Chapter Twenty-Eight – Part Two
An hour later the sun began to rise, let’s see what sort of encounter our group has with these animals that are coming for a drink. The wolves entered the graag, and then so does everyone else, so we don’t really get what I expected. They just all get inside the pipe, and it’s not a problem for the beasts as Elspeth feared. They lit the torches in preparation for any trouble, and carried Dragon into the pipe. Elspeth wonders if Maruman’s sleepiness is just his body healing itself from the taint, and now I feel silly for not thinking of that already. After all his body is so much smaller than anyone else’s, so the taint would affect it easier than the others, plus all his previous exposure wouldn’t help. The pipe isn’t even metal, but some sort of plast, which I guess is really just plastic. Apparently there are taint-eating bugs inside the pipe as well, which is a bit of a contradiction, since it’s supposed to be safe from taint, but I guess there is taint everywhere out here, well, especially in the water from the lake.
As for the rhelings, Elspeth’s fears of tripping over one and waking them all up are unfounded, since Rheagor says that they will be able to smell them first, and they won’t be sleeping on the ground. Anyway, they shouldn’t be in the main pipe, at least until further on, where there isn’t so much light from the openings, that’s when they’ll need their torches, after they are far enough from the opening so that other beasts won’t try to attack them. Of those beasts, they have only heard a few sounds, and Analivia thinks nothing is following them, but I wouldn’t let my guard down! They continue through the pipe, finding that it rises a little before starting to slope down. They leave Analivia’s torch alight, just until they get used to the dark and the encounter of rhenlings.
Analivia asks a good question, how on earth does Rheagor know so much, if he’s never been here. I guess his ancestors have ensured that the story lives on, down the generations. They eventually come to one of the off shooting pipes, and find a rhenling inside, they stank, and looked a little like large cats. I really don’t want to see them awake, but sadly I think that’s where this is going. Dameon was able to sense their ‘ferocity’, their deep rage that is present even in this trance like sleep. Now I certainly don’t want to be near them! Extinguishing their torch, they continue on in the darkness, with Dameon leading them, which makes a lot of sense, since he is the best at this. I wonder if that’s why he was brought.
They continued on, finding more and more rhenlings, who seem to make rifts in the earth next to the pipes to house even more of them (or maybe they were like that to begin with after the Great White). A swarm of them would just be horrifying! And the new description of a merge between a rat and a spider is no less comforting. Elspeth wonders what the purpose of these pipes where, though I don’t know why they don’t think it’s to pump water, or at least transfer the water from the lake to wherever they are going, even to the Beforetime city. I guess they aren’t used to the idea of living in places where there is no water to drink. They return to the rhenlings and how much danger they could be in, unless they can somehow get through here unnoticed. Analivia asks whether they could just ‘play dead’ and lie down and not move if they started to fly when the sun sets. I think she is forgetting about the fact that they can smell, and so that might not help. But it is good to see Analivia getting back like her usual self, and coming up with plenty of idea.
One of the wolves comes to them to say that the ‘bright place’ is an hour away, if they wanted to rest before going on. This is a surprise to everyone, because it can’t be that late in the day, so they could reach the other side before dusk. But apparently the other side is further from this bright place, so they wouldn’t make it out of the graag in time before the rhenlings got them. And the idea of lying down is preposterous, they can hear a person’s heartbeat, smell them, and sense they are there from a form of echolocation. The group decide to rest for now, before continuing for the bright place, where they will spend the night. The group discuss what they will do about the longer end, and they realise they have to move faster to make it out not just before dusk, but with enough time to get clear of the graag, and into relative safety. They may have to find a cave, and use fire at the mouth to keep safe, for who knows what the rhenlings will be like on the other side, with fresh meat around. So they are going to have to move quickly, possibly at a run, with the horses, Maruman, Dragon and Dameon sent off earlier to ensure their safety. Interesting that nobody suggests Elspeth goes with them too, since the quest really depends on Elspeth’s safety. And nobody seems worried about Gavyn being hurt, luckily he hasn’t had the urge to wander off or touch any rhenlings, but I guess that’s Rasial’s influence.
Speaking of Rasial, Elspeth asks about what she saw when sleeping next to Dragon. And apparently they were flying the dreamtrails with her, and now Dragon is doing that with Maruman, which does explain his mood. Elspeth worries if it was a mistake putting him back with Dragon, but he can take care of himself. They set off once again, making their way to this ‘light place’, where they can once again rest. I’m not so sure this light place is going to save them, either the rhenlings are going to come at them then, or they won’t make it to safety after the graag, it’s just a feeling I have, we can’t get through this dangerous part without any sort of casualty, that would be too easy.