Pavane in Pearl and Emerald is a court intrigue fantasy romance novel, with the same setting as Cantata in Coral and Ivory but at a later timeframe.
Isde Kide is the emplikil of a territory that no longer exists in the Borgim Empire, but that does not make him any less eminent or able to leave the emperor's service. It does mean that he has no income and is unable to support a wife, let alone himself, unless he marries an heiress with money of her own, such as the emperor's daughter.
Boresi, the princess, is kind and beautiful, but she is obsessed with the art of the dance to the exclusion of all other concerns, an obsession which is then spread to all of her attendants. In fact, it seems like she's been enchanted, but that's not possible because magic is illegal in Borgim. The princess's handmaid Folta asks for Kide's help, but she isn't able to tell him much beyond a cryptic warning of danger.
On top of all this, the emperor has decided to invite suitors from all the lands about, in hopes that one of them may be able distract the princess from dancing. Some of these foreign suitors are plotting against Borgim, but Kide has no easy proof the conspiracy that he learns about. Kide will somehow have to figure out how to break the princess's enchantment and prevent the kingdom from ruin using his wit and talents- which are gossiping, embroidery, art critique, and flower arranging.
This Novel contains examples of
- Accidental Truth: Kide convinces Ulre that he can get free wrestling lessons if he pretends that he's given up wrestling for dance after meeting the princess. While Ulre doesn't quite surrender wrestling, the rest of the story comes true.
- Animal Motif
- Kide was born in the house of the snake, the zodiac sign associated with deception in his culture. Oymil sees Kide as panther, due to his ability to destroy his enemies without being seen.
- Ripae, the fanboy is often likened to a monkey due to his high energy and frequent wanderlust. It turns out Ripae really is a monkey.
- Lius reminds Kide of a weasel both in appearance and in manner, and turns out to be involved in a plot against to take over Borgim.
- Briar Patching: Kide tries get Liaque to agree to marry the princess by arguing against it.
- Chekhov's Gun: Several
- When he first shows his folding fan to the dance master, the dance master instructs him in a sword technique to use with it. Kide is able to use his fan to fend off an assassin long enough for help to arrive.
- Folta has an interest in the colonies in the Westernlands. Kide is able to claim a governor position there later as a reward from the emperor
- One of Kide's girls was working on a vest that was declared Kide as having every virtue possible in the flower language. This was because the vest was designed to use all the scraps of leftover thread and needed a design with a lot of colors. It's a good design for Kide to wear to his own wedding.
- Color-Coded Characters: Kide always wears green, so that it is less noticeable how little clothes he has. Liaque likes to wear white.
- Combat Hand Fan: The dance master wants the dancers playing royal guards to use metal folding fans in an upcoming klimto because he feels they have a martial air to them. Kide's fan saves his life later, although it is not durable enough to survive being penetrated by the assailants sword.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The main character of Cantata in Coral and Ivory, Ikhsior, was a sailor without much experience dealing with court manners. Kide is basically his opposite.
- Curse Escape Clause: All spells come with a predetermined end that when met will finish the spell. The curse on the princess ends if she marries Liaque.
- Enemy Mine: Kide doesn't like Liaque, but he's willing to work with him since they both distrust Isde Vloaxe, and Liaque has a spy shadowing him.
- Flower Motif: The courts have an elaborate flower language, based on the colors and maturity of the flowers rather than assigning specific meanings to specific flowers.
- Funny Foreigner: In universe, Oymil the Fesc warrior is seen as this. He butchers the grammar of the local language since he's only been studying a year, and his traditional garb includes bare chest and grass skirt. He appreciates that Kide actually sees him as a genuine threat and not just some idiot.
- Gone Horribly Right: Kide starts an argument with Folta so that he can later give her a reconciliation gift without arousing suspicion, only to be distraught when he genuinely upsets her.
- He also introduces Ulre to the art of dance in a successful attempt to give himself more presence around the princess, which unfortunately also provided Kide with another rival for the princess's hand.
- Guile Hero: Kide's main tools are his wit and his knowledge of social etiquette and political maneuvering.
- Honest Advisor: Folta was personally selected by the emperor to be one of the princess's handmaidens because of her honesty and intelligence.
- Impoverished Patrician: Kide and Ulre are both landless lords with no source of income, but not allowed to leave the royal courts. Kide isn't even able to feed himself.
- Ironic Echo: Kide is quite shocked at first to hear Liaque ask Do you know that I hate you? since Feddelo had said the same thing earlier that night. Then he remembered that Liaque had been present when it happened, and the echo was deliberate.
- Loophole Abuse: Practicing magic is forbidden in Borgim. Liaque argues thats he can't be punished for enchanting the princess since he cast the spell outside of the country's borders.
- Metaphorically True: Oymil gets Kide help composing a flower message for the princess. Upon checking with Folta, it turns out the flower selected would've sent a really demanding and unsuitable message, since Oymil is formally declared as one of the princess's suitors. But from Kide it would've meant exactly what Kide said it did.
- One Steve Limit: Averted. Several characters share names with background characters from Cantata in Coral and Ivory.
- Papa Wolf: Kide tries to goad Liaque into agreeing to marry the princess by pointing out that it could work out in Kide's favor if the princess is never freed from her curse. The emperor responds by punching him so hard in the head that he faints.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The emperor is willing to consider the idea that his daughter has been enchanted even though magic is illegal, and even grants Kide permission to research magic.
- Shipper on Deck: Pesoqui tries to give Folta a bouquet on Kide's behalf declaring his feelings for her and reacts with dismay when she thinks he's about to marry the princess.
- Slippery Skid: Kide uses pearls to accomplish this.
- The Social Expert: Kide
- Standard Hero Reward: The emperor strongly implies that Kide will be in a good position to marry the princess if he can break the curse on her. Kide ends up refusing because he realized that he likes Folta too much to marry a different woman.
- Talking Through Technique: Folta asks for Kide's help with a danger she can't talk about by using flower arrangements. Kide sends her messages back using the same method.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Kide makes a point of bringing up how bad an idea this would be to his newest student before it can even be relevant. He later learns that in spite of this, all his girls readily believe that a woman would consider him a god because they think so too.
- Tongue-Tied: Folta asks for Kide's help, but she can't talk about the enchantment that the princess is under.
- Unable to Support a Wife: Kide can't even afford to feed himself. He most certainly cannot support a family.
- Unbelievable Source Plot: Kide learns of a growing conspiracy, but cannot prove it since he learned of it from a keka. Keka are magical creatures created when spells are created, and shouldn't be found in Borgim since magic is illegal there.
- Wham Line: That was when he turned into a monkey and disappeared back up the tree.