Tag Archives: Juntavas Judges

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 25

Boss Conrad’s House
Blair Road

In which the Juntavas make Korval an offer he can refuse.

I’m not sure I understand the motivation behind the Juntavas’ offer to bring Korval into the family. If even an ordinary alliance would be risky, why go so much further? The only thing I can think of is that someone hopes to be able to envelop and gain control of Korval, in which case it’s only polite of Val Con to have given warning. Korval doesn’t really do “enveloped and controlled”.

I’m impressed by the Juntavas’ information-gathering if they’ve learned that Aelliana is still around. Maybe it’s explained by the fact that they’ve obtained detailed information about Daav’s visit to Nev’lorn, since Daav did mention to a few people then that Aelliana was with him. Perhaps more impressive is that the High Judge seems pretty casual about it, Aelliana being still around so long after she was declared to be really most sincerely dead. Could be that this time it’s a case of not having learned everything; if he doesn’t know how definitely dead Aelliana was, he might fall back on assuming reports of her death had been exaggerated, which I expect is something a High Judge of the Juntavas would be familiar with.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 20

Surebleak Port

In which Val Con has a meeting, and Tolly avoids one.

I speculate that the crew who made an attempt on Yulie’s growing rooms are connected to the group Rys encountered near the gate of the Bedel. Nothing really solid to go on, just a sense that they were both sniffing around places that they ought not to even know about.

I don’t believe we’ve heard the name of Tan Ort before. I note that the description Val Con gives, as far as it goes, matches Herb’s description of the Liaden Tolly is anxious to avoid meeting, but I don’t think that necessarily means anything; the description doesn’t go very far and probably fits a lot of Liadens. There’ll be a fair few who are of a portly bearing, red hair isn’t entirely uncommon (look at Miri’s entire family, for a start), and it’s a rare Liaden who isn’t shorter than Val Con.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 5

Jelaza Kazone

In which Rys Lin pen’Chala dines with his brother’s family.

Rys has two hands. The fact is included subtly enough to not be distracting to someone unfamiliar with his story, and in fact subtly enough that it went straight past me the first time I read the chapter and I would have missed it if I hadn’t gone through again with an eye for details as part of writing this blog post. Two hands, one with gleaming fingers. Apparently his brothers have again been busy on his behalf.

Being reminded of how Rys came to be orphaned, on top of the events of the last few chapters, prompts the thought that I hope Val Con is suitably thoughtful about introducing him to Nelirikk, Hazenthull, and Diglon.

I wonder if it signifies anything that Kareen describes Rys as “the delm’s brother”, as opposed to, say, “my nephew’s brother”. (I also wonder, since she then turns to talking with Kamele, if Kamele knows who Rys is, and if not how Kareen chooses to explain him.)

I remain uncertain whether Luken’s encounter on the walkway was as harmless as it appears; part of me is still suspicious. And that, I think, says something about the atmosphere on Surebleak at this point.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 4

Jelaza Kazone

In which situations develop.

I am impressed and horrified by Agent bar’Abit’s plan and by the circumstances that led to her attempting it. I’ve said before that the Department does not treat its people well; I’m increasingly feeling the depth by which that’s an understatement.

I’m on Val Con and Miri’s side about not wanting to give up on the prisoners, but at the same time I’m aware that that’s very easy for me to say when it’s just a hypothetical situation for me.

I don’t think I believe in the existence of the man who supposedly asked Mr Kipler to play a joke on Hazenthull; the explanation doesn’t fit the things he actually said. I particularly keep coming back to the bit where he went off on a tangent about the Road Boss, which doesn’t fit his narrative. (It also makes me wonder about whether he’s telling the truth about having nothing to do with Liadens; would someone who didn’t care about Liadens care about Korval attacking Solcintra?)

Boss Conrad’s plan for dealing with Baker Quill’s problem seems straightforward and well thought out, but the fact that the novel’s cover depicts a shoot-out near a bakery inclines me to suspect it won’t go off entirely without a hitch.

Roving Gambler

In which Quin yos’Phelium finds occupation.

Oh, so that’s what a nerligig does.

It strikes me that “Roving Gambler” is very much about what the Code calls “proper conduct”. It’s full of people facing the question of what would be the correct thing to do in the circumstance, and as like as not finding that it’s not an easy question on a world like Surebleak, which is continually being challenged on what answers it did have. The kinds range from small domestic questions involving a father and his son to big policy issues involving the Boss of Bosses (and in classic melant’i fashion, the extreme ends of the spectrum involve the same people wearing different hats).

Korval has it particularly bad, as Pat Rin points out at the end, because they’re used to living on Liad and having the Code to consult on questions like this, but now they’re on Surebleak and the answers are different. (Something that’s foreshadowed all the way through the story, as Quin keeps finding moments where proper Liaden behaviour doesn’t quite fit the circumstance.) I’m not surprised that it was Kareen who’s been given the job of figuring out their situation; if anybody knows about proper conduct, it’s her. It’s interesting, though, that she’s specifically stated to have been ordered by the Delms to study the question: Is that just them putting an official stamp on the enterprise, or did they find that she was unwilling to get started?

I suppose if there’s any course of study that might help prepare one for running a planet, Generalist might be it. It’s been a while since we’ve encountered a professional Generalist; I’m pretty sure the last one was Quin’s many-times-grandfather Jela.

On the question of Surebleak’s seasons, I find this story inconclusive; all we hear about the weather is that it’s recently turned good after a long bad stretch, which doesn’t say much on a planet with weather like Surebleak’s, and anyway it’s not clear precisely how long after Ghost Ship it takes place, so there’d be no way of comparing.

