I was so pleased to get Michael and Terrin back into the picture with this last section. Let’s unpack.
I love Tollen’s explanation of his method for bypassing Presidential security. He trained many of the guards who are now directly under Satal’s command and they have not forgotten. Even in The Valleys, where swords and other lethal weapons are almost unknown, the work of the guards can still be dangerous. Of course, not all Satal’s guards were trained by Tollen.
There are times when Satal really annoys me. Jeremy looks a little worn down from his stressful journey, but he is far from disheveled. Why bother making him get spiffed up?
It’s about control. Since Satal is putting her own reputation on the line by coming out in support of Walter, she will have her allies look the part, even ones who are publicly minor. Walter, for all his protests, understands the game. Jeremy didn’t notice, but the old trader has shaved and had his own hair trimmed in preparation for his re-introduction to the Senate.
Satal and the Seekers
What is Satal’s connection to the Seekers? She says she values their work, and alludes to an inordinate amount of access for their group, but to what end? Satal’s own works reveal something of this. Satal is, as I’ve said previously, a politician looking to make certain her own interests and the interests of The Valleys coincide. Yet her connection to the Seekers is not “politically expedient.” That is, her political motivations for giving them access are actually playing second fiddle. The truth is, Satal is immensely curious.
Jeremy and the guys
Seeing Michael and Terrin interact with Terrin once more has been a joy. I’ve missed Michael a great deal, but his story wasn’t allowing him to make much of a splash. Jeremy has also come to value the friendship of these two men, and when he discovers the convention of being called “Representative” by his friend he is noticeably upset. It was important for Jeremy to know that, even though in public these men are Presidential Guards who must adhere to societal rules, they have no intention of allowing that to derail their friendship with Jeremy.
I’ve been wrestling with Merkot’s introduction for a while. I’d considered simply introducing him on the Senate Floor, but felt the character deserved a much less villainous introduction. After all, his name’s already been smeared a great deal. When the doors of the lift opened and a kind face appeared, I almost couldn’t believe it was him!
The guards, of course, recognized him immediately and tensed. Michael and Terrin are bound by their office to not openly antagonized a sitting Senator, so they stood powerless as the man who tried to ruin them entered their car and introduced himself to their charge. Jeremy tensed both because he sensed his friend’s anxiety and was already picking up on Sheilak’s anger 1.
How did Merkot know where to find Jeremy? Well, first, Senators have access to the residences as they themselves stay where then they Senate is in session. Second, remember how not all the Presidential Guards trained under Tollen? There are some who are still loyal to Merkot’s ideals and they passed Satal’s plans on to their old patron. Why is he seeking out Jeremy? Because Jeremy is a wildcard he hadn’t accounted for, and his arrival in Walter’s company has him very worried. He wanted to size up the potential threat this newcomer posed.
His kindness isn’t a mask, by the way. Merkot is very kind, he also happens to be paranoid. The two are not a good combination. As Sheilak says, he is a “beautiful liar.”
- She almost lashed out at Merkot, but considered in unwise. ↩