I'm so glad I found this thread - I was just thinking about the same thing - about who the new Elder may be. I hadn't considered Rushton - I think his role is already bigger, by being who he is (the last Seraphim, plus related to the original gypsies if you consider The Dark Road, meaning that he may be the Kasanda Blood after all).
Of interesting note is the way Straaka puts what the new Elder will do:
"...The oldOnes wanted me to tell you that when the new Elder of the Agyllians has taken them into himself, he will come to you with what you will need to complete your quest."
Does anyone get the foreboding feeling that what she will need will be their life, or am I just being morbid? Anyway, if true, I very, very
much doubt that Rushton is going to die in the next book. Mostly because IC's said the end will be truthful, but satisfying. I just can't see Rushton dying after everything the pair have been through satisfying. It is much more possible that what the Elder need to give Elspeth at the end is something from their memories (meaning it could really be anyone who nearly dies), but I'm not going to rule out the possibility of their life being given up as the final thing needed either...
But, could it be:
- Dameon? As you are with Rushon, I'm convinced Dameon must have a bigger part to play that is yet to be revealed. Why is he on this journey with them? Sure, he's not ill right now, but we're unsure what the next book will involve - or what they'll all endure in the city. There's also a kind of ummm...poetry, in Atthis and Dameon both being blind. Maybe it was a little hint.
If the 'what Elspeth needs to complete her quest' is life, Dameon's high on the possible death list next book (as much as that hurts to say). If he doesn't make it, it makes sense that his death would be purposeful...this whole thread relies on a lot of ifs/buts, though. Just speculating.
- Gavyn? Mostly because of his strange state of mind, where he's more animal than human now.
- Maruman? He quite frequently skitters on the brink of death, and can travel the dreamtrails very well (as well as go seliga
, which I'm interpreting as travel through time to whichever point he's needed at, which explains why he frequently gets confused - all the threads would sort of blur after a while...).
His purpose for the majority of the Chron has been to guide Elspeth as the Moonwatcher and be vessel for the Elder when they couldn't reach Elspeth already - and it sort of fits that this role may evolve into becoming the actual Elder, who gives Elspeth the last thing she needs (and again, if it's their life, I could see Maruman, after his quest is over, disappearing anyway if not dying).