The Sending Predictions!

Finally! After a number of years, I don’t even know how many for sure, but definitely not as long as some people have been waiting for The Sending (which after all turns out not to be the final book in the series, just as The Stone Key did once upon a time). I’ll talk about The Sending properly tomorrow, like when it came out, the cover, like I usually do, but today, as you could tell by the title, I want predictions.

I haven’t read a single word of The Sending, well actually that isn’t true, I read the first word when I bought the copy (a day or two before the ‘release date’ since a department store had one copy out already, and funny story, and I’ll tell  you tomorrow) because I allowed myself that one concession (and I’ll explain tomorrow why it’s taken me so long to get around to reading it!). Plus I have read a snippet that was posted on, and all I remember is wolves. Plus I know about one of the locations that is going to be introduced again because of, but I’m not mad, because I still have no knowledge about anything in this story, and it’s my fault for getting involved with an online community when I hadn’t read everything. So yes, I honestly know nothing.

Now after just finishing The Stone Key there are a lot of questions to be answered (I have over 30, they are listed below in case you are interested), and how many The Sending will actually answer, I’m not sure, but I think that of the 30 I’ve got in my head, I’ll probably get answers to about 12, and I’ll raise at least 7 more questions in the process. So I think it is obvious that there a lot of mysteries to be solved yet, and I love it.

So here is my list of questions that I currently have:

Who is Salamander? Is it a she? Where did he/she come from? What is Ariel, is he the Destroyer? Why was Matthew in that true dream? How will they get to the Red Queen’s Land? Where is the statue that marks the safe passage agreement? What is the ancient promises that Elspeth will fulfill?How will Elspeth lead the animals to their freedom? Where are the weaponmachines located? How will Elspeth get there? Where is Dragon? How is Angina going, honestly? Who are the white-faced lords? What is going on with Atthis? Who/what is the H’rayka? What is entina? Maruman or Merimyn? What is on the other levels of the Beforetime Complex with Ines? Will the Sadorians stop bathing, and will the insects work? What will they reveal in this new taint-free world? Where was Jacob Obernewtyn going in his radiation suit? Where is Hannah’s body and the key that she was supposed to have? Jes? Wolves? Darga? Miryum and Straaka? What’s going to happen to Malik and his crimes? I’m sure there are more questions, but these are all I could think or, and there are already a lot here!

So now for predictions, what is going to happen in The Sending, what are we going to see, and of the above questions, what do I think the answers are going to be? It goes without saying that you should not correct me on any of my predictions, and you should not point out where I should find the answers, or if I shall find them out in The Sending, honestly please do not spoil this, please the one exception is to cypher your text in rot13, so that I have no idea what you are saying! But feel free to discuss among yourselves in rot13, I’ll read them soon enough.

  1. I’ll start off with some more ‘safe’ predictions, we aren’t going to the Red Queen’s Land, that is saved for the final book, since it is after all titled The Red Queen. But we will definitely see preparation for this journey happening, and by the end of the book we should be on the ship.
  2. As for who is going to go, pretty much everyone, Dameon, Rushton, Brydda, Dragon, Elspeth, Daffyd, Miky, Gilbert, Gwynedd, Dardelan, Jakoby, Maruman, Gahltha and maybe Swallow. I have a little feeling that maybe Elspeth, Maruman and Gahltha won’t be on the ship and will somehow end up in the Red Queen’s Land, but that seems implausible
  3. Darga is going to show up with the pack of dogs that was predicted. How this can happen and nobody else get really suspicious I’m not sure
  4. There is going to be a heartwrenching scene where Elspeth has to leave Rushton, without saying goodbye
  5. We will see a memory of the Great White as it happened, or one very close to its happening
  6. Elspeth will find the statue/thing that marks the agreement of safe passage, and it will be in Murmroth, simply because Elspeth hasn’t been there
  7. I think the ancient promises with Swallow will be complete, Elspeth needs to have finished at least one of her three destinies, she can’t do them all in the final book
  8. As for what they are, I guess it is just something that Cassy said to make sure the Seeker got all the signs that were to be placed in the Land
  9. Gavyn will disappear, maybe he will bring back Darga
  10. Elspeth will make contact with Matthew again through the dreamtrails
  11. We will see a ‘memory’ of Matthew spotting Ariel, and possibly Salamander will be with him, but not in disguise
  12. Salamander is Seresh, and if not, Seresh has an important role to play
  13. The White Faced lords will get a few more mentions
  14. Atthis is dying, and I don’t think she’ll be replaced, as once the Seeker’s destiny is complete there won’t be any more Agyllians
  15. We’ll find out more about Maruman’s past, I was going to say he dies, but that won’t work since Elspeth wouldn’t be able to get into the weaponmachines complex, so he must live, but my guess is that after that, he’ll die/disappear
  16. Miryum is not dead, and will turn up somewhere unexpected, I almost want to say Jes is alive, but I feel that might be pushing it
  17. Elspeth is going to go after Jacob Obernewtyn and into the Blacklands, since she must get the key that he has (or did Hannah have it, not sure)
  18. I thought Dragon might have gone to the Beforetime library complex/ruins since that is where she went when she first came here, but that wouldn’t make sense. So Dragon (I don’t think she was taken by someone) is, gosh I have no idea. Where are you Dragon? Maybe she has slipped over to the west coast. Oh, that gives me an idea, maybe Dragon has ended up going to the ocean and contacting one of the ship-fish, and they have taken her somewhere, obviously not the Red Queen’s Land since that is way too long! But maybe we won’t find her at all
  19. Speaking of Dragon, the stone sword is hers, why did Cassy make a stone sword for her, I don’t know. I think the cover for the Red Queen indicates as much
  20. Entina is just a huge ass scary beast that kills people, and is stuck in the cave because there is taint there and it has adapted to it. Or, it is not a beast at all, and is some sort of time portal or computermachine, farfetched but still (my guess is that this isn’t answered until the next book)
  21. We’ll meet probably three new characters (as in more than just a passing reference, and who could be important) and we’ll be going to at least four places Elspeth has never been before. Plus Elspeth will definitely travel the dreamtrails again, despite Maruman’s warning, and will come very close to being trapped by the Destroyer/H’yraka
  22. The Destroyer is…. I have no idea, it could be Ariel, but I don’t think so, it could me Matthew, why else was he in that tunnel thing, honestly it could be anyone at this point. You want me to pick? I think that Matthew is almost too obvious, like a red-herring, but then I immediately think is Isobelle Carmody trying to make it a red-herring that it is a red-herring, so he really is, but she makes it look like it is a red-herring. I almost want to say Dameon, but no I don’t think so. I think it has to be someone we have seen, and it has to be unexpected, which I guess is why I have thought that maybe it is Jes, that would make some sort of sense, brother vs sister. And maybe Jes was just taken by some sort of Destroyer version of Atthis/Agyllians, and has been groomed to destroy the world. But I’m going to say not. So who then? Seresh? But then I don’t think so if she is Salamander. Gah, I know it won’t be revealed in this book, I’m certain of that, but there are going to be clues, that can point to a number of different people. But I’m going to point my finger to Gavyn, don’t ask why, just because.
  23. Oh and we’ll end on a cliffhanger!

