Swallow greets Elspeth again, and we find out that the woman with him is Analivia, Radost’s daughter, so that’s where she has been! I wonder what she said to her brother? And not only is she here, but Rasial and Gavyn too, plus his owl (who are off foraging, and I thought they would play some role)! This is so many more people than I ever imagined, and I think that goes for Elspeth too, she always thought this quest was hers, and she would go it alone. I really like that Elspeth comes straight out and just asks why on earth they are here. And all Swallow replies is that they have been waiting for her, and Dameon explains that they all know what Elspeth has to do, and they are here to go with her and help her destroy it. As much as I think, yay, this is going to be great, but since when are other people supposed to come with her. Atthis certainly never mentioned it, and this is a pretty huge thing to neglect to mention. I want to know what Maruman thinks of all this, and whether he knew this was going to happen. Because if he didn’t, I’m already feeling slightly wrong about them being here. Maybe I’m being extra suspicious, but I have a niggling feeling that they shouldn’t be here, and that they are some how going to bring on the destruction of the world, and really they are here because of the Destroyer (or one of them IS the Destroyer).
Analivia continues to explain that it was her that dreamt of the Sentinel once they arrived at Skylake and she told the others. Dameon was told by a voice to learn to ride last year, and that same voice told Faraf to offer to teach him. And Swallow of course, saw visions of her completing the ancient promises, and Iriny had fulfilled that only days ago, but he still had a part to play, and he had a vision of how to get to this valley. As for him fathering a child, apparently he will only if he leaves the Land and his people to serve Elspeth, knowing he will never return. Apparently it has been several months since the voice told Swallow to come to this valley, which makes me feel slightly better about this, because it must have been Atthis (right?). But, Elspeth is right, what about the voice that spoke to Analivia, Atthis would have already died by then, unless it is the new Elder, who is it? I can’t be alone in wondering if this is somehow the work of the Destroyer.
Elspeth can’t figure out why these people, why Dameon, why Gavyn, why Analivia? And this is something I’m very interested in, what are they going to do over the next few weeks that is crucial to everything? The good thing is that Elspeth has some human company, and they’ve prepared a nice, hot meal for her, so that makes things easy. Dameon continues explaining his part, and the voice told him, whilst he was on the west coast, that Elspeth would be leaving soon, but it was critical that he mentioned his part to no one. That fills me with more hope, for why would the Destroyer be so careful about not telling anyone, but at the same time maybe he has foreseen that discretion is critical. Gah, this is somewhat irritating! I don’t know whether to be happy about their arrival, or fearful that this is all some scheme.
Swallow adds that he too was told never to reveal anything to anyone, and that was a hard thing to keep when Rushton asked about her (as it was for Dameon). Rushton has appointed Gevan to serve as chieftain in his absence, and of course Ceirwan is now Farseeker guildmaster, and Miky will become guildmistress once she is well. Even though Dameon makes a hint for her to explain when she was told, and how, Elspeth cannot bring herself to talk of her quest. For years it has been dangerous to do so, why would that change in an instant, and how much should she tell?
Dameon explains that Rushton was told by Maryon that Elspeth left because she had something vital for Obernewtyn and the Land, and nobody else could to it, and also explained that she wouldn’t be coming to the Red Land. She also said that Dameon, Rasial and Gavyn would go after Elspeth. I’m still going to be on guard, but after hearing Maryon foresaw that Dameon and co would be needed, I’m relaxed that this isn’t some ploy by the Destroyer. It was lucky Rushton found out, because Dameon was having a hard time figuring out a way for him to leave and not explain anything. The brilliant news is that now they have plenty of provisions, even with more mouths to feed, so food shouldn’t be such a concern for a while, it just seems to replenish itself when the need arises. But the sad news is that Maryon has foreseen that Elspeth will never return to the Land, which of course, made Rushton very distressed. But, I’m inclined to believe that that just means they won’t come back to the Land, they can still be together in the Red Land or somewhere else! Even though Maryon seems to think not.
It is this news that pushes Elspeth to tears, and I think this is just the next step in her release of Rushton, even though this has just made everything harder. Because before now, she had always thought that they would see each other again, and now hope, is gone. Not only is it about Rushton, it’s also about the fact that everything has changed with them being here, and them knowing everything. She asks Dameon to continue his story. Rasial and Gavyn had already left when Dameon and Faraf set off, but they found them not too far away waiting. It was Gavyn who knew the way, so he was to lead them to Skylake, an interesting decision to give him this information, but who can criticise the Agyllians.
