In which there is dinner, dancing, distinction, and a difficult decision.
Aelliana’s speculation about Daav’s ringless finger reminds me that this is a parallel to Local Custom, where Er Thom also spent a significant portion going about without his ring of rank. Or perhaps not so much a parallel as a reflection, because in a way the situation here is a reverse: Er Thom’s lack of ring was a punishment, but Daav’s is more in the way of a much-needed vacation.
And when Aelliana asks him what he has around his neck, and he replies, “A chain”, it’s an obvious dodge into literal-mindedness — but it also works as an honest (perhaps more honest than he intended?) description of how he regards the delm’s ring.
I think I was a bit uncharitable toward Olwen sel’Iprith back in Local Custom. If Frad is any indication, all the members of Daav’s former team are very close, just not the kind of close that, say, Er Thom and Anne are. (Or, as we can confidently say after the happenings of this chapter, Daav and Aelliana.)
And here’s a fun thing I noticed for the first time on this re-read: the authors are ingeniously uninformative as regards the genders of Trilla’s and Frad’s chosen table partners. We learn that Frad’s companion is a redheaded Scout, and Trilla’s companions are both described as dancers, but do we get a single gendered pronoun between the three of them? We do not.