Well there are 23 of my predictions. How many turn out to be true, we shall have to wait and see. Some of them you may know already, but there are a few that nobody apart from Isobelle Carmody and maybe her editor know the answer to. Hope you’ve found my predictions interesting, and I’ll see you tomorrow with a discussion about The Sending, its front cover, history, and my history involving The Obernewtyn Chronicles!

The Stone Key – Chapter 40 (cont) + The Epilogue

Chapter 40 (Continued)

So Elspeth has had a pretty busy day, she has been dressed up for the feast, she has witnessed Jak’s gift of the taint-eating insects, she has gone to the Earthtemple to collect a message from Cassy via a computer powered by a crystal and also a stone sword, she has gone for a swim with Bruna, and met Daffyd in Sador, all the while pondering Salamander, Jakoby and her quest. So without a doubt, she deserves some sleep, since it is nearly dawn again. But as so often happens, when you want sleep the most, it doesn’t come to you.

Instead, Elspeth forms a probe, but almost as if she didn’t do it herself, like someone else did it? She sent it, or it went as it chose, out to the desert, where Elspeth’s probe took on a spirit shape. Elspeth could see the aura of the desert, a shifting, yellow-gold and white. And now it becomes clear what is going on, it is a very ingenious plot device for Isobelle Carmody to show us what is going on in the hunt, with Bruna. Bruna entered one of the isis rifts, and Elspeth followed, her own curiosity allowing her to merge with Bruna, so that Elspeth sees the world through her eyes, just like she was able to do with Matthew. Strange how this works though, since usually it would be next to impossible, and both people need to be quite familiar with each other and their minds, but this isn’t Elspeth under control, this is Talent pure and unadulterated.

Through Bruna’s eyes, Elspeth sees Dardelan, but not as we’ve seen him before. He has dressed for the occassion, and I’m sure there is a bit of highlighting and exaggerating on Bruna’s part, but his aura is a dazzling display of gold and flashes of diamond white. Bruna is so surprised to see him here, but he knew that she would come here since it was ‘her favourite’, and he made Andorra lead the way. Apparently Dardelan has ‘won’, but he isn’t going to send up the sparks which usually signify this, since it was slightly unconventional.

But Bruna cannot believe that Dardelan is here, she hasn’t changed as a person, she won’t sit at home while he is off fighting, so it is Dardelan who has changed. He drove Bruna back to Sador where Jakoby said she would be happiest, but soon found that what he had done was stupid since he loved her. Dardelan did not notice Bruna’s change into a woman, and had been pushing her away because he still saw her as the ‘child’ she once was. But now he is here to beg for forgiveness, even though he is also here on other business. Last night when he heard another man talk of hunting her, he was filled with jealousy (just as Jakoby planned) and decided to join the hunt, though he thought maybe he deserved it after they way he treated her.

It turns out well in the end, and Bruna and Dardelan will be together, whether they stay in the Land or in Sador who knows, but Elspeth feels slightly embarrassed being a witness to such private matters, so quickly leaves before something more happens. Finally Elspeth falls asleep, but she goes into the dreamtrails instead of down into dreaming. Quickly it seems the H’yraka arrives, though Maruman beats him to it, and warns Elspeth that she shouldn’t come here alone, and should in fact choose not to come to the dreamtrails, it is too dangerous. But right now there is some drama, Elspeth is being summoned back to Obernewtyn, immediately, Atthis’ voice has grown weak, but whether this is ‘The Summon’ we don’t know. And now with Elspeth and Atthis’ conversation repeated, I fear that it is Atthis who is going to pay the price for saving Rushton, she did after all give some sort of golden energy to Elspeth. And my guess is that that was her life force, sounds corny, but what else was it then?

But right now Elspeth has to escape the dreamtrails as the Destroyer tries to reach her, and this is an important moment, because usually Maruman says the H’yraka, and not the Destroyer. So does that mean these are two different people/things? And if so, then who are they? Without a doubt, one of them HAS TO BE Ariel, surely, come on, I actually think it is almost a let down if Ariel turns out to just be an evil guy, why hype up all this drama about him being the Destroyer, if he turns out to not be. I get that makes it mysterious and shocking, but if he isn’t the Destroyer he must be the H’ryaka (I’ve forgotten the proper spelling), the one who brings destruction. I mean maybe they are just the one and the same, but I’m not so sure. Anyway Elspeth falls into a dream where she is in that same tunnel, but this time there is Matthew calling out for her. A tad random, and Elspeth thinks that maybe it is a true dream, but why is Matthew there. Unless of course that this is a true dream, and that this tunnel is where the weaponmachines are, and that Matthew is actually there, which gives rise to an interesting theory (rot13 for safety from stray theories): znggurj vf gur qrfgeblre, pncvgny yrggref zvffvat gb cebgrpg gur snpg gung v nz hfvat anzrf! Honestly I cannot wait to finally find out what is really going to happen and who is who. Though that will be a sad day since the Chronicles will be over.

Waking up, Rushton is there with Elspeth, he has been up all night practising gadi with Bram, something that isn’t easy. New languages are exceptionally difficult, especially those with fundamentally different pronunciations and sounds, but languages make things interesting. They have also discuss Daffyd’s theory, and it may help the tribes agree to go ahead with the voyage. Right now though, Elspeth must return to Obernewtyn, and Rushton says that they will be leaving for Sutrium soon enough, and that they will then have word from the owner of Stormdancer as to whether they can use the ship. Then they will all be in the one place to plan further about the expedition, plus it will be an ideal time to discuss the future of these lands, and what place Misfits have in them. Already Gwynedd wants a Misfit school on Norseland and Westland, so kids don’t have to travel so far away from home, which is a good idea, though it means that Obernewtyn as the one place where Misfits are, will no longer be the case. And then, both high chieftains are serious about having two beasts on each of the Councils, even if there will be strong opposition, they are vital since their part in the rebellion was vital. And they need to set up some healing centres in Westland. So in a very long winded way Rushton has been giving Elspeth her instructions when she returns to Obernewtyn, he will have to stay and discuss things, but they will all travel on the Umborine back to Sutrium. However, Elspeth is going to have to go along the coast road, since she must leave now, and Obernewtyn is closer that way. Um, when has Elspeth been along it before? That makes little sense, I don’t remember her doing so, unless she just went for a ride, or when they were investigating that as an escape route, be even so, I don’t remember this happening!

