In which Daav sees Aelliana home.
Another progression of similar situations across chapters: Two chapters ago, Daav and Aelliana started holding hands “that they should not lose each other” in the crowd. One chapter ago, Yolan took Sed Ric’s hand in the darkness, “to lead him, she told herself fiercely”, with the implication that that wasn’t the only reason. In this chapter, Daav and Aelliana hold hands again, “though the station was barely crowded”.
A thing that amused me when I noticed it: The glossary at the end of the book includes the Liaden word va’netra, which is translated as “stray puppy” in this chapter when Daav uses it to describe Yolan and Sed Ric. The word itself appears nowhere in the novel except only in English translation, but it’s in the glossary all the same.
The subplot of the stray puppies seems at first glance to have no connection to the main plot, but it has thematic links forward and back. Their situation as Aelliana describes it here, “without kin on Liad, with no hope of going elsewhere”, is the situation Aelliana herself might have been in now if the luck had not been with her. And the idea of a person being cast out from their clan is going to reappear later.
Daav tells Aelliana that the custom to shun the clanless and withhold all aid is only custom, “the Code, not the Council”. Even the Code may be less strict on the matter than it’s usually interpreted to be, at least based on the section of it quoted at the head of an earlier chapter. That excerpt is very clear that a person cast out from their clan must be shunned and denied aid by the members of the clan that cast them out, but is less restrictive as regards the members of other clans. Another clan may not offer the outcast the benefits of a full clan membership, but there’s nothing there about not being allowed to, for instance, lend them a few dex and help them find a job.
I’m beginning to worry about Voni. Does she never think for herself?