Tag Archives: Runig’s Rock

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 26

Langlastport
The Torridon Hotel

In which there is conversation after dinner.

I don’t know if it’s significant that Shan describes the Liaden tongue as “the language of home” when speaking to the jeweller, after all the reminders there have been that the children of Korval need to stop thinking of Liad as home. Probably it’s just that that’s a conventional phrase and the situation is not appropriate for a more precise description.

I also don’t know if it’s significant that we’re getting a reminder now of Master Moonel, who appeared in Local Custom. That was back when Shan was a small boy, and Moonel was already the most respected jeweller on Liad, so it is not a surprise to learn now that he has since died. (Shan mentions that his shop stands empty; I wonder if that’s a sign that it happened recently, or perhaps that he was so respected nobody wishes to try taking his place.)

Possibly it is the death that matters — it makes two scenes in a row where the subject of death has come up in proximity with Padi, which helps things remain ominous even as her conversation with her father seems to be going well.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 25

The Happy Occasion
Langlastport

In which some things are coming to a close, and some things are just beginning.

Tolly’s arrow completely fails to find its mark. It’ll be interesting to see the conversation where Haz explains to him where his judgment failed him. Part of it, no doubt, is that she’s at least as determined not to let him get killed or worse as he is to protect her. And it occurs to me that Tolly’s never really seen Hazenthull when she’s on mission; even when she was on duty as a Port Security officer, that was a dialled-down version of her. Full-throttle Hazenthull is the Hazenthull who ignored orders, misappropriated supplies and personnel, crossed hostile territory and behaved in an unprecedented fashion in the face of the enemy in an attempt to save the life of her senior partner — which, come to think of it, is not so unlike what she’s attempting now, so her motivation would also include a measure of this time I will not fail.

Meanwhile, it’s going to be a rough journey for Tolly, because he’s convinced that he’s on his own, and that he’s dealt an injury to his best friend to keep her from following. That’s something that’s going to weigh on him, even with his attention bent on talking the Admiral around.

I had wondered why Inki had mentioned her shared background with Tolly to Haz; it seemed like an obvious slip at the time. But the explanation that it was a hint meant to be recognised only in hindsight makes sense. Likewise the mention of the directors in her final message; though it’s not quoted here, that was accompanied by a reminder of the shared background.

Padi’s uncertainty about Ms Hartensis’ reaction is presumably a consequence of the block Shan placed last chapter. I did wonder, a block on what? but it makes sense that it would be a block on her ability to pick up the emotions of the people around her, which would otherwise be a distraction and a source of stress and which she hasn’t yet learned to block out herself.

(A minor continuity thing: Last chapter, the assistant caterer was wearing a long red apron over white clothes. This chapter, the long apron is white. Perhaps on Langlast there’s a custom of wearing different aprons for tidying up than for serving?)

And just when it seemed everything was smoothing out with Padi and that things might be resolved without too much further trouble, we get that very worrying final scene…

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 11

Dutiful Passage

In which you wait ages for one, then two show up at once.

It’s still not clear what manner of person Stew’s expert is; a courier ship registered out of Waymart could be just about anybody. It may imply something that Stew doesn’t recognise the name straight off; that suggests he asked for an expert from someone he knew could provide one, but that he didn’t contact the expert directly.

The name of the expert’s ship, for what it may be worth, seems to have a Biblical derivation: Ahab was a famously wicked king, and Esaias is an alternate transliteration of the prophet who is usually rendered in English as Isaiah. (Which makes an interesting juxtaposition, if that’s what the referents are.) These days the name Ahab is more familiar as the name of the obsessive hunter in Moby-Dick, which strikes me as a bit ominous.

It’ll be interesting to see how the metaphor of Padi as the bowl develops. It occurs to me that the idea of weapons and art coming together in harmony is also applicable to her father, who’s been struggling with that himself at least since his visit to Weapons Hall. (It also occurs to me, on a more mundane note, to wonder if Shan ever did find out how the potter planned to deal with bulk orders.)

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 5

Dutiful Passage

In which there are uncomfortable awakenings.

So now we know what Padi’s secret is. Poor kid. Of course it didn’t occur to her, while she was taking great care not to let the others see how much afraid she was, that the others might be doing likewise.

Given the bit about how Padi’s found herself thinking of the milaster scheme as if it might somehow make or break her trading career, I see two ways that might go, depending on how far into the book they get to Chessel’s World. It might be a disaster, and that be a launching point for more plot. Or it might be that they get to Chessel’s World only at the end of the novel, after many adventures, and it’s a success but by then Padi has other bigger things to think about.

Another change in Dutiful Passage‘s roster becomes apparent: It appears that, after so many years, Ken Rik yo’Lanna is no longer the cargo master.

I said, back when it was first made clear, that I didn’t understand why Tolly hasn’t been told it’s Korval he’s working for; I think I’m getting the idea now. One thing I hadn’t borne in mind was just how much trouble Tocohl’s mere existence could cause her creators, given the Complex Logic Laws, if the identity of her creators became known. And I think what Shan said about it being bad-mannered to burden Lina with Korval’s secrets unnecessarily also applies to Tolly.

I’m beginning to really wonder who it was who served as the connection between Tolly and Korval for employment purposes. It seems to me like Tolly started to say a name or designation beginning with “The” before he thought better of saying it out loud. I don’t think it’s the Uncle, given the way Tolly thinks about him later in the conversation. It’s definitely not Theo, both because she doesn’t know people like Tolly and because if Korval had contact with her they’d doubtless be requiring her to aid the situation in a more direct manner.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 4

Tarigan
In Jump

In which there are consultations on matters of healing.

