Saturday, January 31, 2009

Notes for Ashling by Isobelle Carmody

Carmody, Isobelle - Ashling

Review here.

(Page numbers are for eReader on my PDA and therefore will be useless to most people. My apologies for that, but this is how I read the book.)

p.84: Th’ answer was in th’ plast sheets. Th’ Reichler clinic were bein’ investiagated by a powerful organization called Govamen, which was connected to huge weapon-tradin’ houses that made a profit out of sellin’ weaponmachines.

p.86: “This was the symbol of th’ research cell from Govamen.”

He stopped to point to a tiny picture atop one of the plasts. It showed three miniscule birds flying in an endless spiral around a word I could not interpret.

p.88: “The section is Govamen that used his as their mark” – Fian tapped the design - “had apparently gone a lot futher in its paranormal research than simply testin’ th’ minds of volunteers. It had actually tried to alter th’ brains of animals to produce artifical Talents. Seems they had some spectacular initial results that came to nowt.”

p.350: …a pale shining room. She/we are looking at a man with skin as black and polished as an old tree root. He wears odd clothing. His eyes are frightened. He takes her/us by the shoulders and shakes her/us hard.

“We have not choice, Emma,” he whispers. “We have to escape. Their actions have already set it all in motion.”

“But if what Cassandra foresaw is to happen, we will give them what they seek,” she/we say.

“She said one of our number will give in. One will reveal what we have kept hidden. But it need not be you or me. We can escape.”

Emma/we opens her/our mouth. “But where can we go? There will be radiation sickness when it comes – better to die at once.”

“There are places that won’t be hit so badly, where humanity will go on. We will join them. But Cassandra said we must make sure no one ever knows about us or what we can do.”

“Oh God, why? Tell me what this has to happen?” Emma/we cry hysterically.

The man squeezes her/our arm awkwardly, as if he is not used to such gestures. “I don’t know. Come with the rest of us. We’re going to the Reichler Clinic first. Hannah and Jacob believe the mountains will be safe…”

Is this Elspeth’s first vision of the Beforetime? It seems to be.

p.362: into one of the racial memories that Maryon said arose occasionally from the midstream like bubbles.

p.365: “Maruman guards the dreamtrails.”

p.538: I stared at the elaborate painting on the inside of his wrist and up his arm. Three birds were depicted flying in a spiral of black and green, shot through with red.

My mouth fell open with astonishment – it was the exact design Garth had shown me on the plast documents from the Reichler Clinic!

Since this was the logo of the paranormal research branch of the Govamen, what does this say about the Twentyfamilies gypsies?

p.540: This is a mark worn only by those of the Twentyfamilies and entitles us to pass through the gates of any city unsearched and untouched.

Does this mean this is a link between the Govamen and the council? What does it mean historically?

p.570: “The H’rayka searches in the dreamtrails of ElspethInnle, and I have fought many battles to guard the way.”

Abruptly, I was wide awake.

“Maruman, who/what is H’rayka?”

“H’rayka is the one who brings destruction,” the cat sent.

I felt a rush of pure terror. Atthis had told me that if I did not find the weaponmachines and disable them, another human, whose fate path twinned my own, would locate and activate them, raining a new doom on the world. She had called this person “the Destroyer.”

I’m guessing this is Ariel.

P.740: the gypsies had come from the sea, led by one who had vanished when they reached the Land.

p.1213: “Why would anyone want to build a city under the ground?”

“Because of the whiteface.” Maruman’s sleepy thought drifted into my mind.

The moon?

p.1249: I was mute with astonishment, for other than the crisscross reddening left by the bandage, my skin was utterly without mark of discoloration.

Further – and the clearest – indication of Elspeth’s new healing abilities. Or at least, self-healing. Where did they come from? The Guanette birds when hey healed her legs?

p.1253: Then the same woman was slumped in the carved chair. Her hair was red like Dragon’s…

Is this Dragon’s repressed memory? Does she come from somewhere other than the Land?

p.1260: kamuli


p.1282: “Do you bring the Moonwatcher?” he whispered fiercely.


p.1413: “The games were staged to determine who were the greater warriors and whether the Misfits and their unusual powers were worthy of alliance. The answer is that the rebels are clearly far more fitted to warfare than the Misfits. They have shaped their souls for aggression and quicken to violence as a gravid mare quickens with new life. The rebel legions, if they are truly represented by these men, are made for battle. No instinct of battle would restrain them, no compassion stay their hand, no love of beauty keep them from destruction. The Battlegames have shown them to be swift, decisive, ruthless, and resourceful. They are filled with the warrior’s desire to dominate and subdue.

