Through the Cracks Ch6 bit – Maybe Demons

“How did we miss him, Kero?” Eldan’s fists clenched. “He’s a killer – he’s an assassin – and we let him in the same room with Selenay!”

Was an assassin,” Kerowyn said soberly. “And a damn good one, apparently. Which is how, Eldan. I’ve dealt with people in that line of work. And I’ve heard of more. One of whom – and no, I won’t tell you who – retired and joined Tale’sedrin when Tarma and Kethry opened it up. The good ones aren’t bloodthirsty. They aren’t flashy. They’re quiet, lethal, trained professionals. Who go out, do their job, come home, take care of their families, and do their best to blend in with everybody else.” She grinned wryly. “Only with that giveaway hair, Himura can’t exactly blend in. So he does the next best thing and looks like a bumbling idiot you wouldn’t trust with a butter knife. Wonder why he doesn’t just dye it?”

:Probably because it won’t stay,: Sayvel put in. :If Kenshin uses energy the way we do – and from what Sanosuke told me after his ears stopped ringing, he does – any dye would wear right out.:

“Hmm. Wonder if Thalkarsh has that problem? Or had,” Kero reflected. “We’ll have to send word south and find out if she’s still alive. And if she ever left that temple.”

“Who?” Eldan frowned.

“Demon, according to my grandmothers.” Kerowyn grinned wryly. “Got stuck in human form by a very powerful priest-mage, back when they were running around as mercenaries.”

She hadn’t thought Eldan’s eyes could get any wider. “You mean… you know that story of Himura’s….”

“Might well be fact? At least as much as the stories you have about Vanyel and Lavan Firestorm?” Kerowyn finished. “Damn straight. It’s been done.”

“Oh… gods.” Her partner cradled his head in his hands.

“According to Grandma Kethry, the priest slapped it with a geas to be stuck in their temple until it changed its ways. Something about wards not holding on a creature that wasn’t evil,” Kerowyn shrugged her shoulders, thinking. “I wonder how that worked out?”

“Oh gods.”

“Eldan, Love, if you want to be worried, worry less about a maybe-demon kingdoms away and more about the fact that we haven’t heard word one from the palace Guards about sighting Kenshin,” Kerowyn pointed out. “If we can’t keep one of the best from getting out when we know he’s leaving, we’d damn well better look at our precautions to keep people from getting in.”


20 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch6 bit – Maybe Demons

  1. Considering they lack one of the key components to detecting any Yamato infiltrators (Ki sense) they are going to have to get pretty creative to catch anyone.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Of course the problem is that individuals like Kenshin have demonstrated the ability to hide even from Companions. As for the ‘nonexistent’ onmitsu you have to somehow convince them to follow you in the first place. That would probably not be easy.

      And that’s just for the quiet infiltrators. If the hanyou/hitokiri/youkai decide to do a frontal assault, it’s a whole different type of messy for the defenders.

      It probably wouldn’t be to the degree of Inu no Taisho blowing apart the vast majority of a castle and it’s defenders, but even ‘scrub-tier’ youkai and hanyou are NOT creatures to be underestimated.

      Sure the energies that Companions can use are deadly to them but as the spider demonstrated by bagging Sano, it’s far from a one way street.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. >And hee. Bunnies have some possible plans for onmitsu, even if they might have to happen in a second story.>
        Kerowyn: Would your sneak-freaks kindly stop pinning notes reading ‘Your security needs to improve’ on the backs of all the palace guards and Selenay’s bedroom doors?
        Misao: I have no IDEA what you’re talking about. *G*

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh, man… this whole snippet is just packed full of reminders of why I love this series, and why, in this entire series, my favorite characters are Tarma, Kethry, and Kero. I love this so much. I read this, and I heard your Kero using the SAME tone of voice as I heard her use when I read By the Sword. And YES, Kero, remind everyone about the REAL problems you have, not the problems that AREN’T really problems.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The Blue Butterfly story? My Teen liked that once the herald turned up, because ‘it was clearly Vanyel’.

    in this time period, Skiff is apparently an assassin, as is Dirk. Got to say that isn’t something emphasized about the Heralds, and while I can see the need, I have qualms about these semi-divinely appointed folk going in for that quite as easily as Dirk seemed to. Don’t know about Skiff as I got that impression from osmosis, while I actually did read the Talia books where Dirk’s killing is mentioned. (#2, IIRC) (I have qualms about a lot that turned up in the Talia books, actually..)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a point, because Dirk was a lot more empathic person than was suited for the job. (Could have been a sniper, maybe.) But during most of history, being able to commit sudden single combat against a ruler was not necessarily seen as evil. (Not like poison, for instance.)

      Doing it secretly and trying to escape sneakily afterward… That was the underhanded part. Open attacks were part of the game.

      So assassins are in a strange place, in a semi-medieval society not really based on anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And then there is the Palmach/Mossad morality, which is “Hey, they did it in the Book of Judges, and besides, every man’s hand is against us and our allies turn on us a lot!”

        Which is not necessarily wrong, although you might disagree seriously with a lot of the details of how it works….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. In other words, Kero is saying “Priorities people!”

    Guess Eldan, despite being with Kero, isn’t used to dealing with people who kill not because they like killing or had absolutely no other choice at the time but because that’s their job and that’s what they are good at. And he might want to remember that the woman he loves was a mercenary who very likely cannot throw stones at Kenshin for being an assassin.

    And maybe Kero realizes that Kenshin is letting them see him for what he is. As demonstrated by years in Kyoto and his ability to slip past the Guards completely unnoticed, Kenshin is very, very good at not being found or not being noticed when he doesn’t want to be.

    Maybe even with the attention-grabbing stuff he keeps having to break up, Kenshin probably could have operated in or around Haven (or at least Valdemar) for years, leaving only rumors of a very fast, red-headed Yamato swordsman for Heralds and Guards and anyone else to chase after . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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