Fifth Season Ch 4 & 5
A chapter set in the Fulcrum, the home of the official orogenes. Syenite has an elliptical conversation with her boss, Feldspar. Syenite is being ordered to become pregnant by a senior orogene. Alabaster, the senior, is as unhappy about all this as Syenite, but both eventually follow their orders. They're being sent to do something with a coral reef in the harbour of Alliia, about a month's travel from Fulcrum.
This chapter is set in the Fulcrum, in Yumenes, which as destroyed in the prologue. We learn that there are different ranks of orogene, signalled by different numbers of rings on fingers. Increases in rank seem to come with increases in power, control, and behavioural reliability. We also learn that most orogenes are the children of Fulcrum orogenes, only a few, like Syenite, are "feral".
Back to Essun. She's on the road, looking for Jija and Nessun. We get a bit of slice-of-life on the road, and hints that things will soon become very desperate and dangerous outside a comm. One night, she's visited by Hoa, a boy of about six or seven. Essun lets him sleep on her bedroll. The chapter postscript mentions non-human intelligences.
*In Fulcrum, the orogenes seem to have a lot of self-determination. It's a rigid order, but it's one that seems to be operated by orogenes. Does this mesh with the prejudice we've seen in the previous chapters?
Is Syenite's "suggestion" to have a child by Alabaster a sign of acceptance by the order, a punishment, or a loyalty test?
Skin tones: what colour skin do you imagine for the characters we've met in the books?
Who is Hoa?
And a meta-question: is it helpful to have these questions? Does it steer the conversation too much? Would you miss them if they went away?