Trader’s Leap – Chapter 16

Tarona Rusk
Meeting Space

In which the Healers plan to excise the Department of the Interior from the healthy body of the universe.

It’s interesting sometimes considering how we think of fictional characters, as in what name we call them by. I generally refer to characters like Shan and Priscilla by their first names, because the narrative encourages us to think of them as people we know and are friendly with; on the other hand, I would probably call Mr dea’Gauss “Mr dea’Gauss” even if we knew what his first name was, because he has that sense of formality about him.

So far I keep finding myself always referring to Tarona Rusk by her full name, because it doesn’t feel right to just call her “Tarona”. (I might use a formal title and surname, like with Mr dea’Gauss, except I’m not sure she has a title that we know of.)

Kethi vay’Elin, who speaks for the Healers of the Department, is someone we’ve met before — or after, chronologically speaking — when she and Claidyne joined forces in Accepting the Lance. That was another chapter where it can be seen in retrospect that the authors were drawing on events they knew about but hadn’t had a chance to share with the audience until now. (In that case, if memory serves, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything important at the time, only that I can see additional layers and details now that I’ve read this chapter.)

It’s interesting that the other Healer who speaks most in opposition to Tarona is not given a name. (There’s another name mentioned — Valisa dea’Manz — but it’s not established which of the people at the meeting it belongs to.) This might be symbolic, showing that the things she says are not so much individual opinions as things that needed to be said and would have been said by somebody in any case.

9 thoughts on “Trader’s Leap – Chapter 16

  1. Skip

    A meeting of healers who plan to bring down the doi but save any operatives who aren’t bad to the bone. Sounds like a plan. But….What I found disappointing and surprisingly out of character was that none of these good healers spoke about undoing the damage they’d all done, collectively as DOI, to Korval. None spoke of repairing Korval’s reputation before the council of clans by asserting that Korval had told the truth about why they attacked solcintra. Yet they are all responsible— the DOI actively sought to destroy Korval for some years, and were indeed able to diminish the clan with some success. Further, they murdered various clan members (Anne, Aelliana, probably Chi, etc)

  2. Paul A. Post author

    At this point, that may be too long-term an issue to spend time on: they have to stablise the situation and ensure the safety of the people in their care before they can think about helping others. If they manage to arrange a truce with the Scouts, that might then be a better time to start talking about sharing information.

    Personally, I’m inclined to think that repairing Korval’s reputation before the council of clans is a lost cause at this point. The clans that are inclined to believe Korval honourable already accept Korval’s evidence and account of its actions, and the ones that don’t (many of whom, I get the impression, have motives unrelated to caring about establishing the truth) are likely to find reasons not to accept new information that contradicts their preferred narrative. And Korval itself, having shaken the dust of Liad from its feet, doesn’t greatly care what the council of clans thinks of it.

    Achieving a Balance with Korval itself for the damage done and the clan members taken would be a goal worth pursuing, but again, not one they’re in a position to attempt until the situation is stable and they know what they have to offer.

  3. Skip

    Well, yes, you’re absolutely right on all points. For the record, I sure hope to see Hedred and his chums get their comeuppance at some point in the future. (Even if Korval is much happier where they are, on Surebleak).

  4. Othin

    Thanks Paul for your good reasoning about the healers necessities. I concur. Also the Healers might not know all the things that the DoI has done regarding Korval and others. Especially the things prior to the healer’s attachment to DoI, since they seem to have been a recent addition on DoI side. (For example: I’m quite certain that killing Anne might be known to some Healers as rumor at most – but not as fact – certainly without all those details one would wish to have before involving a court or queandra.)

    Another thing to bear in mind is that the healers aren’t the best agency to present such a fact finding to Council or Clans. Is their standing robust and secure enough within the Liaden society to survive the loss in trust. What will happen to Liaden society and the healer’s guild if it becomes known that healers can be subverted? If it becomes common knowledge how easy they break their oath.

    Healer melant’i as well as the code of healer and Dramliz conduct and the trust it generated towards them has been fundamentally damaged. They would be wise to fear repercussions. Therefore I belief the healers will plan carefully how they present that knowledge and to whom.

    They will certainly wish to create a protocol to prevent such missuses of their talent in the future.

  5. Skip

    Good points, Othin. All true. I think Tarona Rusk did know about more than the others. She at least was actively involved in the plot to destroy Korval. Somehow, I’d like to see the corrupt members of the Council of Clans get the boot.

    This conversation thread has been helpful. I think Korval is going to bounce back from DOI attacks quite thoroughly in the end, and live happily as the best revenge.

  6. Ed8r

    @Paul: Achieving a Balance with Korval itself for the damage done and the clan members taken

    I’m a bit inclined to think that, horrible as it is considered from either side, the damage done and casualties incurred by Korval’s attack on the planet might be considered balance enough.

  7. Skip

    I only recently noticed that this chapter, together with ch 2, indicates a clue on DOI timeline. Tarona was a young woman in Solcintra, half-clan outworlder, feeling scorned by Liadens, when the DOi got their mitts on her.

    “Nor would she again be the bitter halfling, pride ground into surliness, having been sent to the Healers of Solcintra to be trained—and discovering what it meant to be half-clan on Liad. Oh, she had been ripe for plucking, all thanks to the Healers and the High Houses. And the Department had not been slow to extend its hand in flattery, all admiration of her talents, which were so far superior to those who pretended to be her betters and worthy to teach her. She, said the Department, had been made for great things. Which the Department would gladly help her achieve. Fool, she thought at her younger self—”
    (ch 2, Tarona Rusk, Langlast Departure) —

    age clues are younger self, halfling — so she was maybe 18? or younger?

    Here in this chapter we find out she’s now old:

    “We are met here to discuss what must yet be done, in the aftermath of our loss, using our newfound strength. While I am mistress no longer, I am eldest among us. “

    If she’s even older than Kethi, who was a master healer at Solcintra Hall (not a position for youngsters), she could be quite old…sixty, seventy.. possibly old enough to have a hand in murdering Chi and SaeZar…

  8. Othin

    “We are met here to discuss what must yet be done, in the aftermath of our loss, using our newfound strength. While I am mistress no longer, I am eldest among us.“

    Strangely I always read that “eldest among us” to refer not to physical age but to service-time in DoI.

  9. Skip

    As in the most seniority? Possibly. To my ears, eldest typically refers to the oldest one.

    How old do you think Tarona is? How long has she been with the DoI?

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