Tag Archives: dead to the Clan

From Every Storm a Rainbow

In which Sinit safeguards the clan’s treasures.

I’m always pleased to have another opportunity to spend time with Sinit, who’s one of my favourite characters in the series.

It’s also (speaking now as the presumptuous author of a suggested chronological reading order) something of a relief after the last few stories to have one that says up-front exactly where it fits chronologically.
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Dark Secrets

In which the crack team of Kilsymthe and yo’Dira deal with some unfinished business.

Being that this story involves an entirely new cast of characters at an entirely new location, it’s a bit short of indications about where it fits in relative to the main series. It’s more recent than the Jethri books, since the team-up of a Terran spacer and Liaden is unpopular in some quarters but not considered a remarkable innovation. The bit about “the asterisked end-notes in the ven’Tura Tables” might indicate that it’s before the Tables were properly revised. Caerli uses the technique called the Smuggler’s Ace; the earliest mention we have of that is in Scout’s Progress, but I don’t think we know how old it already was then, so that doesn’t help much.

The list of customers at the drinkery includes two women in “librarian’s robes”, which I’m not sure what to make of.

Dead Men Dream – Chapter 1

In which two dead men are awaiting rescue, transport, or skillful habitation.

Well, here’s a couple of people I wasn’t expecting to see again so soon, if ever.
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Preferred Seating

In which Can Ith yos’Phelium finds a new seat.

I see an irony in the description of Can Ith’s preferred seating: “with his back against the wall, and most of the room before him”. Presumably, it’s the being able to see most of the room that makes it his favoured way of sitting, but on this particular occasion it suits him because he has his back against the wall in more ways than one.
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Degrees of Separation – Chapter 3


In which Don Eyr fails to persuade Serana to leave him.

I was actually kind of surprised by how useful Don Eyr and Serana found the melant’i plays as a guide to Liaden behaviour; people who have tried that in other stories have had mixed success due to their source texts being unrealistic, melodramtic, or outright fraudulent.
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Code of Honor

In which Tommy Lee goes home.

It can be tricky placing a story in chronological order without reading it first, as we’ve seen already in this project, but I think I did all right with this one. It’s definitely set somewhere during Ghost Ship; a bit further on than where I’ve put it, I suspect, but we were already stopping here to read two other short stories, so doing “Code of Honor” as well means that after this we can finish off Ghost Ship without any further interruptions.

Putting it next to “Kin Ties” also produces a nice bit of synchronicity, since this story, too, turns out to be concerned with the question of bad delms and where duty lies for those burdened with them.

I have my doubts that it’s within any clan’s reach to take Korval’s proverbially unique place aside-but-not-among the Fifty High Houses; surely the fact that Korval is in a class by itself is the very point of the proverb. (For that matter, I would think that no clan would want that place, if they’d really thought about what it meant to be aside but not among the High Houses.) But I suppose that when ambition talks there’s always somebody willing to listen.

I appreciate the detail that Tommy needs his aunt to point out a flaw in his plans for his future. He’s clever enough to think his way out of a very difficult situation, but he doesn’t think of everything.

Tomorrow: We resume Ghost Ship at Chapter 24.

Kin Ties

In which Ren Zel dea’Judan has unfinished business on Casia.

The thing I find really satisfying about this story is how things turn out for Cyrbet Meriandra, the last child of Clan Jabun. I’m pleased for her sake her fate turns out not to be the desperate thing it sounded when it was foretold at the end of Changeling; she did no more to earn a part in the doom brought on her by Delm Jabun than Ren Zel did. And during the confrontation at the end of this story, it was her I was worried about more than Ren Zel; he’s a dramliza, he can take care of himself even if Anthora isn’t there to take care of him.

(I am of course also pleased that Ren Zel found a way to reconnect with his family, but it wasn’t such a subject of suspense; as soon as Anthora persuaded him to make the attempt it seemed obvious the attempt would succeed and it was only a matter of waiting to learn the details.)

