Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Kata

“You haven’t touched the sword,” Eldan noted.

“I don’t have to. And I don’t want to.” Kaoru shuddered. “It hates me.”

“Does it?” Sejanes raised a gray brow, military-cut hair bristling with curiosity.

“Not exactly,” Kaoru said lamely. How to explain to someone who couldn’t sense it? “It feels like hate. Like all the lives Jin-e stole, weighing it down like lead chains. Like… like blood-hunger. If I tried to use that sword – it would hurt.” She swallowed dryly. “Kenshin said… when a man kills too many, too long, he loses his purpose in the smell and color of blood. That’s what that sword feels like.” Not like Kenshin’s. The small swordsman’s blades were touched with grief, anger, the will to protect. Like her father’s.

Only her father’s had never carried that ghostly taste of blood.

Kerowyn frowned. “I thought you said there wasn’t any blood-magic left in that blade, Sejanes.”

“There isn’t.” The golden-brown robes of a Mages’ Collegium instructor swished around the older man as he walked over for a closer look at bloody steel. “But I’d venture to say its purpose has marked it deeply, especially if the man’s been assassinating people for over a decade.”

“He was a blood-path mage,” Eldan pointed out coolly.

“Fifteen years ago, I might have agreed with you. Looking at the evidence, though….” Sejanes turned on her. “Herald Kamiya. What is a hitokiri?

Kaoru hesitated. :Weaponsmaster?:

:He’s the closest thing to an expert on Yamato magic I could find. He knows.: Kerowyn gave her a slow nod. :He also knows how to keep his mouth shut.:

Please let her be right. Oh, Kenshin. “‘Tousan didn’t want to talk about them much,” Kaoru answered. “Hitokiri means manslayer, and he said Kamiya Kasshin Ryu would never follow that path. That if we had to kill, we would brush aside the ki of a death, like any samurai, so it won’t harm those we protect. But we would never pattern our swords to use it.” She kept her hands from shaking with an effort. “I didn’t really understand what that meant. Until last night. When I saw what Jin-e could do.” When Kenshin told me what he could do. What he must have done, to keep Jin-e’s fire from burning us alive….

“Sword-patterns. Kata?” Sejanes asked, dark eyes alert and interested. “You can use kata to manipulate magic?”


20 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Kata

  1. “Sword-patterns. Kata?” Sejanes asked, dark eyes alert and interested. “You can use kata to manipulate magic?”

    Yes. No. Sort of but not really.

    First, one must explain and get through at times very hard skulls* that ki and magic are not same thing.

    There are similarities. Enough that it can be difficult to explain what, exactly, the difference is even without a language and culture barrier complicating matters. And different enough that assuming because you understand magic, you understand ki, is going to get someone hurt.

    *In the interest of fairness, given the trouble all Heralds are prone to, having a stubborn streak a mile wide is probably necessarily just to survive any of the craziness at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think part of what’s clouding the issue is that that’s not /quite/ true.

      I think part of the question is what /is/ magic. The answer is /what mages do/. Magic isn’t just the energy itself, it’s how mages shape /and/ – separately – how they use that energy. Ki is a different way of shaping those same energies that exist in the world.

      That’s just my reading though. It’s entirely possible I’m wrong.


  2. Fun thought, the equivalent of Blood-magic is probably better understood in Yamato than in Valdemar.

    I mean there are probably Youkai that use it as part of their natural feeding process.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Going by Inuyasha canon? It’s /entirely/ possible that Inuyasha’s ranged claw attack – the thing he uses pre-Tessaiga – is actually something like blood magic. After all, the incantation is “Blades of Blood”.

      Actually, that may even be a property of Inu-Taisho and Inuyasha, Tessaiga had to kill various demons – or people – in order to absorb their properties and gain the sword’s various upgrades. It was a super-special-awesome magic-demonic sword, but the base nature was supposed to be that it was one of Inu-Taisho’s fangs. Not only that, but when broken the only way to repair it was with one of Inuyasha’s own fangs.

      Forged from part of the wielder (and/or their own father)? And imbued with the power to absorb the strengths and abilities of those it ‘bathes in the blood of’? That sounds like Death/Blood magic to /me/.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. >That sounds like Death/Blood magic to /me/.>
      And it’s not surprising when you think about it. Practically every animal-based Youkai that I can think of is based off a predatory animal or at the very least an onmivore. No plant eaters that I can think of.

      Every single Youkai is a magical creature that willingly kills other beings to feed on (and sometimes start nomming before the other guy is dead). Violence is a core component of their very being. They would have to be at least partially aligned to blood and death.mystically.

      I can see a mage-trained Herald completely freaking out when they sense a Youkai’s aura. Would probably read something like a super-powered blood mage.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’d probably have fun with some of the youkai from the manga Nura: Rise of the Youkai Clan. Some of the youkai in that series are herbivores and nobody wants to mess with them (cows comes to mind)… On the other hand, most youkai in that series are a lot more weird and arbitrary then just “animals that look like people some of the time”… Several of them were humans who became youkai and a lot of them are the personifications of various urban legends (the being who drinks tea whenever your back is turned, the warrior monk who defends war orphans, etc.). It’s also got one of the most interesting explanations for how youkai get power from/over humans that I’ve read in a while

        Liked by 1 person

  3. …Wait a second.

    >> “Sword-patterns. Kata?” Sejanes asked, dark eyes alert and interested. “You can use kata to manipulate magic?”

    Why does that sound familiar…?

    >> “Starburst Stream is a kata,” Thai had finally summed up, after she’d grabbed his ear and threatened to feed the younglings rock candy if he didn’t start making sense. “A set pattern of movements, bringing body and mind into harmony. These days, most of us are taught forms. An entire style of fighting, which may or may not use the Force within it. We strike with the ‘saber, and push with a wave of our hands. A kata is different. Like a meditative chant. Or the Dathomiri witch spells… don’t tell the Council about that, they get twitchy….

    … O.o

    >> Third point: As Raijuta pointed out in RK Volume 5, master swordsmen were known as magicians; “users of the whirlwind”. So in Velgarth, they really are….


    You… Are far too clever for the good of /any/ of us.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. While the series isn’t really all that good or well written, the Cartomancy series has some interesting ideas that kinda fit. The basic premise in them is that “any skill past a certain level is magic”. (there were some additional factors involved. not every master of a skill could make the jump to magic. but it was something to watch out for) One interesting factor it had was that masters of combat skills were the most likely to reach the point of magic, because they were the ones most likely to not just master their skill but to reach beyond it.
      But the way it portrays it was also interesting. Instead of “here’s magic spells”, it was (mostly) “reality bends, but it all seems to be what you could expect from a master.” Just doing normal stuff, yet it somehow being just perfectly timed even if time has to adjust itself to fit. Or distance fudges a little to make an attack hit, or a dodge or parry succeed.

      Liked by 1 person

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