The Beggar King

In which Daav yos’Phelium and Clarence O’Berin do not become friends.

This story follows close on the heels of “A Choice of Weapons”, with Daav still on the same leave of absence from the Scouts and still not convinced that he will have it in him to sit on Liad and be suitably delm-like when the time comes.

The legitimate front for the Juntavas on Liad is a company called Triplanetary Freight Forwarding; if the name is to be taken literally, I wonder which the other two planets are. (Come to think of it, I wonder if it’s a shout-out to “Doc” Smith.)

Something that struck me on this re-read, with this story coming so soon after several others relating one way and another to the Liaden rules about face-touching: at one point, the luck-for-hire at the casino places her hand on Daav’s face, and he thinks nothing of it except to observe the callouses on her hand. This seems a remarkably cool response after how firm Samay pin’Aker was on the subject of hand-to-face contact in Trade Secret. (This story was, of course, written some considerable time before that one; perhaps the full details of what Liadens could and could not do with their faces were yet unclear.)

Those callouses, though, are said to be the same as the callouses on Daav’s own hands, which suggests that Zara Chance is herself a Scout, or more likely a former Scout. I wonder if she’s working for the same people as that other seductive former Scout we encountered not so long ago.

Tomorrow: Local Custom

8 thoughts on “The Beggar King

  1. Jelala Alone

    I wondered the same thing, about whether or not she was a former Scout gone bad.

    I liked this story.

  2. Ed8r

    I had wished she had lasted longer, so we could get some of her story. Alas, that was not the direction the authors chose.

    Also, it is interesting that although Daav insists that he and Clarence are not friends, later on Aelliana begs to differ with him.

  3. Ed8r

    The second time through, my thoughts are exactly the same! Please remind me…do we ever get to see or hear about a resolution to the situation with disappearing Scouts? Did we decide they were being kidnapped by the DOI?

  4. Paul A. Post author

    I believe that they were kidnapped by the DOI. I don’t think that’s explicitly stated anywhere with regard to these particular disappeared pilots, but it would be of a piece with the other pilot disappearances that are explicitly laid at the DOI’s door.

  5. Skip

    When I read Degrees of Separation and/or Block party, I had hope that the Mercs wiped out the DOI sub-station in the LowPort. Certainly they were fighting someone in that area.

  6. Ed8r

    Glad for these comments, because I had forgotten all about the background of scouts being shanghai’d—or rather “Low-Ported” TM—and brainwashed into service to the DOI.

  7. Engywuck

    On this reread I noticed that Daav quite openly admits to non-kin that Cantra was a smuggler – and that Korval sees Liadens still as passengers which are to be protected.

  8. Ed8r

    Come to think of it . . . that admission is notable. Doesn’t seem as if that would be general knowledge, does it? (the smuggler)

    As far as the term “passengers,” I can imagine that the reference has become so embedded in the culture, so “everyday,” that it has no “literal” meaning to Liadens anymore. Think of all the words in English that we still use without any thought or even relationship to what they originally meant.

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