Quoting you from another thread to keep stuff in one place (and bump this thing).
Finally! Someone else interested in lit crit. I'm finding the new Sword-Meeting to evoke some unexpected pathos. I'm concerned about Cyrus' crew, and I'm losing my sympathy for Cy as well. I had to read over it several times even after being told that characters die because Cy has such little reaction to it. These aren't redshirts. They're characters with names, and they don't just exist to be named characters either. There's actual interplay between them, and they struck me as equals and not just dullard 2nd fiddles who fumble around while Big Boss Cyrus does all the wet work, and now three of them are gone, and potentials for future interplay have been snipped clean. The Carrick might as well be a character in and of itself, and with the deaths of each character the Carrick is losing itself.
Mostly seconded. I agree that the supporting cast is a huge part of this. I love the dynamic of the Carrick, be it here or in the earlier meeting with Vivec. We don't see much of them, but they're strong characters none the less (I've got an unexplainable love for the unnamed young Scribe). Also agree with the "Carrick loosing itself," which I think is a great way to put it. They've gone to the ends of the earth and done all this fantastical stuff, formed strong bonds. But it seems like Cyrus just keeps pushing them. He lives up to his moniker as the Restless. I'm going to attribute it to his past - he can't come to terms with what he's done, so he just keeps doing it. At some point you forget the reason for your actions and go on because it's the only thing you know how to to; keep pushing it to try and find purpose again. In this way, we see Cyrus' descent: he is an unintentional revolutionary in Redguard, a pirate driven only by his honor and by adventure in the first Sword-Meeting, and now he is back to fighting against the Empire (All Flags Navy, the Battlespire) despite not having any real cause to do so, while trying to win over anyone along the way. I'd also be interested in seeing what happened between him and his wife, seeing as his first accidental murder of his brother-in-law defined his entire character.
What I don't agree with is your assertion that Cyrus doesn't care for them (has little reaction to their deaths). I find his reaction to Coyle's death incredibly moving. This guy is his longtime friend, one of the first, the guy who was there when it all started. Outwardly, Cyrus is trying to remain the strong, stoic captain ("If he talks again, burn him") but inwardly he does care for his friend, wants to see him rest in peace ("Please stay quiet, Coyle. Just this once"). Have you seen the Doctor Who episode about the library and the death-shades? I the feeling of that here, but much more condensed.
There are other tender scenes, too. The part where Cyrus catches Chemli and compliments her. It's not a "you're the awesomest!" sort of compliment, but a "you'll do good, kid" one. He remembers himself being her, in a sense. It's a nice contrast to the Tobias parts earlier on. Or the part in the beginning where they make moonfall and he reminds them to have their suits in order.
But yea, he's a dike in this one. I can't help but care for him, but his actions put the idea of an antihero in perspective. It's kind of like Luke destroying the Deathstar, with millions (billions?) of lives aboard. Except that here we're very blatantly told that what he did was not all (or perhaps not any) good, made to see that the hero is perhaps just a very lovable villain. Or not so lovable, because I think dissolution (a loss of sympathy) is a very valid reaction at this point.
Please, other people, chime in. I'm really excited about where this is going as a story.