The Farseekers

The Farseekers

The second novel in the Obernewtyn Chronicles. We are back in the Land, two years after Madam Vega, Alexi and Ariel were overthrown at Obernewtyn by Rushton and friends, and of course Elspeth. Obernewtyn has been thriving, and slowing gathering a large number of Misfits, who are all working on their talents, in individual guilds (Empath, Farseeker, Coercer, Healer, Futureteller and Tecknoguilder). Elspeth is the guild mistress of the Farseeker guild. The book follows an expedition down to the lowlands to explore a Beforetime library, find a powerful talent that they have detected and set up a safehouse in the capital Sutrium. Of course nothing goes to plan, and they are captured by Henry Druid, Herders and are on the run from soldierguards. What’s more the fate of Obernewtyn rests on the outcome of the expedition.

The second book is very similar to the first because everything is still being introduced, and life as ‘free’ Misfits at Obernewtyn has to be described and their little community is new to us, and we knew nothing about it. But it is very different, Elspeth no longer has to fear about being exposed at Obernewtyn as a Misfit, and for the majority of the story we aren’t even at Obernewtyn. We get to explore the world a bit more, and find out more of the Beforetime, which I am really interested in. So it is really exciting when I found out that Isobelle Carmody, is planning on writing ‘The Beforetime Chronicles’ and has signed a contract to write them, but of course ‘The Red Queen’ still needs to be released and Obernewtyn Chronicles completed. Still, I cannot wait to find out more about the Beforetimers, but I know that they will be present in the next few books in one way or another.

Most importantly we learn more about Elspeth’s destiny and what she needs to do, and why. Elspeth was in a very serious situation with her feet after the firestorm, and without the Agyllians, she would be dead. Sure it might sound like one of those ‘coincidences’ that are a bit too unlikely, but it isn’t unbelievable. Okay if you get past the fact that there are birds that are highly intelligent and have their own council and are able to see into the future (this is fantasy after all!) then it was a neat way to ensure that Elspeth is healed and survives. It also allows Atthis (the Elder) explain to Elspeth that she is the Seeker and must destroy the weaponmachines, otherwise the world will be completely destroyed with no chance of recovery. Not only that we now know there is a Destroyer, who is basically the ‘Antichrist’ and will work against Elspeth (though I don’t think directly) and is ‘trying’ (I wonder if it is intentional or if it is accidental, when they use of the weaponmachines, if it comes to that) to destroy the world. I just had the insane thought, that what if this Destroyer has ‘allies’ like Atthis, and there is some opposite animal figure that is helping the Destroyer and telling them of their destiny, just like the Agyllians and Elspeth. I just had the even more insane thought that what if the Agyllians are helping both Elspeth AND the Destroyer. I mean if I pretend that the Destroyer is Ariel (not sure if I actually think he is this, it is just a theory because it seems right, but this could easily be a red-herring) he was nearly dead after the Zebkrahn machine incident. What if the Agyllians (or some anti-Agyllian) came and picked him up and healed him, and then released him to the Druid. Maybe they are ‘duty bound’ to ensure that both the Seeker and the Destroyer exist and know of their destinies, because without one the other cannot exist (now that just sounds like Harry Potter). Who knows, it is an out there theory, what do you think?

Speaking of Harry Potter, there are quite a few connections between the two stories, and a lot of parallels that could be drawn between the two series. I mean both  main characters are orphans (Elspeth seems to have spent a lot longer with her parents, and obviously she had a brother, though he is gone too now. Just saying, is it some sort of requirement that child protagonists, are like orphans, or have terrible childhoods?) and are sent to these ‘magical’ castles where they discover their powers (Obernewtyn and Hogwarts). They both have special destinies to save the world from something (Voldemort and the weaponmachines), though Elspeth has learnt of her destiny a lot earlier than Harry (but I would guess that they were of a similar age around the time). They both seem to be outcasts and ‘revered’ (Harry was famous, and Elspeth is powerful) even in their own communities, one big difference though is that Elspeth doesn’t really have strong friendships. Sure she has Matthew and Dameon (though we haven’t seen much of their relationships since they became ‘free’ as they were hardly included in ‘The Farseekers’) but it’s not like Harry, Ron and Hermione. I guess she also has Maruman and Ghaltha, but those dynamics are very different, Maruman guides Elspeth, though he is very cranky and reculsive, and Ghaltha hasn’t been around much but as of yet, they aren’t ‘friendly’.

