Tag Archives: Cantra’s Law

Carpe Diem – Chapter 53

Dutiful Passage

In which the captain has a task for the first mate, as one member of Korval to another.

There’s something funny going on with the timing between last chapter and this. Since receiving Nova’s declaration, Dutiful Passage has visited three planets, shedding cargo and crew, a process that must have taken days if not weeks. (From Ardred to Raggtown alone was twenty days in Conflict of Honors, although that was on a trading schedule and they’re presumably travelling more quickly and more directly now.) And so, days or weeks after receiving Nova’s declaration, comes a pinbeam from Anthora, reporting an attack on Trealla Fantrol — which attack took place less than an hour after Nova declared Plan B to be in effect. Pinbeams, we’ve been told, are considerably more expensive than more common methods of long-distance communication, and part of the reason for that is because they don’t take weeks to get to their destination.

On the other hand, the name implies that a pinbeam message is sent directly to its destination, which might mean that it relies on the recipient being in a known location. Perhaps Anthora directed the message to where the Dutiful Passage was scheduled to be, but the Passage wasn’t there because it had already shifted to moving more quickly and more directly, and the message has been playing catch-up since.

Speaking of shedding cargo, there’s an interesting mention of the ship’s very outline having changed, become “lean and sleek”, which suggests that in the normal course of things the ship carries some significant amount of cargo attached to the outside of it instead of carried within internal cargo bays.

What Shan says in this chapter indicates how far off the mark the Department’s view of Korval is. The Department sees that Korval is powerful, and suspects Korval of being a rival for control of Liad’s interests, because that’s what it would be in Korval’s place. But Korval’s interests and priorities are not the same as the Department’s, arising from origins so different that the Department probably wouldn’t be able to understand them even if it was aware of them.

The way Shan tells Priscilla about his decision ties back to the conversation they had earlier about the necessity of seeking for Val Con, in which he said that since they were not yet lifemates Korval’s necessities were not yet hers.

Carpe Diem – Chapter 29

Springbreeze Farm

In which Priscilla’s message is received.

Val Con mentions that Korval has been led by “thirty-one generations of yos’Pheliums”. If we assume a round figure of a thousand years since the founding of the Clan, that gives an average spacing of 30-35 years between generations, which is not unreasonable and accords with the information we have about the ages at which various yos’Pheliums have become parents.

It does, however, contrast interestingly with the information established elsewhere that the number of actual Delms to date has been 85. That works out to an average of 2-3 Delms per generation, and each Delm holding the post for an average of slightly over a decade. And we know that there have been stretches where there was only one Delm in each generation, and Delms who have borne the ring for as much as fifty years, so there must also have been periods when the turnover was even more rapid than the average suggests.

The message from Priscilla, with its implication that Korval is enquiring into matters relating to the doings of the Department, leaves Val Con determined that they must do something, and soon. It remains to be seen, however, what can be done.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 17

In which yos’Galan advises Korval, for the good of the clan.

Ah, Daav’s famous toasted cheese sandwiches.

On this readthrough, it strikes me that they’re toasted cheese sandwiches, because the word that’s been used up until now has been “handwich”. (At the risk of self-incrimination, I admit that this is a thing I’ve been actively tracking.) Perhaps it’s a translation convention, where “handwich” is the Terran word and bears some etymological connection to “hand” and “sandwich”, but the Liaden word is so completely different that one might as well translate it as “sandwich” and have done.

I like the idea that every toasted cheese sandwich is a unique work of art, and that there is therefore no wrong way to make one.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 31

In which everybody is having a bad day.

Has it really been a relumma since Aelliana won her freedom? It doesn’t seem like that long.

Ran Eld’s view of the world is not only self-centred, it’s short-sighted too. “Enough time to notice what’s happening around me when I’m what’s happening” is not the attitude of someone ever likely to be the happening thing. It’s kind of amusing, though, that he’s so blinkered he thinks Anne’s book is boring.

The Tree is definitely against Samiv tel’Izak marrying Daav, and is making its feelings felt quite strongly. (It’s weird how the description of her nightmare doesn’t say it’s her until it’s nearly over; the first few times I read it, I had to do a mental gear-change because I’d started out assuming it was Aelliana.)

On the other hand, the Tree doesn’t seem keen on Aelliana either. I suspect it’s because the Tree is waiting for Daav to commit to action, which he hasn’t yet: he wants Aelliana, but he’s still planning to bow to duty and marry tel’Izak.

(But I do wonder what answer was carried in that seed-pod he threw away.)

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 12

In which Aelliana lifts as planned.

Another of Cantra’s log entries that doesn’t entirely accord with her history as revealed in the prequels. In particular, her claim to be “a sport, child of a long line of random elements”, considered from an in-universe perspective, can not be anything other than a deliberate lie.

Yardkeeper Gat’s declaration — “I don’t care what her name is or how good she can add” — is interesting. Even as he declares that Aelliana’s reputation cuts no ice in the present context (which is very likely true) he’s taking the time to show that he recognises the name and the reputation. Daav didn’t tell him she was a mathematician.