Sweeten Ch2 bit – Consequences

“It did not matter in Aragane, but Lady Ayame is not only bushi,” Kurusu stated. “She is noble. That brings responsibilities. And consequences.”

“Consequences?” Mumei crossed her arms, skeptical. “Nobles do what they want. Until the Kabane eat them.”

“No, they do not.” Although Kurusu knew he would be lying if he said he’d never once wondered about Lord Kensho’s actions that horrid night. For their lord’s body to have faced them on the tracks, Ayame’s father must have been bitten not long after he’d left the manor; and how could half their force of bushi have failed so horribly?

We’ve mourned the dead. We must fight on with the living.

“You said once that Lady Ayame was not one skilled in war.” Kurusu eyed Mumei. “It was true, though we work to remedy that. But she was trained to lead. And in a time of war, when every day we face the Kabane to win our survival… we need many voices. We need all your thoughts, so we find tactics none of us might think of alone. But we must have one leader.”

Odd, to see Mumei frown while Ikoma nodded. But then, she’d been betrayed by a leader already.

“And that leader,” Kurusu said bluntly, “is not Dogen. No matter how much he assumes it is his right.”

That had their eyes on him, sharp as honed blades.

Kabane strength and a human mind. No; I will not turn such guardians away.

Ikoma let out a slow breath. “He said he wouldn’t try to take the master key.”

“He has not,” Kurusu agreed. “But there is more than one way to slaughter a lord’s honor. Already Lady Ayame has had to overrule him, in what we will do should we encounter another Hayajiro.” That irked him; even more because Dogen had so politely told them Lady Ayame was in command only hours before. “It would seem he heard our stories of the Fusojou’s assault on Aragane, but did not listen.”

“The whistles.” Ikoma blanched. “You think a Wazatori might have decoded the yielding whistles.”

“We would be fools to assume one has not.”

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24 thoughts on “Sweeten Ch2 bit – Consequences

  1. dogen wasn’t even briefed on the Wazatori-i think only those who were With Biba know of them. there is a chance Dogen will show better behaviour once the threat and its nature sinks in, and he gets to learn more about the veriants-like Wazatori or fused colonies…

    Though im all but certain that some of his own Bushi/elders will ask why he has not taken command, maybe with plots…

    would be quite the wway for Kangokaku to learn of Kabaneri in the aftermath of a failed attempt by their Bushi to replace Ayame with Dogen.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. looks like he got told that Fusojou was what took Argane, but it didn’t quite click what they meant when Ayame told him this, or thought it was a one off, while the Wazatori’s existance told Koutetsujou – or Ayame/the bushi – that Fusojou had been taken for a while and were actually driving the train, while Dogen probally thinks that the train had just been taken and just hadn’t derailed yet.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Very, very possible. One problem here is mentioning the Wazatori becomes tricky – how do you explain how nasty the darn things are without explaining how they were beaten?

        Dogen’s not exactly helping by telling them there are things he doesn’t want to know.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. He may not have gotten all the details on Wazatori yet, but they did tell him the Kabane were running the train to crash into Aragane. Ayame and co. probably think they mentioned the whistles. It’s possible they didn’t directly, simply because everyone in Aragane would know about whistle-signals to allow entry of a Hayajiro. It’s possible that not everyone in Kongokaku does. Though Dogen should!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. whether he should figure it out on himself or not, i think the more important is how were he to behave after proper, detailed debrief.

    the entire situation is particularly out of context for those of Kongokaku-who never thought the Kabane would reach them.

    asuming he didn’t know any of the details he wasn’t told yet is the prudent behavior, i think.

    I am not blaming anyone, but i do think that the assumptions he should have figured out such details without being told are misplaced here.

    its his reactions and conclusions on what he was explicitly told that we should observe and judge, IMHO.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They may well be misplaced, even in-story. Remember most of these characters have been running for their lives for almost three weeks! Everyone who’s anywhere near Aragane’s leadership group is probably hashing and rehashing exactly what happened that horrible night over and over again, to the point they probably aren’t clear at all what they’ve told these people they just picked up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not to mention that Dogen’s mind has also survived the sometimes mind-shattering stresses of the initial outbreak. That may have been Somme really bad time. 😀 He knows first hand that stress can do funny things to your head, and that hearsay early on does not necessarily get substantiated when you have gotten more of a handle on things.

        That’ll color how you weight things in your head, which is both hard to control and alters how far your imagination goes. Especially given that he should have extensive first hand evidence for the accepted wisdom about Kabane.

        Plus, some of his information gatherers are innocent of both the initial outbreak and of the train ride’s little slice of hell. Dogen, being someone who got through the initial outbreak apparently sane, may have a flexible enough mind that he will be invaluable once he sees things first hand. Ayame can not be replaced as far as the train goes, but the train is ultimately doomed unless it can pass certain lessons on to the rest of society. Dogen may be pretty important for that, in the long term.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. A thought occurs to me just now, regarding the potential “scandal” of a sword-carrying Ikoma, from back in Chapter 1:

    IIRC, historically only samurai and the nobility were legally allowed to carry katana – though shorter blades such as wakizashi could be also worn by the chōnin class (craftsmen and merchants) as well.

    My thought here, is about just how specific the wording of that law actually is. Could a tsurugi (a double-edged straight sword, as opposed to the katana’s single-edged curve) potentially be exempt from that?

    (A bit more specifically, I’m thinking of something roughly along the lines of the ancient Chinese jian: a shorter but broader blade, a hilt, a pommel, and little if anything else. Utilitarian. Something that the Kongoukaku station-folk can sneer at as inelegant, something that a lowly steamsmith would come up with trying to emulate a bushi, distracting themselves from the fact that it nonetheless works exactly as advertised.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. >
      Something that the Kongoukaku station-folk can sneer at as inelegant, something that a lowly steamsmith would come up with trying to emulate a bushi, distracting themselves from the fact that it nonetheless works exactly as advertised.)
      >
      Doesn’t matter what he’s using, it was specifically mentioned in-story that Kurusu is going to teaching him kenjutsu. And considering how cramped the train is, they can’t hide that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s kinda the whole point; they’re not even going to TRY to hide it.

        The whole point of making Ikoma’s training public (besides the fact that he needs to learn, anyway) is to distract the Kongoukaku’s attentions away from the existence of Kabaneri – if they’re too busy being outraged and scandalized, then they’ll also be too busy to even think about asking certain awkward questions.

        This whole idea is meant to add an extra layer of “scandal” to that. Bad enough that a STEAMSMITH is even learning kenjutsu at all, but he can’t even muster up the etiquette to use a proper sword? Truly, Aragane Station must be completely hopeless, that they’d be so ill-mannered as that!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Nobody plans for Ikoma to be carrying a sword. Just to know how to use on in case of an emergency. Also, a lot of kenjutsu also incorporates hand-to-hand techniques. For a regular bushi against the Kabane, that’d be suicide. For Ikoma? That could be very useful, indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The problem may not be so much Dogen attempting to usurp Ayame’s authority/position, but his subordinates acting “in accordance to their Lords ‘natural’ right and duty to assume authority”. Japanese society often works according to things that are implied, or assumed to be implied, but not outright stated. Also the avoidance of outright public confrontations.

    Dogen publicly/openly agreeing that Ayame is the “Lord” of the Hayajiro in no way means that his subordinates don’t assume/believe that that statement isn’t simply for public consumption/saving face (to keep the peons quiet), and that it’s THEIR duty to arrange for the “orderly transfer of power to where it should be”, whereupon Ayame would (of course) gracefully defer to her uncle to take up the burden of leadership.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean Dogen would approve, or that he has no confidence in Ayame, but his followers would be fulfilling their role in society to insulate their lord from failure, loss of face, dishonor- depending on circumstances, he is then free to disavow their actions, leaving them to face the consequences.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Exactly. Kurusu and the others are trying their best to head off the assumptions, at least long enough to get potential trouble out of their hair.

      …Partly to keep said trouble alive. Because after that last mess with someone else trying to take power in the Hayajiro? Pushing Ayame aside would probably spark a riot.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. In addition to maybe having their wires crossed on what exactly they have told people like Dogen, there is the added factor that he and/or other people might not believe it even through they were told.

    Because mindless Kabane that will eat you and/or turn you into an undead monster is frightening. The idea that they can combine into one big one and rampage is equally pants-wettingly terrifying. The idea that Kabane might not be entirely mindless – that they are learn and plan even to a limited degree – is beyond scary.

    Especially if you continue on that nightmare fuel track and start to wonder if the people who turned into Kabane are still aware, part of them is still there – just enough to for the learning / planning thing – trapped in an undead body they cannot control.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think they can either but fear isn’t always rational.

        It can be rational. After all, there is nothing irrational about being afraid of someone or something that can hurt you or has hurt you in the past. A little fear can keep you alive.

        A lot of fear can be dangerous. A lot of fear can blossom into panic.

        And something doesn’t have to be real or true to frightened someone – they just have to believe that it is real or possible. And the people here are already frightened.

        Terrifying beyond the capacity for rational thought.

        Most definetely.

        And I think a lot of people in these characters situation would like to have a proton pack. It would probably work on zombies . . .

        Liked by 1 person

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