Kareen yos'Phelium Clan Korval

  • For an in-depth portrayal of Lady Kareen, including memories of her childhood, see the short story Daughter of Dragons, published in Dragon Tide, and in Liaden Universe Constellation volume 2


  • Born 1313, age 80 when clan moves to Surebleak in year 1393[1][2]
    • 10 years older than Daav: "True enough, Kareen could give him ten years"[3]
    • might be an approximation; conflicts with Timeline birth of Kareen and/or Daav, which lists her 12 years older
  • At age 48-50: handsome women, her dark hair a silky cap adoring a shapely head, and birght sotnes glittering in pretty ears.[4]
  • At age 78-80, she has "dark hair, now iron grey, and dark eyes[5]
  • aka The Right Noble Lady Kareen yos'Phelium
  • Patron of the Solcintra Poetry Society
  • Founder of the League to Preserve the Purity of the Language
  • Chairperson Emeritus of the Embassy of Form [6]
  • Foremost authority on The Liaden Code of Proper Conduct
    • Took up The Code at roughly age 12, after she successfully solved a melant'i problem for her tutor. Delm Korval (Chi) said, "Your solution was by far the cleanest -- and one not discovered by three Delms after many days of negotiation and research...It is my belief that you have found your calling. Pursue it." "That had been the last time she'd had complete regard of her Delm, or her mother."[7]
  • Not a pilot [3] despite all efforts with equations and Bowli Ball [7]
    • "Kareen said with a touch of acid. "I recall that your own father was -- solidly -- Low House." "But a pilot to marvel at," Daav returned, very gently. "So our mother praised him." Kareen, who was no pilot at all, took a deep breath." [3]
  • Lived in The Grand Lake Townhouses, Solcintra[7]

Kareen's KinEdit

Household on SurebleakEdit

  • Lives on the corner of Dudley Avenue & Farley Lane, Surebleak[9]
  • Professor Kamele Waitley, housemate & partner in research
  • Hazenthull Explorer, whose presence "increased the security and the status of the Lady's household"[9]
  • Gert Jazdak, Security Chief/Head Hand
  • Dafydil (Dilly) Koonts, Second Hand
  • Amiz Braun, Second Hand
  • Scout Historian vey'Loffit, whose presence "increased the security and the status of the Lady's household"[9]
  • Esil Lang, cook

Kareen's Character & Chi's visionEdit

  • Kareen's character fluxes across the series (not always with consistency)
  • Character changes from "the days of her brief youth, when hope had still been high, that Chi yos'Phelium's bright daughter would one day be Delm"[7]
  • To bitterness, when Kareen, roughly 12, learns she is "inadequate to the Clan's needs"[7] and must endure the spite of society ("attempted strikes against Kareen, poor child") [10]
  • Arguing against the "outmoded" pilot-as-delm requirement, young Kareen told her mother Chi that "adhering to a protocol made in the last universe during a time of war and strife did active harm to a clan residing in a time and universe of relative peace and prosperity."[10]
  • She did not welcome Chi's contract husband, Fer Gun pen'Uldra, but she did offer a show of support to her mother [10]
  • Kareen becomes a master of m'lanti, language, and The Code. "Kareen, on the other hand, was a brilliant scholar, gifted in the field of social science, valuable to her clan..."[10]
  • But apparently cold, spiteful, even occasionally malicious
    • Lady Kareen was unable to give her child, Pat Rin, the loving environment he needs, so Delm Korval (Daav) asked kindly Luken bel'Tarda to foster the boy.[3][11]
    • Lady Kareen was spiteful towards Er Thom and Anne [12] and towards Daav and Aelliana.[13] She misused her position in society to cause heartache:
      • "So." It was a hiss. "Er Thom yos'Galan is to be allowed a bastard mongrel [Shan]"[11]
  • Kareen was so malicious that Daav thought of killing her, but for Chi's vision:
    • "Alone of all the orders he had from his mother, who had been delm before him, the mandate to preserve Kareen's life stood, senseless. It was doubtless some failing of his own vision that he could not see what use she was to the delm she continually worked to thwart."....."Perhaps as he grew older...he would acquire the vaunted Delm's Vision and see what his mother had found worth preserving in Kareen."[3]
  • Perhaps to spite young Val Con and Shan, she never addressed Jeeves by name ("the robot").[7]
  • Denigrated Trader Shan yos'Galan for skimmer racing, which led to a few icy confrontations with Scout Captain Val Con yos'Phelium, who had always felt echoes of childhood rejection from her (see A Day at the Races)
  • However, ever since Plan B went into motion, Kareen has been changing:
    • While escaping her home on Liad, Kareen calls Jeeves by name and thanks him. She also begins to remember various scenes with her brother Daav -- "no love lost between them"-- and to miss him.[7]
    • While on Runig's Rock, Kareen is fiercely protective of the children, putting herself in the way of a possible enemy attack [14]
    • While on Surebleak, Kareen restrains from embarrassing Kamele (a Terran!) as she learns to speak Liaden: "The elderly lady's patience remained unruffled. She mildly corrected those infelicities of mode produced by her companion."[15] Later, she commends Rys for coming to dinner in his best clothing, despite their colorful mismatch [16]
  • Yet Kareen hasn't wholly changed since leaving Liad behind. Theo has the sense to tread warily around "the stiff old lady glowering in her chair."[17]
  • In hindsight, one wonders whether Liad's culture brought out the worst in Kareen:
    • She [Aelliana] must have been remarkable," Kamele said. "We were not friends," Kareen answered. She looked at the portrait, her brows drawn, as if trying to recall why that had been."[8]
  • Note: Lord of the Dance has been removed from the official series canon, so Kareen's horrible behavior and unexpected ability in that story isn't included here.

