the gates of Mermedonia
Here Andrew gazes upon the gates of Mermedonia for the first time after a long voyage by sea over perilous waters; ‘the man hardened by battle awoke, and saw the lie of the land before the gates of the city, with steep hills and cliffsides looming around it, and all over the grey stone and the windswept walls, were towers, and shacks with tiled rooves’. Andrew addresses his companions one final time before steeling himself and marching up the stone-paved street beyond the city gates, magically concealed from the sight of the gatekeepers and Mermedonia’s soldiers.
How fents gatehouse [Chapter 1]
Riddley’s group carry their kill back to How fents, where the boar’s head is placed ‘on the poal up on top of the gate house’. As severed heads are believed to hold prophetic powers, Lorna, the fents ‘tel woman’, goes up to the gate platform to get ‘the tel of the head’. When Riddley takes a piece of the boar to Lorna, she invites him into her ‘doss bag’. After they have ‘freshent the Luck’ on top of the gate house, Lorna speaks of that which lives inside them all, ‘looking out thru our eye hoals’.
What this might be, and where the self begins, become key questions for Riddley.