Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – More pieces

“Sano’s attacker.” Eldan flipped pages. “It’s not in this book, but Michiko knew what I was talking about. A chuugumo is a kind of evil spider-youkai. Loosely translated, demon.”

Yamato call Change-spiders demons? Kerowyn smirked at her own surprise. Forgetting Karsites called Heralds Demon-riders, are you? And they’re the ones who really did summon demons.

Eldan stopped flipping, and nodded. “Inuyasha met something like it, called spider-heads.”

Yuck. Kerowyn grimaced at the swarm of furred legs; she had nothing against spiders, but anything that had distorted human heads for bodies couldn’t be good. The whole image reeked of menace. Gray threads of webbing were inked across the page, spinning out to ensnare the red-clad hanyou and a cute little redheaded kid with blue mage-fire around his hands. “Huh. And Kenshin said he’d never seen another human with red hair.”

“He didn’t.” Eldan smiled wryly. “Take a closer look.”

A cute little redhead with fox ears in his hair, brilliant green eyes, kit-sized fangs, and a golden foxtail. “Another Changechild?”

“Probably. But the story calls him something else.” Eldan shrugged. “A kitsune. A… good fox demon. If that’s possible.” He gave her a narrow look. “Can demons be good? We’ve mostly dealt with the demons out of Karse; usually Abyssal Plane elementals, and not too bright, according to Sejanes. Youkai seem to be a lot smarter. And some of them can look like humans. Of course, that’s probably because the Yamato are lumping Change-Beasts and Changechildren together, but… didn’t you say your grandmother met a demon that could do that?”

“She did. Almost died from it, both her and Tarma. It wasn’t just teeth, claws, and hunger; it could cast spells of its own. And it could think. Very messy. Thank the gods most mages aren’t damn-fool idiots enough to summon those up.” Kero shuddered; Warrl had passed along some very explicit images of just what Thalhkarsh had been capable of. Her grandmother trapped in another’s body, Tarma’s link to the Star-Eyed broken… brr. “As for whether a thing like that could ever change… don’t know. That one ended up warded into a temple. Never heard what happened to it afterward. The high priest seemed to think it ought to get the chance to try, though.” She frowned at the picture, looking past the familiar red outfit and sword. Black hair? “Eldan, if this is Inuyasha, why does he look human?”

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45 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – More pieces

      1. And the truth is… well. Really out there, from their perspective!

        Even more out there than human souls or other spirits being reborn as a horse-shape beings to act as guardians for a country?

        Or a mage creating an intelligent species that looks like a combination of big cat and bird-of-prey?

        Or how the Empire was convinced Valdemar was full of it when some of them claimed to be able to hear people’s thoughts, communicate mentally with each other, and move stuff with their minds? Even through some Valdemarians could totally do all of those things and more?

        Or how an entire country not only forgot it ever had magic, history books rewritten, but nobody in said country ever got the impression that this was weird or even a big deal that they have no mages until it almost destroyed said country and possibly the world – because of the work of one Herald-Mage?

        Even more out than that?

        “Of course it sounds silly when you word it like that.”

        Liked by 2 people

  1. It’s going to get even more fun when they run across Sesshōmaru in those storybooks. Because he will be described as the half-brother to Inuyasha and a true Youkai.

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  2. They might start getting closer to the right questions once they stop thinking “humans or animals changed by random bits of magic, etc into thing with extra claws, teeth, and quite often menace and insanity” and start thinking another species.

    And that if you keep thinking or acting like they are mutated humans or animals, the youkai and hanyou might be just as insulted as Gryphons would be if you claimed that’s all they were. With an added bonus of evil.

    Why do I get the feeling that even pointing out stuff like Inuyasha was half-human and became human every new moon and his half-brother the youkai was born the way he was, as was their father and so on might not be enough for some people to realize NOT a Changechild or Changebeast. They just LOOK like one. Kinda of like how a Companion looks like a horse.

    I don’t expect everyone to get it. As pointed out elsewhere, some Valdemarians aren’t convinced that Companions are anything other than a smart horse. But maybe we can get enough people to get through their skulls.

    AND more translation headaches, since I’m pretty sure the Valdemarian idea of a demon is probably what the Yamato would call an akuma.

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      1. Even if it isn’t Sesshomaru, someone is probably going to say it to some youkai.

        Because some people are idiots who don’t listen. Or because there is always that one person who puts their foot in their mouth – they aren’t trying to be insulting but . . . .

        And that little conversation will get very ugly, very quickly . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Anywhere from swat to “This Sesshomaru is not concerned with the ignorance of petty humans.”

        Likely.

        He’d still probably make whoever was in range of him decide they wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere else. Like right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. >The bunnies so want to terrify Elspeth, thought. Evil bunnies…>
        Sesshomaru and similar Youkai probably wouldn’t work for that. They are pretty straightforward individuals with very few ****s to give about lesser species. If she annoyed him, he’d either ignore her or simply melt her and/or her companion down into goo.