The parting between Elspeth and Rushton is a hard one, after finally coming together at last, they must now separate. It is so hard for Elspeth to lie to Rushton about her identity, but she cannot let it out, even to Rushton. Who knows what that would cause, maybe it would make Rushton the Destroyer? The two of them say their final goodbyes, as Elspeth prepares to depart back to Obernewtyn!


A very short little epilogue, as Elspeth, Maruman and Gahltha return home. On the coast road Elspeth ponders her dream with the Destroyer, and she is confused about why Ariel didn’t appear as herself, which gives further evidence that maybe it isn’t him. It is a bit of a wrap of the latest mysteries, and what is going to happen soon enough, the trip to the Red Queen’s Land (though, with the FINAL book titled that I guess it won’t be until then).

I feel like that in every epilogue we have Elspeth constantly thinking and Maruman saying something about this, and about how humans are always caught up in thought. Their journey to Obernewtyn is nearly over, but as Maruman says, it is only the beginning. Again, talk of a wolf howling, so maybe, just maybe, this is foreshadowing that wolves will be involved!

At the very end, we find a list of all the characters, which is so critical since there are A LOT of them! And being at the back is better than the front, since then you aren’t spoiled with the names of new people. But sadly it says H’rayka is equated with the Destroyer, unless that is just based on present knowledge I am not so sure.

Tomorrow of course I start The Sending with a prediction post! But I shall also have something to wrap up The Stone Key like I normally do!

The Stone Key – Chapter 40

Chapter Forty

So yesterday’s time in the Earthtemple isn’t over, the overguardian still has something from Kasanda to give Elspeth. Taking a new path out of the panel cavern, they approached the front of the temple and Elspeth could see Templeport and the vast ocean beside it. The overguardian, who isn’t exactly the ‘nicest’ of people, but being chosen as the overguardian is probably a huge burden and it would be wearisome hearing thoughts and seeing into the future, tells Elspeth to grab something from a crevice. Inside was a stone sword, and the overguardian tells her to keep it until she finds the person who it rightfully belongs to. Who that is, Elspeth is going to have to find out?

And that is apparently all, the overguardian has nothing more, she cannot answer any more questions because she does not know any more. Except that Kasanda, who obviously made it, said it had great value and it was the ‘key to all things’. And no Elspeth there will never be an end to all of the mysteries, I almost feel like Isobelle Carmody is toying with us at that point trying to highlight our own frustration about the never ending mysteries with Elspeth’s. But a stone sword is a really strange object to make in the first place, so confusing! Is this the STONE KEY, instead of the other thing?

Returning to the settlement, Elspeth isn’t going to join the dancing and frivolity, she has been reminded that she is the Seeker, and that her path is one which she alone must go down. She tries to ponder the sword and why Kasanda would make such a thing, and who it could belong to, but she really has no clue. But at this point I think Elspeth just has to trust that there will come a time when the answer is clear, and she won’t really have to search for answers, they just seem to come to her eventually. But some answers that Elspeth doesn’t have is what the other signs and things are going to do, and I think that they must be the commands to destroy the weaponmachines, this device is just to get into the place, not destroy things.

But something that I completely missed was Cassy saying that she had ‘defied time twice and in more than one way’. What on earth does she mean? I guess this is one way she defied time, but what was the other? And she also said that it had cost her much to get this computer, but what exactly was that? Was that in the Red Queen’s Land, and it means her husband? Did he go off to get it and died in the process? Or was it during the Great White that she lost something to get the computer? But then she would have had to keep it hidden for ages, so maybe she found it when she was a captive of the Gadfians, but what did she lose there? We haven’t heard much about her time there. In fact I find it curious that Elspeth has only ever seen Cassy before the Great White, and never during her life afterwards. Is that because we only need to see her Beforetime life, and we can hear more about her other parts from the Gypsies and Sadorians? A little strange how that works, but I guess seeing the Beforetime and understanding how and why the Great White happened is more important.

Another great mystery is Maruman! How did Cassy know about his ‘other name’ Merimyn, and why did she use that name? Is Maruman actually Merimyn? And if so, why did he tell Elspeth his name was Maruman, or indeed how did Elspeth come to know that was his name? I mean the fact that Maruman seems to have somehow existed in the Beforetime with that vision of a girl calling Merimyn, is just so puzzling. One explanation I guess would be that somehow Cassy sent him to Elspeth’s time, since she said she defied time twice, maybe this was the other way?

I do like that the Sadorians take theft so seriously, and regard every crime as theft. If you kill someone, it is theft of life, if you steal a thing, it is theft of property, if you keep someone captive it is theft of freedom, there is also theft of love but I don’t know if that means you cheat on your partner, or seduce someone’s bondmate, it is a little ambiguous. And if you steal freedom or life, you are sent out to the desert naked, and if you find your way back you are free to go anywhere but Sador. Of course it wouldn’t make sense to send out the experienced Sadorians since they would find their way back without trouble, they are given a potion though, that means they can no longer see long distances, so they are unable to make out the stars and unable to navigate there way back. Apparently that effect is permanent, so most people don’t really want to return even if they could. So I guess crime is so low because of such harsh penalties. The punishment actually acts as a deterrent because it is so severe, some might argue it is unethical, but why should you break these laws in the first place?

Elspeth decides to go for a swim in the pool at the base of the cliffs, and finds Bruna and a lot of other young women there. It seems Jakoby’s plan has worked and Bruna and the other women are preparing for the hunt, by cooling down in the pool. As for whether Dardelan has put in a stone, we do not know yet, but Bruna has three, so there is a good chance. Elspeth is reminded about Miryum and Straaka, who have been missing for a long time now, Straaka is dead of course, but as for Miryum we do not know. There was a kasanda who said that they walked together but no under the moon or sun, which could mean that they are now together but in death. But that is a mystery that is once again, not really solved, maybe we will never know where Miryum took Straaka’s body and what she did after. And just before the hunt begins, there is a strange moment where Elspeth sees two honey coloured women, and she wonders where they have come from, not the Land, Norseland or Sador, because they don’t look like anyone Elspeth has seen. So where have they come from, and how on earth did they get here? But sadly we don’t get to find out, MORE MYSTERY!

Instead it is now time for the ‘hunted’ to depart, before the hunters leave themselves an hour later. And as Bruna departs, we find another person Elspeth knows, Daffyd. He is still searching for Gilaine, his brother and Lidgebaby. Of course part of that is to try and bring down Salamander, but he hasn’t been to Sador has he? Daffyd thinks so, but doesn’t elaborate, instead talks about the Land’s own victory against the Hedra. Elspeth pushes him again, and Daffyd explains his theory that Salamander is a Sadorian tribesman. Even though Sadorians hate slavery, there are always ‘bad eggs’, so maybe it is true.