Continuing on this sort of ‘theme’, Harry Potter (the series) and Obernewtyn both have an immense amount of characters, all of whom seemingly have their own backstory (in Obernewtyn, many of the characters have yet to be fleshed out, but they are there waiting). And I’m sure that both have a lot of foreshadowing and things built into them that on first read, mean nothing, but once you have read the book (or entire series) become obvious and you can see the significance of such things. I’m not saying that Obernewtyn is ‘as good’ as Harry Potter, because they are very different, and obviously Harry Potter is immensely popular (I love it myself) and is a highly loved series, but there are similarities between the two stories. I think Obernewtyn is still a wonderful story, and there is a lot more to be explored, that will surely make things even better and more exciting, but so far (we still need to get past all the introduction, and get into the real, juicy, storylines) things are lacking, but I am not in the slightest complaining about them. I cannot wait to continue on into the series!

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The Farseekers – Epilogue

Epilogue

We finally have more Maruman, who has recovered well after his fit (well what exactly was it, because wasn’t it Atthis fault, but what exactly was it that was wrong with him?) and proclaims that the snow will be coming again. Is he saying it is nearly winter again, and that nearly a year has passed? They were in the futureteller hall, waiting for the guildmistress, Maryon. Elspeth doesn’t mind winter, it is when Obernewtyn is safest, as there no-one can get to it through all the snow, but Maruman warns that there are some things that no barrier can stop. When Elspeth tries to get him to elaborate, all he says that when the others come, it will be time to make Elspeth’s ‘dark journey’. She is not going on the journey alone, the oldOne (the Agyllians Elder Atthis) has promised that, and Elspeth receives a vague mental picture of a pack of dogs, one of whom looks like Darga. All Maruman says is that he will come, and when he does it will be time to go, but for now it is best to forget.

Elspeth can get no more out of Maruman, he only shares what he wants to. Elspeth wonder’s if her journey is what Maryon has called her to talk about, she of all people would be most likely to know with her futuretelling powers. Suddenly she gets a strong sense of premonition, which usually means danger. Maruman tells her that even if she fears her journey she must go on it, she is the Seeker. She is afraid of failure, and doesn’t want to lose the things she loves, like Rushton!

‘Life is a battle. You have to fight for the things you care about and believe in…’ Some wise words from Rushton, wise enough that even Maruman jokes that even funaga’s can have moments of wisdom, even if they are rare. And it ends there, with the two of them laughing.

But what about Maryon, what does she want to talk about? Is it about her journey, or is it another thing they have to do to save Obernewtyn? Good thing I don’t have to wait too long to see if this question is answered in ‘Ashling’, which I will be starting shortly. Tomorrow there will be a ‘wrap-up’ post of ‘The Farseekers’ and then I’ll have a post of something different, just to break things up a little, and then I’ll return with ‘Ashling’. The books are starting to get bigger now, with Ashling nearly twice as long as The Farseekers, so there is a lot to get through! I can’t wait!


The Farseekers – Chapter 27

Chapter Twenty-Seven

We return to Obernewtyn and Rushton proclaims that he is the Master of Obernewtyn, and is asking who is selecting their guilds. It seems it is an elaborate guild choosing ceremony, and we see some of the newbies that have joined. There is Merret, whose mother is a healer, but she chooses to be a Coercer, and Zarak decided to choose again, but this time the Farseeker guild. Dameon comes to speak to Elspeth (seriously we have not had enough Dameon, I missed his awesomeness) and apparently some of the younger members have started to sing a song of Elspeth’s first journey to Obernewtyn (though glorified). And they are at work on writing a song about the journey to the coast, though Dameon is aware that they do not know the whole story. He always seems to know more than anyone else, and Elspeth wanted to tell him, but she cannot, Atthis warned against doing such thing. I mean how do we not know that Dameon is the Destroyer (I really doubt it, but you never know who it could be).

