“That was a Final Strike,” Elspeth said bluntly.
“It was.” Darkwind shifted his shoulder, as if he missed the weight of the massive hawk that usually rode there. “But only the outermost edge of his magic was set loose. The rest is gone. As if….”
“Yes?” Elspeth drew out the word into obvious impatience.
Hand toying with one of the feather-tied thongs on his outfit, Darkwind started to speak.
Kaoru listened, but couldn’t catch more than a word of what was obviously a long, technical mage-to-mage discussion. Mou, I wish I spoke Tayledras! But her skills with Yamato had been more needed in the new western edge of Haven. Talking to people, listening to people, sorting out the major and minor clashes of culture and law between her father’s people and their newly adopted home; she was the only Herald who had any clue how different Valdemar was from Yamato, and sometimes she felt like she had to be everywhere at once. There wasn’t time to add a new language on top of everything else.
“Forgive me,” Darkwind said, meeting Kaoru’s gaze. “I was saying, there is a – flavor, to the traces of magic, that reminds me of what a very… sharp friend did once.”
“Only Need used the magic then and there, she didn’t take it away after she transmuted it,” Elspeth started, giving her partner a look askance.
“Kaoru!” Yahiko thumped into her like a yellow-and-green shinai, ten-year-old hands fisting in her tunic before he remembered he was too grown-up to need an “older sister’s” comfort. “I looked after Megumi like Kenshin’s note said – she got up and ran off, and she didn’t say anything! I had to find her by looking for the Guards-”
“Breathe,” Kaoru said fondly. “Herald Elspeth, Darkwind k’Sheyna, this is my student, Myojin Yahiko.” :I know it’s odd, but he didn’t have anywhere else to go. His parents are dead, he’s not quiet enough to fit in at a shrine, and given where Kenshin and I found him – he has to be somewhere safe. And I couldn’t ask an ordinary Guard’s family to take on the yakuza.: