In retrospect, it’s almost a pity that y’all didn’t get to see Fr’Nj’s trials. Surely her struggle to regain her “balance” and make herself into something stronger could have been an interesting tale, full of powerful questions: What are the limits of my pacifism? Evil must be opposed, but how can one fight for peace? Is seeking my own internal peace selfish, or does it make me stronger and thus more useful? Is the pleasure I take in my mate’s body, in our conversations, making me stronger or is it…a distraction? We could certainly have rendered these struggles in dramatic fashion: dream sequences, creative plant growths, anguished talks with Scipio, Faer, even E-Merl and/or Kur’Ik. But we had enough threads to juggle, and a sprawling story universe should invite the reader’s imagination to fill in some blanks. Always leave ’em wanting more.

In the end, Fr’Nj is very much her sister’s sister. She’s an intellectual in her own way, a high achiever who takes on big missions for the betterment of her people and the world. She can handle difficult people like Frigg, and she knows the value of intercultural exchange (later, she will make Penk and Magda a very meaningful offer).

This has all got to be so weird for Best. Since leaving Weo, he’s followed the others on a sort of museum tour of the adventures they’ve had without him: Souff Kural and the Pit (plus Hammerhead), Asallah En-Qu’Lara, and now B’ial Vezk, plus references to Pardo’s village and the Sisterhoods. He’s had some independent adventures of his own, but his egomania meant that he didn’t leave any true bonds behind…just as well that Don Gobligno and the land sharks probably don’t recognize him. (The fact that WAV’s fellow-travelers actually miss him makes them the exception that proves the rule: he didn’t have the egomania then.) Meanwhile, the rest of the Five are active in building this coalition, which is testament to all the work they’ve put into diplomacy before this. Even Frigg is about to become a leader of sorts.

FB: Earth goddesses: mostly armless.