Gahltha now follows Elspeth around like a shadow (though only outside Obernewtyn), and he and Avra are now apart of the guildmerge, something they are happy about. He also asks Elspeth if Kella and Domick will bond before they go back to the safehouse, it was obvious that there was something going on in the end, and this means that they returned to Obernewtyn (not going to lie but I also typed in Jik’s name, but then I remembered, he was dead… it was a sad moment). I wonder if Brydda was with them? But their union is one that will start to ‘heal’ the divide between healers and coercers, division is something that Obernewtyn cannot afford when the ‘war’ is not over. Dragon has started her empath training, though she is a handful, and seems to have taken to Matthew quite a lot.

It was spring, and this ceremony was the highlight of the moonfair. It was a true fair, with singing, dancing, displays and music, it is a nice little, happy end to tie everything up before we move onto the next book.

Daffyd comes to talk to Elspeth, and they discuss Gilaine and the others at the Druid camp. There is hope that they escaped as they had in place a plan to escape quickly in case of soliderguard attack, so they may have had a chance to get away alive. Daffyd is planning to go to Sutrium with Kella and Domick, and he will start looking for them. Brydda had come up to Obernewtyn and he liked what he saw, and wants Rushton to meet with his allies, and see if they can create an alliance and work together to bring down the Herders. Katlyn and Grufyyd decided to stay at Obernewtyn and call it home. Pavo has died, and the Tecknoguild are saddened but in his honour, they have sent an expedition to the city under Tor, to further explore the Beforetime city.

Apparently the soldierguards kept their word and called Obernewtyn deserted, and Ariel lost some credibility because of it. But still, the main roads are unsafe to travel, because no one can know that Obernewtyn is still habited, so they will use the Olden path, with the help of other dogs and avoid the taint. And now Elspeth and Rushton talk of the price of their fight, it is a ‘war to end the war’ which is one of things that seems counter-intuitive. It seems that the pair are heading towards a relationship like Kella and Domick’s, I wonder if they will bond, or if Elspeth will not be able to allow someone into her life, in fear of her journey she must complete alone. It will be an interesting dilemma.

Roland is still mystified by Elspeth’s healed feet, and the coercers have nothing but praise for her coercing ability, like no other, and the healers are amazed at her ability to heal Maruman, and Gahltha’s changed attitude, and her mysterious reappearance. She is surrounded by mystery and intrigue, and has many abilities, but as Rushton says, she probably says more to Maruman and Gahltha than to any human. And it seems already that Elspeth is trying to deny her feelings because of her journey, I wonder if her feelings will be able to win out. Rushton has many plans for the future, and for future battles that they must wage, but I fear he is too complacent about the Herders and Ariel, who both seem to be too cunning and sly to ignore.

The chapter ends with Rushton requesting a dance with Elspeth, and Rushton always gets what he wants. I wonder what could possibly be left in the epilogue, it already seems like the story is over and has been wrapped up nicely, what more could there be?

The Farseekers – Chapter 26

Chapter Twenty-Six

All that was left of Obernewtyn was rubble, and it looks like a firestorm had hit it. Strangely it looked as if it was a ruin that was years old, not weeks/months. Gahltha seems unfazed and asks if she wants to continue on and go to the barud. Elspeth doesn’t want to go to the ruin, but wonders whether anyone survived the storm, surely they could not be all dead. As she started to head into the valley, she saw smoke and then a small settlement, so someone must be there, alive. They both go to investigate, and as they approach, they stay hidden spurred on by Elspeth’s instinct to wait and see who is at the settlement. Looking on she saw that it was a settlement, home to soldierguards. The pass must have already thawed, and they are here to investigate Obernewtyn. But why are they still here, it is obvious that it is a ruin. By some cruel fate the lie that they had used to protect Obernewtyn, ultimately ended up becoming fact.

Gahltha suggests going to Obernewtyn to find out what has happened, but Elspeth wants to have a closer look at the settlement. Elspeth suggests that they will be able to stay in the Tecknoguild caves, if it comes to that. But before they can do anything, three soldierguards approach them, only to stop short to sit on logs and complain about the cold. They mention that Rushton wants to stay and rebuild Obernewtyn to its former glory, they think that he is crazy. They have been here three days, trying to see if Obernewtyn had really been burnt and whether there was any Sedition in the area. For many of the soldierguards it was obvious from the first second that Obernewtyn was destroyed, but there are others that aren’t quite so convinced.

