A chapter titled “Voyage” follows, opening with an in-milieu commentary about Out Island civic structures. It moves thence to Fitz rising reasonably well rested and returning to Thick, whom Web still attends. After an exchange that leaves Web smiling, he departs, and Fitz confers with Dutiful through the Skill about Thick, who wakes in nascent illness. Dutiful gathers him back into his cabin, although Thick goes reluctantly, and Fitz tends to Thick further as Dutiful’s “Witted coterie” attends on him.
After the meeting, Swift is left with Fitz, Web offering insight about him as he departs and Fitz sets Burrich’s son about errands. Matters do not go well, and Swift is dismissed at Chade’s suggestion; the assassins and the prince confer about Thick afterward, Fitz noting the assistance of Nettle, and a pattern of attention and attempted soothing settles upon them.
In a Skill-dream, Nettle vents anger at Fitz for the message he had her convey to Burrich. The words had touched him deeply, sending him toward Buckkeep. Fitz attempts to explain himself to Nettle without revealing too much, and matters proceed. Fitz continues to work with Swift and seeks without success to confer with Web, and he discusses the Wit with Dutiful and Chade. Chade bristles at the topic somewhat, but he relents.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of the chapter as I reread it this time. Part of me wants to read it as something of a commentary on age, particularly on Chade’s part–he lampshades it, certainly, and there’s other justification in it. Burrich’s reported behavior also suggests something of such a reading. The idea is foggy in my mind, though, as I write this, and I have to wonder if it is simply an issue of my needing another cup of coffee as I read again.
And there’s the possibility of narrative necessity. The present chapter does gloss a lot…