Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Price

“Sounds damn useful.” Kerowyn’s eyes narrowed. “What’s the catch?”

“Catch?” Kamiya started.

“Magic has a price,” the captain said levelly. “Anything that strong has to have a hell of one.”

Yamagata’s eyes narrowed slightly at the man. Don’t you dare-!

Himura’s gaze let it slide off, subtle as water. “It does.” He glanced at Ayame. “When the little one is the age you call thirteen, or fourteen, she will be given a blade. Perhaps a sword, if those skills are hers; perhaps a knife, or even an iron fan. And she will carry that weapon, or one like it, until the end of her days.” Moving without hurry, he drew his saya from his obi, holding the sheathed blade out level, one black bar in front of red silk. “As this blade remains with me, always. Even were I bound and imprisoned, even were I kneeling on the execution grounds, no sane citizen of Yamato would take it from me.”

“On the face of it, that would seem not to make sense,” Selenay said neutrally. Her gaze flicked to the captain, who suddenly looked as if she’d been hit on the head with an iron club. “I take it there is a reason.”

Himura shoved the saya back under his obi. “It is… the closest I can come in your tongue is sealing weapon. The smith’s craft ties it to the hanyou who carries it, using the soul of steel to steady the Gift if pain or anger should drive one beyond reason.” He scanned the room, mild gaze passing over every council member in turn. “For if anger seizes us, if life is threatened, our Gifts respond.”

“Huh! So do Heralds!” A grim older lord from near the Holderkin lands scowled at them. “And they don’t flaunt swords in the streets!”

I’ve had enough of coddling these fools. “Lavan Firestorm,” Yamagata said bluntly.

Ah, that had even the idiots’ attention.

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45 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch5 bit – Price

  1. Coddling. Yeah, that supports the idea that the ‘merchants and farmers’ was less pure classism than taboos about warriors saying certain things around non-warriors. Which isn’t necessarily a thing of hiding the secrets of how to warrior.

    Take our society for example. Certain professions have things they don’t shout out to a general audience, because the general audience isn’t prepared to listen and understand. In our case, the general audience can in fact be quite hostile. Even without that, the world is a pretty horrible place, and not everyone is psychologically prepared to be exposed to everything. Some professions partly serve to insulate those who aren’t prepared from a horrible aspect of the world.

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  2. >>“Huh! So do Heralds!” A grim older lord from near the Holderkin lands scowled at them. “And they don’t flaunt swords in the streets!”

    Heh, this guy’s an idiot. Just because a weapon is concealed, doesn’t make it not a weapon. And anyone who thinks that Heralds aren’t weapons…

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      1. The Companions are far from harmless either. Sure, kids can pet and stuff them full of treats. Yes the’re so white and pretty. They’re also fully capable of crushing someone into a bloody pulp.

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    1. Instead of commissioning nice quiet, subtle blades of some sort, Gifted Karsites (historically) get the lovely priesthood Join or Die by Fire option and most Gifted Valdemarians usually get a Questionable Consent permanent, life-long Psychic Link/Bond Creature in Shoot Me Now White with .01% chance of dying peacefully in bed. Or maybe have their Gifts quietly repressed by the country-wide network of Psychic Link/Bond Creature. For Their Own Good, of course.

      I’d take the blades and earthquakes…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. My brain translated that as:
    Puffed Up Idiot: “I’d never do something so stupid!”
    Yamagata: “Noodle Incident plus Nightmare Fuel.”
    Puffed Up Idiot: “…”
    Chirping crickets optional.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hopefully it’ll also be Super Effective. May or may not also be a STAB (Same-Type Attack Bonus. I probably play too much Pokémon for my own good…)

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    1. Considering he was the leader of the Revolutionary Army, Valdemar was something of a complete unknown and the fact that the Heralds and Companions apparently set off Ki-senses in a bad way, I’m not surprised he tried to get as much information as possible.

      Particularly on just how much of a threat these individuals can be to his people.

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      1. I can see some of the Valdemarians trying to argue how Heralds aren’t/can’t be a threat to anyone (they’re heroes, servants of the realm blah blah) with Yamagata very bluntly countering why they and their spirit horses are just that freaking terrifying

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      2. >They are freaking terrifying. I can only imagine Kenshin’s nerves at first walking into the Kamiya dojo….>
        And that’s the problem. Vademar has been culturally conditioned (along with some potential mental conditioning) that the Companions and Heralds are righteous pillars of justice and so on that would never harm the people etc etc.

        In comparison Yamato knows very well that even the most ‘civilized’ Youkai can and will rip you to shreds if you do something stupid/insult them. The Taiyoukai may be majestic, wise and powerful but one can never EVER consider them ‘safe’ or ‘harmless’.