As the three complain further and talk of Ariel, their captain came over and caught them slacking off. Behind him, was Rushton. Once the group left, Elspeth and Gahltha head back into the valley, this time closer to Obernewtyn. As they were walking, a person approached and talked to them. It was Daffyd. Gahltha didn’t know him, and reacted aggressively, but Elspeth quickly restrained him. He is so surprised to see Elspeth again, they had all thought she had died. And Elspeth, once again, quickly comes up with a story that she coerced him to think that her feet were really worse than what they were, so he would go to Obernewtyn and warn them. But what she really wants to know is what has happened to Obernewtyn while she has been gone.

This sends Daffyd into uncontrollable laughter. He exclaims that it must be a powerful illusion if it can convince Elspeth, the Farseeker guild-mistress, and that they did say that Dragon was as powerful as Elspeth. It quickly dawns on Elspeth, that all of this is an illusion. There was no firestorm, there is no damage. It is all Dragon and her powerful imagery! It explains everything, including why Gahltha was so confused with Elspeth’s behaviour, Dragon cannot beastspeak. The majority of Obernewtyn are at the Tecknoguild camp, and there are some at the settlement, mostly empaths and farseekers. As an insurance policy, the coercers are at another camp near the pass incase anything goes wrong and they need some ‘soldiers’ of their own. Though this news makes things awkward for Elspeth, because she was not seen by them when she came here (obviously she didn’t go that way, but it is the ‘only’ way into Obernewtyn) and she must explain that she was being really stealthy to avoid detection.

Dragon has been holding the illusion for three days, which is a huge effort, even though she had been training all winter. She doesn’t keep the illusion up at night, the moon is new so Obernewtyn is not visible, which allows her to rest. Daffyd takes the two to his camp, to give them some food, which they have been wanting for days! Daffyd was going to return to the White Valley and see if anyone had survived from the Druid’s camp, but snow had prevented him leaving. Then suddenly Roland came running to them, looking for Matthew to farseek the camp because they have lost contact. And then he sees Elspeth, and stops dead in surprise. Matthew is not there, but Elspeth is more than capable of doing the job.

It took some time to locate a mind, but eventually she found Ceirwan, his ‘signal’ was very weak. Obviously he was shocked to hear from Elspeth, but she made him concentrate on what was going on. The soldierguards drugged them all, because they began to believe that they were hiding Sedition in the ruins. All of them are unconscious, and Rushton wanted him to make sure that they stopped the soldierguards getting to the ruins. It might mean they need to fight, but Elspeth wants to avoid that, and asks Gahltha to go and fetch a coercer, preferably Gevan. And then they will round up whoever they can and meet at the ruins. Her real plan, hidden from us for the moment.

It was dusk when the soldierguards appeared (why did it take them so long?) and the captain stopped when he saw Elspeth and Gevan. When Elspeth did not respond to his commands, the Captain sent someone to tie them up. But the soldier was hesitant to go any nearer to them when he could see their faces. And then Elspeth acted as if she was ill and needed help, she had black blisters on her face and lips. This sends them into a fright, and they assume it is the plague. And the Captain decides it best for them to all leave, and report to the Council that everything is as Rushton said, there is little more than ruins and nobody was alive. They would never be able to live if people found out they were exposed to the plague. They plan on leaving no witnesses, and want to burn those drugged back at camp, but they didn’t even check to see if they were still inside, just as Elspeth had hoped.

All of them were safe though unconscious, and Roland had never seen this type of drug before. And when Rushton opened his eyes and saw Elspeth (still in a drugged state) he said ‘Ah, Elspeth, love.’ So all was well, and the soldierguards finally left. Dragon’s illusion had worked, and Elspeth was back home. There is only one chapter (and an epilogue) left, before Book Two is over!

The Farseekers – Chapter 25

Chapter Twenty-Five

The storm has passed and Elspeth uses a stick to clear the snow from the small slit of the cave opening. The storm lasted for a long time, and their firewood was nearly depleted, and I doubt they had much/any food. Outside, the world was covered in pristine white snow, and what a sight that would have been. Gahltha comments that it is a hard trek to Obernewtyn, and the snow has now hidden crevices and ditches, making it even more difficult. They start their journey and Elspeth is left to her thoughts. How is she going to explain her healed legs to everyone? I’m sure that Roland will want to know every detail, and she can’t really share what actually happened. They walked until nightfall, and reached the edge of the plateau they had walked across all day, and Elspeth nearly fell off, and would have if not for Gahltha. It sounds like this is a huge area, is it all untainted? And why aren’t there people here, or is it just too inhospitable during the winter? Or do people not explore to find new land, in fear of coming across taint? I guess when you have been brought up to believe this Land is it, exploration is not really an option.

