The temptation after the previous chapter was to continue straight on with a Tranton POV chapter and Big Action. Instead I decided to switch to up high, with more of a strategic overview of the battle.
This was also a vital chance to check back in with Kirya and Fenris. Kirya in particular has been out of the picture for a while due to the trauma she’s gone through while under Kraisa’s thrall, and while we’ve had a few chapters with Fenris in or narrating, we critically haven’t had the TWO of them together at the same time. Their relationship has been critical to the overall arc of the book, so it was about time I put them together in the same scene again.
Kirya is holding more guilt than perhaps any other character: the murder of Aera was not directly her vault, as she was not in control of her actions, but that doesn’t stop her feeling the blood on her hands. Aside from that direct action, though, she is still overwhelmed with other guilt and what-ifs. What if she had not encouraged her father to parade Tranton about the place and celebrate his arrival? What if she had not left Treydolain to track own Tranton? What if she had not helped Tarn and Fenris to escape the city?
Of course, most of these events were far beyond her actual control, but that’s not how she’s seeing it.
We also get a glimpse here of Tarn being quite ‘Tarny’, for want of a better phrase – very much childlike. This chapter also contains the strongest sense of their relationship deepening – I think I’m taking the notion of ‘slow burn’ to an extreme with the Tarn/Kirya relationship.
There’s no actual rain in this chapter, of course, but I wanted it to emphasise the point that the arrival of the Aviar fleet is a major turning point, after a long period of hardship.