Yay! We’re getting more of Tolly and Tocohl and Haz already! I’d assumed that it would be another whole book before we found out what happened to them next. (I see that Hazenthull, like Nelirikk, has traded in her Explorer designation for a “nor’Phelium”.)

When Tocohl speaks of her mentor, I think she’s referring to Val Con. Strictly speaking it was Jeeves who oversaw her awakening (and isn’t that a thought to horrify the framers of the Complex Logic Laws, an AI being taught how to be human by another AI), but he said that to save time he basically gave her a direct download of what he’d learned from his own mentor. And while he must have had another mentor back in the long-ago time that he was first activated, much of what he knows about smooth social interaction he learned from Val Con. The specific trick of pausing as if to consider is one we see Val Con teaching him in “Intelligent Design”.

This is the first mention of ‘mite since the Jethri books. I wonder if that’s a sign other elements from the Jethri books will be reappearing.

There is definitely something up with Padi, but not yet enough clues to start guessing about what.

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 2

Dutiful Passage

In which Padi tends to the growth of the garden and Shan tends to the growth of his heir.

That’s an interesting word choice by Padi in response to the suggestion that she might have Healer abilities coming on. Not that she hasn’t seen any evidence of it (and I notice she doesn’t say that she hasn’t), but that she’s determined not to be a Healer — as if determination has ever made any difference in the matter. I wonder why she’s so firm on the subject. It surely can’t be that she thinks being a Healer would prevent her becoming a Trader, since her own father is proof that a person can be both.

Possibly there’s a clue to be had by considering Shan’s timing in raising the matter: He does it as an apparent tangent off the discussion about Padi’s motivation in her self-defence training, which suggests that he sees some connection. Perhaps he’s thinking that a Healer might be reluctant to harm others and that this could lead to overcompensation.

The interlude with the Uncle places the timing of this story with some precision, within the timespan of Dragon in Exile, and raises the prospect of the Uncle and Dulsey playing a larger part in this novel. And perhaps their two guests as well?

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 1

Dutiful Passage

In which yos’Galan has reason to contemplate the future.

It looks like this is going to be Padi’s book for dealing with the aftermath of Runig’s Rock, the way Necessity’s Child was Syl Vor’s.

Over on Shan’s side of the chapter, we have reminders of Shan’s encounter with Lute, and of Lomar Fasholt and the disturbances in the political structures of those who follow the Goddess. I’m hoping that’s a sign that there’ll be more Lute and Moonhawk in this book.

Pale Wing is not a ship name we’ve encountered before; from context, it’s clearly a Korval ship, and probably one of yos’Galan’s trading fleet. The ship that Tor An yos’Galan brought away from the death of the Ringstars was named Light Wing; perhaps this ship was named after that one, the way yos’Galan’s flagship is named after Quick Passage.

(It’s not strictly part of the chapter, but I couldn’t help noticing that the Acknowledgments feature a thank-you to Dr Linebarger, otherwise known as the SF author Cordwainer Smith. I look forward to finding out why that’s there.)

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 11

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which the carpet shop has a visitor who wants Pat Rin to pay.

The discussion of how the dream adapts itself to the dreamer (and is not, for one thing, just restricted to “do you kill this person who is important to you?”) is reassuring in regard to the question of whether every one of the captured agents will be able to be offered a choice. But now I have another concern: The fact that many of the Department’s agents were bound unwillingly to a course and a goal they wouldn’t have chosen in their right minds doesn’t necessarily imply that there are no agents who would support the Department’s aims if given a free choice.

Quin’s story is a reminder of how long we’ve been following Korval’s recent history; “great-grandmother” sounds like such a long time ago, and I thought at first of some unknown ancestor, but count it back and it’s Chi yos’Phelium, whom we already know. (And that’s the second mention of her in two chapters. I don’t know if that’s going to be significant, or is just a coincidence.)

A garnet trade ring is pretty good; not the Master Trader’s amethyst, but only a few rungs below it.

Beslin vin’Tenzing’s attack would be a useful illustration in a discussion about why “revenge” is not always an appropriate synonym for “Balance”. It’s not a well-considered Balancing, even if one accepts that Pat Rin bears full responsibility for the people killed when he fired on Solcintra (and I think a full account of the responsibility there would need to consider the role of the Department, who chose to use those people as a human shield). If nothing else, it’s an attempt to redress vin’Tenzing’s losses that leaves out all the other people who sustained losses in the attack. There is more than one family that lost a child, and there’s only one Quin; they can’t all settle it by shooting him.

…though that doesn’t mean vin’Tenzing is going to be the only one to give it a try.

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 35

In which Rys has a reunion.

But of course it doesn’t occur to Syl Vor that Ms ker’Eklis was asking something of him in advance of his age and ability; he’s used to living under the Plan B conditions which regularly did the same.

At last we have a name for Rys’s former colleague – and it’s one that has appeared before in this novel. Isphet bar’Obin was present, credentialed as a member of the Blair Road Patrol, when Mike Golden interviewed the criminals who mugged Rys. Several details about that scene seem much more significant, reading it again now, starting with the description of her eye colour, moving on to the fact that Mike only assumes she’s a Scout, and finishing up with the bit where Mike delegates to her the task of discovering the owner of a knife found among the muggers’ possessions.

And this naturally explains how she came to be in the bakery during the meeting, in such an artfully covered position that I assumed at first she was one of the Road Patrol assigned to be Nova’s backup: it’s because she was. How very amusing for her.