Excerpt To Cut an Edge
Scout cadet Val Con yos'Phelium meets the Clutch Turtles in this short story
  • Published in "A Liaden Universe Constellation v.1”
  • Also in "Two Tales of Korval: Adventures in the Liaden Universe bk #1”
  • see The Books (and other stories)


  • Set on the Clutch homeworld
    • name of planet??
  • Set in about SY 1379 (see Timeline)
  • Val Con is 17: “the recent occasion of his seventeenth Name Day”
  • Edger is more than nine hundred standard years old (which is relatively young for a Clutch Turtle)[1]
    • Discrepancy: "Edger had seen seven standard centuries, start to finish."[2]

Scout TestEdit

  • The Scouts sent Val Con to this planet as part of his preliminary testing.
  • I was training as First-In Scout. I had my 'chora with me...”
  • and his regulation belt-kit
  • The test involves learning the local language and customs and surviving for six months, without help from the Academy
  • “The scedule specified six ecological surveys of the area”


“engaged in a certain choreographed activity...which could have been dancing, game-playing or military drill."


"working among the growing things with long-handled tools vaguely reminiscent of hoes."


...four small people, shell-less, and bumbling in a way that shouted children to him. The largest was scarcely taller than he.


“I judge,” he said, using the formal intonation, “this individual to be rude and inconsiderate, yet not dangerous. If it frequents the area on the edge of the L’apeleka field, then take the egglings elsewhere for their outings. I will investigate it myself, to ensure it is not of that family called Yxtrang..."


“Would you please introduce me to some of your Clan members? I have come to learn about you -- your language and your ways -- and it would be much easier if someone would speak with me . . .”

Was he a scholar, then? The T’carais was uncertain of the word “scout.”


A man lost, who never misses the way. Blades growing out of ancient rock . . . A sense of direction is a low-level psychic phenomenon.


It is possible that I do not know my -- whole name.” He tipped his head. “I would be pleased to learn it from you.”

Handler blinked. Did the creature ask the T’carais to name it? Impudence. But his brother took no offense. He merely raised a hand in the gesture that asked grace and told it, “I will think on this.


A small, swift figure left the safety of the dwelling-places and crossed the L’apeleka field, unerringly striking the hill path. This was the way his friend came.


"How valiant a being was this!”


“Find you our brother, Selector, and choose a worthy blade from the Room of Men.”

Handler inclined his head; turned to the man. “I am proud to have gained so valiant a brother, Val Con yos’Phelium Scout,” he said formally.


  1. Agent of Change, chapter 5
  2. Plan B