Tomorrow: “The Rifle’s First Wife”

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 5

In which Pat Rin is up early, and Syl Vor is late for his tutor.

Something odd’s happened to the timeline again. During Ghost Ship, we were informed – several times – that it was spring, approaching the onset of what passes on Surebleak for summer. Now, in this chapter, it is suddenly “very nearly spring”.

That said, the apparent fact of it being winter, and the subsequent discussion of Surebleak’s climate, constitute a nice bit of incluing that sets up Nova’s later remark that it will be a warm day on Surebleak before a particular unlikely thing occurs. (Also a nice bit of incluing is the passing mention of the child-on-the-street policy, which we’ll be hearing of again in a chapter or two.)

Being aware of the fact that many of the Department’s agents are on some level innocent victims, and thus being wishful to rescue them if possible, is something of a tactical handicap for Korval, but I can’t say I’d prefer Korval to not want to help them. I wonder if that was a factor in the Department’s choice of recruiting techniques, the possibility of producing that handicap in any opponent the Department might acquire. The Commanders and analysts of the Deparment we’ve seen, who regard agents as expendable and don’t seem to grasp that Korval doesn’t think the same way they do, probably wouldn’t be able to come up with such a strategy, but then the Commanders and the analysts are products of the system; whoever set up the system in the first place might have had a broader range of thought.

Necessity’s Child – Chapter 2

In which Rys Lin pen’Chala runs smarter, not harder.

Another new character, Field Agent Rys Lin pen’Chala. It occurs to me that not every agent of the Department would have made the choice he makes here; some of the ones we’ve seen would have arrogantly assumed their own superiority to any attempt Korval might make against them, and gone straight into what Agent pen’Chala identifies as an area of particular danger. (Indeed, his plan to lay low until a few people have been caught and the hue and cry has died down implies that he’s expecting some of his colleagues to be that arrogant.)

Otts Clark we have heard of before: he was one of the Surebleak locals discussing the changes Korval had brought, back in Chapter 9 of Ghost Ship. It was pretty heavily implied from what he said then that he was with the saboteurs, but this is the first definite confirmation, and also the first indication that he was the actual person who attacked Miri, since Ghost Ship never got around to naming that person.

Ghost Ship – Chapter 34

Jelaza Kazone

In which the party becomes unexpectedly exciting.

More unnamed party guests. I’m particularly interested in the “buxom, jolly lady whose face was older than her hair”, because that amount of description implies that we’re expected to recognise her, but it’s not ringing any bells.

The idea that Theo’s ability to see pilots is her touch of Korval strangeness has been sneaking up gradually since it started in Fledgling. The early examples were often of her identifying pilots in motion, where it was plausible it was just a case of recognising something about how they moved. It’s developed gradually from there, to the point where in this novel she’s capable of not only identifying a pilot on sight but instantly assessing what grade they have attained or could attain, and now the definitely non-straightforward example of identifying a pilot who hasn’t even been born yet. Another thing that camouflaged the nature of the gift, which Theo alludes to, is that it came on her when she was seeing pilots for the first time after living her entire life on a planet with no pilots that she knew of, so it would make sense that she’d be alert to the differences. But another way of looking at that, which I think Daav alludes to, is that it was the period of her life when her half-formed instincts were shaking out and getting into adult shape, the period where one might expect a psychic gift to manifest. (Though without the trip to Melchiza she’d perhaps have been restricted to noticing that certain people were different in some way without being able to name the difference, just as I suspect she wouldn’t have been able to distinguish grades of pilot now without her education at Anlingdin.)

Ghost Ship – Chapter 29

Jelaza Kazone

In which Theo meets more relatives.

It occurs to me that, as out-of-place as Kareen might have seemed as an expert on the Code in a family widely seen as a Code unto themselves, it pales next to being an expert on the Liaden Code of Proper Conduct in a family that’s never going to set foot on Liad again. That’s going to be something she’s going to need to work out for herself – is she a Liaden in exile, upholding the standards of Proper Conduct among rag-mannered barbarians, or would she be truer to herself if she set herself with equal diligence to learning what’s proper to her new situation?

(The rest of the family, I think, has less of an adjustment, because they’re pilots and familiar, at least in principle, with the variation of local custom. And there’s always been that level on which Korval always considered itself not really Liaden, just temporarily resident on Liad.)

There’s a lot of foreshadowing going on: mysterious people about on mysterious jobs, dubious ships in orbit, and so on. Some of it will doubtless come out at the “housewarming party”; that, dramatically speaking, is what important diplomatic events are for.

Hidden Resources

Runig’s Rock

In which the treasures of the Clan are brought home.

The youngsters of the clan start to become involved in events, and show individual personalities. (Some of them, anyway. Though Shindi and Mik can probably be excused, considering their age.)

The obvious question is: what was that other ship waiting for? My guess is, it was waiting for Natesa. That is, not for her specifically, but for whoever might come to bring news of Korval’s situation, thereby increasing the number of Korval’s children who could be captured in one swoop.

(Another possibility is that there was some reason why they needed to watch someone actually pass through the outer defences before they made their attack; perhaps to check that they’d identified the number and location of all the defences. Against that is the fact that they apparently didn’t hang around to watch Natesa pass through the outer defences, but left to avoid being caught hanging around – which is interesting in itself, because it suggests they had some way of knowing she was coming.)

Another question is: If they hadn’t waited, and had attacked the Rock before Natesa arrived, would they have had any better success? I’m not sure they would; Luken is no Natesa, but it wouldn’t do to underestimate him.

Tomorrow: “Kin Ties”