The little cliffhanger at the end of Chapter Six is quickly resolved, as we find Zarak, Farseeker ward, has finally returned to Obernewtyn! In an interesting development, his father, Khuria has become the chieftain of Saithwood, after the sudden death of Noviny. He is the first Misfit chieftain, he got in before Rushton did, and no matter what Rushton suggests, he IS a Misfit. Zarak came up with the others when he found out about their proposed journey in Sutrium. Elspeth now sees Zarak as a man, and not a troublesome youth that he once was, his pranks with Lina were legendary(-ly annoying). But it seems that Zarak and Lina are going to bond, well, he hasn’t quite asked her about that yet. I think the pair are a good match. Elspeth however feels somewhat bitter-sweet about it all, since she won’t be around to see the two bond, and I think that this is one of the issues that Elspeth is going to have to face, the real possibility of leaving everyone behind forever.
Zarak speaks about Saithwood, and how Noviny never recovered from his illness he suffered spying on Malik’s men for hours, and once he died, Khuria was prepared to leave. But, a group of locals forced him to stay by announcing him as the new chieftain. He does have a lot of pressure on him though, if he fails, people will use it as an example of how Misfits are unfit to lead, but I see no reason why that should happen. When Rushton becomes the other chieftain, things will ease a little, since he will have another Misfit chieftain, Rushton being the chieftain of Obernewtyn Shire (which is an apt name).
And here we thought that things were happening smoothly and this was a friendly visit. But no, there is news from Sador, the overguardian has a new vision. The Sadorian ships must leave for the Red Land five days after ‘darkmoon’ (new moon I guess), and on darkmoon the Sadorian vessels will be in Sutrium, and then they will depart, even if the two other ships are not ready. All four will have to leave together though, since that is what Maryon foresaw, and it has certainly come as a shock, since they were expecting a departure towards the end of the days of rain, not near the start! It does explain a lot though, as to why Brydda has ridden up with great haste for one, and why Oma is taking Stormdancer back to Herder Isle for final preparations, they don’t have much time. Obernewtyn hasn’t even decided who is going on the journey, so there is a huge amount of work ahead of them, and Elspeth is supposed to find Miryum and Straaka in this time too. Which is starting to make me doubt whether she will be on the boat with them. Elspeth still needs to find Dragon, see the statue in Saithwood and Cassandra’s key before leaving, which gives further proof that maybe she won’t be with them, and she’ll find a different way there.
Elspeth cannot panic though, and sets about organising a guildmerge today to get things sorted, even if Garth won’t be present. I’m sure this is going to dampen the mood for Moonfair, since they need to prepare for the expedition, and Dardelan might not be able to make it. Elspeth will also send word to Rushton about Dragon and the need they have of finding her, as well as her intention of going on one of the ships, something he doesn’t know yet. If only Elspeth had Maruman for some guidance, direct from Atthis, but we haven’t heard from either of them, and it is unlikely that will change soon.
Huge amounts of deja vu when Zarak says that Rushton should have told them all this already, because HE RODE OUT BEFORE THEM! First thoughts are of course, he has been taken again, but if he hasn’t, where on earth has he gotten to. Something has delayed him unexpectedly, hopefully it is something good like going to get Garth and the Tecknoguilders, but they were just trapped by the rain, but who knows! Everyone around them senses the bubbling panic as people try to speculate where he is, before Elspeth tries to shut it down. Zarak suggests he has just gone to see Maryon, given the news from the Overguardian, but why not tell people about his arrival?
And then, he strides into the room, and Garth is there with him (so he did go and round him up!). Of course his arrival sends the place into a different sort of chaos, as people try to greet him, and question him. Elspeth though feels something very different, this is the first time she has seen him since Sador, where they became a couple again. Elspeth is filled with some anticipation, but also nerves, has he stayed the same as in Sador, or has he reverted back to his post Ariel darkness? Others who weren’t there in Sador, like Ceirwan, must think nothing has changed. As for the guildmerge, we’ll have to see if Rushton wants that, since the Master is back, and Elspeth is finally relieved of THAT duty! Elspeth goes so far as to suggest cancelling the Moonfair, which is what I thought might happen, but Ceirwan is shocked at such a proposal, it was an official celebration, and Obernewtyn was set to become a shire. I think Rushton will have different feelings about this, but it might have to be cancelled.
