Tag Archives: Birin Caylon

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 31

In which some people have a better time than others at Lady Kareen’s gather.

Kareen’s attempt to show Aelliana up in polite company falls completely flat, partly due to Lady yo’Lanna having taken her under her wing, but also in large part to Aelliana’s own actions preceding her; even people she’s never met know and respect her. And when Kareen abandons that course of action and hurries on to the sequel of introducing her to Daav’s former wife-to-be, that if anything falls even flatter. (And it strikes me that Kareen might have been able to foresee much of this outcome if she’d made an honest attempt to get to know Aelliana, or even just to learn about Aelliana, instead of writing her off as an obstacle. But then, of course, she wouldn’t have wanted to try to show Aelliana up in the first place.)

If I recall correctly, we will eventually see Scholar yo’Vestra again in “Daughter of Dragons”, the short story that gives Lady Kareen her day in the limelight. My memory is not entirely certain on this point, but I do recall that the story includes a scholar who is Lady Kareen’s colleague and close friend, and at the risk of doing her a disservice I have to observe that the number of Lady Kareen’s close friends doesn’t seem to be large.

I like Delm Guayar, both as a person and as an example of the authors’ craft; even on a short acquaintance, the family resemblance to Clonak is unmistakeable.

The narrator says of Samiv tel’Izak that she is “young enough to perhaps be Bindan’s daughter”, which reminds me that I don’t think we’ve ever been told what their actual relationship is. In contrast to Daav, who relates to his clan members as their kinsman first and their delm only when necessary, we’ve never seen Gath tel’Izak be anybody else to Samiv except her delm.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 30

In which Aelliana proposes a solution.

Once again it’s Aelliana who gets to make the decisive move instead of Daav swooping in and rescuing her. (I may be labouring this point a bit. But seriously, how many novels are there where that happens?)

I am particularly interested by the part of Aelliana’s proposal which has her paying the blood-price for Ran Eld’s death when Sinit becomes Delm. There are several things going on here. For one, it gives Mizel an inducement to accept Sinit as nadelm, where her mother’s actions have cast doubt on the hope that she might accept as much simply because it’s the sensible course. It also serves a practical purpose in ensuring that when Sinit becomes delm there will be an amount of money she can rely on, no matter how the clan’s fortunes may have suffered in the mean time. There’s also some shifty work going on with the melant’i of the situation. I still don’t think that Aelliana truly owes Mizel anything for Ran Eld’s death, but by accepting the blood-price as her debt she’s making sure Mizel can’t try to stick it to anybody else (such as Daav); and by specifying that the payment will be made to Birin Caylon’s successor, the result will be that Birin Caylon gets the promise of an apology but never the apology itself.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 29

In which Daav keeps himself busy with a day of consultations.

I’m not sure Daav’s explanation isn’t partly backward; he says that Mizel wouldn’t want to make an alliance with someone she blames for her son’s death, but I suspect on some level she’s chosen to forego an alliance with Korval so that she can blame Daav. There are other people who might be more fairly considered responsible for Ran Eld’s death, starting with Ran Eld himself, but they all have the disadvantage that Birin Caylon has to live with them every day; much more comforting to be able to blame someone who will shortly return to a distant orbit and remain out of sight and out of mind.

(“He was not the disrupter of the dance, but he was the only one of those new and uneasy things that they could dispose of without tearing still further the already riven fabric of their lives.”)

Incidentally, if Daav’s estimate of Mr dea’Gauss’s age is accurate, Mr dea’Gauss is about the same age as Lady Kareen and Luken bel’Tarda.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 27

In which Mizel makes a counteroffer.

Chonselta Healer Hall seems to me a good choice for Aelliana to stay while the negotiations are settled. It’s definitely neutral territory, leaving Mizel no grounds to suggest that Aelliana would remain under Korval’s influence as would be the case with Trealla Fantrol or Glavda Empri. (Personally, I doubt that Lady yo’Lanna would allow anybody to exert undue influence on a guest, ally or no, but that wouldn’t stop Mizel making the suggestion.) In addition, it’s in Chonselta, so Mizel can’t argue that Aelliana is being kept away from her family. (Not that I expect Mizel to make any attempt to visit Aelliana even if she does move back to Chonselta, but again it’s a strategic thing to argue.) Conversely, it’s a place where Daav can be assured that Aelliana won’t come under undue pressure from Mizel, particularly since specifying Master Kestra’s involvement means that there will someone involved who knows what Aelliana has already been through.

(And on that note, I admire the wording of Daav’s response to Mizel’s demand, which acknowledges the desirability of ensuring that Aelliana not be coerced without expressing or acceding to any specific suggestion about who might be doing the coercing.)

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 25

In which Aelliana takes decisive action in response to Mizel’s message.

