With a group this size there really are a huge number of rabit trails we could go down, but I want to make sure we stick with the main story arc. We’ll soon get to see the Senate in action! Let’s unpack.
Michael and Terrin
I was a bit bummed when I had to sacrifice Michael and Terrin’s story to the needs of the main story. Suffice to say they had an interesting afternoon. Both were officially installed in their new ranks, and Terrin was able to contact his family in Riverside. After this both guards travelled to Michael’s home, where Michael’s wife was much relieved to see her husband in good health after hearing several nasty rumors the last few days. She was not, however, very pleased he couldn’t stay home. Remember he’s supposed to be in his off rotation. It would have been fun to see an average home in the city, but it really didn’t add to the story so out this bit had to go. At least now you know where they were.
The topic of discussion after Tollen greeted Sheilak was the level of integration between the Quorum of the Seekers with the Congress of Healers. This was an alliance Tollen forged over several years, and has allowed the semi-clandestine group to continue their work. We’ll hear a bit more about this arrangement on our way to Mountainview, so I didn’t want to cover it here. Also, Jeremy was fairly wiped out by the point Tollen arrived and he didn’t remember much of the conversation. Give the kid a break, he was tired!
Satal’s political theory
Satal has a fairly simplistic political theory, made up of the three legs she mentions in her chat with Jeremy – truth, power, and political insight. It makes for an interesting Venn Diagram.
While simplistic, it’s not an uncommon political philosophy in The Valleys. This is why when Satal tells Walter to encourage Jeremy to adjust his “mix,” he understands what she means. Walter, on the other hand, thinks Satal’s philosophy is utterly absurd and prone to abuse. He’ll take truth over anything else, and is pleased by Satal’s insinuation that Jeremy seems to think similarly.
Walter is correct that Satal’s philosophy is prone to corruption by making truth every bit as important as “political insight” 1. On the other hand, Walter follows Satal’s philosophy far more than he would care to admit.
I loved the look on Satal’s face when Jeremy throws her own political theories back in her face. Her carefully chosen words reveal much more about her current mental state than her friendly demeanor. It’s not that Satal dislikes Jeremy, or that she doesn’t want to help him 2. Jeremy, and his connection to Sheilak, make her nervous. The presence of a Prismatic, and the sudden arrival of the Guardians of legend 3, show how the situation in The Valleys is about to change. This concerns her, but Merkot’s maneuvers have left her little choice but to throw her support to Walter and his mysterious apprentice.
Satal is a good ally, and understands the necessity of her decisions, but she feels backed into a corner. Walter knows this, which is why he casually bats away her suggestion to tell Jeremy to tone his insights down. The president has no leverage, and this annoys her.
- He also believes dividing compassion and truth into separate spheres is extraordinarily dangerous. ↩
- As long as he continues to be no threat to (a) The Valleys and (b) her career. Satal would sacrifice her career for the sake of The Valleys, but she’d do so only as a last resort. ↩
- Even with the archives sealed, Valleys Presidents have access to old information. ↩