Part of The Nine Lives Of Michal Piech. Subtitled Sister Fox.
After the revolutionary war, the Salvatkan citizens of Kubice are struggling to adapt to the new order. The fallout of the brief invasion of the city twenty years previously and the subsequent reprisals against the Lenkish population still rankles. Even though the displaced Lenks have been permitted to return and rebuild their cultural and social institutions, those they hurt during the first war, including the large vostochni community, dislike the preference shown to them by the communist authorities. Furthermore, the Lenks are suspicious of Zbigniew Piech, the revolutionary general who won the war from Kubice, prevented the city from being occupied by the Imperialists, and is a vostochni with very strident feelings towards the Lenks, who held him prisoner during the First War.
Meanwhile, Giedre, a girl deported as a child and who escaped the exile communities, and Algirdas, a much older man who betrayed his family and friends and joined the Imperial Army escaping deportation, later defecting to the communists, get to know each other and embark on a romance encouraged by Michal Piech, now reunited with his revolutionary family.
But Giedre has a dark physical secret which she kept suppressed in the anti-sorcery climate before the revolution and, thanks to psychological repression, thinks is gone. As the danger of its discovery recedes, it is unleashed just when she least expects it. And Algirdas has his own struggles with the Lenkish community and his idealistic attitude towards the new political order.
- Aerith and Bob - somewhat justified. The somewhat mellifluous Lenkish nomenclature is actually using real Lithuanian names. In fact, the author is going out of her way to use the pagan Lithuanian names, partly due to linguistic euphony and partly because the Lenks have been isolated for twenty years and have only entrenched the nationalistic feelings that led to the First War. Baltic names in real life tend to be elegant and fantastical to western ears.
- And Zbigniew...Just...Zbigniew. Again, it's a real Polish name.
- The Captain - Michal. He's the one who has to sort out the mess that results from Algis' idealism. Even he doesn't think he got it right, but he still had to do his job.
- Converting for Love - Zbych goes berserk when he realises Michal has effectively committed apostasy, and blames the priest giving him the Lisakan sacraments instead of the Minervan rites in the hospital. Michal reassures Zbych that he converted in order to marry his wife, and has actually become a faithful adherent of Lisak. Zbych prefers to think that he has simply become an ecumenist, as the communists are trying to integrate the religions into one pantheistic church rather than leave the faithful scrapping amongst each other. Michal in his uncle's eyes is a Category Traitor.
- Dances and Balls - self-explanatory; Algis and Giedre meet at the Yuletide military party. While not a ball, it's the next best thing the post-revolutionary society can come up with.
- Meaningful Name - Laputaite, from Laputas. Lape is Lithuanian for fox. This, unlike many meanings of names in the saga, was entirely deliberate.
- Never a Self-Made Woman - inverted. Giedre is introduced as the girl Algis meets at a party hosted by General Piech - but as we meet her, the focus shifts on to her, rather than the other way round.
- Penal Colony - the Lenks have been released from one. Only strictly speaking a penal settlement for a few years, although they were not permitted to leave right up until the revolution, eighteen years after they are sent.
- Our Werewolves Are Different - Giddy is not a lycanthrope as such. Her ability to transform into a fox is a psychic talent, like those that many others manifest. However, at times of stress or extreme relaxation, it can be triggered without direct will on her part.
- Shout-Out - anyone who knows the modern history of Poland and Lithuania might see shades of the history of Wilno/Vilnius in the city of Kubice. However, this is inverted - Vilnius was historically founded by the Lithuanians and colonised by the Poles. Kubice is a Salvat city colonised by the Lenks.
- On a recent visit to Vilnius the author was (not particularly) surprised to see that old rivalries die hard, with a suburb of Vilnius in the news for allowing street signage to be installed in Polish. Apparently that's illegal. With Belarus over the border in foment after the 2010 elections, it may be justified by fear of foreign aggression, but linguistic rights in the Baltic States have been a political football since 1991.
- And Lenkija in Real Life is the Lithuanian word for...Poland.
- War Was Beginning - an inversion. It's really War Was Ending.