I said in an earlier entry that one of the things worth noting about Scout’s Progress was the way it wasn’t a story about Aelliana being rescued, but a story about Aelliana rescuing herself. Even though she is now, for the most part, rescued, Mouse and Dragon has continued to be a story in which Aelliana makes the decisive moves in her own life. She was the originator and driving force of the idea of going for courier, and each time her personal relationship with Daav has tightened a notch, it’s been her making the move. (Which is an important thing, for a person whose life was for so long out of her control.) That continues here: the proposal that they cry lifemates comes from her, unbidden, when she’s ready and not before.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 24

In which Aelliana receives a summons from her Delm.

The chapter quote is being pointed again, as seems to be its habit whenever Mizel’s qualities of kinship are displayed. Incidentally, this same proverb previously appeared at the head of Local Custom‘s eighth chapter, the one in which Er Thom, Anne and Shan showed themselves to be a family in truth if not yet in formal declaration.

Also reminiscent of Local Custom is the return of the dramatic device where the authors deliberately give a misleadingly incomplete account of a character’s intentions, in order to add extra suspense.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 14

In which Lady Kareen gives Aelliana an idea and the Tree gives Daav a fright.

I believe this is the first time since we’ve known her that Aelliana has admitted to being hungry without external prompting.

Speaking of food, it suddenly struck me that in the last few chapters we’ve been told what Aelliana had for breakfast and for lunch, and in neither meal was there any meat. There was fish in the sandwiches in Chapter 4, but apart from fish I can’t remember the last time we saw a Liaden eat meat of any kind, and now I’m wondering if that’s significant. (I doubt it’s as simple as a lack of meat animals on Liad, because I can remember plenty of examples of Liadens eating cheese, and there’s usually an overlap between milk-giving animals and animals that are considered good to eat.)

Daav’s view of his sister has grown a bit more nuanced than when we first saw them together in Local Custom, I notice. Her view of him, on the other hand, seems as rigid as ever. (And she still hasn’t given up on her grudge about Pat Rin, nor come to any better understanding of what happened there, it seems.)

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 13

In which Aelliana and Daav communicate.

Now, this is more like it. I’m glad this isn’t one of those stories where the characters drag on in misery for chapters on end over something that could be cleared up easily if they just talked about it.

It occurs to me that Daav’s error is in some ways similar to Aelliana’s error of a few days earlier. Aelliana shut out her comrades for fear of them getting hurt, without giving them a chance to decide for themselves what level of risk they were prepared to accept for her sake, when as it happened they would have been prepared to accept the risk and to point out that the risk was less than fear made it seem; that also describes what Daav tried to do to Aelliana. Fortunately, this time it got sorted out before anyone got seriously hurt.

And in the midst of all that drama, a passing mention of a plan of the delm’s that will become important later. No, two passing mentions of projects of Daav’s that will become important later; this chapter is also the first in which the name of Kiladi is mentioned.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 6

In which Aelliana is taken under Korval’s wing.

So then, a slight but significant revision: it appears that the lifemate bond is active when Aelliana and Daav are in close proximity, but information flows only in one direction; Aelliana can feel Daav, but Daav can not feel Aelliana.

I know there’s the whole thing about how melant’i means that the same individual might be effectively a different person in different situations, but there are moments when it feels like Delm Korval really is a different person from Daav. (The scene in Local Custom where Korval calls Er Thom and Petrella to heel, the night of the gather, is another one.) I think part of it is the way Daav doesn’t like to step into the role of Delm if there is any way he can handle the situation in one of his more personal capacities, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; if the only situations where Delm Korval puts in an appearance are those which Daav can’t handle himself, it follows that Delm Korval must be somebody other than Daav. Or perhaps a less dramatic way to put it is that the role of Delm consequently brings out aspects of Daav’s character that don’t usually get expressed when he’s “being himself”. Particularly since, with Daav solving the easy problems and the personal problems himself, that leaves Delm Korval with the extremely formal occasions and the situations where duty must be placed before any personal considerations.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 5

In which Aelliana does not feel safe under Mizel’s roof.

The heading quote is being pointed again, but in a slightly more underhanded way. Some of the people who constitute Aelliana’s clan do indeed frown on her conduct, but I am confident that this is a deficiency in them, not in Aelliana. (It makes a pair with the last time this heading quote appeared, which was the chapter in Scout’s Progress that revealed how much the clan’s beloved son Ran Eld was undermining the clan for his individual gain.)

The part where Delm Mizel accuses Korval of attempting to coerce Aelliana and valuing her only for her exploitable resources strikes me as one of those occasions where the guilt a person sees most readily in others is the guilt they would find if they looked straight into themselves.

And she does rather undo any mollifying effect she might have achieved (perhaps she was still counting on Aelliana to be obedient to the delm regardless) when she admits that regardless of Aelliana’s achievements she would rather have had anybody else if there had been anybody else to have.