Tag Archives: Aelliana Caylon’s ring

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 17

Tarigan
Jemiatha’s Jumble Stop
Berth 12

In which it is time for a rest.

Well, darn. I was beginning to really like Inki. But of course she would be really likeable, if a graduate of the Lyre Institute is anything a graduate of the Tanjalyre Institute — not to mention, as she said herself, possessed of considerable persuasive abilities. However, I think it’s too much to hope that the Institute could have produced two experienced mentors who both went rogue, and if an AI-stunning weapon is introduced in the second act it’s probably going to go off in the third.

Or is it? Would Inki let Tocohl know she had an AI-stunning weapon if her plans included using it on Tocohl? And we have been told that it was because Tolly was a mentor that he was able to work himself free of the Institute’s control, so if anyone was going to repeat the feat perhaps it would be another mentor. But I’m definitely not going to trust her now. And I wish I knew whether Tocohl knows what it means to be a graduate of the Lyre Institute.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 10

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which Kareen and Kamele have an informative conversation.

I was a bit glib and a lot unfair when I suggested that Kareen might view Kamele as a performing dog. A better way to characterise the situation might be that Kamele has a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for learning the intricacies of the Liaden language, which makes it easier for one to forgive any stumbles since she’s clearly doing her best and it’s not her fault she’s not fully fluent yet. One might be less forgiving of a Terran who seemed to have made only the effort required to get by, for instance.

Also, they seem to actually like each other, a fact of which I took some convincing if only because Kareen has generally not made friends easily and it seemed unlikely that she would find it any easier with a non-Liaden.

(It’s interesting that, after Kamele was worried she might miss nuances if the conversation about the portrait was in Liaden, Kareen makes what must have been a deliberate choice to step out of Liaden into Terran to tell her about it, perhaps specifically to spare her that worry.)

Kareen’s description of the circumstances of Er Thom’s birth didn’t quite make sense to me at first: I wasn’t sure why it would be necessary for yos’Galan to produce a back-up delm of certain piloting ability when there was already Sae Zar. I think, though, that the problem with Sae Zar as a back-up delm is that he didn’t have the training for it; we know that training for a delm’s heir begins when he or she is very young, as happened for Daav (and Er Thom, as the designated back-up heir, got the same training). Also, Sae Zar was already designated as the heir to yos’Galan’s Master Trader, and to add Delm’s Heir to his pile would have been a disservice to yos’Galan, to be avoided unless no other solution was available.

Of the delms Kareen mentions in passing, we have heard of Jeni yos’Phelium, who helped establish the Scout Academy, and Theonna yos’Phelium, who was responsible for the Tactical Defense Pods. Edil yos’Phelium and Var Ond ter’Asten are new names. (ter’Asten is itself also a new name, unless it’s an alternate transliteration of “ter’Astin” – Jethri’s friend the scout was named Jan Rek ter’Astin.)

The implication of Kamele’s remark about Aelliana also being delm is, as I understand it, that her death wasn’t as simple as Daav failing his duty as delm to protect the vulnerable and husband the clan’s resources; Aelliana was also acting as delm, with a different assessment of who was most vulnerable and which resources the clan could least afford to lose, and no time for the two halves of the delm to reach a consensus.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 31

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which Theo has breakfast with Val Con’s mother.

Theo is perfectly right to ask whether Kamele knew about Aelliana, and Aelliana blatantly dodges the question. (It’s probably true that her available time is limited, but that doesn’t mean she’s not also using it as an excuse.) Particularly given the fact that Theo recognises Aelliana as an aspect of the Jen Sar Kiladi she thought she knew – the Jen Sar Kiladi her mother fell in love with – this is going to be an additional complication in the complicated explanation Daav owes Kamele.

And it looks like Kamele’s going to be wanting that explanation sooner rather than later…

Ghost Ship – Chapter 5

Arin’s Toss
Solcintra Port
Liad

In which Theo’s father tells her the truth.

Theo’s conversation with her father is one of those things that’s obviously significant but I don’t know how to talk about. (I do wonder if it helps Theo to learn that Val Con’s mother was a respected scholar. It seems like it might make the whole preposterous situation feel slightly more familiar.)

Either Theo’s taxi ride from the Port or her nap, or both, must have consumed a considerable amount of time, since it is now the day set for Korval’s departure and Theo left the Port at dawn the previous day. (Local calendar, explicitly stated, so it’s not one of those things where the Standard Day changes halfway through the local day.) No, excuse me: Theo went to call a taxi at dawn; maybe the city’s in such a commotion at the moment that it took most of the day to turn up.

