Through the Cracks Ch2 bit – Influence

:That’s the problem, Chosen. Whatever Himura and Kaoru are caught up in, it’s not a lifebond.:

:Not a- then what the hells is it?:

:Don’t know,: Sayvel admitted. :It Felt like something empathic; seemed to jolt through Kaoru’s wild Gift. But lifebonds happen fast. Usually at first sight. They may not be evident for a good long while – Talia and Dirk went years before he finally broke down and realized he needed her – but they’re there. Two auras blended together as one; kill one, the other’s got a hole that can bleed it to death. This… whatever it is, it needed time to build. Like one of those red bridges Yamato put over rivers; at first it just looks like a set of wooden jackstraws, then the crew pulls together and you’ve suddenly got an arch that’ll hold an army.:

Kerowyn nodded. :But definitely not a lifebond.:

:No.: Sayvel’s voice had turned wry. :Believe me, I’ve seen plenty.: She’d sighed. :Would you tell them? It’s true, as far as it goes – and we’ve got enough problems without them mixing in.:

Do we ever, Kero thought now. One of which was the ex-Heir turned Herald-Mage, soon to be on her way to Hardorn, blithely convinced that because a man could love, he couldn’t be a blood-mage. Gods, to believe the world was that simple. When was I that young?

:I don’t know. Eight?: Sayvel said dryly. :It’s not all Elspeth’s fault, you know. Companions influence their Heralds, and Gwena’s – well, Gwena. She has a very… straightforward… view of the world, sometimes.:

Yes; Herald Dirk had mentioned that more than once. While all Companions had fairly firm ethics, a few tended to see things in very black-and-white terms. Good. Evil. And damn little middle ground in between. :Influence us, hmm?:

She heard a faint, horsy snort from the dojo courtyard, where Sayvel was keeping a still-shaky Megumi company. :I’m a snarly sort for a Companion. Ask anyone. And you spent more than a year fighting Need out of your head. You knew your family – or at least Tarma, Kethry, and Warrl – loved and approved of you just the way you were. You didn’t have a traitor father who tried to kill your mother to make up for, or looks that reminded everyone of the bastard every time you turned around, or ferociously bad manners drilled into you by that Imperial spy Hulda that made you a “problem” for everyone to “solve”. Being Chosen was not the be-all and end-all of your world. You don’t influence.:

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26 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch2 bit – Influence

      1. Hanyou are possibly rare and independent enough that a human clan wouldn’t use one as point man on this last ditch escape plan. There’s a decent chance that Kaoru is mostly human.

        I’m guessing it is a Yamato thing, not a Hanyou or Kenshin thing, even if Kenshin tends to have it beyond statistical norms.

        The heralds have enough telepathy and empathy that I’d think such as you describe might be less alien to them than this seems to be.

        I’ve just realized that, in this AU, Kaoru has a fair amount of police powers, and Saitou would not be in her chain of command. Saitou may well be disguised as a senior policeman in Yamato.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I wasn’t assuming Kaoru was anything but human honestly. Kenshin being Hanyou was the important bit; Vathara has written other AUs where Kenshin wasn’t all human and he has telempathically bonded with vanilla humans… Well, mostly vanilla. I figure the Batman rule kind of applies to all members of the Kenshin-gumi: ‘There’s nothing /mere/ about /that/ mortal.’

        Of course, now that you’ve brought up Kaoru not being 100% human I can’t help but wonder if she – or maybe Kenshin or Yahiko – are descendants of Kagome and Inuyasha, since those events are considered backstory for Yamamoto in this setting (honestly, I’m slightly worried that Sesshomaru has a decent chance of still kicking around). Or heck, wouldn’t be the first time Kenshin was a Kitsune Hanyou, maybe Yahiko has some ancestry from Miroku/Sango, Kenshin is the direct son/grandson of Shippou, and Kaoru is a distant ~99% human descendant of Kagome and Inuyasha.

        And while I don’t know much about the real-world rebellion that /here/ caused the Yamatoans to flee to Valdemar in the first place, if said rebellion was Tokugawa loyal then Saitoh may have had his identity and position within the Shinsengumi – or at least as a Samurai – restored… Or he was executed for disloyalty… Oor he /was/ executed but he was part of the ‘horse-trading’ that nabbed Valdemar Sano and Megumi as Companions in the first place. Or he had a case of ‘wrong place wrong time’ and is a currently disguised member of the Yamato guard in Haven. Hard to tell.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sesshomaru might well still be around.

