Curiosity piqued, Kero walked and stretched, working out the kinks of a morning spent with too much information. Whatever the problem was, it’d be a change from trying to figure out just how paranoid they had to be about the Eastern Empire, the pirates on Lake Evendim, the barbarians moving in the North, the remnants of Urtho’s lab on the Dhorisha Plains, and who knew what other problems the universe might dream up in the next few weeks.
All of which will somehow, someway, end up being Valdemar’s problem, Kerowyn thought. Got to be the local religious tolerance. All those gods mucking about making Plans.
Plans which must have only gotten more complicated with the Yamato settling in these past two years. The Guard had already had to break up one scuffle between a few bow-carrying miko and local priests of the Sunlord. Evidently the Yamato had a sun goddess; the Lady of the Mirror, sister of their Lord of Storm. And some of her more stiff-necked followers were not at all amused by hearing the sun referred to as he.
Idiots. Damn good archers, though.
Eldan came into view at a fast walk, flipping through a volume three handspans’ tall and half that wide. “Here.”
Ink-strokes of hiragana, framing a shockingly bloody image. A white-haired Yamato swordsman leapt across the page, dressed in red, blade sheathed by his side as he tore apart a gigantic centipede with clawed hands.
Kero whistled. :A Changechild?:
“The inu-hanyou Inuyasha, defeating a centipede youkai,” Eldan explained, drawing her attention toward the pricked ears visible in white hair; ears as cute and enticing to the fingers as those of the brave, curl-tailed, thick-furred dogs Yamato called Shiba Inu.
And you don’t want us using Mindspeech, Kero realized. Why?
“Supposedly these are stories of the wild adventures he and his companions had – oh, about four centuries ago,” Eldan went on. “If he ever really existed. Which Sozen Michiko, the nice Kyotoko lady who sold me this book, implied he didn’t. After all, everyone in Valdemar knows Changechildren are vicious, murdering beasts; not human at all. Certainly not human enough to fall in love with not one, but two miko, and marry the one who lived after the quest was over.”
“Everyone in Valdemar is magic-paranoid,” Kerowyn grumbled. “Probably vicious, yes; but not all of them are. Doesn’t surprise me Nyara doesn’t always tell people what she used to be… you’re wearing a look, Eldan. I’m not sure I like it.” She glanced down at scuffed ground again, listened to the suspicious silence in her head where a certain horse-shaped troublemaker ought to be offering sarcastic comments. “No, I’m definitely sure I don’t like it.” Wait. Think about this. “Everyone in Valdemar, hmm?”