In which Kareen and Kamele have an informative conversation.
I was a bit glib and a lot unfair when I suggested that Kareen might view Kamele as a performing dog. A better way to characterise the situation might be that Kamele has a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for learning the intricacies of the Liaden language, which makes it easier for one to forgive any stumbles since she’s clearly doing her best and it’s not her fault she’s not fully fluent yet. One might be less forgiving of a Terran who seemed to have made only the effort required to get by, for instance.
Also, they seem to actually like each other, a fact of which I took some convincing if only because Kareen has generally not made friends easily and it seemed unlikely that she would find it any easier with a non-Liaden.
(It’s interesting that, after Kamele was worried she might miss nuances if the conversation about the portrait was in Liaden, Kareen makes what must have been a deliberate choice to step out of Liaden into Terran to tell her about it, perhaps specifically to spare her that worry.)
Kareen’s description of the circumstances of Er Thom’s birth didn’t quite make sense to me at first: I wasn’t sure why it would be necessary for yos’Galan to produce a back-up delm of certain piloting ability when there was already Sae Zar. I think, though, that the problem with Sae Zar as a back-up delm is that he didn’t have the training for it; we know that training for a delm’s heir begins when he or she is very young, as happened for Daav (and Er Thom, as the designated back-up heir, got the same training). Also, Sae Zar was already designated as the heir to yos’Galan’s Master Trader, and to add Delm’s Heir to his pile would have been a disservice to yos’Galan, to be avoided unless no other solution was available.
Of the delms Kareen mentions in passing, we have heard of Jeni yos’Phelium, who helped establish the Scout Academy, and Theonna yos’Phelium, who was responsible for the Tactical Defense Pods. Edil yos’Phelium and Var Ond ter’Asten are new names. (ter’Asten is itself also a new name, unless it’s an alternate transliteration of “ter’Astin” – Jethri’s friend the scout was named Jan Rek ter’Astin.)
The implication of Kamele’s remark about Aelliana also being delm is, as I understand it, that her death wasn’t as simple as Daav failing his duty as delm to protect the vulnerable and husband the clan’s resources; Aelliana was also acting as delm, with a different assessment of who was most vulnerable and which resources the clan could least afford to lose, and no time for the two halves of the delm to reach a consensus.