Looking down over the edge of the plateau, Elspeth can seen clouds beneath her, which I guess explains why nobody else is living up there. And no one explores the mountains because the snow hides tainted areas that would kill a man. Only the voices in Gahltha’s head were able to guide him to the ‘top of the world’ where the view just shows how small we really are. I wonder if that is what it is like on top of Mt Everest, you are literally the highest on Earth, and everything is below you, these sorts of things can really put in perspective how small and insignificant life is, and that’s without even thinking about all space in the Universe.

On the opposite side of the plateau, the vision is very different. There are now clouds, and all that can be seen is endless Blacklands. There is no life, and it would be many years, many decades, until life could grow there again. Elspeth now understands why she was brought here, so she could see what she was fighting for and what she was trying to prevent. And now she understands (and puts things in an interesting perspective) that the first farmers who created the Council knew first hand how evil and destructive humans had been and what they were capable of doing, and decided to deny their past and head forwards. But instead of really making things better, they have make things worse, in a different sense.

There is no doubt that someone would try to wake the weaponmachines when they found them, but who the Destroyer is (and whether we have met them) is a question that is very important! I wouldn’t be surprised if it were Ariel, but then again that almost makes too much sense, but then it could be a red-herring, gah too many possibilities! Now though, they need to get back to Obernewtyn and the path down is a long one. Gahltha offers to let Elspeth ride him because she is still quite weak, and she does, heading for the barud (equine for homeplace). It was three days and nights until they were close to Obernewtyn, and green shoots were now visible, the next day they would be home.

That night (the third) they saw their first signs of animal life, a wolf. Elspeth had been staring straight at it, without realising, as it camouflaged completely with the snowy background. All night the wolves howled, until they suddenly stopped. To Elspeth this was good news, but Gahltha found this disturbing. They slept, but during the night Gahltha woke, as did Elspeth, and he warns her of the Brildane. He does not know the human word for them, but Brildane is what they call themselves, and in equine they are called gehdra, or the invisible. They hate all other creatures, especially funaga who trap and kill their young. Elspeth figures out that they are wolves, and this is there territory, and they wonder why they have intruders. They are dangerous creatures, and Gahltha is somewhat afraid of them.

During the night Elspeth dreamed of Ariel, and wondered how he survived after the Zebkrahn Machine incident. Matthew, the only one in Obernewtyn, thought he survived, and wanted them to search for him, but they were too busy to conduct such a search. I wonder if they would have found him. He out of the trio of Madam Vega and Alexi, was the worst, relishing in people’s misfortune and torment. Disturbingly, once the sun had risen, Elspeth could just how close the wolves had got, they were only a handspan away from her head! They are getting close to home, and both of them are very hungry, Elspeth hasn’t eaten in a very long time!

Then very quickly, they could now see Obernewtyn. They were now in sight of the valley, and once the clouds moved out of the way they could see Obernewtyn. But, all she could see left of Obernewtyn, was a charred ruin. What had happened?

The Farseekers – Chapter 24

Chapter Twenty-Four

After her time with Atthis, Elspeth wakes up in the cold. She feels grief and remembers Jik and his death. She opens her eyes and sees it was night time, and it was so cold, colder than she had ever felt in Obernewtyn. She realises with shock that her pain suppression is gone and so too is all her other pain, but Elspeth attributes this to sleeping off the pain, and thinks that her feet must be even worse as the infection has continued, but that doesn’t make sense, why is it so cold? She rolled to try and see the entrance of the cave, and didn’t experience any pain and she found Gahltha standing next to her, licking her face. Though he wants to be known as Galta. She was about to ask him why he changed his name, when she saw behind him, she was no longer in the White Valley, she was in the mountains surrounded by snow and ice.

