The succeeding chapter, “Galeton,” opens with an in-milieu discussion of the Piebalds before pivoting to Fitz as Badgerlock, the Fool as Golden, and Laurel arriving at the ferry to Galeton, where they are forced to wait; they converse to pass the time. Talk turns to potentially dangerous places as Fitz attempts to sound Laurel out, interrupted by the appearance, however fleeting, of Nighteyes. Golden arrives shortly after, escorting Laurel off and leaving Fitz to ruminate. NIghteyes rejoins him, and the two confer through the Wit.
Golden and Laurel summon Badgerlock back in time to board the ferry and cross the river it spans, and they proceed to Galeton in the night. Lady Bresinga and her son, Civil, welcome the party with their household, and Fitz determines that Old Blood are present among the entourage. Golden and Laurel are taken off to formal greetings, while Badgerlock is left to unpack and see to Golden’s quartering. The multiplicity of the Fool’s lives breaks upon him while he does so, and Nighteyes reports initial scouting efforts as Badgerlock is bidden attend on Golden at dinner that evening. After he prepares for the duty, he is taken aside and confronted with his own appearance; when he takes the time to present well, he presents well. After a brief exchange with the Fool as Fool, Fitz as Badgerlock accompanies Lord Golden to the meal.
Some of what gives the lie to the idea of the Wit as metaphor for homosexuality emerges in the present chapter; there are decidedly homoerotic overtones in the text at this point. Admittedly, sources I’ve annotated do a better job of explicating such things than I am equipped to do; while I am back in the classroom, I am not back into my scholarship in earnest, although I am striving to be so. In some ways, the energy fairly crackles toward the end of the present chapter; from the vantage of rereading, I can attest that it moves further as the Tawny Man novels continue. How much so, though, will have to wait for later chapters’ discussions.