Tag Archives: aphrodisiac flowers

Due Diligence – Chapter 4

In which Fer Gun pen’Uldra gets married.

And so here is the context for the things that had puzzled me about Chi’s behaviour.
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Plan B – Chapter 4

Lytaxin
Approaching Erob

In which Miri Tayzin Robertson meets her family.

I suspect Val Con of conscious irony when he says that Korval has never ruled the world, considering how many people over the centuries have glossed Delm Korval as King of Liad. There’s definitely irony, though unconscious on Miri’s part (but conscious on the part of the authors) in Miri’s reassurance to herself that she’s never going back to Surebleak.

Val Con’s address to the child of Jela’s hope is an example of a literary convention that makes linguists and historians wail and gnash their teeth: the use of “thee” and “thy” to indicate archaic formality. The problem is that “thee” and “thy” are actually archaic informality; to the extent that English has ever had something resembling Liad’s distinction between High Tongue and Low Tongue, “thee” and “thy” were Low Tongue, used when speaking with close friends and family — or, depending on context, to address social inferiors. Not the most appropriate of modes for the most junior servant to use in addressing the utmost authority!

I’m willing to buy that the guest apartment Val Con and Miri are staying in is bigger than Zhena Trelu’s house, but I think the bit about the bathroom the size of Lytaxin spaceport is probably an exaggeration.

Val Con’s recitation of his relatives has two or three notable omissions. Two are easily explained: Shan’s lifemating and Anthora’s children post-date Val Con being taken by the Department, so of course he doesn’t know about them. That explanation doesn’t cover the complete lack of any mention of Line bel’Tarda, but that may be covered by the disclaimer that he’s only touching on the minimum necessary to survive the evening’s social event; perhaps Val Con figured that the odds of anyone of Erob mentioning bel’Tarda at the dinner were low enough that they could safely be left, along with the attendant explanations, for another time.

I wonder what it portends that Emrith Tiazan is Delm Erob but Bendara Tiazan is Thodelm Tiazan. Perhaps just that Erob and Tiazan, unlike Korval and yos’Phelium in their present state, are large enough that one person cannot do both jobs well.

Changeling

In which a pilot lives and dies in a family of shopkeepers.

Given the way Liaden clans tend to specialise each in a profession, the question of what happens when a child is born whose aptitudes do not suit the family business is one that appears a few times in the series. Clan Obrelt, it has to be said, handles the arrival of a pilot child with considerable grace (more, for instance, than Clan Korval has sometimes shown when handling the arrival of a non-pilot child, if I’m remembering correctly a particular flashback we won’t be getting to for some time yet).

There is no specific date given in the story itself, but the Partial Time Line places it in Standard Year 1390, a few years after Conflict of Honors. This invites speculation about whether Shan would have so readily come to the aid of a Clanless and cast-out person if he hadn’t already had the experience of getting to know the comparably-situated Priscilla. On the whole, I’m inclined to think he would have; Nova remarks in Conflict of Honors that his championing of Priscilla is only the most recent example of an established tendency to pick up stray puppies, and the fact that he’s immediately aware that Ren Zel’s casting-out was no reflection of Ren Zel himself (“politics, not balance”, as Mr dea’Gauss said of Priscilla) would tend to make his attitude toward it less respectful. (And while there are some Liadens who might comfortably treat with an outcast Terran and still feel obliged to shun an outcast Liaden, I don’t think Shan is one who privileges Liaden custom that way.)

On the other hand, the fact that Shan is carrying a single-button-press “crewmember down” emergency signal just might be a result of how many times Priscilla could have used such a thing during her first tour on the Passage.

I like the detail of the medic’s reaction to Shan finding a way through the Code to allow Ren Zel to be treated. Even though he was being Liaden-stoic about it a moment earlier, it can’t have been easy for him to have a man bleeding to death at his feet and not be able to do anything about it.

It only occurred to me on this most recent re-reading that when Delm Obrelt argues for Ren Zel keeping his license on the grounds that it balances Elsu being permitted to keep hers, he’s not just using a technicality in Ren Zel’s favour: he’s taking a veiled poke at Jabun, by alluding to the fact that Ren Zel faces death only because Jabun shielded his daughter from being convicted of misconduct that would have resulted in her losing her license if she’d lived.