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.”