In which Vertu dea’San decides that somebody ought to do something.
This story is, among other things, a valuable reminder that while Korval were happy enough to be thrown off Liad for their part in the Battle of Solcintra, there are others served similarly for whom it might not be so pleasant.
Reading a story featuring “galan’ranubiet” (Treasure of the House) and “galandaria” (compatriot), I find myself wondering after the meaning of “yos’Galan”.
I said a few days ago I was going to have something more to say about taxis. The bulk of this story takes place at a time when there’s only one licensed taxi driver in Surebleak Port City, and even at the end of the story the number has only grown to three, with some consideration being given to a fourth. That sets it before the climactic sequence of Necessity’s Child, which contains at least three active taxis and likely more.
(So why have I scheduled it after? We’ll come back to that.)
Now let us consider the other major indicator of when it’s set: the passing of the seasons. The main section of the story takes place in local winter, at some point after Korval came to settle on Surebleak, with the last section taking place early in the following spring. That’s straightforward enough.
Now we have two choices:
Ghost Ship tells us that Korval settled on Surebleak before winter turned to spring, that Theo’s visit occurred during late spring (this point is made on multiple occasions), and that the event which kicks off the plot of Necessity’s Child occurred a few weeks before the onset of summer. This seems to fit: Vertu arrives during Korval’s first winter, joins Jemie in the taxi business, and they spend the spring building up the business to a point that will account for the flock of taxis bringing people to the new school when it opens in early summer. The bit near the end of this story, with Vertu and Jemie in early spring considering diversifying into the ground-courier business, meshes nicely with Jemie’s cameo in Ghost Ship, in late spring, delivering a courier message.
However. Necessity’s Child itself claims to begin in late winter, which would put the school opening in early spring, and allow little if any time for the building of the taxi fleet.
After due consideration, I have decided I prefer the timeline suggested by Ghost Ship, and not just because it’s more insistent about it. (Ghost Ship, as I said, mentions the season repeatedly, while the beginning of Necessity’s Child does so only once – and, for that matter, the school opening scene has a mention of how warm the day is, which might be taken to mean that even the end of Necessity’s Child disagrees with the beginning about what time of year it is.)
There are still a couple of more short stories and a novel set on Surebleak which I haven’t read yet because they all came out after I began the re-read; I’ll be interested to see when they claim to be set.
(When I was scheduling the re-read, the one detail I remembered from all this confusion was that Ghost Ship was set in spring, but I forgot that it said Korval had been there since winter, so I thought Vertu’s first winter on Surebleak must be after both Ghost Ship and Necessity’s Child, and scheduled “Skyblaze” accordingly. If I were doing it now, I would definitely put “Skyblaze” before Necessity’s Child.)
Tomorrow: “Roving Gambler”, one of those stories set on Surebleak that I haven’t read yet.