“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.”