“The baby, Thayet…found.”

In Lioness Rampant when Alanna, Liam and Coram meet Buri and Thayet, Buri explains that they are headed towards The Mother of Waters in Rachia because most of the children and teenagers in their little party were students of the convent Mother of Mountains. (Which we can assume was destroyed in the civil war in Sarain.) There are two teenagers, three ten-year-olds, and a baby. Buri says, “The baby, Thayet…found.”

The ellipsis has always made me raise an eyebrow. Found? Or saved (kidnapped) from a dangerous family? Or is it one of the teenage girls’? When I was younger I thought that the baby is actually Thayet’s, but I don’t think so now. I know she’s “only” a character in a book, but I don’t think Thayet’s the kind of person who wouldn’t take responsibility for her own child.

Tammy: I hate to ruin Niltao’s happy scenario, but the baby wasn’t Thayet’s.

She heard noises on a road off the main one and went to check, Buri trying to argue her out of it. Some stragglers from the army had looted a farm and killed the family. Thayet attacked from the shelter of the woods, shooting three, so Buri had to help. When they’d killed the murderers, they heard the baby cry from where it had been hidden in the rabbit hutch.

By the time they talked to Alanna, Buri was still mad that Thayet took such a risk with her own life, even though Thayet said it was worth it to save the baby. (Then Buri says, “You didn’t know there was a living baby.” And Thayet says, “But one of the others could have been alive still. Besides, they deserved to die.” And Buri says, “You had no right to risk your life that way.” And Thayet says, “It was worth it to save that baby.” They are still having this argument, all these years later.) They didn’t tell the others the detaila because they didn’t want to admit they killed five men, even if they were scum.

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