The chapter that follows, “Storm,” starts with Wintrow tending to those chained in the holds of the Vivacia as heavy weather approaches. His ministrations are not always appreciated, and Wintrow muses on the changes in his situation before talk of his old monastery attracts his attention. The talk leads him to one who claims to be a priest of Sa; the putative priest implores Wintrow for some metal implement to use against the chains that bind those in the hold. Wintrow agrees to do what he can for those enslaved alongside him.
Above deck, Gantry and the Vivacia confer. The ship reports being able to understand one of the trailing serpents in some strange way; Gantry is confused, and he does not heed the sense of apprehension the ship feels. He also balks at Wintrow’s request to have one of they dying enslaved brought out onto the deck to die, though Wintrow is, with the ship’s help, able to persuade him to take a look at conditions below deck. When he does so, the putative priest, Sa’Adar, takes the opportunity to disable Gantry and begin to rise up against their captors. Wintrow falls into analysis paralysis as Sa’Adar works on the takeover.
Aboard the Marietta, Kennit orders pursuit of a liveship in the storm. He considers Sorcor and Etta as they move to his command, the lingering pain of his amputation vexing him as the Marietta bears down on the liveship. Pursuit is joined, and Kennit coaches Etta as she steers the ship towards her intended prey. She exults in his attention.
It is not directly stated in the present chapter, though it is heavily implied, that the liveship the Marietta has in sight is, in fact, the Vivacia, the pursuit of which is a (contrived, though everything in a novel necessarily is) coincidence of Kennit’s desires and Sorcor’s. The Vivacia does not seem to be living up to her name, for the most part, understandably in the circumstances, and I find myself once again reading the book in a frame of mind reminding me of a romance novel. I am not as versed in that genre as I am some others, I admit, and perhaps that is a failing on my part, but I have to wonder if Hobb is working towards some critique of the genre in the Liveship Traders series.
It is certainly an interesting possibility.