Naratha’s Shadow

In which Naratha’s Discord is brought into balance.

There’s a recognizable similarity between the Voice of Naratha and the song-women Jela recalls seeing in action in chapter 2 of Crystal Soldier. The Voice’s account of Naratha’s victory over the Enemy, though, seems to be a different and more dramatic action than the one Jela witnessed. (The obvious temptation is to assume that the Enemy she speaks of is the same one as Jela fought, which would suggest that her story is an account of Naratha’s part in the Moment of the Question at the end of Crystal Dragon. It is not obvious, however, how the two accounts fit together.)

We never hear much, in these stories, about the Liaden religion, except that in times of emotional stress they speak of “gods”, plural, as the Master Healer does here. (I’m moved to note this by the observation that, by contrast, Montet sig’Norba speaks in terms of a single God when she’s talking to Naratha’s people near the end, presumably because that’s how the figures of speech run in the language she’s speaking at the time.)

Though the story itself does not carry a date, The Updated But Partial Liaden Universe Timeline sets it in SY 1123, a few years after Balance of Trade.

7 thoughts on “Naratha’s Shadow

  1. Ed8r

    Ah . . finally! I found it! Trying the link on your Links to Specific Works page just takes one to the Prologue for Trade Secret.

  2. Paul A. Post author

    The Updated But Partial Liaden Universe Timeline sets it in SY 1123, a few years after Balance of Trade.

    This is perhaps not as clear as it should have been. I meant to indicate that “Naratha’s Shadow” also takes place after Trade Secret, which is set around SY 1120. I phrased it like that because the Timeline does not explicitly mention Trade Secret, which hadn’t been written yet when the Timeline was published.

  3. Ed8r

    PA: Trade Secret, which hadn’t been written yet when the Timeline was published

    Ah, yes…of course. Having come late to the Liaden Universe, I keep forgetting that others have had to accommodate a flow of stories that are not in their chronological order!

    Meanwhile, this story, while reminiscent of Jela’s description, is a little wobbly as to application. Well I can believe that these singers, other Voices, had their own part to play in the Moment of the Question, as the power-hungry dramliz puts it in Crystal Dragon. The story given by this Voice, seems to run parallel to what we know of that Moment, yet the Voice credits only Naratha with the “glorious victory” over the Enemy, Naratha who drove the Enemy into the back beyond of space, from whence it has never again ventured.

    Well that’s an interesting way to put it, but what *is* the “back beyond” of space? That phrase does not account for the fact that…as far as we know….the Enemy is trapped in another universe altogether. Rather it sounds as if the Enemy is here within the “space” of the Liaden universe!

    For Balance, the Voice charges Montet sig’Norba with doing more research and then going back out among the stars to discover what has happened—to the rest of us because “there were many, once.” Now that’s something I’d like to read more about: Montet’s findings.

    I love the description of the Voice communicating with Naratha’s shadow in song and then actually weaving around and through the malice, stretching, reshaping, reprogramming until she has faded and the shadow has been neutralized. Apparently that is how she was designed, to simply pour her song and her life into the Discord to disarm it. This whole section is quite reminiscent of the description in Tolkien’s Ainulindalë in which Melkor inserts discord and Ilúvatar counters Melkor and weaves the discord into the whole. But whereas Tolkien’s story is the story of The Creation, this story is merely a splinter from the whole.

  4. Ed8r

    On the third time through . . .

    I wonder what happens to all the acolytes? Those who were dancing and those who were weeping while she sang? Do they decide to stay at the “temple” and wait for Montet to return? Were they drawn from citizens of the world they’re on and able to fit back into that society? Do they stay set apart and gradually die, one by one? So much left unsaid.

  5. Engywuck

    > what *is* the “back beyond” of space?

    I thought it to be something like Tinsori Light, which is partly in the new and partly in the old universe. So “back beyond” would be the old universe via one of these places?

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