Tag Archives: wizard’s match

Alliance of Equals – Chapter 19

Vivulonj Prosperu

In which Aelliana returns.

Okay, so I wouldn’t have been left in the dark much longer about Tolly sharing a background with Inki. (This is far from the first time it’s happened that I’ve wondered about a thing in a blog entry and it’s been answered in the next chapter. That’s a good thing, I figure; it means the stories are well-paced and handing out information at an appropriate rate.)

Given the fact of their shared background, I think that that’s why Inki doesn’t want Haz telling Tolly about the confrontation with Stew. (I suspect the specific detail she doesn’t want Haz sharing is less the bit where she had to convince him with money, but the bit just before that where she frightened a man who wasn’t frightened by an Yxtrang. Or maybe it is the money thing, but because if she’s the legal owner of the ship the Admiral is installed in, that might give her leverage if she decides to run off with him.) She apparently hasn’t told Tolly she’s a Lyre graduate, which is an understandable precaution since he probably wouldn’t trust her if he knew — and so doesn’t help us tell whether she should be trusted, since she’d want to avoid that either way. She’s told Haz that they’re graduates of the same institute, but in a vague way that Haz will probably take to mean that they learned mentoring in the same place. And Tocohl knows Inki is a student of the Lyre Institute, but doesn’t know that Tolly is.

Meanwhile, over in the Daav-and-Aelliana plot line, we have a recap of the Tanjalyre Institute, for the benefit of readers who had forgotten or never knew about it. Among other things. (“could not help but overhear”, forsooth.) For the record, I’m very much enjoying the Daav-and-Aelliana side of the story, but I have less to say about it because its direction is less of a surprise.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 40

Sherman’s Shootout
Expert Round

In which the people make their feelings known.

Nelirikk has a new surname: nor’Phelium. I wonder whose idea that was, and what it signifies. I tried to see what could be gleaned from seeing who else has had a surname with the nor’ prefix, but there hasn’t been anyone – which might be significant in itself.

I like the bit about Nelirikk feeling under-equipped with only four handguns, six knives, explosives, arm-chains, and zhang-wire. (We’ve seen zhang-wire before, only romanised slightly differently: “jang-wire” was the name of the weapon Sed Ric the pirate carried for self-defence in Scout’s Progress.)

I was surprised to see Yulie. Makes sense a man with his shooting ability might want to come along to an event like this – but this is Yulie, who doesn’t do well with strangers and has been actively avoiding the city for as long as we’ve known him and longer. That he’s in the city now, having trusted somebody else to watch his farm and his cats (a Scout, he says, perhaps Tan Ort?) says a lot about how much he’s benefited from the changes on Surebleak.

For the final chapter of the book, we return to the main theme. Pat Rin’s making a deliberate point by standing unarmed in the middle of the argument: he could have shot quite a few people if he’d wanted to, but he wants people to understand that his leadership isn’t just about who can shoot who the fastest.

I may have got a bit sniffly at the bit about the people opening the road that they own.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 26

Office of the Road Boss
Surebleak Port

In which Val Con pays an educational visit, and Miri has a visitor who just won’t learn.

Val Con is interrupted twice as he gets to saying “Now, I wonder–“, so we never do find out what it was he was wondering.

I think it might be too much to expect that all Val Con will find at the Road Boss office when he arrives is Miri grumpily shutting down her computer. Even if Smealy wasn’t inclined to push matters, his shadow is likely to have something to say (although whether that means that Val Con will arrive to find Miri under attack, or just to find Smealy bleeding out on the front doorstep, I’m not sure).

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 22

Boss Nova’s House
Blair Road

In which there is a nice dinner followed by serious conversation.

I find it interesting that Kezzi’s triumph at school is reported by Syl Vor, and vice versa.

The phrase “something so trivial as an apparent breach of contract” has an edge to it, coming after Val Con’s lecture on the importance to Liadens of the making and keeping of contracts. One might suppose that in the general way, the Liaden attitude about self-reliance being what it is, a breach of contract would be resolved between the parties to the contract without bringing in any outsiders, so a breach of contract wouldn’t normally be taken to the Council of Clans unless it developed into a major situation. This is not the general case, however – for one thing, the Council of Clans is one of the parties to the contract in question.

The mention of Quin in this context makes me belatedly wonder whether his current project – which is, you will recall, to gain piloting experience by flying off somewhere for several weeks – was already planned, or if it was invented as a way to keep him out of reach of any more Balance-seekers while his family determined whether any more are to be expected.

Val Con’s aunt Mizel would be his mother’s sister Sinit, who was appointed Nadelm Mizel in Mouse and Dragon and presumably has succeeded to the Delm by now. (She also formed an alliance with yo’Lanna in that book, so that mention is another pointer.) Seeing her mentioned now as still in contact with Korval, with Aelliana’s return in prospect, makes me wonder how she is going to react to having her sister come back from the dead.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 19

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which Jeeves brings an urgent request to the delm.

