Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – Adept

A cannon. Sejanes rushed through the thronged streets, pausing only to state his name and business to the head of the Guards keeping onlookers away from the Kamiya Dojo’s gate. A Chi’in cannon. Forty little gods, I never thought to see one of those again!

Or rather, the ex-Imperial admitted to himself, he’d hoped to never see one of those hellish creations again. Thank the gods, most outside that vicious empire recognized that Adepts were safer than weapons touched with salamander’s fire.

Most, except for desperate Yamato, Sejanes thought darkly, pushing the gate open just enough to slip through. The air was still thick with the acrid scent of blasting powder, and every magical sense an Adept claimed shuddered at the raw hunger embodied in flames. Both sides of the Revolution were using them before we left… Karal. I’ve got to get Karal over here. We need someone touched by the gods to disarm the damned thing, and he’s the best one in Valdemar for that. Hells – do we even have anyone who can take it apart without blowing their own heads off-?

He stopped almost in one of the courtyard craters, staring at what had been a wooden muzzle. Now it was a nest of neatly-slashed wooden pieces, a fist-sized bundle of white-wrapped, carved stone cupped in their midst.

The focus talisman, Sejanes realized, sensing faint emanations of dark elemental fire through insulating silk. “Thank the gods,” he breathed, turning his gaze on the blue uniform that had stalked through the perimeter next to him. “How on earth did your people know what to do, Chief?”

Tostig shrugged, embarrassed. “It wasn’t us, Instructor Sejanes. Himura warned us off. He said there was a risk of fire.” The Guard Chief paused. “And given Himura-san’s usual talent for understatement….”

“I’ve seen those things take out a city block if they’re mishandled,” Sejanes confirmed. “Though I’m surprised anyone who’d know that would leave what’s left of it unguarded, even under your watchful eye.”

“I did not.”

The cool voice peeled the years away; he was no longer a peaceful instructor, one of many Adepts handling the mage-school of Valdemar, but Imperial Adept Sejanes, running with Tremane through the bloody alleys of Kyoto as the Shogunate’s men fell behind them….

Red hair, Sejanes saw, dimly registering the mad scramble of Guards backwards as lightning danced in his hands. Short. Skinny as a woman. An aura subtle as wind over running water. And the cross-shaped scar.

Battousai the Manslayer.


43 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – Adept

      1. …brought? Or could it possibly have been made in Valdemar by some very cunning, paranoid, moderately desperate, and (maybe) stupid people? Your earlier fic bits pointed out that Heralds have their aura up all the time which means “I challenge you to a fight!” in Yamoto… which some could easily interpret as, “I need weapons that can deal with these “good neighbors” or I am so screwed.”

        …or my bunnies could be chewing too much b-grade spy thriller carrots. *shrugs*

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Well, that was probably inevitable . . . Kenshin triggering a flashback for someone.

    Through Sejanes is lucky – he must have been someone that could could let go. Because if he had to kill him and Tremane, odds are they would be dead. Adept or not.

    I bet he recognizes you too. Kenshin’s got a good memory for that sort of thing. And depending on what you were doing for the Shogun . . . .

    He might want to cool it on the lightning. Firstly, I don’t think thinking throwing around sparks around a known fire hazard is the brightest idea. Secondly, Kenshin’s tolerance for nonsense has already been exceeded by today’s earlier idiots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That should be a interesting conversation.

      Especially if Elspeth happens to either mention or describe a certain red-head. Because I’m sure Tremane also remembers that same moment Sejanes is. Because the Hitokiri Battousai is very memorable.

      Of course, she might not believe him about how deadly Kenshin is. Yes, even to Adepts. Please, no one that dangerous can look that harmless.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It was probably easier to keep a low profile and maintain his habit of rescuing people from bandits, monsters, etc when he could and often did disappear shortly after completing said task. It’s the staying in one place AND doing heroics AND none of the idiots causing trouble are causing almost anything below very attention-getting stunts (like using a canon) that is hampering him.

      If the trouble was smaller scale, no need to involve anyone other than Captain Tostig, Kenshin probably could have stayed at Kamiya Dojo for years before anyone like Yamagata knew he was there. If ever. Yes, Kaoru is a Herald but there are many Heralds. One with a quiet lodger who occasionally assists the Guard isn’t going to raise many eyebrows.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Huh, so is it only magically enhanced cannons that are used or are there ‘conventional’ ones as well?

    Though I suppose without an equivalent to the European powers and differing local conditions, Yamato might not have developed firearms and cannons to the same extent they did in RL.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I had been wondering why the cannonball prickled Kaoru’s senses like it was magic. I’d mostly been worried it was enchanted for extra ‘oomph’ or sneaky, one of the two.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Probably more ‘oomph’. Assuming that they aren’t using corned powder the addition of magic would not only make the blast more powerful, but also more consistent for X amount of powder.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Actually – forgot about this earlier – while tooling around in Valdemar’s TVTropes page I thought I saw a mention that one of the various ancient weapons from before the Cataclysm the hero of the Mage Wars books had access to was a non-magical /Nuclear Device/.

        So I’m… not certain if that’s true about Mages /needing/ to be involved, they just /tend/ to be in Valdemar ‘Verse stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The magical effect probably also helps when they are trying to put down Youkai who are as much energy as flesh.

        Reminds me of a Warhammer Fantasy RP a while back where some bright spark had the Sigmarite priests bless the cannons and their ammo (we were fighting a Nurglite army). The blessing+aiming roll was a crit and the GM proceeded to have one of the cannonballs from the volley bounce right through the daemons and straight into the summoning portal.

        To say the bad guys were ticked off (and the players were cracking up) was an understatement.

        And to top it all off that cannonball CAME BACK. Flew out of another portal a couple of days later, took out a few more bad guys and then rolled to a stop at our feet.
        Players insisted on the bloody thing being enshrined after that.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Huh. Rereading this moment and… Well. I’m really wondering how tired I must have been to have missed Kenshin using ‘I’ in that sentence.

    So here’s the question: is he still in Battousai mode because he’s pissed? Because the Hanyou side is still antsy with the remains of the cannon near Clan Warren? Because – as speculated elsewhere in these comments – Kenshin /recognized/ Sejanes and thought it best to get the heart attack out of the way /now/ while Kenshin can seize initiative and prepare for Sejanes surprised reaction instead of waiting for Sejanes to actually /see/ him and /then/ having to deal with the PTSD-esque flashback?

    Or was it some combination of all of the above?

    Liked by 2 people

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