“As for the Misfits, if they are truly represented by these before me, they are no warriors. They care too much for life and for one another. They are not stirred by the glories of war, and the shedding of lifeblood brings them sorrow, whether it be of beast or human, friend or foe. All their instincts are for defense, and so their great powers are all but useless in the cause of war. They are not cowardly or weak, but their minds appear incapable of allowing their great powers to serve them as weapons.

“Witness that they used the incredible ability that they call empathy to its greatest effect in a song, rather than to turn their enemies’ hearts to terror. They will never have the rebels’ single-mindedness of purpose, nor, therefore, their driving force, because they cannot see things in terms of simple goals.”

He turned in the dead silence wrought by his oratory and faced the rebels. “We here is Sador value the earth above all life – humans and beasts alike are short-lived and unimportant. This you know. We thought that Landfolk valued their own lives too much, regarding themselves as the chosen of their Lud. But these Misfits seem to value all life, and this is strange for us to contemplate. But thing you this: You rebels opposed alliance with the Misfits, because you thought them monsters an inhuman. Ask yourselves now which team has this day shown the keenest humanity and which has shown itself to be more monstrous.”

The old man pause; then he said in a voice drained of all vitality, “I declare the rebels the victors of the Battlegames.”

p.1418: I dreamed of the Agyllian healer, Nerat, telling me that she would teach my body to heal itself.

p.1428: Dazed, I did not move. “Who did this?”

He came back a few steps, reluctantly. “Kasanda. Now will you come?”

Kasanda = Cassandra? She is clearly important.

p.1431: the panel showed one of the Beforetime cities. […] The panel was a paean of praise to the Beforetimers.

p.1432: The next also featured the towering Beforetime structures, but they were subtly different. After only a moment of admiration, I noticed not the buildings but the way they crushed and smothered the earth. I saw the caged and stunted trees devoid of sunlight. I realized that this panel spoke not of greatness but of soaring, overweening pride and, most of all, oppression. The Beforetimers had gouged and yoked and reshaped the very earth of their creations.

p.1433: Not content to despoil the earth, the Beforetimers had smeared the skies with their messes.

p.1434: I moved to another panel and here at last were scenes of the Great White. Seen thus, it seemed to me that the holocaust had been inevitable, given the nature of the Beforetimers. Howe else could their story have ended, but with men and women and beasts and birds fleeing in terror from the huge fiery mushrooms that rose in the skies behind them? And then the whiteness faded, there were panels of utter desolation – sere deserts and poisoned waters: the Blacklands.

p.1437: “There is a story,” the boy said dreamily. “It tells of one who will come from across the sea in search of the fifth sign of Kasanda.”

p.1438: I have Kasanda’s gift of true dreaming, and so I am sometimes called a kasanda. But the first Kasanda is the one who dreamed of the Seeker.”

p.1439: Kasanda told my people that the Seeker would bear the Moonwatcher and be borne by the Daywatcher, who is the color of shadows.

Elspeth, Maruman and Galtha?

p.1440: “It is said Kasanda took the signs from her dreams and strewed them across the lands so that they should not be found except by the Seeker. There are rumors that they lead to the deepest treasures of the Beforetimers. Still others say they are the key to a power that is great enough to shift the stars, and even quench them.”

p.1441: I know that when the Seeker journeys forth with the Day watcher and Moonwatcher, and with one of Kasanda blood, they will be looking for the final sign. Then may the kasanda, who is the overguardian, aid them.”

p.1463: We had learned what it truly cost to be warriors. We had learned that the price was too high.

Losing the Battlegames had been the best thing that could have happened to us.

The Misfits need to introduce a new way of being human – working with the beasts is a start to that – and not join with any of the old ways?

p.1469: what we learned in the Battlegames was important. We needed to know what we couldn’t do so that we could begin to think of what we can do. Remember Maryon said this journey had something to do with finding the right road? Can’t you see that we’ve done that?”

p.1484: Rushton reached out and gripped his shoulder. “Dameon, I… I know why you would remain here.”

To my surprise, the empath had flushed. “Then you must let me stay.”


p.1493: “But there are five secrets to be uncovered, and I must one day return to Sador, and I must stand in battle with a gypsy whose life is bound to mine. These things will not happen in a moment, and so there is time in the midst of this for me to live.”

p.1494: I have learned that happiness is like the sun. It must be enjoyed when it comes and while it shines.