He tells his tale, he came to Sador in an attempt to reach the west coast after the rebellion, but soon found that nobody was sailing there. So he got a job here, and began to ponder why Salamander had never attacked one of the Sadorian greatships (apart from the one that was burnt) and why he never came to Sador. Continuing his story, he was sent on a kar-aven, and when he was travelling through the desert he heard something that made him realise that maybe Salamander didn’t come from the Red Queen’s Land after all. He talked to a woman who was originally from the Land but had married a tribesman. The woman was once a shipgirl on a small vessel, which was attacked by Salamander’s ship, the crew were taken as slaves, apart from one who was sent adrift, and if lucky would reach land to spread word of Salamander. But this woman had climbed over the edge of the boat and hung onto a rope connected to the boat while it was raided. The woman then swam back onto the boat, and unbound the man, and they were brought by currents to Sador. The woman remained here, but the man returned to the Land.

But during her time in the water, clinging to the rope, she saw something nobody else has ever seen. She saw in one of the windows of the ship, Salamander who had been wounded. His slave tended to him and gave him stitches. The woman saw that Salamander’s skin was ‘as brown as choca’. Elspeth thinks this makes him Gadfian, but that also means that he is likely to be Sadorian, since Gadfia (or what remains) isn’t exactly around the corner. Daffyd then thought that Salamander would be so secretive simply so he was then able to come to Sador and do as he pleased, without his disguise. This gives Daffyd a chance to get onto his boat, if indeed his theory is true, but how he would know it was Salamander is impossible. But he seems to think he must just find a Sadorian who disappears and then reappears after a long period of time, but after all these are nomads so that isn’t an easy feat.

But now with the expedition to the Red Queen’s Land coming into place, Daffyd will tag along and find Gilaine and the others. Rushton wants him to propose his theory to the tribe tonight, just as he puts his request forward, so that the tribes have even less incentive to refuse. And that on their venture to the Red Queen’s Land they will find out who the hell Salamander is, and can put at stop to him, though I don’t see how they will do that, even with the four ships they won’t have a huge force, and Salamander can just sail away with Ariel and all his people to wherever the hell he wants! So I think they are slightly optimistic to think they will stop him. But what seems to be true is that the slavers of the Red Queen’s Land are in fact Gadfians, but not the same ones that stole the Sadorian women. Since Gadfia was a huge place, this seems likely. All of this has come from Daffyd’s time here with the Sadorian people, who know an awful lot about Gadfia and the Beforetime, but prefer to keep such information a secret, and don’t like sharing the knowledge because they don’t like dwelling on the past, preferring to see it as a lesson not to go down their path.

Daffyd is taken away by Gilbert, who is happy to see the man after such a long time, but first we find out that Dardelan has apparently retired and gone to bed. But I don’t know, Gilbert just hasn’t seen him for a while, and the hunt might be a good reason why. This is as the first hunter catches his ‘prey’, honestly it is very barbaric thinking and writing about this in these terms, but it is the Sadorian way, and the women aren’t really caught unless they want to, so it is just a display of their love, and the man’s dedication and determination to get what he loves.

Elspeth and Maruman head off to bed, and I’m going to leave it here, even though I haven’t finished this chapter, and since the epilogue is REALLY short, it makes sense to stop now, and finish it all off tomorrow! A lot has happened already, but there is still some room for something else, who knows!

The Stone Key – Chapter 39 – Part Two

3 days till my The Sending predictions post!

Chapter Thirty-Nine  – Part Two

Elspeth approaches the Earthtemple, and is greeted by one of the guardians with the standard question, “What do you seek of the earth?”. I do like how this question is phrased, instead of asking “what do you want US to do”, or “what do you want”, or “how may I help you”, which is pretty standard here in our world, they are asking what the person really desires not from the guardians, but from the earth itself. Elspeth doesn’t give any pretence, and says she is seeking what Kasanda left for her, the Seeker. As Elspeth is lead into the Temple she wonders if she really is here for that. After all isn’t she supposed to have Gahltha, Maruman and one of Kasanda’s blood with her? Or does that just mean in Sador with her, but even so, who is the Kasanda’s blood?

Elspeth is brought to the chamber where all of Kasanda’s carvings are on display, and of course nothing has changed since she was last here. Though she is picking up on a few more details like a moon (which keeps popping up, reason?) in one of the panels. The new overguardian arrives, and somehow Maruman is beside her (so that’s one of the three, and maybe the Kasanda’s blood just means the overguardian herself, but Cassy didn’t have a child with a Sadorian did she?). The overguardian is interesting, she seems to be incapable of not listening to Elspeth’s thoughts, yes she is a Misfit, but is this some sort of added Talent which means she can hear everything people think? And that would be quite a curse, all that constant noise!

The overguardian suggests that the prophecy simply means Sador instead of the Temple itself, and Elspeth immediately feels the same anger she does talking to the futuretellers. They always deal with mysteries and uncertainties, and give vague, cryptic answers, when all she really wants is the clear truth. Even so, it appears that maybe the prophecy has changed since the last overguardian, and it was unclear to the new overguardian what should be done, so she sent out Jakoby and let it all happen as it chose.

Elspeth asks for the fifth sign, and the overguardian goes over the panel with the Great White depicted on it, and puts her hand on it, and then a secret opening reveals itself. Only Elspeth and Maruman are allowed inside this chamber, and it is so exciting and mysterious! Going down the passage and through a small opening, she finds herself in some sort of reflective space. And it reminds Elspeth of a ‘thunder egg’, though I think she means a geode, but that information came from Fian not her. The area is lined in purple amethyst, and she was so entranced by the amethyst that she takes a while to notice what is in the middle of the floor. It is some sort of thin case, with a glass panel. And it sounds like a computer, but, how? She tries to open the case, and for a second she fears that she was supposed to use the key that was supposed to be with Hannah, but that is not quite the case.

The chamber then begins to hum, and the computer turns on, and the case opens to reveal what seems to be a laptop computer. It is a strange device since it is somehow powered by this crystal chamber, I don’t really understand the science behind that, there is of course the piezoelectric effect, but I don’t think that is relevant. I guess the Beforetimers figured something out, after all there wouldn’t have been electricity for Kasanda to power this computer with, so she had to get creative.

And now it is Elspeth’s turn to get creative and figure out what to type into the computer to get it to work and reveal its secrets. She tries a few things, but nothing seems to work. So Elspeth tries what Dell did with Ines, and speaks to it. She says that she is the Seeker, and somehow that gets it to work. And before us comes a message straight from the Beforetime, from Cassy herself! Cassy soon tells Elspeth there is limited time, because the crystal’s energy is too strong and will fry the computer (though that explanation wastes more time!) and so Elspeth must remember everything as there will be no other time when she can see this. Honestly, I know you are trying to explain what is going on Cassy, but you are wasting the ‘precious’ time you have!

