Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Complicated

Kaoru’s lips formed an uncharacteristically hard line. “It’s a lot more complicated than we thought. Did you know that up until about halfway through the Revolution, Choshu and Satsuma were fighting each other?”

“Is that so.” Kerowyn cracked her knuckles. Oh, for a few minutes with Yamagata.

:Selenay wouldn’t like that,: Sayvel warned.

:Oh yes she would,: Kero shot back. :She just couldn’t officially like it.:

“At one point, Satsuma had some of their people around the Emperor. They hadn’t really declared themselves against the Shogunate yet. Katsura wasn’t in charge of all of Choshu then, and, well….” Kaoru shook her head. “They call it Kinmon no hen. Thousands, literally thousands of Choshu soldiers attacked the Imperial palace, trying to kidnap the Emperor so Choshu would have a better bargaining position with the Shogun. Kenshin says the battle only lasted a few hours, but most of Kyoto went up in flames.” She rolled her eyes. “It’s like pulling teeth to get specific details out of Kenshin, but he… he says he wasn’t there, he was away in the mountains. Only the amount of damage Choshu did, people wouldn’t believe anyone else could have taken down the palace guards. A lot of Satsuma might have reason to come after him just for that.”

The two older Heralds stared. Glanced at each other. Raised inquiring brows almost as one.

“We’ve been trading,” Kaoru filled in. “Revolution history for Mindspeech lessons in Valdemaran, spoken and written, even if he does have to be meditating for me to reach him. You have no idea how nervous Kenshin is about being anywhere he can’t read.”

I think I can guess, Kerowyn thought. Between falling out in the Pelagirs and the wandering he’d done in Yamato before then, the man must have been perilously alone. People lie. Books usually don’t. “Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The Ishin Shishi pulled together whole hordes of troublemakers under one banner, mostly grouped between two clans that hate each other’s guts and only teamed up because it was that or let the Shogunate have both their collective hides as throw-rugs. They won, the Mage-Storms and the Chi’in broke up the party, the Seinan rebellion stomped on what was left, and we now have everybody who was fast and lucky enough to bolt before Saigo’s hitokiri burned Edo and Kyoto down around their ears.” She let out a long-suffering sigh. “Good luck picking out who hired Jin-e from that mess, ke’a’char.”


25 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Complicated

  1. I love history in general but I admit Japanese history always makes my head spin ( Obi-Wan’s not the only one who wants flow charts) They way you write it though has always been easier for me to keep straight which I really appreciate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. People lie. Books usually don’t.

    That is just plain false, Kero.

    How truthful a book is depends entirely on who wrote it. People are just as capable of lying with their pens as they are with their mouths. Even when the writer(s) are trying to tell the truth, everyone has biases.

    One should always remember, whether you are dealing with someone speaking to you in person or you are dealing with their written word, to keep in mind who is speaking, why they are speaking and whose voices are going unheard and why.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is false, yes. *Thumbs up!*

      However, it is also the standing canon treatment of books by the characters in the Velgarth universe. Just about every time I recall books being mentioned, they’re presented as completely factual, all the time. From the Dhorisha Plains on north, all their books are hand-copied, and everyone apparently believes everything that’s written down in the past is true.

      The Yamatoans have a different tradition of books, and it might disrupt Valdemar even more than blood-magic.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Or does he mean, “It’s hard for an inanimate object to lie to your face since all it can do is show you what’s been written within it”? …though from the context in the above comments, I’m guessing, “No”…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Kero was taught by Tarma, who’s shown in one book eyeing someone’s books with the desire to go through them and get out all the new knowledge. Given one of those bits of knowledge is a very iffy way of killing what’s effectively a golem… eh. We just don’t see people doubting books in the setting – though it’s explicitly stated that the Chronicles of Rethwellen are enchanted so they have to be updated on a regular basis, and can’t be altered.


      3. Or does he mean, “It’s hard for an inanimate object to lie to your face since all it can do is show you what’s been written within it”? …though from the context in the above comments, I’m guessing, “No”…

        I don’t think it was that context.

        Through in that sense, yes, books don’t lie. But one should always been conscious who exactly do the writing within them because . . . books are made by people. And people make mistakes, are misinformed, have biases, and sometimes outright lie. You can find very good and reliable information in a book as long as you remember that and double-check it in other sources . . .

        I guess my best answer to that kind of thing is the old proverb: Trust but Verify.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The thing I hated most when they asked us to write scientific papers; the instruction to clearly and objectively state what angle and which original assumptions one entered the writing with.

        Basically, state your politics and personal prejudices.

        me:. . . . .but I don’t *know* my own prejudices! (and if I did, I certainly wouldn’t be objective about them. Permit me to doubt you are about yours)

        Seriously, that part *should* *have* *been* *written* by somebody *else*!

        Flavia (bv97045)

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Seriously, that part *should* *have* *been* *written* by somebody *else*!


        Totally. There is a reason that stuff is called your blind spots . . . and one of them is because you usually can’t see it.

        You are never completely objective about you.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I noticed that in the later Collegium books Mags doesn’t trust books completely. Oh, he definitely does his research whenever he can hit the Archives, but he always tries to get more than one source. As one would expect of a budding spy.


  3. Eh, there’s also the Mage protections on the library for them and a few other nations. Though the whole Vanel putting the ignore magic still ranks up with the highest…. grrrg sorry, it still makes me mad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t recall any magical protections on the Valdemar library; do you happen to remember where you saw that mentioned? 🙂

      And yes, “forget about magic” ranks up there as a… really dumb idea. Wouldn’t it have been so much easier for Herald-Mages to have been considered just “another group of Heralds” before things went so desperately south?


      1. Eh, it’s been years…I almost want to say the second Alberach book? Either that or one of the short stories or the world guide. Honestly, I kind of ducked out of the series for a while after the Owl ones, then mainly read the side books(poor Firestorm…)

        Honestly, the world kind of lost a lot of what I enjoyed about it after the Mage Storm series.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The magic restrictions in the library are from one of the Talia books. There are magic books in the library but “your eyes slide right past them.” Ditto bardic songs about magic just keep getting forgotten. I believe it’s in the 2nd book where Skif and Talia are trying to find out about what Hulda is and what she is doing to Elspeth (aka “the brat”)


  5. I think Lackey would agree with most of this thread about after the Mage Storm books not being interesting to write/read about and the restrictions on talking/thinking about magic being shortsighted and the focus on Herald Mages being dumb, considering what the Collegium Chronicles and the Herald Spy series are all about. Which is good, given I think all of these things.


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