Chapter Twenty-Nine – Part Two
So Elspeth is of absolutely no help in their attempt to dig out of the caved in tunnel. She has a broken arm, so she can’t really do anything, and has to leave it up to the others. Which is really hard for her, this is something she has always struggled with, she likes to be the one doing the ‘saving’, not the one sitting around idly. And just think Elspeth (and us) thought she was going on this expedition alone, without any other humans, I can’t imagine her surviving for long if she did! Sitting there seeing and hearing the rhenlings right above her, would make things even worse. The scary thing is, it looks like they are just about to wake up and our group really doesn’t want to be around when that happens. I wonder if they can, once on the other side, just block the exit, and hope no rhenlings are going to come the other way. Otherwise, what hope do they have?
What’s worse is that whatever hole Ahmedri, Swallow and Analivia dig, keeps getting refilled by further collapses of the earth, and there is even signs of the pipe possibly giving way, leaving the group trapped with hundreds of rhenlings. Rasial wakes up, and just in time, as they break through the mound of earth, to find Dameon on the other side. Of the wolves with him, two were hurt, and one of them was killed by Rheagor out of compassion. Luckily Rheagor seems to share my idea of blocking the pipe, and that will ensure our group is safe from the rhenlings, since there are no more down this end of the pipe. They have an hour before sunset though. Dameon thought he was mistaken in sensing the rhenlings, but he was not, and being told about them right above Elspeth and the others, makes things more urgent.
It gets worse (of course!) as the rhenlings seem to start to wake up, and open their eyes, preparing to take off. But for some reason they aren’t attacking, even when Swallow speaks, they react, but don’t attack. For a moment they think maybe the little light is holding them back, but when Dameon says that something is indeed preventing them from attacking, it becomes clear that this is Gavyn’s doing!!!!!! He has held them in a thrall, no wonder Elspeth needed him here, he can stop the rhenlings! Sadly, it won’t last forever, not surprisingly it takes a lot of energy to do this. So they dig as fast as they can, and get everyone out, just as the sun is about to set. Closing up the hole, let’s hope that’s the last we see of the rhenlings! But, maybe not.
Rheagor explains that something woke up the rhenlings, and told them to swarm since there was prey in their lairs, but Gavyn/Rasial were able to stop them from swarming. They continue through the pipe, with Elspeth riding Faraf, being unable to walk, and even then she has to use her coercive netting to trap the pain. I am slightly confused about where everyone is, the other wolves, and maybe the other horses with Dragon, etc, are already at ‘the shadow lake’, and it doesn’t take long for everyone to reach it. As the pipe ended, it opened to a big cavern, with a dry lake bed, and plenty of cracks around the caverns edges, where I guess the others are waiting. Rheagor explains that the rhenlings aren’t here because something else lives here that would feed on them if they slept here, and they are very small. So, no guesses that they aren’t going to stay the night here, or at least I hope not.
Rheagor for once answers Elspeth’s questions, and explains why his ancestor left with the other three female wolves. Apparently his ancestor went seliga and found out about a great danger coming to their territory, so they should flee, but the pack leader didn’t believe this pup, so kicked him out, and his sister and two companions went with him. Only the male wolf was captured by the efari, but escaped to find the females waiting, but one died soon after, from the rhenlings. The other companion died when they reached the mountains, leaving him and his sister, which obviously meant they couldn’t breed. So he challenged the pack of local mountain wolves, and won, so he claimed the pack, and it became the Brildane. Later on, his ancestor learnt that nothing happened to his old pack, it was just required that he leave there, was that the Agyllians?
They find a way out of the cavern, and being outside with fresh air and seeing the sky, is a good feeling for all of them. Seeing the glow of the Blacklands, maybe not so much. Apparently a few hours away is the white plain (which I guess isn’t the Beforetime city, just near it) where there will be clean water, and no taint, even though here is only very slight taint. The other injured wolf is quickly killed by Rheagor, as he says that a wolf that cannot run is better dead. This mortifies Analivia and Elspeth, since they were going to offer to help, but there is nothing they can do, it’s time to go. They don’t really want to stay here with the rhenlings nearby, and the chance of further taint poisoning. So back on Faraf Elspeth goes, with Dameon emanating some serenityto ease her passage.
They continued in the dark, with some torches as protection against other wild beasts, with the wolves leading the way, as if they had walked this path countless times before. Analivia reveals that when she saw the rhenlings it was the most terrified she had ever been, even worse than when Moss said he would throw her off a cliff, so that’s saying something. I wonder if Swallow and Analivia will get together, and he will have children after all. As for Dragon and Maruman, they are still sleeping, as if nothing had happened. Gahltha says that Elspeth shouldn’t worry, as they will wake up when Maruman has made sure Dragon remembers everything she needs to. Which is interesting news, and very good news, but I guess Elspeth has to help out in someway, or why would this part be called the Perilous Dreamtrails.
Meanwhile Swallow figures out where that dyrka came from, it was from the water he filled from the spring near the Observatory, but he forgot all about showing Darga, since Elspeth nearly died and then Moss was coming. That would make sense, and maybe there were eggs in there? Analivia becomes more interested in how Gavyn stopped the rhenlings, since she doesn’t know of his talent, and nobody but Elspeth knows of the bonding of spirit which probably had something to do with them. Dameon tries to explain that Gavyn put his full attention on the rhenlings, and that somehow stopped them from attacking, since that would have distracted him concentrating on them. It seems that it was Rasial who brought them to his attention, since he wasn’t interested in them earlier. But is that really a problem? It saved their lives! We only have two chapters left!