The following chapter, “Fathers,” begins with a brief in-milieu commentary about trans-oceanic trade to Jamaillia before taking up some days after Fitz’s meeting with Kettricken. Lord Golden resumes his social schedule, but the Fool remains absent from Fitz. Badgerlock begins to teach Dutiful and Thick the Skill, meeting some resistance from the Prince, who feels himself affronted. Thick is somewhat more tractable, but a tense exchange ensues, nonetheless. At the end of it, an accord is reached, Dutiful and Thick agreeing to Badgerlock’s tutelage.
A summons from Chade calls Badgerlock away, and Fitz stalks through the hidden passages of Buckkeep to answer it. He finds a meeting in progress between Swift, a son of Burrich who has answered the summons Kettricken issued for the Witted, since Burrich’s antipathy towards the Wit is well known. Burrich arrives shortly after, and Swift is dismissed while he, Chade, and Kettricken confer. Burrich refuses permission for his son to enter the Queen’s service, preferring instead to do what he can to work him into enough discipline to resist use of the Wit; he cites Fitz, whom he believes long and ignominously dead due to having recovered his pin from Shrewd, as an example of what the Wit can do. As Burrich departs, Chade calls to Fitz to note the option to meet again with the man who had raised him.
Fitz declines, but goes out into Buckkeep Town, checking on Jinna–who is absent–and Hap–who is at work where he should be. He goes to the Stuck Pig again, and he is again confronted by Svanja’s father, Rorh Hartshorn. A melee ensues and is broken up by the City Guard–as Hap watches, sorrowing over the ruination of his prospects with Svanja. The youth berates his foster-father, and Fitz recognizes his own youthful impetuousness regarding Molly. Hap calms and apologizes, and Badgerlock sends him off warmly, returning to Buckkeep Castle–and passing Burrich and Swift along the way. He finds the Fool still enwrapped in his role as Lord Golden, and he retires for the evening.
Sleeping, he is again contacted by Nettle, whom he calms with news of Burrich’s return and Swift’s. Thick also reaches out to him, backhandedly thanking him for quieting Nettle’s upset. And another voice speaks to him strangely through the Skill, unsettling him utterly.
From the vantage of rereading, I know well what that last voice is, and it is one that has been encountered before in the rereading series. I’ll not offer more on the matter for the moment; I’ve been told that there are first-time readers who are looking at my summaries and commentaries, which flatters me (hi, folks!) and warns me against doing too much in the way of spoilers. I make no promises save that I’ll try not to make too many mistakes in that line. (And happy reading to you new folks!)
From that same vantage, as well as simply from narrative structures and patterns, it’s clear that Burrich and Swift will both be making other appearances in the text, as will Nettle. It’s a regular family reunion brewing, really…