She still tries to justify this by rationalising that she must be mad, and her suppression of pain has destroyed her mind. Then she remembers her strange ‘dream’ she had once Daffyd had left, but the ‘dream’ explained everything, so it had to be true. And because her legs were now perfect, there was no doubt that it was not a dream. Galta explains to Elspeth that he has found a place where they will be warm when the storm comes, so they must leave, and earlier in the year there was a lake, it has now frozen over. So they left, and Elspeth found no pain whilst walking, a slight jarring, but no pain. Galta (he says he has changed his name, and yet they continue to refer to him as Gahltha) says there is wood where they are going and they will light a fire, and hopefully they will survive, it is going to be a bad storm (at least it isn’t a firestorm, right…?).

Elspeth follows behind Galta walking through deep snow and arrive at a cave that was protected from the wind. But they have to block the mouth of the cave otherwise the snow will come inside. So Elspeth had to labour for an hour covering the mouth with rocks. Once she was done there was only a small slit to the outside world, and Elspeth had to light the fire, as I don’t think Galta can do that… Elspeth starts to question Galta about what is going on and how he got here, which makes him annoyed that funaga need to know everything. Sorry but we are inquisitive creatures and we are just programmed to have to know everything!

But he explains anyway. He spent a long time ‘where the mountain ate them’, wishing that he had died there because he believed them all to be dead. He was tortured by his ‘cowardice’ but ran away when the Druid’s men tried to capture him. He did not return to Obernewtyn, but went higher in the mountains to fields that he ran in, which Avra. But he continued to go higher, searching for the place that old horses go to die. He did not eat or drink, as he was waiting for a vision. Nothing came for days, so he called himself Galta, which means ‘nothing’. And then one night he saw where they were earlier with the lake, and he was told to find that lake.

The next morning he began his search, it took many days, and he was close to giving up, but every night the same voice urged him on. When he finally found the lake, he was told that he was now on a journey that concerned all living things, not just funaga and equine. One day a funaga would come that would go on a journey and fight a perilous battle, and he must take it wherever it wants to go, and protect it with his life. It is ironic that he hated funaga so much and yet was charged with protecting one with his life. The voice also told him that no life form is greater than another, and that all life is interconnected and living in coexistence, which is completely true.

He found the cave they are now in, and waited, it was two months (moons) since he found this place, and he wondered if he was being punished to wait here forever. Elspeth has been asleep/away for two months, that means winter is nearly over, and the fate of Obernewtyn has nearly been decided, have they been warned and are they ready to protect themselves? Then Elspeth arrived, and he was shocked to find her, but obviously she was the one. They both have been involved in fantastic journeys, that are hard to believe, but they have happen because this is fantasy!

Once the storm has passed, they will return to Obernewtyn, and find out what has happened and whether they still have a home, but first they have to wait for this storm to pass, and it sounds like a bad one.

The Farseekers – Chapter 23

Chapter Twenty-Three

Elspeth was woken by her daze by a breaking branch, which she believes is a predator finding some easy prey after the firestorm. Her pain suppression was still in tact, but oddly her vision and hearing were affected. She had the odd sensation of feeling watched, but she could not see anyone or anything from where she was lying. But she continued to hear noises, so decided to send out a probe, and came across a mental dialogue. Two minds are wondering what Elspeth is, and Elspeth wonders back who they are. That silences the minds, and all Elspeth can see are three birds. Not just any birds, Guanette birds, and Elspeth figures out that it is the birds who were talking.

She tries to enquire them about who they are, it takes some time, but eventually they sent a probe to her mind. It was a very delicate probe, and Elspeth thought that no shield would be able to stop it, no matter how strong. One of them, a male, introduces himself as Astyanax, and sends to the other two female birds, that Elspeth is a female. Apparently they struggle to work out the differences between male and female funaga. They are Agyllians, Elspeth asks what that is, but they do not answer straight away, instead they came close to her. They are quite large, and Elspeth hopes they are not carnivorous, so she sends to them that she wouldn’t taste very good and her wounds are poisoned. The mention of wounds, sparks interest in Elspeth as the birds seem to think that she might be ‘the one’. So another bird introduced herself as Ruatha of the Agyllians and the other bird is Illyx. Again Elspeth insists she would taste bad, but the Agyllians laugh, they do not eat flesh. They seem to be contemplating whether Elspeth is the one, and ask her if she is Innle.