There is something funny going on with Cyrbet, though. It seems to be implied that she’s too young to remember the death of her mother, and was raised from childhood with tales of Ren Zel the ogre, which would seem to fit with the mention in Changeling of a toddler identified as Elsu’s daughter. However, we have our choice of several not-entirely-consistent indications of how long it’s been since Ren Zel left on Dutiful Passage… not one of which is long enough for a toddler to grow into a young woman employed as an adult and contemplating marriage. The timeline published in the second Liaden Unibus has it that Changeling took place in Standard Year 1390, which would mean he’s been away a mere three years. Even if we ignore that, Changeling itself states clearly that Shan is the captain of Dutiful Passage, which places it absolutely no earlier than 1383, ten years ago (and probably no earlier than 1385, since Shan was nominally captain for a couple of years before he was actually free to assume the role). Finally, there’s a line in this story which can be read as indicating that it’s been twelve years (actually, it’s “a dozen Standards”, which, since it’s Liadens, might be an approximation the way a Terran would say “a decade”) and even that is not enough for a toddler to attain Bethy’s apparent age. Perhaps Elsu had two daughters, and Cyrbet was the elder by enough years to fix the maths, but then what happened to the other one?

Another oddity, but one which I think is more likely to be deliberate and meaningful than an oversight, is the Balance pronounced by Delm Jabun on Ren Zel. It’s stated clearly in Conflict of Honors that Liadens consider it inappropriate to Balance a transgression by seeking the death of the transgressor, except in really extreme cases where there’s truly nothing else that will do. So does this mean that Ren Zel’s alleged wrongs against Clan Jabun would, if real, constitute such an extreme case? Or is it a sign of Delm Jabun’s corruption, that he called for Ren Zel’s death, regardless of its appropriateness, simply because it was the outcome he desired?

There’s a lot of good parallelling going on in this story, especially on the subject of delms: so many different delms, each with their own approach to the delm’s duty of caring for their clans’ resources, allowing comparisons that cast light on what it means to be a good (or a bad) delm, and to be a good and obedient clanmember. There are also parallels between Ren Zel and his nemesis that are interesting, and instructive: we don’t get an explicit account from Bethy of why she makes the decision she does at the end, but perhaps part of it is similar to the reasoning behind Ren Zel’s account at prime of his Balance with Aunt Chane.

Tomorrow: “Code of Honor”


In which Priscilla Mendoza is cast out.

There’s a lot more in this story than I noticed the first time I read it, and much of it I’m not sure I have a solid grip on yet.

One thing I do feel confident saying is that the arc of the Moonhawk and Lute stories, from “Where the Goddess Sends” to here (and beyond, to the extent that Moonhawk and the Goddess continue to be mentioned) is a lot clearer to me after this re-read, and particularly with the addition of “Moon’s Honor”, which did a lot to clarify which details are recurring themes.

The tendency Moonhawk talks to Priscilla about in this story, of the Circle’s purpose being waylaid by the greed of power and personal importance, is one of those recurring themes. The impression I get is that Lute and Moonhawk have been acting as a counter to that tendency; one thing Moonhawk’s travels with Lute achieve, in both versions we’ve seen, is to remind her to think about the Temple’s role and its effects on the other people of the world (with the result, not shown but implied by Moonhawk’s nature, that having realised the Temple is out of line she’ll do what she can to put things right).

So it’s worrying that Moonhawk says here that the Circle having been keeping her apart from Lute, and keeping her in check by limiting the tools she has to work with. That means the power-hungry have had centuries to get hungrier and less thoughtful, and to bend the workings of the Temple toward their purposes. (I wonder who first starting restricting Moonhawk’s actions, and how much they understood of what they were doing.)

(A second thing I wonder about is the Names. It’s mentioned that there are fourteen living Names, which is the same number of Names who bound themselves to the Goddess’ path in Crystal Dragon — except that one of those was Lute, so they can’t be exactly the same fourteen. And the two Names Priscilla calls out during the climactic confrontation are modern-sounding names, not like “Moonhawk” or “Oatflower”. Added to something that was mentioned in “A Matter of Dreams”, the impression I get is that these days there are more than fourteen Names being reincarnated in the service of the Goddess, with perhaps a restriction that only fourteen may be incarnated at any one time. And that makes me wonder if there’s any deck-stacking going on, so that the Names who might want to resist the Temple’s slide from grace are being edged out by Names who support it.)

