Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – Diplomacy

“The Shogun’s guards – one of those unavoidable ‘courtesy’ escorts, you know how it is to be a foreign diplomat – tried to get us out of there. But Tremane and I… well, we were, quite frankly, curious. Shocked, yes, but curious. Most of the fighting hadn’t taken place near the foreign sector. We wanted to know what Yamato were capable of when they weren’t being diplomatic. And after all, we were an Imperial Adept and a Master! What did we have to fear from native swordsmen with only primitive magic?”

:You know what they say about pride and falls,: Altra said privately.

I think he knows that, Karal answered wryly.

:Now.: The Firecat flicked an ear, amused as only a cat could be, seeing a predator suddenly turned prey.

“We tried to summon light,” the mage went on. “Nothing worked. It was if someone had laid a hand on every ley line in reach, bidding it silent. Finally Tremane dug into his personal power and summoned a mage-light – just as lightning flashed, enough to see the bodies on those rooftops. The Shogun’s ninja.” Sejanes drew a sharp breath. “Captain, if you would be so kind as to turn that Mindspeech of yours to our advantage… I think you should see this. I think you should – all of you – see this.” He looked hard at Karal and Altra. “It won’t be pretty.”

Kerowyn frowned. “If you’re sure….”

Karal swallowed. “All right.”

The room vanished, blurred away by Sejanes’ memory.

Rain. Shifting and fluid as the subtle aura their Sight almost, almost couldn’t sense was there, quiet and steady as a sea breeze over the rooftops. Warm and wet and tanged with copper as light flashed off a blade arcing impossibly high-

And red blazed down, a flow of soaked topknot like bloody rain, as a slight figure in Choshu-blue dropped out of the storm-torn sky. Trailing faint blue light, his katana cleft a guard in two from shoulder to hip, whirled to slash the throats of two more before his feet even touched the ground.

Even a war-trained mage needs a moment to react….

And in that moment six men were dead, the ley lines were still unreachable, and half the guards left were surging forward while the rest were dragging the Imperial diplomats away, running like fury-


10 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch4 bit – Diplomacy

  1. Someone chose poorly. Yeah, they survived and got intel they needed. If it hadn’t been Kenshin, they might have been dead, which would have been worse for the western empire.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The ley-lines being inaccessible shouldn’t keep them from doing magic – I may need to reread things, but I remember taps into ley-lines or nodes being used as an extra power source, rather than directly drawing on them to cast a spell. (Casting from personal power, refilling from ley-line.) Of course, if the islands of Yamato are as hostile to mages as it has been hinted to be, local conditions might make a different procedure become standard.

    Or maybe a clash between hitokiri makes the flows of power different enough that it takes a few moments to compensate in order to keep a spell stable…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What did we have to fear from native swordsmen with only primitive magic?ā€

    And with that you sealed your fate. Tempting Murphy like that is always a risky business.

    You’re lucky the Dread One let you off that light . . . . of course, M might given you more than isn’t in this snippet. But it sounds like you got off light. A warning about the dangers of tempting Murphy, perhaps?

    What is about having magic that makes humans forget that their magic will not do them a darn bit of good if they can’t spell faster than someone can kill them? Or someone kills them before they even know they are in danger – like if someone sneaks up on them or hits with a ranged weapon like a bow or a crossbow.

    Not saying magic doesn’t make one a difficult opponent. It does. But mages are not invulnerable to everything but other mages and sometimes it seems like they need to be very firmly reminded of this. Before they get themselves or someone else killed.


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