That’s what you get, Miri, for tempting fate by being thankful you didn’t have to deal with Pat Rin’s problem in fleecy robe and slippers.

(It occurs to me that there’s a conceptual connection between Jeeves’s intention to create a child and what Val Con and Miri were doing when he interrupted, although Val Con and Miri presumably weren’t motivated by the same intention in this instance.)

The idea of Jeeves’s child coming to Korval is interesting; Jeeves, as far as I know, is not counted a member of the clan himself, any more than the other household servants. Perhaps it’s an option opened up by the fact that he came to the delm for permission. I don’t think a household servant would normally do that; inform their employer of a factor likely to affect their performance, yes, but the decision itself would be in the hands of their own delm. (I’m thinking, among other examples, of Jeeves’s predecessor Mr pak’Ora, who was called by his delm to serve his clan in another role, with his employer being given no say and left to cover his absence at short notice.) Jeeves, of course, doesn’t have a delm of his own, which may be another factor in Val Con’s offer. If it is an offer, and not an ultimatum: there have been cases where a child has gone to another clan as Balance for trouble caused by the parent. I don’t think that’s what’s going on here, even though Jeeves admitted fault for the present emergency, but I suspect that the possibility is one of the reasons he had to stop and think before accepting the delm’s word.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 17

Corner of Dudley Avenue and Farley Lane

In which Kamele reflects on her week, and Val Con recounts his day.

Dudley Avenue, the location of Kareen’s new establishment, was mentioned in Necessity’s Child; it intersects Blair Road, which by now should need no introduction.

I’ve been waiting for Sherman’s to put in an appearance; I had a feeling that the shooting competition would turn out to be the point where “Chimera” overlapped this novel. (I’m still shaking my head at the idea it would be a good move to start trouble at an event where the Bosses were demonstrating their shooting skills.) With that in mind, I feel safe in having another shot at predicting trouble at a forthcoming Bosses’ meeting.

Given the people involved, I also feel safe in predicting that Kamele’s determination not to shoot at the competition isn’t going to make the distance. And given those two predictions, I’m willing to hazard another, that competition targets are not going to be the only thing Kamele will find herself having to shoot at.

I hadn’t quite got what was going on with Miri’s startle last chapter, because I couldn’t quite figure out if it was in reaction to what her visitor was saying, but I decided not to say anything because I had a feeling there was something I was missing and hoped it would come clear if I waited. Which, of course, it has. (The trouble with so much happening at once is that it’s easy to lose little insignificant details like Miri and Val Con being inside each others’ heads.)

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.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 9

Blair Road
Surebleak

In which Val Con reflects on his dream.

Though I chose other things to talk about last chapter, I was a bit surprised that Miri’s experience of the dream was of being sliced up and reshaped, when the dream is of being an established agent of the Department and doesn’t include the training that shapes a person into a living weapon. I think I get it, now, though: the Department’s training isn’t just about forcing a person into a new shape, it’s also about instilling processes that keep them in that shape, against whatever tendencies and defences might try to return them to themselves after the training is concluded. The trimming and burning and twisting is going on under the surface of every agent of the Department all the time.

On this chapter’s other plot strand, the thought suddenly strikes me: what if Mr Kipler is smart enough to conceal how smart he is, and getting arrested and hauled in front of the Bosses is part of the plan?

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 8

Jelaza Kazone
Surebleak

In which Val Con dreams.

Rys’s dream will help, if it works, but it’s not going to be a cure-all: not every agent is going to have somebody in their life as important to them as Miri is to Val Con, or Kezzi to Rys. (It might not even have worked on Rys himself before his time with the Bedel; would his relationship with Jasin have been strong enough to do the job? We’ll never know, and that’s probably for the best.)

Wondering about the unidentified man that accompanies Miri in Val Con’s version of the dream. I thought at first maybe it was because it was Udari as well as Kezzi in the real incident the dream is based on, but enough other details have been tweaked to make that dubious. Currently thinking it’s most likely to be a designed feature to give the dream room to adjust to the dreamer: including both a male figure and a female figure in the scene means that the dreamer’s key person can be included whether they’re male or female.

Dragon in Exile – Chapter 7

The Bedel

In which Val Con prepares to dream.

I had been wondering, after the revelation about the dreams, whether all the luthia‘s abilities were of a similar nature, but the way she reads Val Con seems to be inherent. Unless there’s another device the authors are choosing not to mention for the moment. I don’t think so, though; it’s described in similar terms to the abilities of Shan or another Healer.

The thing about how detail works in drama is that the more time is spent reiterating that Miri ought to be safely shielded, the less I believe it’s going to work out that way. If Val Con comes through this safely only to find that Miri hasn’t, there’s going to be Trouble, though for whom I am not certain.