In which Shan receives two visitors.
Our first appearance of Luken bel’Tarda, who is one of my favourite characters in the series. In a setting full of hotshot pilots and marksmen and wizards and master traders and witty banterers, it’s nice to know that it’s also possible for a person who is none of those things to be signficant just by being a thoroughly decent human being. (Though, that said, I note he’s achieved the rank of Master Merchant, which suggests that even if he’s not dazzlingly brilliant he’s not stupid either.)
We also get enough detail about Pat Rin’s situation to make it quite clear why the delm found it necessary to remove him from his mother’s care into Luken’s and why her attempts to win him back are unlikely to bear fruit. Whatever her good points may be, Lady Kareen’s obviously not going to be winning any awards for motherhood.
Anne’s estimate of Luken’s age puts him within a year or two of Daav’s sister and Er Thom’s brother. I wonder if it was just happenstance that all the Lines produced heirs around the same time, or if there was some co-ordination involved.
(The estimate of Pat Rin’s age, on the other hand – which is given from Petrella’s viewpoint, so it can’t be handwaved as unfamiliarity – disagrees with the dates in the Partial Timeline by a full three Standard Years. Which, come to think of it, is Shan’s age; I wonder if somebody got confused at some point between Pat Rin’s age when Shan was born and Pat Rin’s age when the two of them first met.)
This is also the chapter in which Olwen sel’Iprith gives Daav nubiath’a. Which goes to show that two Liadens touching each other’s faces like lifemates doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s where the relationship is going to end up – she touches his face again here, even as she’s saying goodbye. And I have occasionally wondered if Daav would have handled subsequent events differently if this hadn’t happened to him just now.