Study Guide

Blood Red Road Chapter 4

By Moira Young

Chapter 4

Sandsea

  • Saba is moving quickly now that she's by herself. No offense, Emmi.
  • After a while, Saba reaches a decrepit old "Wrecker settlement" (4.14). These ancient cities are occasionally uncovered by the shifting sands, and this one must have surfaced only recently.
  • As she passes through, Saba notices something familiar sitting in the sand: a necklace she had given Lugh. Holy smokes. She's hot on his trail.
  • A freak sandstorm hits while Saba is camping, sending her into the belly of a giant dune. When she crawls out, she's in the middle of a plain surrounded by old Wrecker "flyin machines" (4.93).
  • Saba is lost in amazement. Her reverie is broken by a sound in the distance—the approach of someone on a horse. Eager to steal this mode of transportation, Saba quickly launches an assault.
  • As soon as she dismounts the rider, however, she realizes that it's none other than Emmi. For real, kid? She stole Mercy's horse.
  • Saba is ticked, but she doesn't have any choice but to bring Emmi along, though that doesn't stop her from giving little sis the silent treatment.
  • A handful of days later, Saba notices something approaching in the distance. It's...a sail. That's weird.
  • As it comes closer, Saba realizes that it is indeed a sail, attached to a raft of sorts. That's even weirder. To top it off, the ship goes into a tailspin, nearly crashing into them.
  • The kids dodge it, luckily, and the ship screeches to a stop. Saba sees an old man clinging to the side of the mast and, seeing an opportunity, pulls out her bow and approaches him.
  • The man calls out for someone named "Miz Pinch," and a grey-haired, intimidating-looking old woman comes out on deck (4.246).
  • The man introduces himself as Rooster Pinch and explains that this is his ship: the Desert Swan. He claims that they're traders heading out to Hopetown to peddle their wares.
  • After deciding that the couple isn't a threat, Saba and Emmi help them repair their ship in exchange for some grub.
  • As Saba works, Mr. Pinch shows her an odd paper contraption called a "book" with a bunch of squiggly lines all over it. So strange. The book also has a picture of King Louis XXV of France.
  • Saba tells Mr. Pinch that they're heading to Hopetown and they agree to travel together. Saba sends Mercy's horse back home.
  • And then they finally get to eat. Food's pretty good, too. Oddly, however, Saba starts feeling super sleepy after taking a few bites…
  • When Saba comes to, she's tied by the wrists. Miz Pinch is standing over her all creepy-like, explaining that she's going to turn Saba into a star cage fighter.
  • And what if Saba refuses? Well, if she does that, then Miz Pinch will torture Emmi. She proves this by slapping the young girl across the face.
  • Later, Miz Pinch cuts off all of Saba's hair. While this happens, Saba realizes in horror that the old broad is wearing her heartstone. Yuck.
  • They arrive at Hopetown tomorrow.