One of the later novels indicates that there is a Lute to go with this Moonhawk, who would be at this time still a halfling boy only a couple of years older than Priscilla. No wonder Moonhawk warns Priscilla that he can’t yet stand against the Circle directly. (A third thing I wonder is whether that means he will stand against the Circle some day. I can’t imagine Moonhawk and Lute letting them go on getting away with this forever.)

Tomorrow, we round off the tale of Priscilla’s departure with the Prologue to Conflict of Honors. If you’re not wanting to split things up, you can skip it until next week when we return and do the rest of Conflict of Honors, and we’ll see you in a couple of days.


In which Pat Rin receives some advice, a history lesson, and a treasure.

With this story, we return to Liad, and Korval, about a decade after we last saw them. Nova yos’Galan is now twelve, and Pat Rin yos’Phelium, whom we last saw as a child on the day of her birth, is now a young man, and considering how he might make his way in society.

Reading these in chronological order does mean that the last time we saw Pat Rin was the day of Nova’s birth, which was also the day he demonstrated to his aunt an uncanny facility with dice — which makes it seem odd that in this story we’re told he’s been tested by the Healers and found to have no psychic talents of note. Perhaps in the intervening years the facility has faded away, or been redirected in another direction, or gone into hiding. While we’re on the subject, though, I did say I’d be watching whether he had much to do with dice when he took up his career as a gamester, which he does in this story, so I’ll note that his game of choice appears to be the card game piket, and no mention of dice at all.

Another trivial note, one of those connections the discovery of which are among my motivations for this project: Pat Rin’s new landlord is a textile merchant named bin’Flora, presumably a descendant of that bin’Flora to whom Jethri made his first sale way back in Balance of Trade.

I’m not sure what to make of Pat Rin’s dream at the beginning. It’s possible that it is, despite everything said against it, a prophetic dream foretelling Nova’s danger later in the story, but I don’t find that a compelling interpretation. I’m more inclined to think, given Pat Rin’s history, that if the endangered child in the dream had a face it would be Pat Rin’s own.

Tomorrow: “Intelligent Design”

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 40

In which Daav yos’Phelium dies and Jen Sar Kiladi returns to teaching.

Thus, Daav’s Balance: Having identified ignorance as the enemy, he will take the fight to the enemy by sending out Professor Kiladi to battle ignorance. In so doing, he will also remove himself from the clan and hide in a place where nobody will look for him, so that news of his death might be believed, and the Terran Party be given what they want before anyone else is harmed.

(And while a teacher with Kiladi’s accomplishments might surely have many grateful former students, given the name of the university involved I like to think that the influential alumnus who arranged for Kiladi to be given a place was Chames Dobson.)

Thus, also, the truth about Daav’s blackouts: through the lifemate bond, Aelliana lives on in him, in the manner of Rool Tiazan’s lady in the old story. Incidentally, it’s interesting to note that the last time Rool Tiazan’s lady was mentioned, it was Daav himself recounting that very story in Local Custom. Of course, knowing the story doesn’t mean he believes it, and even if he does one can understand why he might not think of it being repeated in his own case. Rool Tiazan and his lady were of the dramliz, and planned for the eventuality, neither of which are true of Daav and Aelliana.

I see a whole bunch of things going into this being possible. Daav is doubtless correct that the Tree had a hand in it (or whatever the corresponding metaphor is for Trees), but I don’t think that’s all. I think that, however it’s possible for Aelliana’s mind to be hosted in Daav’s head, it can’t have hurt that he already had from his Grandmother the ability to hold other personalities in his head, nor that he’d been keeping that ability in practice with Professor Kiladi. (It’s interesting to think that perhaps, in a sense, Professor Kiladi is responsible for saving Aelliana.) Another thing, which I noticed for the first time on this re-read, is that Master Kestra makes a point of mentioning that Daav no longer overflows with mental whatever-it-is that previously caused Healers to have to keep their distance: whatever it was he had too much of for one person, apparently it’s now been chanelled into sustaining two.