The Crown of Dalemark by Diana Wynne Jones

Additional chapter

23

Meawen's heart raced and she finally took her seat on the train, it felt like she hadn't stopped running since the events of the previous day had placed her on her present course. Convincing her dad hadn't been as bad as it could have been. She had expected to have to explain the utter wreckage in the courtyard of Tannoreth palace, not to mention the demolished remains of the tomb of Amil the Great. But apparently Wend had helped a great deal with all this on his way out. As it was, she hadn't had to explain anything. The minor wreckage left behind was easily explained away by the bomb, Meawen being the only one who knew that there never had been a bomb. It had not been easy to convince dad that it truly was urgent and necessary for him to allow her to go traipsing off across the country alone. Although it was a good deal easier than it could have been. Her father was distracted with attempting to make sure the repairs to the palace left it looking as original as possible.

He was everywhere at once, correcting stonemasons and helping artisans. Meawen, watching him, felt a wave of sadness engulf her. He reminded her so much of Navis, all that ordering and organizing. Thinking of Navis brought back all the memories of her eventful trip and subsequent loss of Mitt. As she thought of Mitt her heart surged with excitement; she would find him, she had to! She had already died inside once when she realized that he had been dead for about two hundred years.

Her heart slowed to a more reasonable speed as she began to think about what she was doing. Finding Cennoreth would be nearly impossible if she didn't want to be found, and finding Mitt might prove even harder. She wasn't sure that she believed all that about the undying being gods, but one thing was certain, they did have incredible power. Take Wend for example; he had so much power that even with most of it in the cwidder he was able to send her back in time about two hundred twenty years.

As she looked around at other people on the train, a vivid memory of her last train journey suddenly assailed her. The cold, hard, insidious eyes of Kankredin were like a physical slap as she felt the memory of her fear take ahold of her. She shook it off; "He's gone forever, Mitt took care of him," she told herself even though she didn't really believe it. Forever was a long time and Kankredin was notoriously hard to exterminate.

She stared hard out the window and the train rumbled along. Everything looked so modern. So different, she couldn't see the Green Roads, and even though she knew they were beneath her, she felt an incredible sense of loss as though she was out of place in a world she no longer belonged in. "What a silly thought! Of course I belong here," she chided herself. "This is where my parents and Aunt Liss are…...my whole life is here." But it wasn't true; the most important thing that had ever happened in her life had happened two hundred years ago.

Meawen willed herself to go to sleep. She was so tired. Her nerves were strung so tight she felt as though they might snap but her mind would not allow her to rest. It raced along. How was she to find Dropthwaite without the help of Wend or the cwidder? Was Kankredin truly dead or had Mitt just extinguished a "pocket" of him, and most importantly, how on earth was Mitt still alive, not to mention running around in a leather jacket blowing up courtyards and the like? It all made her head spin and she was beginning to get a headache, the kind that pinched just behind your eyes and made you want to close them. Well maybe she could, just for a little while…