) will be choosing their guilds, some have very strong dual Talents.
Elspeth is less enthusiastic about Landfolk arriving, and I guess it comes down to change again, she is against it. Obernewtyn is her home and sanctuary, as it was for Misfits, now, anyone can come and live up here. I’m not so sure Landfolk will be so eager to begin with, but would it really hurt to have other people around? Isn’t this what they have all been striving for, acceptance and not being labelled Mutants anymore? She dislikes it so much so she isn’t involved in its organisation and has delegated responsibility mostly to Ceirwan, not exactly fair, but she doesn’t want this happening.
But there is more interesting news for the Tecknoguild, Garth is so eager to get his hands on the collection of books from Herder Isle, of course they kinda destroyed the library when they were overthrowing the Herders, but there are still countless tomes to explore. And some might hold clues as to where the Herders came from, and that, I must admit is exciting.
Even more exciting is that Iriny and …. Are in the White Valley, and Elspeth is very keen to go and speak to them. Maybe they will reveal where the last sign is, or maybe Swallow will show up in time? Right now might not be good because of the weather, but that doesn’t stop three riders riding to Obernewtyn themselves. The three are Sadorians, and one is Bruna, who is now officially bonded with Dardelan of course.
She brings important news though, from Sador where they have been busy preparing the Umborine and Ydori. Sadly it seems that Jak and Seely will not be returning since they are having difficulty establishing their taint-devouring insects. Bit of a let down, but I’m sure they’ll return as soon as possible. And it seems most of the tribesfolk are secretly in support of these insects (and of Daffyd’s theory about Salamander being Sadorian) but are just acting otherwise to spite Jakoby. They are trying to say that they were manipulated by Jakoby into accepting the gift, and that these difficulties are a sign that these bugs don’t fulfil the prophecy. Still women are bathing in the isis pools and harming their babies, but that will end once they are finally clear, even though that will take years. Despite these disagreements, they will still take place on the Red Queen venture since their own overguardian has foreseen it as the only way to avoid slavery.
Speaking of Daffyd’s theory, Elspeth is still under the belief that he is Gadfian, and came from a thriving settlement where the slavers of the Red Queen also came from. If that is true it is no wonder he can navigate the open seas since he would have had some sort of map or additional knowledge that he could have gotten from there. I do wonder though if anyone uses compasses anymore, do they not know about them? Or is it pointless since even if you know your direction you don’t know if you’ll find something on the other side?
With Bruna in her presence Elspeth is able to ask her about the gadi book she found in Ariel’s residence. Jakoby now has it, and Bruna and other Sadorians cannot read gadi anyway, so no translation can come from them. And that gives further evidence of Salamander being Gadfian because he might take a Gadfian woman himself, or be a Gadfian woman, otherwise why have a book you can’t read? Instead Jakoby is looking into the origin of the book and whether any of the tribes have lost it, though there has never been any mention according to Bruna of a tribe losing a book since they are precious and irreplaceable, coming from their ancestral lands. As for the brooch that Elspeth found, it is definitely Sadorian made, but again Jakoby has it and is very busy at the moment and hasn’t gotten around to asking around about it.
So we might have to wait until we see Jakoby again, and that might not be till the Red Queen expedition, which so far Elspeth hasn’t even ‘signed up for’. Though Rushton will oppose, with the need for taking Dragon along, Elspeth has a good reason to join the ride to be there for her, even if she is still hostile to Elspeth.
But all of this previous talk was just a pretence for Bruna, she has something more important to discuss. For a second I thought that they had FOUND Straaka’s bones, but Bruna is telling Elspeth that they must be found so that they can be properly buried in the spice groves. The theory is that Miryum, grief stricken headed out to Sador, but ended up going into the Blacklands and ultimately ended up dying. But Bruna is adamant that his bones must be found to ensure his spirit does not continue to wander. Apparently his spirit is interfering with the dreams of those he once knew. Which is very interesting, since we haven’t heard of dream interference in non-Misfits by a ‘spirit’, I’m counting the weird dreams that Misfits have as ‘dream interference’. But this is a first.
Very formally Bruna informs Elspeth, from the overguardian of the earth temple, that Straaka’s spirit must find peace. One of the men who came with Bruna is Straaka’s brother, Ahmedri, who will stay with Elspeth until they find his bones so he can return them to Sador. It gets slightly more bizarre as Bruna says that when Elspeth frees Miryum, she will take them to Straaka’s bones. So is Miryum a prisoner? Who has her? Or is it a metaphoric one where she is trapped by her grief? Apparently though Straaka will lead them to Miryum’s location, as his spirit will find Elspeth’s. This was not what I had expected, and certainly is a very interesting development. I have to wonder if this is connected to Elspeth’s quest though, is Miryum’s location somehow important for the next stage of her quest. If she didn’t wander the Blacklands, then where on Lud is she? But if she did wander them, why didn’t she get sick, or was she lucky enough to find a path that was safe enough to travel, but ended up being captured by something? And what could keep her captive? Elspeth will talk to the Coercer-knights to see what they uncovered on their previous searches which might help Elspeth. GAH way too many questions right now!
As to how Elspeth might find or be found by Straaka’s spirit, she thinks of the Dreamtrails. Which she has kinda been told to avoid right now, but surely she could just be visited by his spirit in her dreams like everyone else? And still how can she find a dead man’s spirit? Speaking later with Ceirwan about this all, he cannot believe that Miryum is still alive herself, and finding her is going to be tricky if she too is dead, but clearly she isn’t. Ceirwan also tells Elspeth that before he could tell Maryon about Elspeth’s intent to visit her, Maryon told him sent that she was expecting her. Really creepy, and I don’t know why she does that, can’t she just let him come? And she is going to go and see her now, since Maryon said that she would come at midday, and I share Elspeth’s rebellious impulse to purposely not go just to thwart her prediction, but that probably wouldn’t end well. And it will be useful to talk about Maruman, and maybe Miryum as well.