Luken bel'Tarda Clan Korval


  • Born 1315[1]
  • Beloved of Clan Korval, a gentle man, gracious and wise
  • “a pilot. Granted, a mere third class” (see Heirloom)
  • Sandy haired, buff - good humored face
  • wins friends in both the Port and City
  • someone of quick insight, resilience, and a way with children.[2] Daughter of Dragons
  • At the Delm’s request, he fosters six-year-old Pat Rin yos'Phelium in 1360[3]
  • has at least one daughter, Danise (see Kin)
  • moves to Surebleak in SY 1393, at age 78, but still active enough to pursue Audrey and set up Tantara Floor Coverings [4][5] — probably named after his family heirloom, a Tantara carpet. [6] See Heirloom


See Korval Kin for complete list and ancestry charts

  • Danise bel'Tarda (F) -- Luken’s daughter [7]
  • Danise has a younger sister who is maybe not Luken's daughter, given that Luken never names her and only refers to her as Danise’s sister (Dragon in Exile, ch 2)[7]

Audrey wasn’t clear on the precise nature of the delicate business that Luken’s daughter Danise was engaged on, with the support of her younger sister, but she did know that the circumstance of Clan Korval getting kicked off Liad wasn’t making her work any easier. . .

“In any case, it is a matter in which she and her sister are much more invested than I. Whatever the outcome, I will remain on Surebleak.” His smile this time was whimsical. “It’s so very interesting here.” [7]

  • Luken volunteered to contract-wed Syntebra el'Kemin in place of Er Thom, telling Korval that another child would be no hardship as "the eldest is away at school more often than she's home nowadays"[8]
  • Pat Rin yos'Phelium, foster son
  • Quin, grandson by fostering

Runig’s RockEdit

discovering in the man the Delm had appointed her son's protector in her stead — the amiable, babbling rug merchant — someone of quick insight, resilience, and a way with children.[9] Daughter of Dragons

  • Worked together at Runig’s Rock to protect the children when enemy ship drew near [10] (see Hidden Resources)

Luken’s Honest AdvantageEdit

  • Among his clan, Luken is known for the phrase “honest advantage”
  • Shan reflects on this in the warzone on Lytaxin:

Abruptly, a memory flashed of Cousin Luken bel’Tarda, as un-war-like a man as one could wish.

“All I ask,” the gentle mannered merchant would say, as the child Shan tagged after him through acres of warehoused carpets, “is an honest advantage. When I have that, the other party is nearly always positive that my position is weak.”[11]

  • Luken advises a younger Pat Rin, creating his melant’i as a high roller:

“I say, if you need to press an honest advantage across a table, it might be best if you do it first among the lesser members of the Houses until Lord Pat Rin is more fully known as himself.” [6]Heirloom

A diversion was clearly required. If he could but entice the guards a few steps away from their posts, he would have Luken’s oft-desired honest advantage that made a dash for the nearest craft possible.[12]


  • bel’Tarda is the subordinate line in Clan Korval, and relatively new to the clan. The story Heirloom portrays how bel’Tarda came under the Dragon’s wing, and how Del Ben yos’Phelium died.
  • Heirloom offers a heartwarming picture of Luken and Pat Rin, set around 1374, when Pat Rin returns from university
  • Luken’s family heirloom: "An old carpet, a treasure—a Quidian Tantara, the pattern as old as weaving was an older Tantara, a geometric in the ivory-and-deep-green combination which had been retired for a dozen dozen Standards, and in an absolutely enviable state of preservation"[6]
    • Luken named his Surebleak shop TANTARA FLOOR COVERINGS

Rug MerchantEdit

Luken had been correct in his assessment of the lot of rugs from the Southern House, as well as in his understanding of the utility of McWhortle’s Special Wake-Up Blend. The tea was surprisingly tasty for something avowedly of Terran extraction, and equally efficacious.

The rugs . . . He sighed. Not all of the pilots of Korval — put together! — knew what Luken did of rugs, and some had, alas, displayed an amazing lack of both color sense and fashion awareness.[6]

  • A Master from a long line of experts in fine rugs
  • Has a shop in the High Port of Solcintra City, Liad
  • After the move to Surebleak Luken opens a rug shop
    • Tantara Floor Coverings [4], [5] most probably named after his family heirloom, a Tantara carpet. [6] See Heirloom
  • Because Boss Conrad is busy, Luken manages both The Carpet Emporium and Tantara Floor Coverings / Port Annex Rugs[4]

Master of melant’iEdit

  • A master of melant’i, Luken crafted a fine Balance for Delm Hedrede:

"At the time that this individual cast his vote in Council to banish Korval from Liad, he had purchased two thirds of the carpet. . . . I would find it particularly satisfying if the carpet intended to grace the formal gathering room of one of Liad’s fifty High Houses should instead ornament a house involved in the business of joy.”[7]

  • Val Con and Pat Rin, to Ms. Audrey:

“Luken, as you have surely discovered, has . . . high standards. His Balances are impeccable. On the old world, it was said that he was a master of melant’i, whereas we are the merest journeymen. Boys. We can only bow to the nicety of Luken’s understanding, and aspire, someday, to be his equal.”

Audrey BreckstoneEdit

  • Ms. Audrey is Luken’s intimate friend. He moved from Boss Conrad’s house to an apartment across from Audrey's House of Joy, on Blair Road in Surebleak[13]
  • He frequently visits Audrey for tea, breakfast...[7] and spends the night:

Luken set his cup aside. “I had come to tell you that I will be removing to my apartment this evening,” he said. “All is at last in order.”

Pat Rin took a breath against a sharp prick of loss, which was nonsensical; Luken had made no secret of his intentions to withdraw from his foster son’s household as soon as he had located a suitable establishment.

That the establishment found most suitable happened to be located across the street from Audrey’s House of Joy, where Luken already passed many nights, could surprise no one who was aware of the relationship that had leapt up, seemingly fully formed, between Luken and Audrey.

The relationship itself might give one pause, given the very great differences in their circumstances, but, again, a small amount of consideration revealed that they held more in common than might otherwise be supposed.[13]

  • Luken holds Audrey in high esteem:

“So I have melant’i now?”

Grandfather put his cup down so firmly it clicked against the table. He extended his hands and caught Ms. Audrey’s. He bent his head and kissed her fingers.

“My dear Audrey, you are a woman of the highest melant’i, whose every action is subtle and appropriate. Melant’i is not acquired; it is built. This . . .” He put his thumb over jo’Bern’s ring. “This . . . is a tribute, if you will allow it, to your melant’i...”[14]


  • Niki, white cat, frivolously befurred, long-haired with pink ears and toes, and brilliantly emerald eyes, resident in Luken's warehouse on Liad, two decades before Korval moved to Surebleak [6]


  1. The Updated But Partial Liaden Universe(r) Time Line
  2. Daughter of Dragons
  3. Local Custom
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Dragon in Exile chapter 4
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dragon in Exile chapter 12
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Heirloom
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Dragon in Exile, ch 2
  8. Local Custom, ch 39
  9. Daughter of Dragons
  10. Hidden Resources
  11. Plan B: Lytaxin Warzone, Altitude 12 km
  12. Plan B: Lytaxin Warzone
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dragon in Exile, chapter 27
  14. Dragon in Exile, chapter 35