The Capital Expressions chapter felt like it was beginning to drag, so I determined to move the story forward and change the scenery. This was a fun section to write with Walter and Jeremy, and it marks the first extended conversation a character besides Jeremy has had with Sheilak. Let’s unpack.
I like that Satal’s response to Jeremy’s response isn’t directly seen in the narrative. Suffice to say, she was unnerved by the revelation that the Guardians are actually able to move evercoal. Those deposits are, after all, the key to the Inner Valleys’ wealth!
Sheilak is a bit unusual for a Guardian, which is why she was well-suited for her mission with Jeremy. Most Guardians have deemed to stay out of human affairs as a general principal, but Sheilak is only too happy to participate. She’s long watched the stagnation of the Inner Valleys and thought the Guardians ought to do something to steer them toward change, but was always overruled 1. Seeing Satal unnerved was, for her, a vindication of her long advocacy to move evercoal deposits around.
Figure of Speech alert
In our world we’d say “let that bomb drop.” Walter’s never seen a bomb, or even heard of the concept. “Letting a pebble drop” is a way of describing a small action which has potential for massive impact – like a pebble dropping in an area prone to avalanches.
Why does Walter suddenly have the wherewithal to speak directly to Sheilak? He’s been standoffish toward the Guardian, and even dismissive of her, but here he finally breaks down and deems to have a chat with her. What changes?
The answer is pretty simple. He was not happy to discover the lengths to which the Guardians went in order to drag him back to the Inner Valleys, and is seriously annoyed that what he thought was a path of freedom for his adoptive home is really nothing more than yet another Inner Valley manipulation.
Walter figures if he’s going to be manipulated he wants to know why. Sheilak’s evasions are grating on his desire to know what’s going on around hem, and he’s not above a bit a manipulation of his own in an attempt to get to the truth.
Truth has consequences
Sheilak’s revelation, “From those who would see you all destroyed” triggers something in Jeremey which immediate sends him into dream state. This was precisely what Sheilak was trying to avoid, but she was equally certain she shouldn’t continue to evade Walter and earn his trust. For the second time in the story, Jeremy enters into a dream state, where we may just learn something of his mysterious past.
- And not without good reason, aside from a potential weakening of the protection they offer, should they move evercoal, they suspected their human charges might come to violence of it’s control. ↩