Coming after Kim’s response to Detozi’s imprecations, “Suspicions” begins with Leftrin waking happily aboard the Tarman, assessing his situation and his infatuation with Alise. Setting aside what he views as idle fantasy, Leftrin prepares himself for the day’s work, and he is disturbed therefrom by his liveship’s awareness of an interloper. Investigating, Leftrin finds a scroll in his stateroom, which he reads with unease, realizing it has come from Sinad and musing over the predicament in which he finds himself as a result. Leftrin muses, too, on how things could have differed, but he sets such aside infavor of addressing what confronts him in his now.
Elsewhere, Thymara is awakened by the demand to escort the dragons away, joining the other keepers in some confusion and considering what others have told her and the implications of the same. She confers with her peers about the event, and she finds herself somewhat annoyed at the prospects of travel that face her. Her traveling companion, Rapskal, chatters away about his dragon, and Thymara marks Greft’s greediness–and that of his followers. Discussion of the dragons ensues, with several of the keepers agreeing to take on additional duties, and more of their backgrounds emerges in ongoing discussion.
Sedric, joining Thymara, finds himself in an uncomfortable situation, not least concerning Greft. He forces his thoughts away from Greft and Hest and confers with Thymara, learning of the condition of some of the dragons and offering to assist in treating one of them. Meanwhile, Alise considers her own lack of progress with the dragons, particularly Sintara, who, as Skymaw, rebuffs and deflects Alise’s lines of inquiry. Despite the misgivings, however, she purposes to persist in her work.
I remain convinced of the romance-novel tropes at work among the Traders. I wonder what it is about that particular part of the milieu that prompts such; perhaps it is that the Traders are not quite as engaged in existential crises as the Six Duchies, despite the threats from Jamaillia and Chalced…
The thought occurs that, if Bingtown and the Rain Wilds are stand-ins for the nascent United States–as I’ve suggested–then Jamaillia is necessarily a stand-in for Hanoverian England; what, then, is Chalced? I don’t know that I have a good answer, really–but then, I don’t have to have one. That there are correspondences that facilitate reading and analysis does not mean they must be all of one piece. At one level, they cannot be, simulation necessarily never equaling the complexity of the thing being simulated. At another, accuracy is…fraught, as has been noted by a number of people whose opinions I esteem (for example, Kavita Mudan Finn and Helen Young). There is a tension between being “true” and telling particular stories, and while there is peril in straying too far from “truth” (Paul Sturtevant speaks to it, for instance, and I’ve motioned toward it, at least), this is perhaps somewhat less true in fiction than in “nonfiction,” given that fiction admits it is not true…or factual, which may be a different thing.
So that’s where this reading of the present chapter leads me. Whither next, I do not know–except that it will be to the next chapter!