Elspeth is going to take something from this chamber, but first she must record her voice. And she must remember exactly what she has said, as I am guessing whatever she is taking away is some sort of device that will allow her access into the weaponmachine’s location, but she must confirm her identity via the voice message. Then Maruman (or Merimyn as he is called) must do the same. The ‘memory seed’ is now encoded with their voices, and then Elspeth was told to press eject (and she takes maybe too long as the computer starts to fry) and then take the object, which looks like plast which she has seen plenty of times before. Is this the STONE KEY?????????

The writing reappears and tells Elspeth that the object will give her access to all levels of the Sentinel Complex, I am guessing that the other keys allow her to destroy the weaponmachines. Elspeth just has to load it into a port, any port, as ‘all roads lead to the Sentinel’, which is a strange thing to say. Without this device the place would start defending itself, which is not a good thing. And only Elspeth and Maruman are allowed inside for their voices are the only ones recorded, so how would the Destroyer get in?

Then a most frustrating thing happens, as the words say ‘Only remember that’, the computer short-circuits and we will NEVER get to know what she was trying to say. Elspeth can’t panic though, she must remember all of the words that actually showed up, for there is a lot she doesn’t understand, like a ‘port’, she needs to know what that is. It is a real pity that we don’t get to find out the rest of that sentence, and we have to hope it wasn’t too important. If only Cassy didn’t waste time with all that added nonsense about ‘no time’, there would have been if she stopped talking about it!

Elspeth tries to ask Maruman who called him Merimyn, but he refuses to answer as usual. Honestly how much stuff does he know that he refuses to share? He just dislikes human curiosity, but honestly, I WANT TO KNOW MARUMAN! Let me hear your secrets! But there are many more secrets than what Maruman knows, and Elspeth really wishes (as do I) that she could have asked Cassy one of her thousands of questions she has. But, the computer didn’t mean Cassy was alive, it just gave that illusion. The only way I guess would be to somehow meet on the dreamtrails, but can you even do that with someone who is dead? The next best thing is to gain more glimpses from the mindstream! But that is infrequent, and we might not find out everything.

But it is not quite over yet, the overguardian has something else for Elspeth that Kasanda left her. I wonder what it is?

The Stone Key – Chapter 39 – Part One

Chapter Thirty-Nine – Part One

Before the festivities for the night begin, Elspeth is washed, dressed, styled all at the command of Jakoby. Elspeth finds it all a bit boring, but her solace is that Kaman explains about the fish that for some strange reason beach themselves every single year, which provide a plentiful source of food for the Sadorians, which without, they wouldn’t survive. Maybe these fish have a mating process which requires this, otherwise you’d have to rely on the Sadorian explanation which is that it is a promise that the world will heal one day, and the whole night is used as a thanks to the sea. But it is slightly strange that the fish, even if you throw them back out to sea, will beach themselves.

Just before Elspeth actually finds where she is supposed to be going, now that she is ready for the festivities, Elspeth finds that Gahltha is trying to ‘woo’ a Sadorian mare. Um, I don’t know the equine ‘rules of dating’ but he has a foal to Avra. Do male horses just have as many mares as they want? Not really sure what to think of that, but, anyway, not really important.

And tonight Jak is going to be gifting (as is the Sadorian tradition on this night) his taint eating bugs to the tribes, who of course have been looking to this day since they built the Earthtemple. It will finally give them a way of healing the earth. And he will have to do all of this in front of nearly all of Sador, who have gathered for this feast. He spoke first, explaining the history of these bugs, before offering them to the tribes, as well as his skill with them. This is a huge moment for Sador, as the prophecy has been fulfilled, and now, no woman will have to bathe in the isis pools. But I guess this has more meaning than we can conceive, as that means there will be no more mutated Sadorians and thus no more Earthtemple guardians. That is a huge change for the Sadorian people, and a lot will have to be discussed. I also think it is fitting that soon enough, Elspeth will be getting the final sign from the overguardian, and then, I guess, the ultimate job of the Earthtemple, which is to give this sign to the Seeker, will be fulfilled. Obviously they have a much larger role than that, but Kasanda would have created the temple with the aim in mind to get this sign to Elspeth. Now you have to wonder what will happen next, will there be no more Misfit Sadorians? Is that the end of the Earthtemple? An interesting time awaits Sador.

Already there is some consternation, as some other tribes people accuse Jakoby of misinterpreting the prophecy to suit her opposition to the practise. There is some argument, but Jakoby is not going to back down, and even answers a question I had. She thinks that there will continue to be an Earthtemple because shouldn’t there be plenty of Sadorians who are willing to devote their time at the Earthtemple, and not just those who are deformed. But since this has been going on for so long, people don’t like to imagine the Earthtemple served by ‘regular’ people, traditions are something that people hold to dearly. At least Bram puts an end to the debate, and leaves it for another time, and it is definitely a debate that will rear its head again. And they have some time to work it all out, it will take two months for Jak and Seely to set up a colony, and the isis pools will remain tainted for quite some time yet.

Bruna arrives to stay with Elspeth and Seely for a while, giving her insights into the cuisine, but before long she leaves, quite possibly because of the arrival of Dardelan. The trouble between those two is worse than what it was between Elspeth and Rushton (okay apart from the fact Rushton was made to hate Elspeth and want her dead). I don’t know if they were ‘meant to be’ or if it was just one relationship before both of them find someone who they can be together. So I’m not sure if I want them to get back together. But it seems that it is Dardelan who needs to hurry up and make a move if he wants to, Bruna has done all she can, now it is up to him, if it wants it. Bruna is set to spend a year working in the spice groves, and in all honesty, Dardelan did not seem likely to stop her.

However, this is all part of Jakoby’s plan, and she is hoping that she has given Dardelan the push he needs to once and for all show his love for Bruna, by doing what in Sador is ‘hunting for a mate’. It sounds archaic, but a man may put down on a stone the name of any single, woman, and she will be given an hour’s head start before the men are set off to catch their women. Of course, catching a Sadorian is no easy feat, and if Dardelan is able to, that will be impressive. Bruna has even made some of her tribespeople tell Dardelan about this process, and has even put up the image of a competitor, nothing like jealousy to spur on a man! Bruna probably won’t be caught, unless she wants to be, so I guess this will be a true test of their relationship if it still exists. Very meddling of Jakoby, but sometimes people need a push, and who better?

Jakoby leads Elspeth to the Earthtemple, she has been summoned! We get another glimpse into the life of Jakoby for she reveals that her sister is actually a twin, Seresh, and both of them could have been guardians for the temple, since their mother had gone into the isis pools. Indeed Seresh, was slightly ‘deformed’ and their mother left their father and refused to hand over Seresh to the temple. Jakoby grew up not knowing that Seresh was actually deformed, and that really, REALLY says something about our perception of beauty. Just because something/someone is not like everyone else doesn’t make them ugly! Eventually though Seresh was handed over to the guardians. Jakoby was not able to see her for many years, and once she saw her again, and saw her face, it was completely different, Jakoby saw the face as others saw it, ghastly. Seresh, quite rightly, became hurt at Jakoby’s reaction, and questioned why she was given such a face, and Jakoby was spared. And that is a question that is asked all too often. And there is no answer. Who is to say why anything happens?

