In which Can Ith yos’Phelium finds a new seat.
I see an irony in the description of Can Ith’s preferred seating: “with his back against the wall, and most of the room before him”. Presumably, it’s the being able to see most of the room that makes it his favoured way of sitting, but on this particular occasion it suits him because he has his back against the wall in more ways than one.
I thought for a little while at the beginning that this story might be set some time after Trader’s Leap, when Korval and Ixin were establishing trade with the Redlands. (I also thought at first that Can Ith was an Ixin pilot, and didn’t realise he was of Korval until it was clearly stated; that would have been a hint that it wasn’t set in the series present.)
Instead, what we have, as I realised when Can Ith was looking at his Jump pilot ring and contemplating going eklykt’i, is the origin story of the Isfelm family, back around the time that the vas’dramliz fled to the Redlands, with the help of Korval and Ixin, to avoid the purge on Liad.
In fact, it’s exactly that time. On first reading the story, I thought it was odd that the trade ships had cargo when the opening paragraphs made a point of mentioning that they were carrying no cargo pods, and didn’t understand what gallantry had to do with how the cargo was offloaded. It was only on the second pass that I got the reference to Kishara jit’Luso being among the cargo that had been rejected by the portmaster, and put together the asides about this being a risky and possibly foolish mission. This is The Arrival Of The Outcasts At Colemeno that was immortalised, ships and all, in the mosaic in Trader’s Leap.
Which makes me wonder just what Sin Jin told his delm when he got home, and what the delm chose to record in the clan’s records, because it seems like if a pilot of Korval had gone missing right there on Colemeno on that very mission, that would have shown up in Shan’s researches.
The existence of a Recall Clause that can be used to order a scout home to his clan raises a question of why Nova never used it when Val Con was dodging the delm’s ring. I could actually believe that she chose not to, because it would have caused an enormous amount of damage, especially considering that invoking the Recall Clause would have permanently severed Val Con’s connections to the scouts. Val Con would never have forgiven her, and so she might have secured a delm for the clan, but lost a brother. And that’s the best case scenario; she was already afraid she’d burned most of her bridges with Val Con, so it must have occurred to her that he might respond the same way Can Ith did, and then she’d have burned her last bridge without even a delm to show for it.
The name of the inn where Can Ith meets Kishara could be a reference to the Ribbons, which might be regarded as auspicious. It also might suggest that Colemeno Port at this time is nearer Ribbon Dance Hill than the Civilized port in Shan’s time.
I’ve observed before that when we’re presented with a Liaden wearing many rings, it’s usually a mark of poor character. That’s certainly the case with the pirate — whose name, incidentally, appears to have died with him.