        So even without their ki-senses going berserk around the spirit-horses and their minions, they aren’t going to trust the PR line being pushed on them by Valdemar any further than a human can throw a mountain one-handed.

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  4. Admitted that Yamagata is hitting some of my cultural “rude” buttons, he does have a good point here. Laven is nightmare fuel, even before his book (after, he’s both nightmare fuel and tragedy).

    But yes, the Heralds do hide a lot of what they can and will do.

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  5. Hmm, one thing that may need to be part of this explanation is that – without the Sealing Swords – Yamatoan Gifts are actually less controlled than Valdemaren Gifts. Valdemaren Gifts tend to be minor, and most stronger Gifts end up being Heralds, so the Companions can help with control. With Yamatoans not only is that not the case, but they don’t have Companions, so you get a sword instead. At least, that’s my understanding.

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    1. Gifts are fairly widespread and minor among Yamato. I’m not sure how incidence compares within and without the Samurai caste. Certainly the Samurai have a lot. Hanyou are kinda a subset of Samurai, and use sealing swords. Youkai might almost count as a subset of Hanyou, depending on how one thinks about it, and the sealing swords aspect is unclear.

      There is some implication that Ki sense is something all Yamato have. Artisan and Farmer castes do not use sealing swords, and perhaps most Samurai do not either.

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      1. True, but the ‘Gift’ (I use that term because that’s how Kenshin and Yamagata are referring to it) of being a Hanyou is the source and problem, in this case.

        The problem may be controlling their tempers and energies, but that’s a problem because they’re ‘Gift’ is being Hanyou.

        And I figure that most likely Yamatoan Gifts are naturally less controlled because otherwise Yamatoans wouldn’t need clan channels to balance themselves. Gensai refers to clan channels as balancing themselves and spreading out the volatile nature of their energies. This makes sense for Hanyou and Samurai, but I don’t think it would be so widespread – and Gensai implies it’s just one of those things that is and everybody knows amongst Yamatoans – if it wasn’t true of the majority of Gifted Yamatoans.

        And while the Heralds are supposed to have control of their Gifts, in order to get that control they do need to be trained in controlling said Gifts, with a very rare few never achieving full control, i.e.: Lavan Firestorm. Honestly we never really see any truly powerful Gifted in Valdemar who aren’t Heralds, so it’s possible some of the more powerful Heralds actually would have more difficulty controlling their Gifts if they didn’t have their Companions to share the load.

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      1. True, in it’s way. But, you know, in a society like Valdemar, (Or Yamato) someone like Kenshin could be -far- more dangerous than a nuke. A Nuke will only kill one city. Kenshin? Has the deadly skills and the personality and charisma to get people /following/ him. Potentially in quite large numbers….but just a few Hiten Mitsurugi apprentices is bad enough.

        Of course, He Would Never etc etc.

        This is not the same as could not. And he knows it.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Now all we need is Hiko to walk in and everyone to suddenly realize that Kenshin is an APPRENTICE. That however scary Kenshin is as both a hanyou and Hiten Mitsurugi user, Hiko has left him in the dust a long time ago. Talk about Nightmare Fuel for both the Yamatons and Valdemarans.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To be fair to Kenshin, Hiko did not leave him in the dust a long time ago. Kenshin left before completing his training, but there was really only two moves left for Kenshin to be taught. And in canon, after returning and learning them Kenshin is considered stronger than Hiko… Though perhaps only just barely.

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      1. Another factor to keep in mind for the canon universe – is that Watsuki swears that Kenshin and Hiko are human. And Kenshin is a good decade younger than Hiko. Which does make a difference when doing physically demanding activities . . . and Hiten Mitsurugi is very physically demanding fighting style . . .

        Also, in the canon universe, Kenshin’s short and skinny frame wasn’t really designed for it and that caused him problems . . . .

        Of course, I like the fate of our beloved rurouni and the kenjutsu princess in Vathara’s “All I Need Is A Miracle” over Seisou Hen . . .

        Not least of which is that there is no way Kenshin and the other swordsmen could pull off that some of that without supernatural critters (or scific critters) and magic (or science!) to explain it. Plus I kinda of prefer Kenshin and Kaoru facing the world and challenges together, not Kaoru standing behind passively while her husband runs around . . . . ahem. I going to stop now before that turns into a rant.

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      2. Fair point on the age thing.

        Part of what I base my stance on – and I fully admit that I have a stance and am looking for/interpreting evidence to support it – for comparing Kenshin and Hiko is that at I remember someone officially asking Watsuki who the strongest characters in RuroKen were, and he answered that it was Shishio, then Kenshin, and after that it didn’t matter. Word of God like that is not only of dubious canon, but something a fanfic author can freely and easily change/ignore though, but until I’m directly told otherwise for an AU I’m gonna interpret my information initially from that perspective, and consider alternate interpretations second.

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