Seresh eventually ran away from the Temple because she hated it there, surrounded by ‘monsters’. Jakoby was told that she drowned herself, but later it was revealed that she did not, and she escaped on a ship. Where she went, nobody knows. And so that is why Jakoby is so opposed to the pools, and she even lost her bondmate because he thought it was ‘unwomanly’ for her to refuse to go into the pool. Almost ‘randomly’ Seresh tells us that she loved ‘pretty things’ like silk, and she hated that the guardians only wore plain clothes. Since this is included it must be important, but right now Elspeth is summoned into the Temple! And that will be covered tomorrow.

Okay now I just want to mention a theory that I have seen mentioned and I think really fits, and either this is a huge red-herring put there by Isobelle Carmody to throw us off, or it must be true. So I want to give a clear warning, there is a possibility that what comes next will spoil things for you because you won’t have a moment where you could be shocked (if it turns out to be true) or you might be a person who just wants to figure things out for themselves, and that’s fine. But DO NOT READ ON IF THIS IS YOU! There is nothing more this review after this, so don’t even scroll past, just stop here, but if you want to hear a theory, and that is all it is (and it is something I have seen at, which is an awesome place to discuss Isobelle Carmody and is a fantastic community!) continue reading on. (I’ll leave a bit of a gap to make sure those who don’t want to see it don’t). Any comments on this theory MUST be in rot13!If you aren’t sure if you want to hear the theory, but might be interested depending on what it is on, go to and decypher this: Gur gurbel vf nobhg Fnynznaqre naq jub ur zvtug or!







Ok, for those of you interested in this theory, it concerns Salamander and who he (or she) really is. And after we just saw a possibility that Salamander is a woman, in the form of fancy clothes and silks at Ariel’s residence (unless it is just someone else), and now we are given a hint from Jakoby. About someone else who liked fancy clothes, Seresh. Now why else would Jakoby mention this unless it was to hint us towards these fancy clothes that we found? I mean of course there is the possibility that Seresh is just working with Salamander or something. But it makes a lot of sense, because since she is ‘deformed’ that gives her reason to hide her face. Of course this would mean that the beautiful woman who spoke for Salamander is not her, but maybe that is just a red-herring. Plus Seresh would probably be a brilliant sailor just like all Sadorians, though I don’t know if she went to learn how to sail or not. And she might have found things in the Earthtemple that detailed a route to the Red Queen’s Land, or at least hinted at it? Who knows. But as for why on earth Seresh would become a slaver, after the strong opposition to such things in Sador, I’m not sure. Was it just a rebellion against all the things that Sador believed in? And how on earth did she become Salamander? I guess that is still the big part of the mystery, yeah it is one thing to know that she might be Salamander, but what are her motives, and how did it happen? This is what we still need to figure out or wait to be told. Because we must surely be given more information about Salamander eventually. Anyway, hope this has give you something to think about, and if you want to comment about it, put it in rot13 in the comments to make sure others don’t really get spoiled if indeed this is something that might be a possibility. See you tomorrow

The Stone Key – Chapter 38

Chapter Thirty-Eight

After such a climactic ending, where can this go? The group departs from Norseland and are off to Sador, and Elspeth just watches over Rushton, who for a long while just slept, after the torment he went through mentally, he has every right to rest for as long as possible. But when he awakes, it is pleasing to see that his rage and anger towards Elspeth has gone. We hear about how the rest of the mission on Norseland went, but as we know the outcome, it was all easy going, probably easier than they had hoped. Of course the Hedra didn’t go down without a fight, but the whole of Norseland was ready for a fight and ready to win back their home and their freedom. By the time Elspeth and the others had reached Covetown the fighting was over. The death toll was high though, with over three hundred dead, and many more wounded.

Rushton had come to Ariel’s residence, urged on by compulsion which had been placed there by Ariel, who had trained him and taught him the way. Ariel really did foresee a whole lot, but as Elspeth has pointed out, he hasn’t seen everything, and that is really the hope that Elspeth has and that everyone can take away from all of this. Ariel is not infallible, and he can be beaten, which is good news if he indeed is the Destroyer. I almost really want to see Ariel’s face when he finds out that Elspeth and Rushton are both alive and well, what sort of rage would that put him through. Because it is NOT possible that he foresaw all of this, surely, because if he did, what would be the point of it all?

It seems that for a lot of this series, there has been nothing but war. At least since the rebellion, of course before then there was no fighting, but still a lot of death. The fighting is still raging on Norseland and in Westland, and then even once that is all over and won, they have to leave the Land to wage another war. Maybe, finally after that, there will be peace for these people. But one thing I really appreciate is that Gwynedd is haunted by the faces of the young Hedra, and even though it looks like a sign of weakness, it is the mark of a true leader, that human life is worth a lot to him, and even his enemies’ and their lives, he doesn’t want to take. And he has been strongly reminded that this battle on Norseland was once what all battles were like, since it did not involve the Misfits, who strove to keep it as bloodless as possible. At least the future for Misfits in the Land is safe, with Dardelan and Gwynedd both avidly supportive of the Misfits after all they have done. And Gwynedd admits that a true victory is only one where the hearts and minds of your enemy is won, not when they are dead. A true progression in humanity! Indeed it was Gwynedd who stopped the Norselanders executing the captive Hedra, for they wanted to repay the Hedra with the kindness they gave them.

As for their Red Queen expedition, Gwynedd did not find any clear maps of the route to take, so the best information they have is the maps from Sador and hope for some from the cloisters. As for the force they are going to take with them, Gwynedd is thinking about taking coerced Hedra over there, which is an intelligent suggestion, since they are such skilful warriors, and that’s what they are going to need. Gwynedd is now the king of Norseland like his lineage demands, but of course he is still high chieftain, for at least a year, but the Norselanders are totally cool with him going off to the Red Queen’s Land and wherever he pleases, because that’s what Norse kings do. The Pers have been organising and running Norseland for ages anyway, but still, it was left up to them when they had a king, since he was usually off doing his own thing (I wonder if they had Queen’s, I mean they worship Goddess, so it only makes sense). Gwynedd was crowned, and Dell’s futuretelling came true, as we knew it would.

Continuing on towards Sador, after falling becalmed, Elspeth finally gets some time just to relax and not have to worry. Honestly for this entire book she has been busy off on expeditions and adventures, worrying about Malik, Herders, a plague and Ariel. Now, she can just relax and be calm with those she loves. The calm weather is mirroring Elspeth’s piece of mind, which for once is still. She was content, and fine with being insignificant in the enormity of the ocean and the world.

