Through the Cracks Ch1 bit – Near miss

Mages. Danger. Protect-

“Kenshin!”

Warmth. Small hands, callused like his own, holding back his hand on the blade. He could force them back, break her grip.

No. Not Kaoru. I won’t hurt Kaoru.

“I didn’t know his range was that great.” Gensai’s voice, breathless. “K’so – did we ask you to come in here?”

“We could have waited for the explosions.” An unfamiliar Valdemaran woman’s voice, tainted with anger. “There’s blood-magic in here, Kero. I can feel it.”

Kenshin struggled to open his eyes, fighting the reflex to leap and strike. There was the problem; an over-enthusiastic healing sleep, pressing on his mind and body. Gensai wanted me out. I trusted him!

:Back. Off.: Sanosuke growled, a sound Kenshin had never expected to hear from something that looked so much like a horse. :You think I’d let an assassin like that Jin-e anywhere near Megumi without stomping him? Put that energy down. Now!:

“I believe he is serious, ke’chara.”

Kenshin fought free of the trance in time to place a face with the voice; one of the odd folk Valdemarans called Hawkbrothers. White hair patterned with dyes into a semblance of falcon feathers, eyes bleached blue, an absence of obvious weapons besides the dagger at his belt… one of their mages, then. Which meant the man’s relatively young face could be deceptive.

Or not, Battousai murmured quietly, taking in the thick white streaks magic had left in the dark hair of the Herald-Mage in fancy Whites vibrating beside him. She can’t be older than I am, and they’re a definite pair.

Holding sleepy innocence on his face, Kenshin looked past them toward the calmest ki in the room. Blonde hair just starting to gain streaks of gray, caught back in a white cloth headband. Cool aquamarine eyes above what looked like a modified set of Herald-Trainee Grays, watching him with pure, calm curiosity. Sword-worn hands rested on her hips a measured distance from her sword’s hilt, far enough to not be an immediate threat, close enough to make it clear she did consider him a worthy opponent. A warrior, born and bred as any samurai.

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18 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch1 bit – Near miss

  1. I think Kerowyn will get Kenshin’s respect. Both as a warrior and as someone who with a dose of sense.

    Also I hope someone will ream Elspeth for not listening when someone tells her to stay put.

    Even without the blood magic angle, there would be the fact that mages are usually invaders seeking to subjectuate their people in Yamato leaving most with an “attack first, ask questions later if ever” mentality with them.

    Brat, sometimes other people know better than you about how to handle a person or situation. Even if you think you know best, you just might not. You will not always been right about that. And one day that kind of thinking is going to get somebody killed. So LISTEN! And actually listen, not pretend to listen and then do whatever you want anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To be fair, the blood-magic users Elspeth’s used to dealing with are the kind that have to be put down. Fast.

    Waiting only gives them time to gather power. And Elspeth’s major bad kicked off the Mage Wars in the Black Gryphon, took down Vanyel, and assisted the Hardorn prince who wanted to kill her mother, take over Valdemar, and force her into marriage.

    Can’t say I blame her for her reaction. The Kir Dinesh method, people. Kill it with Fire. Lots and lots and lots of fire.

    (Not trying to refute anyone’s arguments, but… Eh. It needed to be said.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. *nods* Yes, that experience does give her a point. And her reaction is very sensible given that experience. And in most cases with blood mage, Kill It With Fire would a perfectly sane response and I’d applaud it.

      Just want her to understand that just because that was the case before doesn’t mean it will always be exactly the same case every time. Because assuming something will always match your previous experience with it is a good way to be caught with your proverbial shorts down.

      Like

    2. Also being fair, Elspeth admits in one of the Storm books that she was more of Talia’s daughter then Selany’s, so she has the trauma of seeing what blood mages did to her ‘mother’ and the knowledge that the two witach in question were trying to mold her to be like them. Think about it, a bitter, entitled Royal Brat, with the potential to be an Adept class Mage, passed over in the line of succession married to Ancar. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you in my bunker.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ya know Elspeth, you may not be the heir presumptive anymore but there’s still not a lot you could do for your country if your dead.
    Also, considering her experiences with Neave, she should know that not everyone reacts the same when started awake especially after trauma.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elspeth is an Adept. Elspeth’s rather proud of being an Adept, and rightfully so.

      But since she’s mastered her magic, she really hasn’t gotten into that many close-quarters fights – and none with a really good swordsman.

      And as one guy put it about knife vs. gun, “Inside 30 meters I can kill him before he can draw and shoot. Outside 30 meters, I have other options.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. But since she’s mastered her magic, she really hasn’t gotten into that many close-quarters fights – and none with a really good swordsman.

        Why do I have the feeling that is going to change?

        Especially if this ever goes beyond one story, Kenshin isn’t the only very skilled swordsman that she might tick off. And none of them will be nearly as polite about it.

        And as one guy put it about knife vs. gun, “Inside 30 meters I can kill him before he can draw and shoot. Outside 30 meters, I have other options.”

        And as Saitou could no doubt testify, Battousai is good at both inside 30 meters and other options. (As you put it in Shadows in Starlight: Once he cuts a bridge out from under you and your entire squad, you learn not to underestimate the little demon.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Maybe I expect to much of Elspeth cause the way see it as an Adept she would know a quick knife could be the end ( I don’t see Alberich or Kerowyn forgetting to train this into someone who was going to be queen).
        There’s a good example of this in Lackeys other series The Elemental Masters. An Evil Master takes one look at a female Earth master, dismisses her because of it, and about four words into his monologue is astounded to find himself dying of a knife to the chest. Rosa is a practical badass.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you are making Elspeth as headstrong as she is in canon. She has never been my favorite character. Sounds like it’s going to get her into trouble this time. Good. Can’t wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sweet Goddess, Elspeth. You are soo lucky it’s Kenshin and not any of the others. As Vathara once put it “Kenshin is nice. Polite. Mostly sane.” The others are so not. Kenshin has also spent an awful lot of time playing normal, nobody dangerous, he can suppress and has the inclination to suppress the instinct to kill you when he’s unconscious, the others wouldn’t even try.

    Mayhaps, you might consider thinking next time? Rather than charging off into a situation and messing things up even more? Kerowyn would have asked for your help if she needed it, since she didn’t and actually asked you to stay outside, she didn’t need your help.

    Liked by 2 people

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