The detail about Trealla Fantrol is interesting; they couldn’t take it with them, but they weren’t going to let it fall into anyone else’s hands. In which light, I wonder what it says that they didn’t mind letting Liad keep the formal gardens.


Tomorrow: “Moon on the Hills”, then back to Chapter 6.

I Dare – Chapter 31

Day 51
Standard Year 1393

Lytaxin
Erob’s Clanhouse

In which the Ring passes.

That makes two people in a short space of time who have spoken to Val Con of Korval’s responsibilities under the Contract, which is a subject that doesn’t often come up in conversation outside of Korval. It might be that, as close allies, they know something most don’t, but I think it’s less that the Contract is some kind of secret as that most people who don’t know Korval well don’t take the idea seriously. (And at that, I’m not entirely sure Emrith Tiazan wasn’t being sarcastic. We might infer that she believes in Korval’s belief in the Contract but doesn’t entirely believe in the Contract herself.)

The exchange when Korval-pernard’i removes the ring from her finger and Delm Korval places the ring on his own finger reminds me of something that I didn’t remark on when it happened: Pat Rin put the false ring the Department gave him on the second finger of his left hand, Korval-in-Trust’s finger, not the third finger, the delm’s finger. The Department was expecting that Pat Rin would happily be delm if there were nobody left to tell him he couldn’t, but what they weren’t considering is that as long as Pat Rin lives, there will always be one person of Korval judging his suitability: Pat Rin himself. Even in the eventuality that he must take up the delm’s ring because there is nobody else left, Pat Rin doesn’t count himself worthy to take up the delm’s melant’i with it, only to hold the ring in trust until Korval is able to produce someone qualified to be delm.

We also get, speaking of that incident, a detailed description of the true ring and thus the signs by which Pat Rin knew the false ring to be false. I wonder what it says about the Department that they didn’t know about the signs of wear. It might just be that they couldn’t find any way of examining the ring closely without arousing suspicion. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if it never even occurred to them to look; they might have assumed that a wealthy Liaden family would always get any damage quickly repaired.

I Dare – Chapter 24

Day 50
Standard Year 1393

Lytaxin
Erob’s Clanhouse and Garden

In which kin share news of kin.

The bit about Shan and Nova having different preferred languages for casual speech is a nice reflection of the fact their lives have taken different paths despite them being siblings. Shan was raised as a Terran among Terrans for the first few years of his life, and although he’s embraced his Liaden heritage, he spends much of his time as a Trader out in the wide universe and often surrounded by Terrans again. Nova was born and raised on Liad, and her line of work keeps her there for the most part; she must have left the planet a few times, if only to earn her pilot’s licence, but this here may well be the furthest she’s ever been from home.

I’m not sure I understand how Val Con knew about his mother, but I don’t feel too bad about that because it sounds like Val Con isn’t too sure himself.

Plan B – Chapter 35

Lytaxin
Erob’s Clan House

In which Val Con’s kin start arriving.

This chapter is still just as affecting, even though I knew what was coming.

The mention of Nelirikk wearing an arm scarf as a sign of troop affiliation reminds me that Miri wore an arm scarf when Val Con first met her, which got mentioned a few times and then never again. (I figure it maybe got left behind on Edger’s ship; if not that, perhaps when they had to leave Vandar in the Benish clothes they stood up, or in Miri’s case couldn’t stand up, in.) Makes me wonder if that was a marker of affilition too, and if so to whom.


Tomorrow: I Dare

Breath’s Duty

Delgado
Leafydale Place
Standard Year 1393

In which Scout Reserve Captain Daav yos’Phelium returns a favour.

Speaking of first published appearances, this is Kamele’s, brief as it is, and it gave me entirely the wrong impression of her until Fledgling came out. I blame the translators’ decision to use “mistress” as a substitute for whatever word they use on Delgado, because while it has the advantage of bypassing a lengthy explanation it fails to capture the actual spirit of Kamele’s relationship with Jen Sar. On the other hand, I admit there were also some failings of comprehension on my part, regarding (a) the actual likelihood of Daav getting in the kind of relationship that “mistress” implies, and (b) the fact, which is mentioned right there in the story, that they’ve been together long enough for her daughter to be grown up.

This may also be, even more briefly, the first published mention of timonioum.

