Through the Cracks Ch2 bit – History

“For five years, I fought as the sword and shield of the Ishin Shishi. Until the battle of Toba Fushimi was won, and the Shogunate routed… and Hitokiri Battousai left his sword on the field and vanished.” Kenshin sighed softly. “All that was left was the rurouni, Himura Kenshin, who never wished to draw blood again.” Violet lifted slightly, just touching the edge of her gaze. “Katsura – knew I had grown sick of death years before. Yet he needed me, so I stayed. Once he did not… he released me. And so I vanished into the night, wishing never to be known again.”

Kaoru’s mind-voice was a tentative whisper. :Something horrible happened to him, didn’t it?:

:Probably,: Kerowyn agreed bluntly. :Probably a lot of somethings. Fighting off invaders is bad enough. Civil war – he’s got to have holes in him Selenay’s MindHealers have never seen before. You sure you’re up to having him here? Battle-scarred veterans are not easy to handle.: Something else to gently thump one Empath over the head with; Talia might know veterans, but she knew Valdemar’s veterans. People who might have seen as much blood and horror as any hitokiri – but who also saw MindHealers as a matter of course.

Eyes like that… careful as he was to hide it, the Skybolt’s captain knew wounds when she saw them. Kenshin hadn’t seen a MindHealer. Kenshin hadn’t dared.

Determination radiated from Kaoru. :He’s staying!:

:It’s not a lifebond, but it’s definitely some kind of emotional link,: Sayvel said privately. :You might as well be yelling at a tornado.:

Terrific. Well, at least she was warned that neither of these two was likely to be completely rational. Which would fit right in with half the Skybolts I’ve known, Kero thought wryly. “So – you just wandered around Yamato with that?” She nodded at the sheathed sakabatou.

“For some years, yes.” Violet darkened. “And then the Mage-Storms came.”

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23 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch2 bit – History

  1. Oh dear. This… will be interesting. And yeah, if Valdemar’s MindHealers are anything like real-world psychologists/therapists… well, there’d be a certain fascination with ‘Ooh, so this is what happens in this situation we’ve never let people be in’, and after that staring in shock/horror Kenshin, and simply saying ‘I need a freakin’ drink’.

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  2. One thing I’ve always liked about Lackey’s works is that she is NOT one of those authors where There Are No Therapists. Not that it always means people will get help, but they’ve got a much better chance, and trauma and mental health is a thing people actually think about. Compare, say, Naruto, where there should be therapists and mental health professionals but aren’t.

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      1. I never noticed any timeline issues with the manga. Is there a resource on that?

        If Naruto had conventional psychologists, there would be enough problems with infiltrators weaponizing therapy that no political mover who needed it would trust enough to use it. Which is why Naruto’s wall to wall therapy is so very effective.

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      2. I never got into the manga. The anime, what I saw of it, burned me out pretty quick. And I will never, //never//, understand Sasuke’s fanbase. But that’s a different rant all together.

        The internal timeline in so far as keeping things chronologically consistent during the plotline proper remained intact, so far as I know. There’s no massive breaks into alternate realities or splintered timelines or TARDIS jumping. But. The part that makes me cringe is all the shenanigans that happened in cannon to set up the plot.

        One that really, really bugs me — is the Hidden Villages themselves. All of the Hidden Villages have only been around for four, maybe five generations at most. How, exactly, do you have villages of that size, with that much established infrastructure, stable population, so on so forth, in //five generations//?! Not to mention their whole “Established as a major cornerstone of society and known throughout the world” thing. I can cut them some slack for being unreliable narrator’s point of view and being super awesome ninjas, but come //on//! It takes time to build the level of civilian and “ninja military” infrastructure needed to keep the Hidden Villages functional — and five generations is //not// enough time, I don’t think!

        And don’t get me started on — …the thing I can’t talk about without giving away a major spoiler, slag it.

        To paraphrase Vathra’s note in Throwing of the Dart: “When rewinding time itself makes more sense then what happened in cannon, you have a //problem//.”

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      3. Naruto is the fandom that finally got it though my head to never trust what the majority of fandom thinks about canon. Every now and then I take a look though Naruto fics and only end up banging my head against walls because none of them do good character interpretations. Which usually results in me reading though the 700 chapter manga yet again…

        It’s probably becasue a lot of good fandom is built on all those Noodle Incidents that get mentioned, but never fully explained and Naruto doesn’t have a lot of those. Instead we see the flashback of the Noodle Incident complete with how it affected the character.

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      4. Chakra use is of alien origin. There are people who do not have it. The warring chaos prior to the hidden villages may have only actually involved the chakra users. Specifically, the founders of Hidden Leaf Village were from warring bloodlines descended from the original source of using chakra. Two of them came up of the idea of living differently, more peacefully, in the ninja village.