Kareen's Work on SurebleakEdit

Possibly, this work explains why Delm Chi yos'Phelium told Daav that he must preserve Kareen's life.

  • "Since the relocation, my work has been redefined. The Delm requires me to observe the society in which we now find ourselves, and compile a plan for the clan's new direction, now that the Code no longer...constrains us, as the Delm would have it. I prefer informs us." [18]
  • “Kareen yos’Phelium Clan Korval,” his father continued, “has been tasked to study -- and if necessary, to advocate -- the future shape and duties of Clan Korval, and those dependent on and from it.”[19]
    • To research Surebleak history, customs, and society.
  • Kareen to Kamele: "The Scouts hold -- and they are in some measure correct -- that all custom is valid, and all law is just -- inside the society which formed them. It is therefore my task to discover the ethos and the rule of Surebleak -- the core of its custom -- and codify it, not only so Korval will find its place more easily, but so that Surebleak will know itself again."[18]
    • so that Clan Korval and The Scouts and The Mercs and newcomer Terrans and all the other expat Liaden clans and individuals immigrating to Surebleak do not overpower the native culture.
  • "It is my duty to deduce Surebleak's society before it is fractured yet again, and its core hidden forever....That is why I must be located in the city." [18]

Research Group on SurebleakEdit

  • To achieve the goal set forth by Korval (above), Kareen gathers a group of interested and knowledgable associates:
    • Prof. Kamele Waitley [18]
    • Scout historian vey'Loffit [9]
    • Silain, the Luthia of the Bedel: She may have "records of Surebleak before its... collapse" because "the kompani has been on this world amount of time..." [20]
    • Silain recommends Droi of the Bedel --"a skilled researcher with a strong memory"[20]-- to access memory through dreaming
      • "The Bedel archived their knowledge and their skills in dreams; thus, to dream was to learn."[18]
  • The research group invited every Surebleak native to come tell them a story from their past (hoping it will elucidate the culture, codes, norms by which they lived).
    • Miri Robertson told a story, for example, of hungry children noticing the pie cooling on Gran Eli's windowsill.[21]
    • And Rebbus Mark is a descendant of Kristofer Mark, operations economist for Gilmour Agency -- the guy who set up the tollbooths. Rebbus told the Road Boss about how the tollbooths were originally supposed to work, for the benefit of all. Miri invited him to speak with the Council, and with Kareen's group.[22]
  • They advertised / announced a general request for old documents, newspapers, letters, recipes/receipts, legal briefs, photos, etc. (see Block Party)
  • "Names and dates. The way Luzeal told it, the Surebleak Historical Search and Archival Liberry din't think there was nothin' better'n names and dates."[23]
    • Luzeal / Luzee works with "the Perfessor and the Lady" at their archives project in Boss Conrad's territory. Her great-grandma worked as office manager for the chairman of Gilmour Agency, and kept all the old documents, data sticks, binders, etc. in their basement:
      • including the Human Resources manual proving that Gilmour Agency broke their own plan for evacuating ALL the colonists, if needed [23]
  • "You want a copy of all the old rules the old bosses voted out when they wasn't convenient? For what?" ------- "Well, I ain't finished reading it, for one! For t'other, there's maybe things in here we could adapt for the Surebleak Code, like the Lady talks about. It was the Human Resources manual, after all, an' far's I know 'bleakers and newbies is all human."[23]


  • Lady Kareen "did not keep cats, or any other domestic creature, aside the occasional servant."[24]


  1. I Dare
  2. The Updated But Partial Liaden Universe(r) Time Line
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Local Custom, ch 7
  4. mouse and dragon, ch 8
  5. Hidden Resources
  6. A Day At The Races
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 Daughter of Dragons, in Dragon Tide, and in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume II
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dragon in Exile, ch 10
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Dragon in Exile,ch 17
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Due Diligence
  11. 11.0 11.1 Local Custom, ch 23
  12. Local Custom
  13. Mouse and Dragon
  14. Hidden Resources
  15. Dragon in Exile, ch 1
  16. Dragon in Exile, ch 5
  17. Ghost Ship, ch 28
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Dragon in Exile, ch 14
  19. Roving Gambler
  20. 20.0 20.1 Dragon in Exile, ch 29
  21. Dragon in Exile, chapter 21
  22. Dragon in Exile, chapter 16
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 Block Party, at
  24. Heirloom