As a reminder, from now on, our monthly discussions will be both here on the OwlCrate blog AND on The Nest! Go check out Amber's discussion that will be full of fun extras like bookish charades, shelf scavenger hunts and coloring pages!
On each day we'll read a section of A Study In Drowning both on the blog and in The Nest's group, and then discuss in the comments our theories and predictions. This means there will be spoilers for each section! Beware!
Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for chapters 14-15 of A Study In Drowning, so make sure you read or are finished this section before continuing.
It’s raining the following day when Effy makes her way up to Hiraeth.
She sees what looks like a piece of fabric as she approaches the house. As her eyes adjust, she sees it’s a figure taking shape. It’s bone white with scraggly black hair and has a crown of bone.
It speaks to her in a language not meant for human ears.
She runs up to the house, hearing something like a bell, but it’s metal against metal. The manor seems to be groaning.
There, Effy finds Ianto kneeling at the base of a black tree, driving a stake into its roots.
Ianto tells her it’s to ensure the trees don’t uproot, and she asks to help, but he shoos her away as it’s not “woman’s work.”
She goes into the house and finds Weatherall, who is leaving. He suggests that she quit as well, as the house is no fit place to live.
Effy remembers the night Ianto was talking to the disembodied voice. “The house has a hold on me” and the references to mountain ash.
She tells Weatherall she’s unafraid and will not leave until she gets what she needs.
Effy takes Ianto’s coat, grabbing the key off his neck when he asks her to place it around the shoulders. She asks him if he’s sure he wants to say, and he laughs and quotes a poem.
Effy sees Preston, and he’s surprised she managed to get the key. They make their way down into the flooded basement. Preston tells her to keep one hand on the left wall and explore first.
Effy dives and touches something strange, so she pops back up.
She dives back down, afraid, hearing things in the wet dark. She finds a heavy metal box and pulls very hard.
She makes it back to Preston with the locked box. It has a name on it. Angharad.
They return to the guest house, and Preston assures her they can still make it down to Saltney before the storm.
Preston offers to return to the house for the photographs and other things, but Effy begs him not to.
He stays. He asks permission and consent. He asks her if she’d like for him to take care of her. Effy says she does, and they sleep together for the whole night when it’s over.
Effy and Preston wake the following day to the sound of the storm.
Lightning lashes everywhere. They want to go to Saltney, but the letters and photographs remain at the house.
The mountain ash was being torn from their roots, and just as they reached the steps, an enormous tree flew past them, trailing its chains.
Preston reassured Effy that everything was alright when they found Ianto standing over Myrddin’s desk.
He welcomes them in and tells them an unusual story about a phone call from an old friend. Blackmar. And about all the questions they’d been asking about Angharad.
Ianto tells Effy that he warned her to stay away from Preston.
Effy tries to speak, but he interrupts her, insinuating she’s a loose woman.
Effy pleads with him to stop.
He then lays into Preston about his paper, admonishing Myrddin.
Suddenly, the house groans, and rocks drop into the sea.
Effy tells Ianto that the house will not survive the storm, and he tells her to shut up.
Ianto tells her he knows of her “sordid” past with the university professor.
Preston gets angry then, and Ianto rounds on him, telling him all the details he knows of his father’s death.
Effy pleads for them to leave, and Ianto tells her things don’t live at Hiraeth. They only die.
Preston calls Ianto mad, and Effy suggests to Preston that they go.
They step backward when Ianto asks them if they’ve ever heard the story of Llyr’s first king.
He tells them of a King who wanted to build a house and dig a foundation. Til then, people had only lived in tents, huts and tiny houses. What he wanted was a castle, but the land was angry.
The wizard says that the King must sacrifice a child over the castle’s foundation to win over the land.
Preston tells him it’s a myth. Effy tells Ianto he’s mad.
But Ianto replies, “All I see before me are a drowning foundation and two fatherless children.”
Ianto shoves them both down the stairs into the basement. There, he ties up Preston. Preston begs Ianto to let Effy live, and he replies that he has no intention of letting her die.
He drags Effy back up the stairs and leaves Preston to drown.
Effy finds herself propped up in one of the mouldering chairs in the dining room. She pleads with Ianto, but he shoves the blueprints toward her and tells her to finish them. He tells her he doesn’t want to kill her; he’d rather keep her.
He presses her to finish the blueprints, telling her he’s spent twelve mortal years looking for her and that she’s finally come home.
Suddenly, the chandelier pulls loose from the ceiling and crashes down on them.
Ianto approaches Effy, jerking her face up and kisses her. She takes the hag stones in her pocket and shoves them into her mouth, reserving one to look through at him.
She sees the Fairy King with a coronet of bone.
He tells her that he’s looked for her since she was offered on the riverbank but stolen back by her mother.
He says he’s claiming what is his.
Effy asks why she, and he says he comes for the girls left out in the cold.
The world hasn’t been kind to her, but he could be.
She refuses to go with him. He asks what’s tying her to this world.
She reconsiders, telling the Fairy King she will go with him if he saves Preston. He tells her that he doesn’t make deals with mortal girls, so Effy changes tactics.
She becomes submissive to him, and an idea comes to her.
She gets down on her knees. The Fairy King then speaks her name…and she takes that moment to reflect the Fairy King’s visage back at him through the mirrored glass she’d picked up.
He shudders, goes brittle and finally sags down dead.
Effy lets the shard drop and limps through the house to the rotted basement door.
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