I really do love seeing the tecknoguilders try to explain this planet and our (Beforetimer) world. Though they really do a good job, it is interesting seeing them present their ideas to everyone, and most people finding it all inconceivable. Elspeth though, has become very wise, and is saying some profound stuff. Certainty is indeed a sort of blindness, because it eliminates the possibility of something else being true, and is very limiting. Being able to accept other opinions and be open to new suggestions is an important part of development and research, so being certain of something is probably not a good idea, if that means you will disregard any contradictory evidence.

Sador comes into view, and Elspeth and Rushton finally, finally, are together and both acknowledge that they love each other. So they can properly be together, I know they were for a little while, but now, there is no reason (forgetting about Elspeth’s quest for a moment) that they cannot be together. Ashore, Bram greets them, and they already know of the downfall of the Herders and Council, their own kasanda foreseeing it, but they still celebrate the victory and look forward to a life of freedom. Finally in Sador they can put forward their request to the tribes (even though they probably have some idea of the threat themselves) and Elspeth can go and see the overguardian.

I’m guessing that it has been two years since Elspeth and the others were in Sador, since they were here for the Battlegames before the rebellion. In two years a lot has been achieved, and freedom has been won. And yet it is still in need of more fighting. As for the request for the Sadorian ships, of course they aren’t willing to hand them over, so a full alliance and proposal for war is going to be examined. Rushton even has to make the request in gadi, which should be interesting, but this means they’ll be here for a week, but at least they have the time to plan and start to prepare for the long voyage. But still the majority of the preparation won’t be done in this book.

Rushton and Elspeth are in a jovial mood, and we get a rare glimpse into Rushton’s family. His grandmother was apparently a very eccentric woman, and people thought she was a witch, but since it didn’t take much for suspicion to be put on people, she probably wasn’t that odd. Well, she did like to up in the forest at full moon and glare at it, which is weird, but reminds me of Maruman. But as much as Rushton plays down her, the Twentyfamilies Gypsies would visit her everytime they passed through town, so obviously she was someone important. Curse you Isobelle Carmody for introducing new mysteries at the end of the book! And apparently one of Rushton’s other ancestors was obsessed with the mountains, but wasn’t one of his ancestors the person who found Obernewtyn, or is this another ancestor? I guess it is since this is on his mother’s side, not his father, never mind. Apparently his grandmother thought there was a settlement of people beyond the mountain, and one day disappeared, believed to have gone into the mountains. I wonder if these are the mountains where Newrome is, and that she was a futureteller and saw this settlement as it was in the past. Or was she just aware of something that we don’t yet know of?

That might not be that far off from the truth as Lukas Seraphim had these same ideas, when he went out looking for Obernewtyn, so maybe he had just seen Obernewtyn, but in the Beforetime. Elspeth has a theory that Hannah Seraphim herself was responsible for spreading such rumours after being cut off from Obernewtyn, it is an interesting suggestion, but who knows. But maybe it isn’t as ludicrous as it sounds, it does after all fit, but without really that much evidence it is still just speculation. But it is so refreshing to see Elspeth and Rushton together, talking freely, and both happy. Such a good change from their icy distance. Not that long to go now!

The Stone Key – Chapter 37

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Of course Jak isn’t actually interested in his injuries, and tries to brush aside any notion of needing stitches, he is more interested in the explosive itself. He finds it fascinating, and it was only by chance that he even noticed the trapdoor in the first place. It is interesting that it exploded as they tried to open it, I can’t imagine what sort of device would allow that to happen, so if they want to get inside it, they need to open it, though there is the chance it will just explode again, possibly with more devastating results. My guess is that Ariel definitely knew how to get inside, and I bet he set up the explosive again upon his quick departure.

Of course Elspeth can usually unlock locks, so this should be no problem, except when she has a go, it is beyond her expertise, she doesn’t even understand the complex nature of this lock, so she has no chance of opening it. But Jak suggests she go through his mind, so that then she will be able to understand it, and then open it. It is an interesting suggestion that they can literally ‘team up’ and use both of their knowledge and power at the same time, an ability that is once again envious. Of course it works, and all Elspeth needed to do was break a current of electricity, which she wouldn’t have understood given they don’t actually have electricity! But the excitement of Jak is contagious for me, what if there is an Ines like computer in there? And Jak is surprised at the strength of Elspeth’s mind, he is the first person to really firsthand witness what she is capable of, and not just witness the result of her mind. If only he saw her using her killing power, then he’d just be terrified!

Now the terrifying part begins, because they have to descend into the unknown, Gilbert and Hakim remain above, but the other three descend, down a very long ladder. Honestly that isn’t a very safe method of going down into a bunker like this, what if someone fell? My guess is that this isn’t the main entrance, unless of course this is the only place they could break the rock, then that would make sense, but us Beforetimers don’t like to firstly be at risk and secondly have to actually do something. There could be an elevator somewhere else, plus they actually need to get all these things into this underground place, they don’t just magically appear. Jak’s suggestion that this is a missile silo kinda scares me, but I don’t think there is any such weapon, otherwise Ariel would have tried to use it for sure! But still if this is some sort of military installation, then there could be so many deadly and terrifying things, who knows what is down here. And his suggestion that they used missiles to launch plague seeds scares me more, because I’m sure that some military people are investigating that right now, and it is probably only a matter of time that something like that will be used.

They try to see if this place is controlled by Ines, but sadly they get no response, which makes Jak think that this wasn’t controlled by the Govamen, or at least they didn’t want to install such an expensive program for a weapons installation. But his explanation about how these sorts of places would have worked is surely helpful knowledge for Elspeth in her quest, for she knows that she must give the right codes sequentially or face death at the hands of a computer. Elspeth of course knows more about the Beforetime and weapons than she can let on, so all of Jak’s speculation is interesting to her, since it is slightly accurate.

Anyway they start to explore this area, and find it is a natural cavern, with a path seemingly circling it and cutting it in half. They enter through a door a set of rooms, Andorra doesn’t want to continue into this alien world, so Elspeth sets her a task to walk around the cavern seeing if there are more doors that lead off into more areas of this complex. It is interesting to see the limits of people, and I have to wonder what is Elspeth’s limit, and what is mine? Would I be able to explore these abandoned halls? I’ll never really know.

Continuing exploring, they find a lot of living areas, but then they come across some computers. Jak of course tries to get them to work, but it isn’t easy, I don’t think they are asleep like Ines, and honestly, they don’t have time now. Jak will have to come back and explore another time. The two of them split up to search for the plague seeds (again when is splitting up a good idea?). Elspeth comes a strange series of compartments, which Elspeth later figures must have housed animals. I guess this was a testing facility for biological agents, hence the need for animal test subjects. Elspeth thinks that maybe they were trying to save animals in the event of an apocalypse, though it sounds nice and noble, I doubt it.

