The next chapter, titled “Refitting,” begins with the Paragon commenting about being beached again, Amber offering some comfort and consolation as Brashen dourly stalks the decks and directs repairs, the progress of which is described. Recent events are rehearsed, as is the ship’s strained attitude and internal conflict. The two of them discuss trust and secrets as Amber investigates the figurehead, and the ship relates plainly what liveships are and why the Paragon is as shown. The ship asks Amber to carve a new face for the figurehead, and Amber learns–and reports–that Althea yet lives.
Brashen rushes to the figurehead and rebukes Amber for working despite her injuries, which are rehearsed. He receives the report of Althea’s survival and begins to find joy again, which starts to spread through the crew. They begin to plan how to retrieve her from Kennit, and the Paragon offers to take them to Kennit’s secret stronghold.
Readers of the Elderlings novels will realize the import of Amber’s conversation with the Paragon in the first section of the chapter, something attested to by no few of the sources noted in the Fedwren Project. There had, of course, been earlier hints, but the present chapter all but states that Amber was the Fool in the Six Duchies, and it points meaningfully towards later Elderlings novels; the character has clearly developed since originally appearing.
The chapter is a brief one, a volta of sorts for the novel. I am not certain it is a Freytag-style climax, but it certainly marks a turning point, perhaps more powerfully for its brevity. But it is not the only such point to come, either…