Through the Cracks Ch7 bit – Friends

:So that’s why the Call was so intermittent!: Whickering with glee, Sano pounced, clamping red hair between his teeth. :I found you I found you I finally, finally found you-:

“Sessha can’t be a Herald!”

“Why not?” Kaoru was on her feet, steam all but rising from her head. “It’d solve everything! You’d be one of us – you’d be safe-”

“I would be in service to your Queen, and that I will not do!

Kaoru froze, eyes wide and wounded.

“Kaoru… dono,” Kenshin whispered. “Please. Please understand.” He swallowed dryly. “The first principle of Hiten Mitsurugi: the sword swung in my name is wielded to protect the innocents of the world.”

A killing style… meant to protect? If he hadn’t been holding red hair, Sano would have shaken his head. And why are you surprised, Companion-baka? You were Called for this man. You never would have been, if his heart wasn’t pure….

“But Heralds-” Kaoru started.

“Heralds serve the Monarch, and Valdemar. Hiten Mitsurugi must never serve any power.” Reaching behind him, Kenshin gingerly pried his hair from white lips. “Never again.”

:I think I understand.: Sano nudged the swordsman with his head. :I could still Choose you.:


:I could,: Sano went on deliberately. :But I won’t.: Even if it hurt. Even if it broke his heart. This man deserved to be a Herald, and Companions had gotten around their Chosen’s oaths before…. :You’re hanyou. I’m – well, you know enough to know our powers come from different ends of the spectrum. If I Chose you, our bond would have to do what Megumi’s does to Kaoru; suppress your youki. Forever.

:Only that’s half of what you are. It’s your Gift, your magic, and you’re never happier than when you’re using it to pound some dangerous idiot into the ground. I won’t take that from you. Ever.:


35 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch7 bit – Friends

  1. Awww Sano *smile is both happy and sad*

    You might not be able to Choose him in the literal sense of the word and in the usual manner but I don’t think Kenshin is going to be rid of you anytime soon. Maybe you cannot be Herald and Companion because of vows and being hanyou but you can probably be Pack with little problem. Amongst yourselves anyway.

    Hmmm . . . I wonder if some out there were hoping that Sano would Chose Kenshin and suppress his youki. Because this whole youkai and hanyou thing is making them so nervous and/or they just don’t like it . . .

    I think it might be good for the Circle to see a Companion respecting their Chosen’s choice not to be a Herald, whatever their reasons for it. And yes, white not-horse, it is going to hurt to be rejected. Because, even when it is for good or understandable reasons, being rejected hurts. But no means no.

    Maybe getting that through some horsey skulls will teach them some respect for other boundaries they sometimes violate . . . like people’s memories.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Actually, Karal has a close bond with a Companion, close enough to see out of his eyes, and he wasn’t Chosen. That’s a source of frustration in the Storm books that because Karal isn’t his Chosen the Companion vouching for him isn’t good enough. It’s been years since I read the books so I don’t remember the exact details, sorry.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. It also strikes me that suppressing Kenshin’s youki would be 1) dishonorable 2) really persuade those *other* hanyou in Valdemar that the Valdemarians had their best interests at heart (and I doubt most of the others are as peaceable as Kenshin, being Samurai) and 3) cripple the one person who has enough face to actually get the other Yamatoans to to try a peaceable solution first. *Nobody* wants to face a pissed off Battousai.

    Although (and I know this is very bad and petty of me) I’m kinda hoping Elspeth gets a taste at least once.

    Also, Sano rocks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes, Heralds serve the Monarch first, in this time. My daughter who’s been reading Valdemar stories more closely than I have and bending my ears about it while she decides whether or not to do her own ‘fixit’ fic, has noticed a pronounced shift from Vanyel’s books to the modern. they used to be more ‘serve the people’ and consider ethics (or at least Vanyel was I mutter), while in Selenay’s day it’s all whatever is needed in their opinions that the Queen wants. Also a general increase in ‘stupid’ in the modern day. in world I blame Companions and their memory meddling and other messing with people; and the scelerosis of any long term organization.

    Out of world: could be the author just isn’t that good in those ways. Although I do wonder how she wrote Vanyel, who did turn out to be smart and ethical and creative. My guess is better editing on that set.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, the modern books, at least the first trilogy, were written first, so she’s sort of stuck with the choices she made in Talia’s books. With the books set earlier, when she got more skilled, she had the leeway to build characters that weren’t compromised by earlier poor choices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shrug. According to my daughter and my own over the shoulder looks at Winds & Storms, which were written later the issues spotted in the Talia books are still there and worse, if anything.

        some of it doesn’t make emotional sense, either, such as how our hostess has commented on how easily things shift to friendship between say, Karse & Valdemar. Yeah, a few people can give up hostility, but populations across the board? Not buying it.


    2. The biggest issue I’ve had with Lackey’s writing is that she has a tendency to be so PC she forgets that good books need other things too. Like character development. Or complex plot lines. Or something more than an interesting back story to achieve depth of character. Instead, all her characters do is go around facing ‘hard’ moral choices, sometimes, and patting each other on the back for being tolerant of others beliefs or not putting down someone’s ideas just because they’re a girl. Which is great and all but not when this is the main staple of your books. Or maybe I’m just still bitter over this one time she killed off a character apparently just so that she could have a girl step in and fill his traditionally male held role which, frankly, is an awful reason for killing any of your characters. Btw, for anyone interested in a fun series that ignores traditional roles but doesn’t make it the main focus, or at least doesn’t point it out every few pages, check out the Raksura Chronicles by Martha Wells.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, there were legitimate plot reasons to kill that character. It would have been wildly out of character for her antagonists to not kill him. Replacing him with the girl was also a plot driven decision. Im not saying that part of her reasons weren’t having a woman do a traditional male job, but there were legitimate in world reasons to have it happen.


      2. I’m not trying to say there were no in-plot reasons for killing him. (Sorry, didn’t realize it sounded like that.) And I’m not trying to say that I don’t own like twenty of Lackey’s books, cause I absolutely do and I enjoy reading them. However, the character in question had just survived an assassination attempt, fulfilling the need for something like that in the story, so his subsequent death just felt like a bad excuse of a set up to get a girl riding one of the dragons. Sorry if it sounded like I was just trying to talk bad about her. That particular scene, for me at least, has just always stood out as an example of bad treatment of both the readers and the characters (what with there being the whole ‘twin rulers’ thing going on and now the entire government is messed up not to mention the group dynamics are absolutely shattered for the main character and his friends and I may not hold grudges in real life but don’t you touch the characters I like I will remember it to my dying day).


      3. Re Tremane: Actually, I think he ends up with decent characterization across the board. Maybe it’s just because I love the Storms series for the Karal/Altra and Karal/An’desha relationships, but Tremane is a character who makes mistakes – serious mistakes, life and death mistakes – because of incomplete information, and who figures out/learns that he screwed up. And despite being made king by acclaim of Hardorn, he doesn’t get off easy. Not only having to face Solaris (which is scary, but not by far the worst effects), but what is done to make him acceptable as king. He’s going to feel the effects of what Ancar did and what the Mage Storms did for years.

        *shrugs* Admittedly, he gets off easy in terms of alliance, in large part because of Iftel and Vkandis. But given the huge mess he gets dealt, and how he deals with people (with that glaring exception of the aforementioned life and death mistake), he’s very much a… I don’t want to say entirely sympathetic, but definitely understandable character. And for someone who starts out as the apparent villain of the piece (if a somewhat moral villain), I definitely feel that his characterization and then subsequent character development are well done.

        But again, I’m very fond of the Storms trilogy mostly because of Karal, so that may be influencing me.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Quoting my daughter again, Valdemar is full of “jane foster characters” those who are cardboard enough to do whatever the plot requires and have no depth or plausibility.