        A manipulator would be needed. A Youkai that can twist her around in knots until she’s a quivering mass of terror and confusion. Maybe a nine-tail decides to track down that Hanyou descendant of one of the clan lines (IE Kenshin) and decides to ‘play’ with this very rude and annoying human.

        After all, the little kit is getting his den and household in order and that’s hard to do with an annoying fly buzzing around. He can thank his wise and generous elder later when the human is driven into a nervous wreck and no longer irritating him.

        Liked by 4 people

      4. Terrify Elspeth, hmm…

        It’s almost a shame you wrote the time travel out.

        Else Elspeth’s hanyou hitokiri kid could show up.

        I think I hear someone saying ‘nonsense’.

        Darkwind’s ancestry comes from an area of twisted magic less intense than Yamato. With how little I know, there could be a Youkai cognate in his ancestry, and those genes might express in the next generation.

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      1. Probably when they try to describe said akuma as a youkai within someone who knows better’s hearing. Well, someone who knows better who isn’t about to let them keep that ignorance.

        Because that is a dangerous ignorance. Either (1) you might have even harder time convincing some people that youkai and hanyou aren’t inheritantly evil – they are dangerous and there is a difference, (2) a youkai or hanyou one day will be insulted by the comparison and might decide to take it out of their hides, and (3) someone will encounter an akuma and think they can handle it the same way you do a youkai or hanyou – which is a good way to end up very messily dead.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Any known examples of a pregnant woman having access to their child’s mind gifts in the Valdemar books? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work that way, but I’m not well read enough for certain knowledge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never seen something like that in the books. Mind gifts tend to develop right at the start of puberty so even if the Mother was gifted, I doubt a baby could use any gifts it might develop. An especially strong empathic healer might be able to feel her baby but that’s stretching it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. There is that youkai baby from Inuyasha, and a great bird youkai might be able to travel the distance, but I’m filing this under ‘hilarious but too costly to pull off’.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. >> Darkwind’s ancestry comes from an area of twisted magic less intense than Yamato. With how little I know, there could be a Youkai cognate in his ancestry, and those genes might express in the next generation.
    >> Given the Hawkbrothers explicitly have their heritage interfered with by the Goddess, canon, so they all have a little Mage-gift, Youkai would be unlikely.

    But Yokai are something that – in spite of being demons – are /not/ explicitly evil or even specifically detested by the gods.

    To prevent the issues with people seeing Hanyou and thinking ChangeChildren said goddess /may/ have been preventing any of those very recessive genes from cropping up until now… But oh Look, the Hawkbrothers are now major allies/practically citizens of Valdemar. And What’s This? Valdemar’s got a Hanyou Population Now – and /at least/ one of them is/is going to end up being fairly high profile… Welp Might as Well Just let /That/ part of the Genetic Tampering Stop Being a Thing.

    After all: don’t the gods /want/ to encourage cooperation and tolerance amongst their various followers?

    I’m not saying Elspeth’s kid(s?) /should/ evince Youkai heritage, just that the Goddess’ interference alone may not mean they /won’t/.

    Also not gonna lie: I get the impression the better gods in this setting may be sticklers for their rules, but they also strike me as the types of tricky Kanzeon Bossatsu would appreciate, and frankly that does sound like Kanzeon’s sort of thing.

    … Now I have the oddest image of the Gods of the Disc playing their games only for the Lady to mention she invited a Friend as Kanzeon Bossatsu sashays in… And Om is in the corner /watching/ this Most Merciful Goddess…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read a fair amount of xianxia. Chinese myth has cognates to Youkai. Which is why giant eagles and such, which might be able to make the journey to the Pelagirs, easily come to mind.

      Dumping the time travel well in the Pelagirs strikes me as only moderately less dubious than the pregnancy induced visions gimmick. Though we only infer that Elspeth and Darkwind don’t have a two year old, rather than outright knowing.

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      1. I’ve only a vague sense of the timeline then. I thought we might be past the point where we knew for certain from canon. Kenshin thinks Elspeth may be as old as twenty-eight, IIRC.

        There has been no evidence here that they are parents, and it is so unusual a line of speculation that there is no reason to supply evidence against it. That is what I mean.

        The two scenarios I can see for confronting Elspeth with a hitokiri child are probably too much of a stretch. The possibility of a hanyou child any time soon, or ever, is also dubious.

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      2. Ah. That’d be a no, specifically because of what the bunnies came up with for how youkai were created in the first place. 😉

        Let’s just say, it’s something along the lines of the Shin’a’in getting the Dhorisha Plains restored level of Powers.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Plus there is the implication that being hanyou and having the mage gift might conflict, and any child of Elspeth and Darkwind is likely to have the mage gift.

        Liked by 1 person

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