        Consider reading ‘ninja world’ as you would ‘criminal underworld’, instead of ‘world of Alderaan’. In this, the infrastructure for the hidden villages was not created in five generations. That infrastructure probably comes from the civilian world, which might well have had hundreds of years relatively unmolested.

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  3. For one thing swords to airships/steampunk shouldn’t be ubiquitous in 10 years/unless MAD SCIENCE PROTAGONIST!! Which Naruto isn’t at all. Hand to hand master, but not a scientific mind. Too much TTGL mindset overall.

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    1. ?

      I thought Naruto was pretty explicitly at somewhere between 1950s and current day tech during the period the main story takes place in.

      IIRC, the city scenes in the early manga show the place with electrical wires similar to many Asian cities.

      I assumed that there was some enormous civil society providing infrastructure that mostly does not intersect with the ninja world. Like how martial artists in a modern wuxia setting that focuses on Jianghu might have nothing to do with chemical plants.

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      1. Substitute “wizard” with “ninja chakra” and you begin to see a particular trope going into freakin’ overdrive…

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      2. Chakra actually is a decent explanation for that.

        It is mystical energy which moves through the hands, and is related to their motions, and to mental control. One can posit that most ninja simply do not have access to training that would make specially made firearms useful.

        Each of the big five elemental countries has their own hidden village. The villages are too big to hide now, so must have in the past been hidden by the bulk of the larger countries. They should have the carrying capacity for a pretty good mundane population. (One of the movies proposes movie stars, which has requirements. As does the in universe porn manga series.) Which should have conventional military and police forces which we simply do not see at all. (IIRC.) It is possible that the ninja do not even provide secret police services to their host nation.

        We don’t see chemical explosives (IIRC), but we do see several alternatives. One could suppose that the alternatives are used because ninja won’t accidentally set them off.

        One can suppose that Kishimoto, not being Larry Correia, did not have the background to deduce gun ninja, did not want to show them, or was not allowed to, but that they none the less exist. In which, it wouldn’t be so much schizoid tech, as ninja only chakra hardening tech they can use, and never having mundanes using mundane technology on screen.

        How often do you see safety briefings at the power plant when you are watching gangster films?

        That said, I just learned that Jin Yong’s father was murdered by communists, so am proposing that… *dice roll* Condor Heroes is an allegory of the French Revolution.

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      3. It’s probably a combination of the all of the above. I think Word of God is that guns would have made for a boring combat system and made readers wonder why jutsu was being used in the first place is so he just never included them. Which is rather ironic given that by the middle of the manga, the scale of the jutsu being used by high ranking ninja would probably require an air strike to be properly dealt with (we’re talking 1v1 fights on the scale of miles). So yeah, the author knew they should be there given the tech level and decided that they weren’t going to be there becasue of the Plot Holes they could cause…

        Also, chakra techniques are incredibly diverse. Guns for all their lethality are a very simple concept; speed something up to above the speed of sound and let it go in someone’s direction. Jutsu can be used for everything from making copies of yourself to swapping your body out with another object to short-range teleportation and those are considered simple jutsu everyone knows how to do. More complex stuff like altering the local landscape exists as does stuff like flying, making your opponent’s brain think part of their body is injured, summoning up objects/animals related to various things in myth/legend, etc.

        You’d probably be interested in the next-gen Naruto series that are being made now as they actually do go into using tech to make jutsu and opposed to chakra (technology marches on and all that) and how society is changing due to that.

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  4. He’s probably never seen a Mind-Healer because he doesn’t know one well enough to allow them into his head. It is asking for a lot of trust to allow someone to go into your head and do things. Even if those things are meant to help and done with your permission.

    He’d also have to trust said Mind Healer not to run their mouths off.

    I’m not as paranoid as Kenshin (or rather sensible because since there really are people out to get Kenshin, he is not paranoid) but the idea of a stranger doing anything in my head is a definite nope!

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      1. their definition of “help” might not be yours….

        Yeah . . . .

        Because at least one of them’s idea of helping the ex-assassin not kill might involve blocking his conscious recall of his fighting style and memories associated with it . . . which might not only result in Kenshin’s death but the deaths of others because his reflexes and instincts would still be there . . .

        Or something equally unhelpful and terrible for everyone’s long term survival because Kenshin isn’t human and his mind simply does not operate the same way.

        There are million scenarios ranging from just plain terrible to soul-searingly awful . . .

        You know, I have the sudden urge to see Hiko pop up at some point – probably not in this story but somewhere down the line – and call everyone idiots. Maybe that’s my weakness for Mister Sword Master being a grumpy old “he’s a read-headed little idiot of an apprentice but he’s my red-headed little idiot of an apprentice so back off.”

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