        The key thing here is that both Kaoru and Yahiko are of samurai descent. In this AU, there’s some specific history behind that. 😉 Poor Heralds….

        Saitou’s alive, and not in Valdemar… yet.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Don’t worry, you are the not the first people whose heads have gotten sideways with a very confused expression or a just plain “What? How? Oh nevermind!” when dealing with Kenshin, Kaoru, or Kenshin and Kaoru together. And you will not the last. Nor will this be the only headstratcher. You’d probably be confused even if they were so Kenshin and Kaoru because of the culture differences.

    Have to echo Kerowyn’s thought “Was I ever that young?”
    Never underestimate just how desperate the desire to save the life of someone you love will make someone.

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    1. *G* Kerowyn’s actually doing better than most who clash with Kenshin – she knows enough to know she needs to find out more!

      And yes. It’s been a while since I read those books – but Elspeth fatally knifing someone threatening Talia or facing down an assassin with broken pottery isn’t… quite the level of desperation as Kero had chasing after people who’d killed her father, badly wounded her brother, and stolen the bride.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And Kero was fully expecting that she’d die doing it too. That’s important and gets glossed over a lot. But she went, expecting to be raped and killed, because then the bride’s family couldn’t declare a blood feud and wipe out the entire family and holdings because there was an attempt to regain the bride. She sent herself on a suicide mission, and went to Kethry because she wanted to increase her odds. Of anyone in Valdemar, she and Alberich are who I’d finger as most likely to get the sort of thing you do for Clan. Maybe Talia, but she assimilated mainstream Valdemar with the fervor of the rescued.

        Kero is pretty flipping awesome, and By the Sword was the very first Valdemar anything I ever read.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Gwena is also very young, when it comes to Companions, which doesn’t help with the straightforward, black and white thinking. Being a Groveborn, she doesn’t have the memories of a human life the way that normal Companions do, and I think I remember that she isn’t even one of those Groveborn that keep showing up, like Talia’s Companion. She just doesn’t have the experience that most Companions do, of being a Herald and being out in the thick of things, solving problems that can be very un-straightforward.

    And yes, Sayvil, being the mentor of Vanyel while still human-shaped rather than horse-shaped does, indeed, give you plenty of experience when it comes to lifebonds. In other news, water is wet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You remember correctly. We don’t know if Gwena has ever had another incarnation – in fact, it’s pretty much laid out that Gwena is a special case because Elspeth as the first Herald-Mage in centuries needed a special eye on her.

      *Snrk* Water is very wet, yes.

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      1. I was always under the impression that Gwena was closer to the first Groveborn Companions. A primordial being given a convenient travel form. As I recall, for the first few generations *all* of the Companions were Groveborn until there was enough of a ‘soul pool’ of Heralds and Companions who’d passed on that they could start coming back. They do try and make sure people who’d known a particular person is dead before sending them back.

        Totally think Karse got the better deal with Firecats though. A horse is nice, and you certainly can’t beat the travel capabilities in a preindustrial setting, but it’s hard to curl into a ball and sob your heart out while cuddling your Companion. Versus a Firecat, handy armful of fur to hide behind when the world is gone to the crapper, and can keep your lap warm.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. At least if a Companion stepped on you, it probably wouldn’t be an accident?

        Still, dealing a setting where many of (or all depending) characters have a critter or at least critter-shaped partner can add a whole new layer of interesting . . .

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  3. Isn’t Sesshomaru a big gun? I’m not sure I could see the Heralds handling him even with several adepts. Although I had a great image of him facing off against the Star-eyed going “Back off, these people are kin!” (if the speculation that Kenshin and company are descended from Inuyasha is correct). Then again, I remember Sesshomaru being pretty erratic about kin…It’s been a while since I paid any attention to Inuyasha.

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  4. Wouldn’t it though? I guess I’m so aggravated with work that the image of Sesshomaru going toe to toe with the Star-eyed makes me chuckle. Channelling my inner Sanzo…Kill them ALL right now…Sigh…back it down…Happy Halloween everyone!

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