Tag Archives: Jon dea’Cort

Breath’s Duty

Leafydale Place
Standard Year 1393

In which Scout Reserve Captain Daav yos’Phelium returns a favour.

Speaking of first published appearances, this is Kamele’s, brief as it is, and it gave me entirely the wrong impression of her until Fledgling came out. I blame the translators’ decision to use “mistress” as a substitute for whatever word they use on Delgado, because while it has the advantage of bypassing a lengthy explanation it fails to capture the actual spirit of Kamele’s relationship with Jen Sar. On the other hand, I admit there were also some failings of comprehension on my part, regarding (a) the actual likelihood of Daav getting in the kind of relationship that “mistress” implies, and (b) the fact, which is mentioned right there in the story, that they’ve been together long enough for her daughter to be grown up.

This may also be, even more briefly, the first published mention of timonioum.

One of the purposes of this re-read was to see what new associations would come out of the stories by reading them in a different configuration: what would come out of a story by reading it near another story I maybe hadn’t read it near before? In this case, a new thing that struck me was the first dissonant detail: after a couple of pages of Jen Sar Kiladi getting ready for a fishing trip, just as he always does, he pauses to run through the Rainbow pattern. Reading the story so soon after Carpe Diem, with everything it has to say about the Rainbow and about the Rainbow being a Scout thing, that really jumped out at me as a sign that Professor Kiladi isn’t the groundhugging academic he appears. It says, if one didn’t already know, a great deal about his background in a very few words.

Another association that I don’t think I picked up before this re-read is that Acting Scout Commander sig’Radia has the same surname as Senior Scout Cho sig’Radia, the friend and mentor of Daav’s daughter. Probably a relative, not the same person; “Phoenix” has established that sig’Radia has a history of producing Scouts, and this story says straight up that Daav doesn’t know her. (I wonder, though: I don’t think Kiladi ever actually met Cho sig’Radia other than through written correspondence, and if he did notice the connection Daav wouldn’t make anything of it while he’s keeping the Kiladi connection quiet; conversely, of course, Cho sig’Radia knows Theo’s father only as Kiladi and has no reason to suspect he’s Daav. And one who was a Senior Scout a few years ago might have progressed far enough to become Acting Scout Commander now — especially since the “Acting” suggests that the Department’s recent actions have resulted in some rapid movement in the line of succession.)

I’m pretty sure I got the significance of the Richard A. Davis Portmaster Aid Foundation first time, though.

I seem to recall there being something I wanted to say about the bit where L’il Orbit casts shade on Kiladi’s piloting skills, but the only thing that’s coming to mind now is that it was never Kiladi, in the old days, who was called “schoolteacher”. And that there’s a bit of an irony in Daav yos’Phelium being named as a reliable pilot considering what happened the last time he was seen piloting a spaceship.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 39

In which Daav plans his Balance against the enemy which took Aelliana.

I’m interested by the implication that the thoughtfulness of Daav’s Balance here owes something to his previous experience of loss and Balance, which taught him the limitations of the method of direct reprisal.

Using that Diary entry as the chapter heading also provides another more subtle bookend: the last time it was used was on the chapter in which Daav and Aelliana first met.

It’s a bit difficult to know how much to talk about what else happens in this chapter when it hasn’t been explicitly called out yet, even though as a re-reader I know — and, since this is a prequel, even on the first read I knew — what’s going on. I think I’ll save that for next time.

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 15

In which Aelliana and Daav go to inspect their ship and make discoveries of several kinds.

Several important developments occur in this chapter, but they’re the kind of things I’m not good at stringing words together about.

I’m much better at the trivial observations, like noting that there are a few details in this chapter that have extra resonance for readers familiar with other books in the series, like Clonak’s choice of occupation, or the way Trilla apologises before wiping her face.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 9

In which Mr dea’Gauss has news.

Servant to lord? Mr dea’Gauss is being very serious about Daav’s wish that Aelliana be honored as fully as possible. (And not just in the sense that Mr dea’Gauss is serious about everything he does.)

I do hope, if Daav is going to tell people that he hopes Aelliana will be his lifemate, that sooner rather than later one of the people he tells is Aelliana. He’s already had one dramatic lesson about the risks of withholding important information from her because he doesn’t think she can handle it, and it would be a terrible habit to get into if they’re going to be lifemates. (At least he’s only telling people who really need to know; he’s not handling it nearly as badly as, say, Miles Vorkosigan… though “not handling it as badly as Miles Vorkosigan” is so far from a ringing endorsement as to be practically a warning sign in itself. Still, Aelliana definitely falls in the category of people who really need to know.)