Continuing deeper into these compartments, Elspeth finds a room and is convinced that this is where Ariel tortured Domick and Rushton. There were computers and bare tables, and Elspeth realises that this is a place of torture. Elspeth tries to leave and finds a room containing the plague seeds, and somehow the glass is ice cold, the cooling system is still functioning. Curiosity as we know killed the cat, but it is so critical to being able for development and exploration. The question is, when does curiosity go too far? Some might say that our curiosity with the atom, space, medicine or the human brain has gone too far, and that do we really need to understand everything? If curiosity is the driving force of research, does it neglect morality? These are very important questions for us in this day and age. How far do we want scientific research to go? And how much humanity are we willing to give up in order for advancement? There is no easy answer, but don’t you think we should discuss things before we start tampering and it is too late?

Elspeth finds that her lantern’s oil is nearly gone, so it is time for her to find the others. But in the maze of chambers, Jak has disappeared, and even Andorra has vanished in the circuit of the cavern. Then there is a scream, whose it is we have no idea. Maybe it is Gilbert, maybe Andorra, but what ever is happening I don’t like it. Elspeth tries to reassure herself that it was something logical, but then there is a rumbling growl, which can only mean an animal. Maybe this place isn’t deserted as she thought, and the animals are still here, or at least those that could survive, which makes them more deadly than ever. Elspeth backs away and returns into the maze of glass compartments, hoping to secure herself in one of them. Her lantern extinguishes, and we enter one of the most intense, nervewracking scenes of the story. What is Elspeth facing, and can she get out?

This fast paced action is sometimes hard to keep track of, but I’m pretty sure I know what is happening, at least what Elspeth is doing. She enters one of the larger compartments, but prevents the door closing with her shoe. Why does does that, I’m not entirely sure. I think she did this to keep the red light going that illuminated when the door was open. Elspeth could see something moving outside the compartment, and it looked bigger than a dog. It started sniffing, and Elspeth tried to reach it, but all she got was static, is it wearing a demonband? The animal struck the compartment, causing the shoe to fall out, and the door to close, which is probably a good thing, whatever is out there, Elspeth doesn’t want to be too close to it.

But then, everything gets so much worse as she sees what is out there. It isn’t an animal at all. But her beloved Rushton. It breaks my heart to see him now obviously afflicted with his memories, turned animalistic. How did he end up here? He must have gotten on one of the boats after all, and maybe he caused the third boat to be delayed. Rushton continues to try and smash into the door where Elspeth is, breaking bones in the effort. The rage that he has, would have caused him to kill Elspeth and rent her limbs off. Whatever Ariel has done, he has made him go mad. Hopefully nobody has been injured or killed along the way, that scream we heard, isn’t a good sign.

Elspeth realises that this was Ariel’s plan all along, and when they found him in Sutrium, the drugs were used as a cover, to hide what had happened. Ariel had wanted Elspeth to experience Rushton’s love slowly turn to rage, and end up here, in Norseland, with him at the lowest. But Ariel can’t have set Rushton upon her to kill her, he needed her. Maybe he thought Elspeth would kill him, to save herself, but I don’t think he understands people that well, Elspeth would never do that. But maybe he saw that Elspeth would be safe in this compartment, and made Rushton put on a demonband to stop Elspeth using her powers. If he saw all of this, then his power is huge and that is one scary thing. But Elspeth remembers, that no futuretelling can see everything, and that is the only thing that can give her hope and save her.

Elspeth understands that Rushton will kill himself trying to get to her, and the only thing she can do is open the door, and take faith in the knowledge that Rushton still loves her, and that Ariel was never able to destroy it completely. She shows Rushton how to open the door, and soon enough the door slides open, and Elspeth is no longer behind her shield. But she isn’t afraid, and just tells him that she loves him. She knows that Ariel wouldn’t have foreseen this option, because she could die, and he can’t let that happen. It becomes a heart0stopping moment as Rushton tries to fight with himself, and then almost seems to lunge at Elspeth, but stops himself. She gets the courage to go over to him, hold him, remove the demonband and enter his mind.

Inside it is chaos, but there is the same bear that was inside Dragon’s mind, which must be his form on the dreamtrails. He seems focused on the road which leads to his dead, the mindstream. Elspeth does something interesting, she enters the mind of the bear, and this makes me really think of Inception, but this book was out first. Inside she was in a winter wonderland, Ariel is inside this house of ice, so is Domick, conquered by him is sent off to torture Rushton, who is still the injured bear. Elspeth goes into this new bear, and finds herself somewhere else, and this time Elspeth is there, but it seems to be a vision of Elspeth how Rushton would see her, beautiful, strong and proud. Ariel is there trying to convince yet another bear that it is Elspeth that would hurt him, and not Ariel. The vision of Elspeth tells Rushton she doesn’t love him, and goes to strike him. Elspeth combines with this vision, and then goes yet again into the bear’s mind.

Tumbling down into the deepest parts of Rushton’s mind, Elspeth witnesses the horrors of the torture that Ariel and Domick committed, certain that the two of them would have been sent mad themselves by their deeds. They come just above the mindstream, the bear trying to enter it, and Elspeth trying to keep him away. Atthis appears, and tells Elspeth that she must not enter the mindstream, and must let Rushton go. Elspeth makes Atthis help her, though she warns that there will be a price for saving Rushton, and it won’t be Elspeth who pays. Atthis tells her that she must enter his deepest mind, which means yet again she goes into the bear.

Even here Ariel remained, and he continued to torment Rushton, but he wasn’t real, and that was something Elspeth could use. She uses the energy Atthis gave her to destroy Ariel and to rid him from Rushton’s mind. Elspeth had made her way to Rushton’s Talent, a vast cavern where infinite minds could be contained. This is Rushton’s deepest mind, and with Mika’s help, Ariel was able to find his way in, but now, with him gone, Rushton can heal, the bear vanishes, and Rushton returns.

Returning to her body, Elspeth finds Brydda, who lead those in the boat to safety when it capsized, lead on by a voice (Atthis?). They then found their way to the surface, he came to find Ariel’s residence, where Gilbert was unconscious, and Hakim had seen Rushton go into the trapdoor. Rushton must have found his way here past the Hedra, though maybe they were told to let him go past. Andorra had been knocked out, and Jak was lost wondering this vast place, and was found by Jakoby. Much time has passed (an entire day and night Elspeth was in the same position!), and the battle for Norseland is basically over.

Elspeth shows Jak the plague seeds, and he stops the cooling mechanism, which will make the seeds useless. And they leave this place, after such a momentous time. Rushton has been cured, but really, what is the price that someone will pay for saving him? That worries me, and how did Atthis know there would be a price? But it is a joyous time because Rushton is back, and the two of them can finally be in love. I guess part of the price will be when Elspeth has to leave him, it will be hard for them both. But that is in the future, right now, I guess we are still going to Sador.