Our Lady of Benevolence

In which the bakery goes forward.

I had forgotten that we already knew of a character called “Our Lady of Benevolence” until I was re-reading the earlier bakery stories in preparation for this new one. (Well, actually, the authors’ foreword gave it away, but if not for that it would have been re-reading “Fortune’s Favors” that did it.)

I was also reminded, while re-reading “Fortune’s Favors”, that the Lady had given Mar Tyn a token of her protection, which he had been sure was meant by his Luck for the protection of the bakery. It never did get used in “Fortune’s Favors”, that token, and I thought perhaps that this would be the story of what happened to it; apparently not. Although perhaps Mar Tyn was onto something about his Luck’s intentions, if not as directly or literally as he thought. (And on the other hand perhaps he had it exactly backward; it could be said, with at least equal truth, that in the event it’s the bakery that protects the Lady.)

Aazali is now fifteen Standard Years old, which might give us some idea of how long ago “Degrees of Separation” and “Fortune’s Favors” take place, if only we had a clear idea of how old she was when Mar Tyn first met her.

Dyoli mentions an aunt in Trader’s Leap, about whom we learn several interesting things; but among those there is no mention of whether she has any interest in gardening, so it’s not clear if that’s the same aunt as the one who provided the flowers.

On the second time through, taking notes, it struck me that the care Lady voz’Lathi takes to establish the whereabouts of all the spare keys is in a sense wasted. She asks who are all the people who have keys, and is told about all the people who have keys to the kitchen door so they can help with the baking, and is content; it has not yet occurred to her that there might be other people with keys to other doors for other reasons.

There have been a number of characters in past Liaden stories where the authors have refrained from specifying a character’s pronouns. Danel the gardener is something different: they have pronouns, and those pronouns are “they” and “them”.

Aazali describes the House of Fortune as the best of the three Houses of Luck. In “Fortune’s Favor”, it was only the second best, but the best that Mar Tyn had any chance of getting into. It’s possible that Aazali didn’t grasp that distinction, young as she was when she knew Mar Tyn. It’s also possible that the situation has shifted in the years since, although I don’t know if it’s likely that Aazali would have heard about any such shift when she was up-port in a Hall that shunned anything to do with the Lucks.

That was an unexpected and interesting detail about Lady voz’Lathi’s past as a Juntavas team leader. (If I’m counting correctly, if she’d stuck it out one Boss longer she’d have ended up working with Clarence O’Berin, and who knows how things might have been different then.)

2 thoughts on “Our Lady of Benevolence

  1. Othin

    Thanks for doing Our Lady of Benevolence
    I liked it a lot. I wanted to know more about Aazali. And I also wanted to know more about how people on Liad got on after Korval moved on. What I enjoyed most was the take on “going forward”. I wonder if that is something typical for Liad in general or only for Low Port, or if it is only typical for the bakery.

    @Our Lady of Benevolence
    Well, even with the authors’ foreword I had to reread “Fortune’s Favors” in order to find out whom they were talking about

    @ Token of the Lady’s protection
    Interesting thought – like the act of protecting others ensures being protected back – only more subtle and less notable. Maybe it’s more like a token of connection – going both ways.

    @Dyoli’s aunt
    I asked myself the same thing. But I’m more inclined to believe that they are 2 different aunts. The rabbit is not a small clan.

    @Pronouns and Danel the gardener
    Imho the first use of “they” and “them” was as far back as Balance of Trade chapter 36. And I only caught that after we had that discussion about it in Traders Leap.

    @ Lady voz’Lathi’s past as a Juntavas team leader
    That is my count also. It gives an example where most if not all of those Natives working for the Juntavas are from. There are of course also other offworlders form other parts of the Juntavas or like O’Berin’s so called cousin.

    My impression is that Lady voz’Lathi went back where she came from after her disappointment about the “new Juntavas” being so unreliable. And once she had carved out a territory she couldn’t break her word and go back to a more reliable Boss, leaving her sworn and dependent without care.

    It also serves as a time reference putting our Lady around Daavs or O’Berins age, or just a bit younger. It makes it all the more wonderful that she finally allows herself the change that will make her name fit more properly.

  2. Paul A. Post author

    @ going forward:
    The impression I get is that this way of going forward, with people stepping in to keep the project going in honor of those who have gone, is a new thing to the bakery. The Code would probably say that it’s not their place to do it, since they don’t have clan ties with the bakery’s owner, and the usual procedure for Low Port is the one that Lady voz’Lathi is expecting: either leave it alone, or claim ownership by right of conquest.

    @ Dyoli’s aunt:
    The thing that made me think they might be the same person is that both give me a vibe of being a person who expects to get her own way. But then, as Bertie Wooster would tell us, that’s not an uncommon attribute for aunts.

    @ Pronouns:
    I was going to say that that’s different, because there the narration is using “they” in the sense that refers to a person of unknown gender; Jethri doesn’t know the doorkeeper’s actual pronouns and there’s never an appropriate occasion to ask. It might be that the doorkeeper actually is “he” or “she”, if the question had been asked and answered.
    That said, it occurs to me that in this story the characters who interact with Danel are Tezi Gun and Lady voz’Lathi, the newcomers, so it might be that the narration is doing the same thing. I don’t know, though; in Balance of Trade the narration made a point of Jethri’s confusion, and here the narration just matter-of-factly starts using the pronoun. (On the other other hand, that could just be because Tezi and Lady voz’Lathi are more matter-of-fact people than young Jethri.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *