Through the Cracks Ch2 bit – Lost

“I was… one of the last to enter the Jump. Rearguard. And so I was one of the first to feel it, when the Seinan hitokiri tried to seize the power away from us. To shred the Jump, so none of us would survive. We patched it, we hitokiri who remained, though most of us died in the doing. But there was one gap left. And that one, I seized.” The swordsman looked aside. “The rest, I truly do not recall, save that there was pain and light and a desperate grasp for the fabric of this world out of the eddies of the other.” A sigh left his lips. “The next sessha remembers is waking on some very hard rocks, in a place it took a long time to learn was called the Pelagirs. Sessha was… cold. And empty. But alive.” Kenshin smiled weakly. “Sessha found shelter and water, made fire enough to warm them, and waited for the backlash headache to fade enough to see. It took many days. But then, Shishou always said sessha was too stubborn to die.”

Kerowyn tried not to stare. Dropped on my head out of a battlefield with no food, no supplies beyond what I had on me, and a blinding backlash headache. In the middle of magic-torn hills even the Tayledras don’t walk alone. I’m not sure I could have made it.

:Explains part of the scruffiness,: Sayvel observed. :But if he was in the Pelagirs – well. Someone should have noticed.:

:Several someones,: Kerowyn agreed. :Remind me to check which Clan is out there.:

“How did you talk to the Hawkbrothers?” Kaoru wondered, echoing her thoughts. “You’re not a Mindspeaker, and I know you don’t have Tayledras.”

“Sessha avoided the Hawkbrothers, that I did,” Kenshin said dryly. “Gaijin mages, coupled with outsize birds whose very ki whispered of magic in their veins? Sessha stayed very still and quiet when they were about.”

“Dropped out of a hole in the sky made by blood-magic, and they didn’t find you?” Kerowyn crossed her arms skeptically.

Kenshin didn’t quite snort. “If sessha couldn’t damp ki, I would not have lived this long, that I would not.”

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32 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch2 bit – Lost

    1. *Wry G* Kenshin has no intention of proving it unless he has no choice.

      I also suspect that some of the same messes Darkwind’s clan ran into affected other clans to a lesser extent, and they just weren’t looking for a small, unknown person from that direction….

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  1. Heh… And here we get into the meat of what, exactly, the different use of terminology actually means. I suspect that most people dealing with the Edoko are hearing ‘ki’ and translating it as, ‘weird local way of saying magic.’ Me, I’m thinking not so much.

    Basically, in short, we’re dealing with three – or maybe an argument could be made for four – types of energy, and the people in and around Valdemar don’t know about one of them, and the Edoko do. First off, and most obviously, we’ve got magic, which is simple. Magic is magic, and in Velgarth it’s made very clear that magic is it’s own unique power, created almost as a byproduct of life and things living (this is explained most clearly in the Owl trilogy, I think.) Second is, well let’s call it mental energy for the time being, the energies of or created by an intelligent mind, which is what the Gifts like Mindspeech use, for example. Maybe third, the one I’m putting up as ‘maybe it’s own thing, maybe not’, is whatever energy is involved in the creation of lifebonds. It might be part and parcel of the mental energies used by mind-magic gifts, or it might be it’s own thing, which in that case I’d call the energy of the soul.

    The last one is what the Edoko is calling Ki. For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to assume that they’re going off of the meaning of the word Ki used in most anime that deals with it – that being that Ki is the life-energy of living things. Not an energy created by a part of a specific sort of life, like mental energies or soul energies, not a byproduct like magic (Although I could definitely see Edoko calling magic Chi, “the living energies of the world that surround us”). No, Ki is in itself the actual energy of BEING ALIVE, usually at least some sort of animal – I’ve never seen reference to plants of any sort having ki, rather they have chi, but anything that breaths, eats, and ambulates in any sort of way has Ki.

    The clearest part of the difference here is that none of the energies the people of Valdemar know about will do more that cause a truly vicious headache on overuse – basically they’re all byproducts of or only a small part of a living person’s energies. In most places I’ve seen Ki used, overuse can KILL you, because you’re using – and spending – your own life to use it. Ki use supposed that people who use Ki have enough extra energy to spend some with no repercussions, but because it’s your actual life-force you’re using, going beyond that reserve of ‘extra’ and dipping into the part of your energy that is ‘necessary for continued healthy life’ can cause problems, sometimes serious ones. Sources vary on whether it’s very temporary aside from the potential for straight-up killing yourself, otherwise requiring bedrest until those energies are replenished, or it you’ll have lingering problems for months or years, but there are definitely health issues of some sort involved in overuse of Ki energies.

    To summarize, the various energies known and used by the people of Valdemar are non-essential to life, and can be overused with painful but not life-threatening repercussions, and as a side-effect tend to stand out if you know what to look for. Ki energy in the form I suspect is used by the Edoko is essential to life, can be very highly dangerous to the continued life of the user of overused, and allows for a sort of subtlety unexpected by the peoples of Valdemar.

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    1. I’m no expert on the Valdemar ‘verse (closest I ever got was The Mage Wars trilogy which from I understand is far in the past) but I’m betting the closest thing they have to understanding of ‘Ki’ would be blood magic.

