A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 203: Ship of Destiny, Chapter 24

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series here.

The succeeding chapter, “Trader for the Vestrit Family,” begins with Keffria cleaning out the bedchamber she had shared with her husband; in the tumult that beset Bingtown, it was despoiled, and her efforts leave it “Empty, clean, and somewhat cold.” She considers it a reflection of her life as Ronica enters and asks after Selden; Keffria notes that he is packing to relocate to the Rain Wilds and that she is letting him do so because she has nothing better to offer him in Bingtown. Their own financial situation and the current status of negotiations to set up the new Bingtown government and division of land and materials are glossed. So are their hopes that Althea will return home; Keffria presses her mother about her husband, and the two women discuss Keffria’s twinned dislike for having to manage her own affairs and pride in doing so well until Rache arrives to indicate, with some displeasure, that Jani Khuprus has arrived to take Selden.

Something like this, yeah.
Image from https://ats-heritage.co.uk, used for commentary.

Jani muses on the status of the Vestrit home as she awaits the inhabitants. As they join her, she notes her hopes for Selden and their towns before laying out two offers. One, her personal offer as she formally accepts stewardship of Selden in honor of the agreement between the Vestrit and Khuprus families, is to host the Vestrits in her own home. The second, on behalf of the Rain Wild Traders, contradicts it, obliging Keffria to remain in Bingtown as the official representative of the Rain Wild Traders. She demurs, but Selden seeks to persuade her to accept, noting the other Elderling cities along the Rain Wild River that await rediscovery and the prospects of an ennobling interchange between human and dragon. And an agreement is struck among them.

The present chapter expands from the ideas of the previous in offering possibilities. There are legal avenues open to Keffria at this point in the narrative that would allow her substantial agency, and though she does not find any of them entirely satisfactory, she reaches an arrangement that brings her some contentment; she is the controller of her own affairs, but she only arrives at that point by giving up control of others’ dealings and doings. And that, as with her daughter far away, is surely instructive.

Care to help me keep this going?


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