The next chapter, “Divvytown,” begins with Brashen considering the approach to the titular settlement from the deck of the Paragon, musing over changes to the place since he was there previously. He confers with Althea on the matter, and they determine to proceed with the sunrise. The ship puts in, surprising them all with knowledge of the local waters, and, when Brashen asks, the ship agrees to guide them into Divvytown on the spot. As the ship does so, the Paragon considers the approach and is startled by Amber waxing poetic on their progress through the night. The ship reflects with some trepidation on Amber’s words and considers those exchanged between Brashen and Lavoy to the aft.
The Paragon puts in stealthily at Divvytown, and Brashen summons Althea to him after sending the rest of the crew, save a small watch, below deck. They confer, more about their romance than about the work at hand, as they survey the town and plot their landing party. Amber and Clef are excluded, as are Lavoy and Artu; Jek and a handful of others are to be brought along, and Lop left with orders to get Clef ashore if there’s trouble. The landing proceeds, with Brashen issuing and affirming orders to his selected crew, adopting a braggadocio act when confronted by local authorities appointed during the town’s reconstruction; he successfully plies the locals as Althea turns over what they learn in her head and reluctantly reassesses the possible situation with the Vivacia–as well as Kennit. The news from Bingtown takes her aback, as well.
After the local authorities approve of them, Brashen has his landing party disperse to gather information and gives orders to take on provisions. He also confers with Althea as the two of them surveil the town’s streets together. She is taken by the image of what could be that she sees reflected in windowglass as they do. And as she learns of her brother-in-law’s fate, she sorrows for the crew lost and for her sister–but not for the man, himself.
At the dock, Paragon muses over the oddities of time and his blood-borne connection to Kennit until disturbed by a gig from the town, one person aboard which identifies the ship as having been Igrot’s. The assertion upsets the ship, and the noise of the upset reaches Brashen and Althea in the town. They hasten towards the ship and are greeted by Clef, Jek, and all but two of the other landing party members; they return to the ship, where Lavoy confronts Brashen and assails him before leaping overboard–and a number of crew join him as the Paragon flees Divvytown under full sail.
This is not the first chapter of a Liveship Traders book to be titled “Divvytown.” The one that is, here, and the changes from the earliest appearance to the present chapter are marked. Kennit has clearly made an impact upon the place, and, as Althea is reluctantly obliged to consider, not all of it is for ill. Indeed, much of it is for good, in itself. That does not elide the ill Kennit has done and is yet doing–the chapter presents itself as contemporaneous with the trip to take Wintrow to Others Island, giving a sense of how the component parts of the novel fit together–and it is good to remember that it is too much to expect that the extraordinary will only be so in one direction. Then again, working to erect what amounts to a nation demands a certain degree of hubris; there are presumption and arrogance inherent in the notion that one person’s ideas are good enough to rule others by. Too, it is long known that a certain ruthless pragmatism is required in a great many endeavors.
I am reminded, however, that manure is often used to fertilize, and plants that bear good fruit grow well from having shit at their roots.