As for Elspeth’s long list of things to do, she makes Ceirwan send someone out to the White Valley to fetch Iriny to Obernewtyn, where she will be questioned about the statue in Saithwood, which is hopefully one of the signs. Elspeth needs to go and sleep, but wants Sarn to come and deliver her information she has gathered about the Red Queen’s Land, and then they shall have a guildmerge, if Rushton wants it. She doesn’t even plan on spending time with him! But that seems to stem from his reaction to seeing her again, one she has interpreted as falling back into not loving her, but I think she has misinterpreted the situation! I think he will come looking for her very soon, and she will see how it really is. She really has worried her way into a state of deep shock, when it could be all unfounded. She gets to her room, and cries, allowing her grief to be expressed, which in itself is somewhat of an improvement in Elspeth’s emotional sense.
She has really worked herself up into a state, that she now rationalises this as a good thing, since she’ll be able to leave him and go off on her journey much more easily now, but even if this is true, it will be a challenge. She even decides to show the same coolness back to him, even though this is the exact reaction/attitude which pushed him away in the first place, and set about their rocky relationship. She needs to show her emotions and communicate with him, not just let her mind decide what is going on, let him tell her! She plans to go on a different boat to The Red Land, and I swear this is all for nothing!
At least she decides to think about her other issues, and decides to try the dreamtrails with Gahltha to find and question Atthis, I think though what she will find is bad news. She will do this tonight, now she needs to rest, and hopefully that will let her see just how foolish and rash she has been with her chain of thoughts. Her rash thoughts have made her think about telling Ceirwan she won’t return, to prepare him to be guildleader, and she even thinks about saying Dell foresaw it, but this is really not a good idea, so she should just stop and go to sleep.
At least she doesn’t dream, and when she wakes up Rushton is there, and the tenderness he shows her, makes Elspeth think she is dreaming! Honestly, her reaction of “oh please, now” is so rude and pushes Rushton away to think he has been presumptuous! Gah, this is so frustrating! She tries to explain that she thought him a dream, but her reaction was so bad that he now believes that SHE doesn’t love him, which is not true at all! FINALLY THEY ACTUALLY TALK! Thank goodness they do so, because I was going hysterical about this huge misunderstanding. Rushton was trying to control his emotions, which were raging at the sight of Elspeth, so she thought he was acting cold. Honestly the two of them talking is fantastic, they have been terrible communicators, and that is something crucial to relationships, so I’m glad to see them talk! And Elspeth missives/written word is a very hard method of communication to convey emotions!
Now finally aware of one another’s feelings, the two can discuss the developments of the last few weeks. And he already knows about Dragon’s identity, Merret told him weeks ago after Elspeth told him about that whilst in the west coast, and he knew that she would be going with them, since it is obvious that she would want to. Well actually it was Dell’s futuretelling of her and Dragon in the Red Land that made him realise this. He sent Dameon to Dell to hear more about this vision, but also to help find where Dragon has gotten to, since they urgently need to find her now. He has sent out men to look for her as well, so now, some of the things Elspeth planned to do, have already been done, so that is great news. Hopefully Dameon will have her when he returns.
The two stop talk, and embrace each other passionately, though Rushton pulls away saying Gevan is waiting for him downstairs. But he has also pulled away since he thought she wasn’t ready to make love with him, when they met she was a child, and that made him feel slightly guilty for wanting her. I think it is good that they are deciding to wait, they need to reconnected before they do too much, just imagine Elspeth pregnant on her quest! Please don’t tell me this happens. But Elspeth thinks she is ready, and she wasn’t before, she shied away from intimacy and closeness of both body and mind, but now she wants it. She has already seen his deepest side, but I think it is her inner beast that she fears to reveal.
Honestly as much as I like seeing the two of the happy,I just know a sad goodbye is coming. And I don’t think they’ll be together on the ship. Even if Elspeth imagines they will have all the time to get intimate, but that just makes me more certain that that won’t happen, authors are cruel like that! But the two seem content enough, and will focus on their responsibilities, with a guildmerge at dusk! Good to see the two finally back together.