Wow, I had no idea how difficult making videos can be – I have new respect for vloggers and people who incorporate making videos into what they do online. I kept losing my connection, and would have to start all over and read several section over again. But no harm done – it’s all there, if you’re following along with the videos.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Felin Agornin and The Exalt
We’ve heard about Penn’s wife before, but now we finally get to meet her. Remember that Penn wrote her a letter, telling her that he intended to take Amer into their household and hoping that it would escape the worst of Exalt Benandi’s disapproval. In the letter, he had given Felin permission to side with the Exalt against him, in order to placate her, but we see here that Felin has her own way of doing things. In fact, she knows the Exalt much more intimately than Penn does, for she and her mother were living on Exalted and Exalt Benandi’s generosity after Felin’s father died fighting alongside Exalted Marshal Benandi during a battle. Because of this unique living situation, Felin grew up with the Exalt’s son Sher, and the two of them were mostly as brother and sister. The Exalt would have taken a dislike to Felin if Sher had fallen in love with her, but because she saw that Felin was actively trying to prevent this from happening their relationship was preserved. The Exalt instead basically dowered Felin, arranging her marriage to Sher’s friend Penn, and giving Penn the living that had recently become vacant at Benandi parsonage.
Felin does not expect to find Sher at Benandi, since he’s usually off amusing himself in Irieth at this time of year. But Sher seems weary of the social life and wanted some time at home, although of course he gave no one any notice or time to prepare. They go to see Sher’s mother together, so that Felin can inform her of Penn’s arrival, and of taking Amer into their household. The Exalt isn’t pleased – she’s a busybody who likes to arrange things for other people, and hold them to her standard. She makes sure everyone in the immediate vicinity of Benandi Place goes to church every week, and they all know they can expect a visit from her if they do not. The Exalt believes (as does Felin) that Selendra has expectations of being waited on by Amer, the way a higher-class maiden would have such an attendant. Felin eventually talks her around into accepting it, and promises that they will all dine at Benandi Place the day after Penn, Selendra and Amer arrive.
Exalt Benandi has recognized the signs in her son of wanting to settle down, and it fills her with almost equal parts of relief and anxiety. Relief, because up until now Sher’s pastimes included gambling away money and hunting, which seem to be the pursuits of most well-born male dragons who aren’t interested in the church or politics. As the text said, when your lifespan is going to include multiple centuries, planning for the future seems like an incredibly necessary thing to do. The Exalt regrets not being able to make Sher learn that lesson effectively when he was younger and more under her control, but now that he might wish to settle down and marry, she has an opportunity to change things.
The downside to this is that the Exalt runs the risk of being turned out of her own home by whomever Sher ends up marrying, because Sher’s wife would take her place as keeper of the household and could basically do what she likes. The Exalt can’t have Sher marrying a maiden with a title that outranks hers, but she also can’t have Sher marrying a “club entertainer” because that is clearly below his station. Remember, even Felin was below his station, being the daughter of one of Exalted Marshal’s subordinates. In the previous section, the Exalt even made a remark about how Felin’s father should have saved up for his family (I can’t tell if this is something that Felin is used to ignoring, but yikes!).
So the Exalt has, for the last few years, paid special attention to the eligible maidens at the surrounding demenses, and has even gone to Irieth to see the maidens being presented to society. The maiden at the top of her short list currently is from a branch of the Telstie family, well-dowered but not titled, and the daughter of one of her close friends. Seems to be a perfect match, doesn’t it?
The Travelers Arrive
Selendra is starting to feel her freedom slip away from her, first on the train as she is prevented from flying above it to stretch her wings (no escort), again when Penn doesn’t let her fly from the train stop to the parsonage, and even again when Penn makes decisions about her hunting like she’s not even there. She’s being torn from everything familiar, and she can’t even call Agornin her home anymore. It’s good for both Felin and Selendra to start off on good terms, with Selendra’s admiration of her sister-in-law’s flying and her ready agreement in Amer’s duties, but Felin takes her wifely duties seriously and doesn’t seem to be an ally in influencing Penn to grant his sister permission to take part in a hunt.
Sher, we see, has very decided opinions on what female dragons are capable of doing, and that includes hunting even though they have no claws. Of course, Sher is in a much more privileged position than most, and doesn’t face the same kind of social consequences for bending the rules of proper behavior when it comes to dive-racing and hunting. He sure pays Selendra a pretty compliment, though she’s obviously uncomfortable with the attention – her only and most recent experience with this kind of attention ended in assault. So where to from here?
Chapter 5, Video 1
Chapter 5, Video 2
Chapter 5, Video 3