The Tree Court
In which there is a discussion of amends.
The Tree Court is warm and there is no snow on the ground, which is noteworthy because during the storm there was explicit mention of clumps of snow falling from the Tree’s branches and collecting at its base. The Tree has tidied the place up a bit to be hospitable to its guests, and perhaps specifically in response to Toragin telling it earlier that the kittens will need a warm place to sleep.
I appreciate the mental image of the Tree as an elderly relative turning on the charm in an attempt to smooth things over. Particularly because it’s amusingly not very good at it; it knows how to jolly its family out of being annoyed, but it doesn’t know Toragin well enough yet to pitch the performance right. Though perhaps no level would have done the job in this case; the way the memory of Toragin’s uncle is phrased suggests that she’s learned that if you let someone get away with being charming they won’t see a need to provide an actual remedy or work to amend their behaviour.
I said earlier that Vertu dea’San, former Delm of Wylan, didn’t seem to have a role in the melant’i play worthy of a separate listing in the dramatis personae, but now I’m having second thoughts. Without having encountered Vertu as an example of a Liaden on Surebleak who had successfully found a life and useful work for herself apart from her clan, would Toragin have had the confidence to pursue that path for herself?
Paul: Without having encountered Vertu as an example of a Liaden on Surebleak who had successfully found a life and useful work for herself apart from her clan, would Toragin have had the confidence to pursue that path for herself?
Excellent observation—I had not thought of that, but it totally makes sense.
I was struck by two things:
The narrator tells us The tree was no god, though the Tree had met gods, years and universes gone. [emphasis mine] I assume the gods to which this refers were the sheriekas, but I was also momentarily distracted by the reference to plural universes. Then I realized that it is actually one more confirmation that not only was the Crystal Universe destroyed, but the New Universe really was remade.
It was amusing for Jeeves to intervene and offer to “translate” for the Tree in order to move things along. But it was also surprising . . . since when are words more efficient than images and impressions? Possibly words can be more precise—something Liadens, who are accustomed to precise language in written contracts, might value—but more efficient? I’m not sure I agree. And, Toragin had already had years of experience in communicating with the Tree on Liad, had she not? Or did she communicate only with Chelada, while Chelada communicated with the Tree?
I get the impression that Toragin had not had previous experience of communicating directly with the Tree, that it was Chelada the Tree was interested in and from its point of view Toragin was just around in the background if it noticed her at all.