Did some idea-tossing with my betas, particularly Kryal, and here’s a thought for all of you wondering about Yamagata: The Valdemar jump was not his plan.
It was Katsura’s plan.
And Katsura died. Very possibly after – or while – giving Yamagata a minimum of details, because Katsura was a Magnificent Bastard in a lot of ways. Including getting a 13-year-old sword prodigy to work for him as an assassin because Katsura’s hands couldn’t be bloodied if they meant to lead a peaceful government afterward.
So. You’re Yamagata, General of the revolutionary forces. You’ve just had to lead the longest of long-shot escapes, a lot of your people didn’t make it, including your leader, you’re in shock, you’re someplace you’ve never been before, what’s left of your people are panicking, and there are these white spirit-things in horse shape everywhere. Spirit-things with enough power to make the average miko or houshi look like a match next to a bonfire. Meaning if anyone with youkai blood even breathes wrong, they’re going to be dead.
Seen some of the Inuyasha clips of Kagome purifying things to death? Yeah.
Think of how Kerowyn would react, if her Skybolts got dumped somewhere in, say, the Eastern Empire. And she’d never been outside Rethwellan. Utter honesty would not be the first thing on her agenda. With very good reason.
On top of all that, Yamato-culture apologies tend to involve spilling your guts… literally.
And Yamagata can’t do that. He can’t. His people need him alive. If he apologizes, if he puts himself in a position where he has to apologize, his own people will expect him to do it with his life.
Valdemar is written to appeal to a lot of modern American values, and Selenay is a leader of that culture. She looks good. I grant that. She’s also a political leader, not a general. Yamagata is a general, first and last, he comes from a very different culture, and he’s trying very hard, but there are things he literally cannot do if he wants to keep his own people from going after each others’ throats.
For the past two years, Yamagata’s had to live with snap decisions made on incomplete information and shock. He’s been trying to fix the situation. But that’s no easier for him than it is for everyone else.
(And Valdemar doesn’t exactly have the best track record for fixing messy situations, either. I submit Holderkin, girls married off at thirteen, and that whole mess. Why the Collegium’s Healers haven’t revolted en masse at the kind of horrible physical damage child marriage does to girls and their offspring, I have no idea. And that’s with Talia, the Queen’s Own Herald, right there in Haven to clue people in on what’s still happening.)
Lucky for Yamagata – very lucky! – Kenshin wandered into this massive FUBAR, spent a fair amount of time looking harmlessly clueless and interrogating Kaoru (and Sano, heh) for everything about Valdemar and Heralds she could tell him, and was able to make a pretty good guess what kind of impossible bind Yamagata had to be in.
And now Kenshin’s made it his problem.
Which means Yamagata finally has an out, because the greatest of revolutionaries has decided that yes, Selenay is worth treating with honor. So none of the people jockeying to rule in Yamagata’s place is going to do more than grumble, because… well. Himura is scary.
Does Yamagata like the situation? No, no, and hell no. Will he start working with it as soon as he can tamp his temper down? Absolutely.
(Politics. Yamagata hates politics. Possibly even more than Kenshin. If he ever gets his hands on Katsura in the afterlife, he will strangle the man….)