…it’s just occurred to me that Daav’s instructions to Mr dea’Gauss were ambiguous enough in their wording that Mr dea’Gauss might have come away with the impression that Aelliana is already aware of the situation. I hope that’s not going to cause trouble.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 7

In which Daav and Aelliana take a scenic route out of Solcintra.

Another incident underlining the idea of Mizel’s house as a foreign and dangerous port is Solcintra Port Control welcoming Aelliana home. It makes sense as a greeting, considering that it’s the port she flies out of, and I don’t expect they’re aware that she’s just come from the place that ought to have been home to her, but I reckon she’ll have noticed the irony of it.

Jon’s twitch at the news of Aelliana accepting Korval’s protection is interesting. I suspect it’s because it’s not the offer he’d been expecting Daav to make and Aelliana to accept, after the way they were the last time he saw them together.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 4

In which Aelliana has breakfast and messages.

The chapter heading quote is particularly pointed today. In theory, Aelliana is not without kin, and Daav is overreaching himself by offering her aid. In fact, though, none of Aelliana’s kin are willing and able to give her the care she ought to be able to expect from them (Sinit is willing, but not able), and if Daav had not offered his assistance she would have gone without. It ought not to have been only Daav who made sure she was clothed and fed, nor only Daav who came to see how she was doing. Even if other business prevented a visit, they might have sent a message; it says something that the messages from her colleagues outnumber those from her kin threefold, and that one of her students, a person who is not even so close to her as to be permitted the Low Tongue, sent a message when her own mother still has not. It says something that the one message from her kin is more than Aelliana expected.

It says something, too, that Aelliana herself compares the Mizel clanhouse, which ought to be her home and refuge, to a hostile port where she would be unwise to set foot without backup — and presents this as an obvious truth which she counts herself foolish not to have seen sooner.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 3

In which Daav and Aelliana are reunited.

It occurs to me that, even had nobody noticed the Jump ring on Ran Eld’s finger during the confrontation, it would have been surrendered to Mizel along with the rest of his finery when he died, so it would not have been necessary to pursue him to Low Port to get it back. I can understand that chain of thought not coming to Aelliana’s mind, though.

It appears that Daav and Aelliana do possess the lifemate bond to some degree, but that it only works at full strength when they’re in close physical proximity, as they are here, or as when they were dancing at the celebration.

This chapter includes the final four sentences of Scout’s Progress, all that was left from last chapter, with a few tweaks to punctuation and word choice but no substantive changes.

Mouse and Dragon – Chapter 2

In which Daav returns to Chonselta.

I wonder about Aelliana’s grandmother sometimes. She usually comes up when Aelliana is reminded of happier times, before Ran Eld was nadelm, and it’s clear that under the old delm’s eye he’d never have gotten away with behaving the way he has done. And yet… the situation which allowed him to get away with it once the old delm was gone did develop under the old delm’s eye; he was already showing the kind of man he’d grow into before she died, and some of how he turned out must be due to how he was raised by his mother — and thus in some measure to how she was raised by her mother.

The half of this chapter with Daav in it is a reprint from the final chapter of Scout’s Progress, give or take a few punctuation tweaks and altered choices of wording. Most of the latter are in the narration; the only ones that result in an actual change of event, if you’re interested in comparing them, are a couple of refinements in the paragraph where Master Kestra describes the treatment Aelliana has been given for her various injuries.

Scout’s Progress – Chapter 38

In which Daav’s future is decided.

And now the Tree approves of Daav’s choice of Aelliana — because, as I see it, now Daav has made the choice, where before he was only thinking sadly of a choice he might have made.

(And why does the Tree care? Is it, as Daav accuses, only interested in breeding stock, or did it want Daav to choose the woman with whom he’d be happy? I don’t suppose we’ll ever know. Either way, Daav is certainly right about one thing: the Tree’s method of expressing its disapproval wasn’t fair on Pilot tel’Izak.)

Reminder: Although there is one chapter of Scout’s Progress remaining, it is repeated in its entirety near the beginning of Mouse and Dragon. With that in mind, tomorrow we go straight to Mouse and Dragon chapter 1.