Chapter Twenty-Three – Part Two
The group reach the top of the saddle, and they find that there is a some sort of short tunnel, which only goes to a flat plateau. Elspeth can’t figure out what it’s purpose could have been, and I thought for a moment that it was an incomplete tunnel, but maybe it was there to allow helicopters to land. The good news for our group is that they find a small waterfall which is free from taint, so that’s lucky. Looking out beyond the plateau there is a stunning view, of a river a crevice and plenty of small peaks. But it doesn’t look like they can go any further this way, so this might just be a little pitstop and a glimpse at what hardly anyone has seen before. Gavyn provides a few eggs to the group’s meal, but Elspeth cannot help but feel that he shouldn’t have come. He is still very young, and she thinks he only came because Rasial did, but Darga says that he understands a lot more than Elspeth thinks. Who knows what goes on in his head, whatever role he has to play, I think it’s going to be huge.
Swallow makes an enormous discovery, he spots the Taillard Observatory in the distance! So we are going to go there after all, but what are we going to find? But how are they going to get there? It looks like the passage to it, is impassable. But there has to be a way, unless the Beforetimers used planes or helicopters to get there. Elspeth and the others can possibly imagine that it once looked up into the sky and saw stars and things. But for some reason Jacob said he would be able to see the Beforetime city, but how would he be able to do that? Elspeth seems convinced that because Rheagor said to stop here, he wished for them to see it. And so, Elspeth, Swallow and Ahmedri decide that they will take the climb, and there is no time to waste, they have to leave now.
Of course, Maruman also decides to follow them, but the climb isn’t too challenging, and when they reach the steepest part, Ahmedri goes up first, and secures ropes to help up Swallow and Elspeth. Once again he is proving his worth. He certainly has great skill finding a way up a nearly flat surface! But in the end they made it to the Observatory, Elspeth nearly too tired to even look at it. From their vantage point they can see the end of the range of mountains, a two to three day walk, and then, who knows how far it will be.
Looking at the building, Elspeth cannot believe how beautiful it is, since it was so smooth. They find a door, but Swallow says its locked, Elspeth sorts that out in a few moments, and they enter the building. They see the telescope and they can’t imagine what they looked at with it, Maruman rightly says the moon, but they don’t believe him. Around the building are little rooms for sleeping, cooking and bathing. Elspeth decides to take some pots that she has found that haven’t rusted a bit, but of course all the wood and paper has decayed. Hold on a second, the Pellmar Quadrants, they sound like stars. Which would make sense given the telescope, but these were said to be settlements, so clearly that can’t be true.
Elspeth tries to use the telescope, but with the computers down, nothing moves. And since it’s still daytime, she can’t see anything out of it. So we have to wonder did Jacob find what he was looking for? But we do find evidence that he came here, Jacob scribed a message in the wall! As expected he found nothing working, but was able to detect a power-source to the north-east, where Pellmar Quadrants lie, so he is headed that way. He was still wearing his biohazard suits, so they are keeping him safe, and he is carrying things with a ‘hover’.
So that’s where the group is headed next, north-east, Elspeth rightly says that it doesn’t matter if the Beforetime city really isn’t in that direction, they just need to find Jacob and the key. The others want to leave, but Elspeth still wants to hang around a bit, to see if anything else can be salvaged, or maybe, she knows there’s something more to find here. Well this is an interesting development!