    Which book did she kill off a guy to give a girl his job?

    I’ve liked Wells’ work before, but Raksura just didn’t work for me – can’t remember specifics now, but I only read one and it was easy to put down.. Lots of other people like it, though. In the same line I’m rather fond of CJCherryh’s Chanur set wherein the main characters are pretty clearly based on lions, complete with the females being the ‘hunters’. But that’s also an unusually cheery CJC tale.


    1. I can’t remember the name of the book, just that it was about taming and riding dragons (nothing to do with Valdemar) and I’m pretty sure she co-authored it with someone. I have a bad habit where if I don’t like a story I push most of my rememberance of it out of my head. On the flip side, if I enjoy a story then I can call up details about it and at least a semi-coherent outline of the plot for years afterwards. So that’s cool.


      1. Yeah, comparing to Jane Foster (I should clarify she means the MCU version of the character) isn’t good. She’s tarred Elspeth, Darkwind, and Selenay with that description. I’ve tarred them with ‘slackers.’ Although I may be being unfair to Selenay, as I’ve only read through the Talia books.

        Which edition of YVGENIE have you read? CJC basically rewrote what had originally been put out in paper and released the re-do as an Ebook available at her publishing website “Closed Circle”. I’d liked that trilogy already, but the reworking of all three did improve things, and YVGENIE improved the most. I still like that resolution of a love triangle.

        I’d expect you to like FOREIGNER. I lost some interest along the time they went back to the old Space Station, but meeting the other aliens was really interesting, and Cajieri has gotten me back to interest. I do worry about what will happen when Bren dies. I hope he takes thought about a successor.

        I really like CJC’s FORTRESS quartet, too. Really good male friendships, and twisty politics where strange bedfellows wind up politically allied and it works. Magic vocabulary that tends to creep into your thinking, and nice use of Law of Thresholds. One of the two male protagonists isn’t human and it’s easy to tell because he thinks differently and yet is easy to understand. It’s different from Embers’ dragon children or the hanyou. Ignore the fifth book.

        Moving on to other comments BcAugust – I wouldn’t have said Vanyel’s time had fewer and smaller conflicts and clashes, not when he spent years on the warring Border and never had a chance to breathe. He was doing the work of five, but others weren’t slacking, given how people who see him just say “you’ve been on the Border?” They can tell a Border vet by the shellshocked appearances. And they were facing demon things, as well as people.
        We both (daughter & I) grumble about the vague chronology. What are the different ethical issues you see in the Mage & Storms trilogies?


      2. (Given this is threading sort of oddly, I’m trying to reply on what I see as the different moral issues in the other series.)

        Mage Winds suffers the most from both the main character being irresponsible(In fact, the main reason she ends up in the situation she does at the end of the first book is mainly because she decides to take the reins and go the opposite way.), but the real moral issues are centered around Nyara and An’desha. Nyara is…mostly an object, even though we get her viewpoint several times. It’s actually one of the reasons I have an issue rereading the series, especially the first book. And the pheromones issue makes her relationship start with Skif, otherwise a good scene for them both, a bit disturbing.

        An’desha…I like him, especially in Mage Storms, but basically, he’s a teenager told he has to buy his way out of hell because of a (almost impossible to predict)mistake he made as a frightened teenager. Yet it’s never shown in that light, that the Goddess has every right to make him jump through these hoops. Now, he does, and shows a lot of bravery doing so. Yet even by the end of Storm, with the hint that he’ll dedicate his life to the Goddess, which is fair enough, but they never really focus on what the main issue between them should be. (Note, I actually like the Goddess in this, but it is a bit of an odd note given her previous stories)

