The chapter that follows, “Dreams and Reality,” starts with Keffria and Ronica confronting Malta regarding the dream-box that had been sent to her and that has been marked as missing. Keffria is satisfied by Malta’s responses, but Ronica is not and tries to impress upon her granddaughter the seriousness of their situation. Their confrontation causes Ronica to reassess Malta and lay bare more of the Vestrits’ knowledge to her. The exchange continues, and Ronica leaves the room; Malta exults in her perceived victory and lashes out at the servant, Rache.
Amber confers with the Paragon, asking the ship after itself in some detail. The ship grows upset at the notion of being sold away from the Ludluck Traders, and Amber relates something of the prevailing straitened circumstances–for them and their peers. The Paragon makes mention of the Rain Wild Traders, about whom few outside Bingtown know, and Amber voices a fantasy that the ship pointedly rejects.
Away, aboard the Marietta, Etta tries to minister to Kennit’s injury; he rebuffs her forcefully. Sorcor, when he answers his captain’s summons, agrees with Etta that the amputation needs to be re-made, more of the leg cut away to allow the rest of him to heal, but he also stops such talk when bidden and makes his report on the state of affairs about his crew. Kennit resumes his plans to seize a liveship; Sorcor begins to object until Kennit manipulates him into compliance. Kennit’s wizardwood charm chides the captain after the mate leaves in a paroxysm of loyalty.
Kennit being on a crutch calls up one of the tropes associated with pirates of the age of sail–not unjustly. Any work with heavy moving objects has the potential to cause injury; work with heavy moving objects and minimal safety equipment carries the risk of grievous injury, yet the work must still be done. And Kennit, being an amputee and leaning on a crutch, calls to mind two literary forebears, in particular: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Long John Silver and Herman Melville’s Captain Ahab.
Thinking on the matter from the perspective of having read the Liveships novels before, as well as Moby-Dick (somehow, Treasure Island has escaped me to this point, though a copy is on one of my bookshelves at home), I think there’s something to be said for how Kennit refigures the character types of the earlier works. I’m not at all sure I have the notes that would let me work through that idea well, though; they might have been culled. But then, they might not have…
Someday, I hope to have the leisure to pursue such ideas again. Someday.