One of the purposes of this re-read was to see what new associations would come out of the stories by reading them in a different configuration: what would come out of a story by reading it near another story I maybe hadn’t read it near before? In this case, a new thing that struck me was the first dissonant detail: after a couple of pages of Jen Sar Kiladi getting ready for a fishing trip, just as he always does, he pauses to run through the Rainbow pattern. Reading the story so soon after Carpe Diem, with everything it has to say about the Rainbow and about the Rainbow being a Scout thing, that really jumped out at me as a sign that Professor Kiladi isn’t the groundhugging academic he appears. It says, if one didn’t already know, a great deal about his background in a very few words.

Another association that I don’t think I picked up before this re-read is that Acting Scout Commander sig’Radia has the same surname as Senior Scout Cho sig’Radia, the friend and mentor of Daav’s daughter. Probably a relative, not the same person; “Phoenix” has established that sig’Radia has a history of producing Scouts, and this story says straight up that Daav doesn’t know her. (I wonder, though: I don’t think Kiladi ever actually met Cho sig’Radia other than through written correspondence, and if he did notice the connection Daav wouldn’t make anything of it while he’s keeping the Kiladi connection quiet; conversely, of course, Cho sig’Radia knows Theo’s father only as Kiladi and has no reason to suspect he’s Daav. And one who was a Senior Scout a few years ago might have progressed far enough to become Acting Scout Commander now — especially since the “Acting” suggests that the Department’s recent actions have resulted in some rapid movement in the line of succession.)

I’m pretty sure I got the significance of the Richard A. Davis Portmaster Aid Foundation first time, though.

I seem to recall there being something I wanted to say about the bit where L’il Orbit casts shade on Kiladi’s piloting skills, but the only thing that’s coming to mind now is that it was never Kiladi, in the old days, who was called “schoolteacher”. And that there’s a bit of an irony in Daav yos’Phelium being named as a reliable pilot considering what happened the last time he was seen piloting a spaceship.

Plan B – Chapter 3

Delgado
Bjornson-Bellevale College of Arts and Sciences

In which Professor Kiladi suffers an interruption.

Now, this is a chapter where it really makes a difference whether you’re reading in publication order or internal chronological order. In published order, this is the professor’s first appearance, and the scene is full of enigmatic hints that only get paid off at the end of the novel, or even later, leaving us with the question of who he is and why he’s interested in Val Con. In internal chronological order, Professor Kiladi has already featured in several novels, and the same details are not so much enigmatic hints as reminders of things we already knew; we know who he is and why he’s interested in Val Con, and the question instead is what he’s going to do about it.


Tomorrow, a brief diversion from the novel to find out what he is going to do about it, in the short story “Breath’s Duty”.

Fledgling – Chapter 42

Number Twelve Leafydale Place
Greensward-by-Efraim
Delgado

In which Theo turns fifteen.

This is one of those cases where I don’t feel inspired to talk about any of the things I might have talked about if I were reading the novel for the first time, and there weren’t many new things I noticed. Although I did notice this time Jen Sar’s fishing trip in the mountains, which I suspect was at least partly intended to lay a foundation for a tale to tell anyone who asks where the idea of the old-style Gigneri came from.

I will note that this is another novel I like more after this re-read than I thought I did after I read it the first time.

It’s not easy to establish precisely when Fledgling takes place, due to a lack of outside referents. From Theo’s age we know that it’s more than fifteen years since Jen Sar came to Delgado at the end of Mouse and Dragon — but, as Theo points out in this chapter, that’s Delgadan years, and we have no indication of whether those are longer or shorter than Standard Years, let alone by how much. All we can say with confidence is that it’s after Jen Sar’s last scene in Mouse and Dragon and before his first appearance in Plan B. (The suggested reading order by internal chronology on the authors’ web site places Fledgling after Plan B, but that’s a clear case of bending chronology for the good of the story flow and reading experience, making it in effect an entire novel-length flashback; there is no possible way Jen Sar’s scenes in Plan B happen before Fledgling.) The positions I’ve given Fledgling and Saltation in this re-read are approximations achieved by starting at the end of Saltation and counting backwards based on my memory of what occurs in them; I’m taking notes as I re-read and hopefully I’ll end up with a less approximate idea of how much time they cover. (But when I publish my own suggested reading order by internal chronology at the end of the re-read, it’s likely I’ll be adopting the strategy of bending chronology for the good of the story flow and reading experience, the good sense of which becomes more apparent to me the further the re-read progresses.)


Tomorrow: Saltation