Analivia explains her dream of the Sentinel, which was really a nightmare. Apparently this isn’t the first time she has dreamt of it, she has dreamt of it ever since she was young, and each time there was more to the vision. I have to say that this is actually really comforting, because that should mean it isn’t the Destroyer doing all of this, and that she has been ‘marked out’ from the start. Her dreams consisted of just seeing Blacklands stretching out for miles, everything had died, it was the second Great White. It was many years until she had the nightmares again, and she wondered if there was a connection between these dreams and her father, Ross, who had wanted to find a Beforetime weapon to strike the Herders and rebels. So she started to look for her father again, after he escaped from the Councilfarm. As she went on searching, a voice told her that this dream wouldn’t come because of her brother or father, but there was only one person who could stop it, Elspeth. At first she didn’t know who the person was, the next day though she actually saved Elspeth from the whipping, so when she found out it was Elspeth, it dawned on her how connected everything was. And then the voice told her to come to the high mountains behind Obernewtyn, and she would find someone else who was seeking Elspeth, and that person was Swallow.
So the pair set out for Skylake, and then Dameon and co. also arrived. It was then that Analivia had her latest dream, it was a past-dream, and it seems a younger Maruman was there. With him was two women, one I guess was Cassy and the other Hannah, and they were looking at the desolation of the Great White through a computermachine, I don’t know if that was live footage or whether they somehow had a machine to look into the future. I think it must have been live footage, since the older woman said that if the Seeker failed the entire world would be destroyed, so they need to ensure the Seeker had everything needed to find and destroy the Sentinel. The older woman said that Obernewtyn was still safe (so most definitely current footage, but is it Cassy and Hannah?), the pair of them would travel to the Land, and then Cassy would travel far beyond it before she had finished her duties. Then they discuss what I think is Maruman, and say that he is sleeping/dreaming until he is brought to the one who could wake it. Elspeth dismisses the possibility that the cat is Maruman (maybe an ancestor, who was tested on to have these weird abilities), but she is very intrigued in this dream, the first one we have seen of these Beforetimers just after the Great White.
They continue their tales, Dameon and co. were followed by Ahmedri, who was tracking him, since they were going to find Elspeth, and he had to come with them. And for a moment we thought that he had been turned back, but he too is here, actually being useful on their way here, making campfires, since Dameon and Gavyn aren’t really able to. Ahmedri is spending his time foraging, and is still under the belief Elspeth will find Straaka, and I’m inclined to think that maybe she will soon enough. But we still have to find out how she was taken captive, and who by. Unless, it was the wolves that caught her, but why keep her alive? And now, with their stories complete, everyone is looking to Elspeth to explain, and to lead them.
But, as Elspeth asks them if they know where she is to go next, they realise that she too does not know. So Elspeth explains a little of what has been going on, and what she knows. And she reveals that they are waiting for the wolf pack leader, who hopefully knows the way to go. Nobody seems disparaged though, and Swallow suggests the answers will come from their combined knowledge. And already we learn a bit more, the Red Land is where the ancient promises were first spoken, and this means that at some point Elspeth and Swallow both must be there, since he has seen them there. And as for Dragon, she is off seeking her past, and will somehow make it to the Red Land.
Analivia seems convinced that really the answers will come from the voice, or the wolves, they do not know that if Atthis was the voice, she is no longer able to help them. And the new Elder, may not yet exist, but then who helped them most recently? Plus, nobody but Elspeth and the beasts really understand just how complicated and intricate everything about her quest has been, it has been made hours work for Elspeth, Cassy and Hannah, and the journey is far from over. It won’t be easy. Eventually Elspeth will have to speak to them about everything, but now isn’t the time, best see what is to come first.
Ahmedri arrives, and he isn’t happy with Elspeth ‘breaking her word’ and leaving, but too bad mate, she didn’t have a choice. And look, you’ve ended up here, and you’ll find him eventually. Ahmedri tells Elspeth that until she opens up her mind to Straaka, they won’t find Miryum, she is yet to open the right door. He is sure that she is here, for what reason she came here, nobody knows. Swallow says that the Twentyfamilies believe the spirits of the dead can speak to the living, so maybe it is possible. Right now, Elspeth seeks comfort in Maruman, and goes to find him, and get him to clear the air, and possibly help her understand spirits a bit more.