Didn’t Elspeth introduce herself as ElspethInnle, so why are they asking if she is Innle? Elspeth is shocked that she is called this, and wonders why they want to know. Apparently the Agyllians eldar, sent them to find the Seeker who was mortally injured, and there are many nearby who fit that description, but they also said that the Seeker would be alone waiting to die, and they didn’t have time to make the wrong decision. An eldar (Elspeth asks) is the name of the Agyllian high council, made up of the wisest Agyllians, and the wisest of them all is the Elder. Elspeth is confused at the concept of birds having a Council and she thinks herself delirious, but if these birds can mind talk so strong and delicately there has to be something more to their story. Elspeth wonders what the Seeker is, and Illyx answers rudely that it is one who seeks, and if Elspeth doesn’t know then maybe she isn’t who they are looking for.

But Ruatha says that they will take her. So the birds start to organise to take Elspeth to the Ken, and get out a net to hold Elspeth. Elspeth feel out of consciousness and when she woke, she was high in the sky, atop the tallest mountains, and remembering her strangest dream. She saw Guanette birds flying intricately, it was one of the best sights she had ever seen. Then one of the birds, a male comes over to talk to her, his name is Nerat and he is of the eldar. He is what we refer to as a healer, and once again Elspeth comments on their ability to get through her shield effortlessly. He comments that there will be pain, but not a lot, and he can rid her body of the infection which is quite bad, the real difficulty is releasing the pain that Elspeth has blocked and to do that Elspeth has to open her mind to him. He will teach her body to heal itself and build up an immunity, but only if Elspeth opens her mind, otherwise she will die.

He has mixed whitestick with salivas to rid it of the poisons, and the Agyllians call it narma, as it rose from the ashes of the Great White. Ominously he reveals that next time there will be no narma, next time the world will be completely dead with no hope of revival. So Elspeth tries to relax and let Nerat do his work, and eventually released her block. This sent her in a daze, sometimes she was in unbearable pain other times she felt nothing, it went on for a long time, until she felt like she was floating for ages.

Then she woke. Astyanax appeared and told her that she was well now and could move, unless she wanted to lie there for a little longer (which I find funny how kind, polite and patient he is). Elspeth could feel no pain, and when she looked at her feet, they were perfect, even scars she had as a child were gone (This is so reminiscent of ‘The Hunger Games’ when Katniss is made perfect after her victory). Now Elspeth is to meet Atthis, who is the Elder of the eldar. Atthis was very old, and her eyes were milky opaque, she was blind. It was then, looking at Atthis that Elspeth realised that she wasn’t dreaming. As soon as Atthis spoke, Elspeth realised that she knew her voice, it was the same one that spoke to her inside Maruman’s deepest mind. The Agyllians can forsee events, but even they do not know everything that is going to happen.

The two talk about Elspeth destiny, something that Elspeth denies, but things have been working around her, things no one can control. Long ago Atthis foresaw that the Oldtime weaponmachines responsible for the Great White had not been destroyed, and if they were ever used again it would be a complete destruction, it was only a matter of time before they were uncovered. And she dreamed of a funaga that would have the ability to destroy them. She also foresaw that Elspeth was in need of their help, as she was close to death so she sent out Agyllians to find her. Atthis has also foreseen that there is another funaga whose destiny is to discover and resurrect the machines, he is the Destroyer, and if Elspeth does not succeed, he will.

Of course such a burden is much to take in for Elspeth, who tries to deny her destiny. She has a choice but choosing against it would be devastating. ‘The future is a river whose course is long designed, but which a flood ro time of no rain might easily alter’, something I would agree with. But her destiny is in the future, now she just has to live and wait for destiny to reach her and take her on her journey. Atthis has not foreseen the outcome of her journey, nobody knows if Elspeth will succeed. But for now she must return to Obernewtyn, and help her friends. She gives some final advice that until she learns that ‘it is not always safest to be alone’ Elspeth will be unhappy, but maybe it is best to be alone for her difficult journey.

Elspeth sleeps and will be taken back home, carried by someone who is waiting to take her home. I think we have seen the beginning of the real Obernewtyn Chronicles, now Elspeth knows what is going on, and now the path is going to be laid for her journey but there is many pages in the rest of the series, so obviously we aren’t going anytime soon.