A chapter titled “Plots and Perils” follows, opening with Kennit fuming at a failure to take a liveship he pursued. The wizardwood charm he wears chides him in advance of Etta approaching; the changes in her carriage and clothing are noted as she offers an idea of how to capture such a ship. Outwardly, he rejects the idea and reasserts his mastery.
Just outside Bingtown, Mingsley brings another prospective buyer to survey the Paragon. The ship warns the buyer about Mingsley’s machinations even as the broker notes that a liveship is needed to sail the destructive waters of the Rain Wild River–the source of Bingtown’s riches. The Paragon rages futilely against the idea.
Aboard the Reaper, Althea sights a serpent, musing about Brashen and about serpents as the beast attacks halfheartedly. As her watch ends, she continues fretting and finds herself talking with Brashen again until the attack is rejoined with greater vigor. The ship’s captain opts against a more dedicated pursuit, deciding to flee back to home port with the full cargo rather than take the risk; the Reaper escapes, but only at cost.
In Jamaillia, Wintrow approaches the Vivacia and tells the ship his intention to depart. The ship quails, but he does not relent, and she mourns his flight as she hopes for his return.
In the morning after, Etta revels in Kennit’s attention, and the wizardwood charm smiles.
As I note in captioning this entry’s image, I am put in mind of trashy romance novels by the first passage in the chapter, the kind of thing I remember my grandmother reading in those long-ago days when I could spend my summers with my nose in a new book every day, and she was the only one who read as much as I did. My own reading was just as trashy, I know; a lot of popular science fiction and fantasy novels are, and they were most of what I read, then. Anymore, I do not read nearly as much or as broadly as I ought to do, particularly since I have a small person watching me not read so much when I ask her to read more than she currently does. It is a thing I must correct.
I’ve only skimmed such books, and that, not often; what I recall from them is far afield from what it seems to me Hobb does in her work. I have to wonder if there is some sort of backhanded joke at work with it; I do tend to look for such things, and not always in expected places, so it should not be a surprise that I have such a thought, though I will admit that I may be apt to see such where none exist. It’s not the only thing I find when I make to look, after all…