Beset in the belly of the storm
Enter Toragin, the blue-and-red driver, Chelada
In which Toragin del’Pemridj’s quest hits a detour.
A new act brings a new viewpoint character: Toragin del’Pemridj, Clan Lazmeln.
We’ve heard of Line del’Pemridj before: a Lady del’Pemridj was one of the guests at the garden party in “A Choice of Weapons”. And Clan Lazmeln: in Carpe Diem, when Shan was refusing absolutely to let Nova strong-arm him into a contract marriage, he mentioned that he’d been married twice already, once to Padi’s mother and the other time for clan-political reasons to someone from Clan Lazmeln.
(And I note that around the time this story was published, the authors also published an outtake on Splinter Universe called “Shan’s Getting Married”, which is presumably an early attempt at the story of Shan’s clan-political marriage. The clan mentioned in the outtake is not named Lazmeln, but then as the afterword points out that’s not the only way in which it differs from Shan’s history as it finally saw print.)
Lazmeln got a child from Shan out of the deal, but I don’t think any of the clan members who appear or are mentioned in this story are that child. In particular, I don’t think it’s Toragin; surely it would have come up if Shan were her father, and also she doesn’t appear to be a pilot, which Shan’s child was mentioned as being. The impression I get from the description of Toragin’s home life is that Lazmeln does a lot of clan-political marriages and has ended up a lot of children in consequence.
There’s a gap in the tale of Toragin’s ancestors: we’re told about her grandmother, but not about her parent, not even whether her in-clan parent is or was a father or a mother. The nadelm is a son of her grandmother, but is Toragin’s uncle.
Also, while we’re listing things that the nadelm is, he’s a self-important jerk.
I think it’s a fairly safe inference that Chelada (whose name must mean something similar to the endearment “van’chela”) is a cat — but a cat who apparently talks? Unless it’s just that she makes sounds that resemble words: a cat’s meow might with imagination resemble “out” or “towel”.
It’s not clear yet what matter of honour brings Toragin and Chelada to Surebleak. Nor what is meant by Toragin convincing the delm that it was “necessary to Lazmeln’s continued peace”. (Is that an objective thing, or just a polite way of saying that Toragin was going to keep bugging the delm until the delm gave in?)