      It’s not completely the same but Ki users are performing ‘magic’ using their own life energy as a power source.

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      1. I thought that Valdemar did have a case of overuse the Mage Gift hard or long enough it was fatal. I’d have to double check with the Oath books, in case it was only rebound that was deadly.

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    2. There’s a bit more bleed-over than that; it’s canon that Mage-Gift can fuel Heraldic Gifts, and vice-versa. Also, a Final Strike does involve adding your own life-energies to the mix when it goes off in your enemy’s face.

      To complicate matters, the Edoko recognize different “frequencies” of ki – there’s regular human energy, youki, and the really nasty stuff flung around by akuma.

      And neither Kenshin nor Kaoru are exactly theoretical experts on this stuff. *G* Kenshin just knows how to use what he’s got without quite killing himself. Now, if they managed to talk to Hiko, they might find out more… if he bothered to tell them. 😉

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  2. I have the feeling that Kerowyn is not going to believe that Kenshin can disappear like that until she actually sees it happening. And Kenshin isn’t likely to do it unless it is necessary.

    So probably in the middle of some crisis, he is just going to appear next to her (out of her strike range of her sword because he knows better to be within range if you startle a swordsperson) seemingly out of nowhere. Or he is going to do that to someone who is convinced that there is no way he could hide from them.

    Probably doesn’t help that Valdemarians seem to think ki and magic are the same thing and they aren’t. Might be an error in translation, not speaking to people who are experts on the subject, they have tried to explain the difference and it is just not getting through thick heads, or the Yamatoans are deliberately allowing them to make the mistake kinda of like how no one has clarified that ningen means human*.

    *At some point, Kerowyn or someone is probably going to notice that Kenshin doesn’t refer to himself as ningen. What conclusions they draw from that should be interesting . . .

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      1. >The story of Inuyasha gets brought up. *G* It takes a while for the Valdemar-side to realize that’s not a ChangeChild….>
        I suspect that they’d have some trouble believing what Youkai much less the lords are capable of. I mean if we take Sesshōmaru as an example of a reasonably high tier Daiyōkai those beings are bloody army killers when they want to be. And that’s even before getting into the more exotic abilities of some species.

        Even the ‘common’ youkai don’t tend to be creatures one can face without extensive training and special equipment.

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      2. >Or, in the case of kappa, cucumbers. *G*>
        That’s bribery for the monster to go away (or at least not eat you this time).

        Bit different from ‘how do we stop/kill this inhuman force of nature that is currently ripping through our battle lines like a chainsaw through warm butter?’

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  3. For Sesshōmaru? I can see a final strike from both Herald and Companion might hurt him enough to stop him. At least get him to leave the field….Pretty grim stuff.

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    1. Makes me suspect that a Herald-Mage + Companion Final Strike /could/ probably kill him – since while Gifts can be as powerful as magic in their own ways, a /Herald-Mage/ and their Companion just has that much more energy to throw around – …provided he doesn’t know some of the same techniques Kenshin used to absorb/ground Jin-E’s Final Strike.

      To be fair, that much directly divine energy would /probably/ be nigh-impossible for a pureblood Youkai – even a Daiyoukai – to absorb /or/ redirect, since Youkai are /not/ Akuma but /are/ demons… of a sort. Heck, given Heraldic Gifts, Herald-Mages, and probably Karse Priests all have an alarmingly large amount of what in Inuyasha would have been termed ‘Purifying Auras’ – like Kagome – then Heralds are probably some of the most dangerous/effective enemies to fight youki with… provided said Heralds/Companions knew properly how to tap/channel said power as anything more than a blunt instrument.

      …This is almost starting to feel weirdly rock-paper-scissors esque.

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      1. Of course you have to catch said Youkai in the Final Strike in the first place. The most dangerous thing about the multi-century Daiyokai like Sesshōmaru and his contemporaries isn’t their raw power (though that helps). It’s just how experienced they have become over the many Many years they’ve lived and all the tricks, spells and magical items they’ve picked up over all that time.

        Also any Youkai that managed to get to that age without hiding in a hole would know damn well the ‘Purifying Auras’ humans can make are very dangerous.

        Ergo their reaction to something like that super Final Strike wouldn’t be “I can easily overcome this pathetic human’s feeble last attempts to fight.” but more “Clear the blast radius, right the **** now!”

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      2. With an example like Sesshomaru, when his survival sense can overcome his ego, I’d probably agree with you. But it took quite a bit of character development for Sesshomaru to actually reach that point.

        And Sesshomaru is frankly a bastion of self-control, realism, and self-awareness compared to pretty much every single other Youkai – Dai- or otherwise – we see in the series, title character included. Granted, that was several centuries ago at this point, buu~uuut…

        That and if Jin-E is anything to judge by, Final Strikes seem like they can go off pretty fast… and have a pretty decent blast radius. O’ course, Sesshomaru’s damn fast, so who knows.

        Still, in any conflict with inherit advantages amongst the various sides those advantages won’t be worth a damn if the enemy knows how to work around them. I guess what I’m saying is: Rock /does still/ beat scissors, but only so long as scissors doesn’t remember to duck!

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