        In Storms, I actually have no issue with Karal quickly getting over the past issues(a)he’s young, Hardon has been more of an issue then Valdemar, b)He’s just had most of his old theology publicly and undeniably turned over by miracles, and c)He’s shown to be the type of person that goes for mercy first several times.). In fact, most of the people in the Storms trilogy react fairly well, considering what is going on. Other then the Empire. Which…okay, I see what she was going for. But at every instance that we get a glimpse in the Empire, It makes it more of a wonder that they lasted this long! It is also set up, after the banishment of Maar, to be the big bad for the future(and even then, between the lines, they seem to be descended from his forces. Which makes me wonder if one of the reasons the gods got involved is he was basically the devil in this world.) Sorry, tired digressions. But I think that’s one reason the Owl Series tried to go for a new big bad and didn’t quite make it, and why she didn’t try using the Empire more(that I’m aware of.)

        Liked by 2 people

      3. *Nod* The treatment of Nyara was something that really made my bunnies grumpy, too. For one thing? Sure, reward her by giving her a more humanoid form, less claws and fur… but you didn’t ask her first.

        That’s a violation right there. I don’t care if the “good guys” did it. Grrr.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I think that the Mage trilogy and Storms(Which has some entirely different ethical issues), mainly suffer because you don’t get a sense of how much time has passed since the start. I mean, grinding war with another country that has some other effects for at least years does change things. And Karse was still reeling from another set of internal issues(Which yes, doesn’t get brought up as much unless you read the short stories. Karal is still awesome, though.)

    Actually, you could probably put out a lot of changes from Vanyel’s time to Talia’s down to while Vanyel’s had a lot of smaller conflicts and clashes(hence the Heralds being more of independent agents.) to the grinding wars of country versus country(Heck, the Tendrel wars themselves could probably have changed a lot of this. Young queen, promoted in battle, then actually dealing with the fallout of her disastrous marriage would likely have dealt it’s own subtle changes.)

    Honestly, I enjoyed the series when it first came out as something different, nowadays I rarely do more then reread some of my favorites, but it does show it’s age. And like you said, there are some series that make much different mistakes, but not these ones.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, there’s also the difference pure population makes. In Vanyel’s time, there’s a comment about how he used to know every single Herald, in Talia’s there are more the a few she doesn’t even expect to know, but she still has to trust. Plus the land area, what, tripled? (I haven’t seen the Companion book, but just from the population of Forest of Sorrows and the way there, it’s clearly grown a lot.) And nobles meant a lot more in his own time, I would imagine, say, a century after the series ends, the power of the nobles would turn mostly ceremonial, maybe to the extent of British Parliament, maybe even weaker, as power accrues to the artificers and merchants.

        It’s a very good thing they actually have a mystical check on the monarchy, but they also need to start building some other checks and balances into the Heralds, which I will think she’s not interested in exploring, which is fair enough.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Just reread last part of the ending of Monster Hunter Alpha. At least as many human survivors as werewolf, maybe ten times as many. Plus a few bits that remind me of the stuff you seem interested in.


  7. Cue me quietly gasping because appropriate reactions to complicated problems? That is not a staple of your RK stuff.

    Also, oddly enough, my immediate reaction to the “Sano can’t Choose Kenshin” problem was “don’t youkai clans have adoption rites? Kenshin and Kaoru can adopt Sano! Problem solved!”
    …I am aware that this probably will not work, but still.


  8. On Nyara could she have consented if anyone had asked? Or had her father’s messing her around made such a choice impossible? I gather you’re talking about the goddess fixing her physical form at the end of events? i have also noticed Need messed with her too, without consent ‘making her less animal’.

    I’m in general all for consent, but … mental illness has come close to home and sometimes you do have to force the issue of treatment when the person isn’t cognitively capable of thinking about it rationally.

    Now Need is one creepy thing. I noticed, over daughter’s shoulder that she learned and gained power once a sword. So, a death magic sourced vampire blade?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Silly thought: What do the Yamato call Companion energy? Perhaps Seiki? What might the Companion’s field be called in Yamato. Perhaps Seikigahara?

    Yeah, my Japanese is pretty much nil.


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