Trade Secret – Chapter 5

Clan Ixin’s Tradeship Elthoria, in Jump

In which Jethri’s education proceeds in new directions.

Well. I’m not sure what to say after that.

(Except that I suspect any young person in Jethri’s position might be just as nervous and uncertain of knowing the right thing to do as Jethri was in the moment before Gaenor joined him, even if they had been Liaden all their lives and not only for a year.)

6 thoughts on “Trade Secret – Chapter 5

  1. Paul A. Post author

    The bit about it being forbidden to “pierce the body with permanently installed devices or jewels” is making me wonder about Pat Rin’s trademark ear-drop. It could be an ear-loop, like the jewelry Gaenor wears in this chapter, or perhaps ear piercings are allowed as long as they’re only used for temporary, removable decorations. (Now I type it out loud, though, the latter option sounds more like a quibble than an actual distinction, so I think it’s probably an ear-loop. Unless the prohibition is such that someone edgy, like Pat Rin the professional gambler, can get away with one small piercing.)

  2. Sami S.

    The first thought I had was that Daav also had an earring, the silver twist that showed him to be adopted of the Mun, and that one was *definitely* a piercing. My second thought was that this particular cultural taboo may well have faded somewhat to allow the piercing of ears in the few hundred years between Jethri’s time and Daav’s.

  3. Paul A. Post author

    I wasn’t considering Daav’s earring, which is definitely a piercing, because it’s also definitely an offworld thing and it’s not clear to what extent it’s an exception Daav got away with because he was a Scout, the way Clonak gets away with his face decoration.

    You may be onto something with your second thought. As you say, there are several centuries separating them and the rules of proper conduct might not have remained the same.

  4. Ed8r

    RE: piercings. There’s also the idea that a pierced earlobe is somehow different from piercing other parts of your body. Certainly there were/are conservative elements of our society…at least in the US…who looked upon pierced earlobes, at least for women, as perfectly acceptable, while looking askance (or stronger) at piercing any other part of the body.

    I could have happily done without this chapter, but fortunately it was obvious the direction it was going so I was able to skip and skim…unlike that horrible, out of the blue, part of the Prologue to Crystal Dragon.

  5. Ed8r

    Ah, yes. Despite being fascinated with the idea for the fabric, skip and skim was again the strategy I used to get through the chapter.

  6. Paul A. Post author

    Salvage Right gives us a few extra data points on the earring question: The scene in which Jen Sin receives a new wardrobe from Korval confirms that ear-drops are worn in a pierced ear, and in particular that Jen Sin himself has a piercing for that purpose and considers it unremarkable.

    Jen Sin’s fashion sense dates to only six or seven dozen years after Trade Secret, which suggests that either the taboo was overturned in a short space of time, or that it already left space for ear-drops, for one of the reasons we’ve considered or for some other reason we haven’t.

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