The Grand Lake Townhouses
In which Lady Kareen is offered an attractive prize at a price she is not willing to pay.
It’s striking, in view of their many differences, that Kareen’s reply to the Department’s offer is so much the same as her son’s.
This is the single largest, if not the only, part of the series to be told from Kareen’s point of view, and offers several clues to how she ended up the way she did. We get her perspective on being abruptly (though not, I think, with anything like deliberate cruelty, for what difference that might have made) downgraded from highly-favored only child to second-place to a kid brother who doesn’t want the preferment she can’t have. It’s also mentioned that she’s been married multiple times; since Korval is not among those clans who find such things a financial necessity, the implication is that it took her several attempts to get Pat Rin, a circumstance which casts light on her relationship with him.
At that, she’s mellowed somewhat since she last appeared, way back in “A Day at the Races”. She’s got more respect for Val Con’s quality as a delm (which probably started then, come to think of it). And she seems better disposed toward Daav than used to be the case; perhaps a quarter-century of his absence has given her room to admit his good points without being constantly reminded of their points of difference. Part of it might be that the unusual nature of recent events have caused her to see things in new lights, the way she’s recently come to find value in Luken bel’Tarda and in Jeeves.
Perhaps, although this seems very unlikely, she’s softening in her age: she’s nearly eighty Standards now, and although that’s not as old for a Liaden as it would be for a Terran, it’s not young.
(It also means that she and Her Nin yo’Vestra have been close for something like fifty or sixty years.)
I don’t think yo’Vestra’s postulated situation actually applies to Korval, which departed its holdings in accordance with a plan agreed to in advance and did in fact notify all its members appropriately; even the one they weren’t sure was still alive got the message, let alone the one yo’Vestra is trying to position as having been abandoned. To be fair, of course, yo’Vestra doesn’t know that Pat Rin was notified, since none of his colleagues have yet had a chance to discuss the matter with Pat Rin — and anyway, that whole question falls to the wayside if no other clan member lives long enough to contradict his proposed account.
Timing: Anthora and Jeeves have already shifted to Jelaza Kazone. yo’Vestra’s remark about having found and then lost Pat Rin suggests that this is after Pat Rin’s encounter on Teriste. That puts it at least three days, and probably a day or two more, after Nova gave the scatter order. Which is not too unreasonable, on consideration, since most of that is probably down to the amount of maneuvring it would take to get five children, including two infants, out of their usual routines and off the planet without anybody noticing where they went.
It’s an interesting detail that one of the things saving Kareen, in the end, is that whatever the lofty personages of Liad might think of Korval, those who are employed by them know them to be dependable and fair in their dealings.
Tomorrow: back to I Dare.