A Long Road Chapter 3 Ficbit – Eyes

Talia straightened, taking in just how tall Lan Wangji was. And those eyes, gold as a hawk’s. She’d never seen eyes like that on another human being. “I am Herald Talia, Monarch’s Own, Chosen of Rolan. This is Herald-Captain Kerowyn, Chosen of Sayvil. Who do we have the honor of addressing?”

Huaisang stood formally with a flicker of relief, something familiar. “Nie Huaisang, heir of QingheNie.”

“Lan Zhan, courtesy name Lan Wangji, second heir of GusuLan, Hanguang-jun,” Wangji hesitated. “Chosen of Kellen.”

“Nie Zonghui. First Disciple.” Short, to the point, with only the barest shift of the shoulders bearing paired sabers.

Hanguang-jun. Light-bearing Lord, Sayvil had passed along, adding that apparently some cultivators got stuck with titles the way Vanyel Demonsbane and Lavan Firestorm had, and he’d probably be happier if they just used his name. Or names, fine Kellen, they could stand a little rudeness….

Which in Talia’s wry opinion was solid proof Sayvil was just as diplomatic as her Chosen. As in, not. “I’m told courtesy names are polite, so that would be Nie Huaisang, Lan Wangji, and Nie Zonghui?”

A set of nods. Whew.

And then Lan Wangji’s brows lifted.

Ah. Talia remembered what it’d been like, thrown into the Palace and training and taking on the Royal Brat. It’d been a foreign land, even if she did speak the language. Any guide to what was right and wrong to do had been a relief. “In Court, Monarch’s Own would be appropriate,” Talia said gravely. “Herald Talia is always correct. I’m fine with just Talia, but people in formal settings might not approve.” She nodded at Kero. “She’s Herald-Captain Kerowyn; Herald Kerowyn less formally, or Weaponsmaster.”

Huaisang stiffened at that last, almost as if he wanted to sidle behind the other two.

Kero’s grin was all teeth. “Weaponsmaster’s only if we’re in the salle, or on the training grounds. We don’t usually see foreign nobles there.” She waved toward one of the Farms’ smaller buildings; almost a small cottage, meant for the Monarch’s family and exhausted Heralds to have a place to sit and talk away from the Palace. “Let’s put up your horses and get some hot drinks.”


29 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 3 Ficbit – Eyes

      1. Yeah, putting a diplomatic envoy into a grey area, discovering it gets worse due to his brother’s connections, discovering that culturally he will be bound to obey if his brother tells him to help Jin Guangyao, discovering an unacknowledged Lifebond… You’re right. We haven’t even gotten to the necromancer on the other end of that yet.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Niè Huaisang has a Very Visceral reaction to a Weapons-master, and that is ‘hide!’ As a side note, I thought Alberich was still the Weaponsmaster? Or are we experiencing another translation error? But, wait, now I’m remembering that Kero is the one in the training ring in the Storm books.

    And for the cultivators, the formality and the titles are probably very comforting. Especially after the Heralds exemplified how to introduce themselves. It means a lot to have a guide.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Alberich still does a bunch of the specialty-type training, but yes Kero is the primary Weaponsmaster as of the start of the Storm trilogy. I think Alberich was still technically Weaponsmaster for most of the Winds trilogy, with Kero as his assistant.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Not wrong on NHS. *Amused*

      From my reread of Winds of Fate, Kero was primary Weaponsmaster then, Alberich was retired. Mind, from the Exile books, “retired” generally just means “too battered up by combat to be chasing students around the ring all day”, not “doesn’t help at all”. He’s probably still training people in shorter sessions and for specialized stuff – which is how I plan to write him in-story. He’ll likely be very interested once stuff comes out about spiritual weapons.

      Oh yes, proper courtesy is indeed comforting. It’s nerve-wracking enough to be in a foreign culture speaking a different language all day, the last thing you want to do is insult someone by accident!

      (Nie Huaisang and Lan Wangji like to insult people on purpose, thank you very much.)

      Liked by 4 people

      1. (Nie Huaisang and Lan Wangji like to insult people on purpose, thank you very much.)

        And it just won’t have the proper effect if it’s mixed up with accidental ones.

        Liked by 6 people

      1. Well, Kero does have a clan of Shin’a’in who might want to marry out, if he wants to put up with the horses. And remember, the Shin’a’in did use magic on their horses. It’s implied that the Pelagirs was involved, but the Shin’a’in horses are smarter and do not have a herd mentality. Oh no, it’s a pack mentality. I’d have to dig through the series again for more information though. It’s part of what makes them valuable, because if you give them an order, the horse will intelligently obey it long after any other horse will have forgotten it. And the, I believe short story, where Tarma and Kethry are hired by the Ashkevron to please help with the horse training. The entire Ashkevron estate was convinced the pair worked literal magic to get things under control. Tarma and Kethry’s mares were used to train a gelding that didn’t used to be, by squeezing him between them so he couldn’t move. He was quite offended. (No, the mares did not have riders on them.) Been ages since I read that story, so I can’t tell you what anthology it’s from.

        Oh shoot, it’s going to be a little awkward for Wei Wuxian when Elspeth gets back. I just thought of the kyree. They may have the bodies of big cats, but their heads and tails are wolf.

      2. Technically the Kaled’a’in used the magic; the faction that became Shin’a’in gave it up except for shamans, anyone born Gifted has to become either a shaman or get sent to the Tayledras. And that’s one of 2 reasons why the cultivators haven’t considered them as options. (The other being that cultivators don’t live in tents, and nomads aren’t happy in walls, so.)

        As for Wei Wuxian… hopefully some Mindhealers will have gotten to him before the kyree do, or there’s going to be a lot of screaming.

        Mind, canon, I don’t think Wei Wuxian has ever hurt a dog that wasn’t actively attacking him. He just tries to get away.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Kohakuryu the anthology you are thinking of is Oathblood. An entire set of short stories specifically about Tarma and Kethry.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. lols, NHS visceral reaction to the word ‘weaponsmaster’! XD

    I love Talia’s gentle understanding and accomodation there with the explaination of what’s considered polite and proper forms of address. It’s less nuanced than in their language here in Valdemar, and slips are gonna be a lot less dire as no one who truly matters will care if they use a slightly less proper form than is required, but knowing that is half the battle.

    Wonder what hot drinks will be. Herbal tea maybe. Cider (non alcoholic) is also a possibility iirc? Lots of apple products in Valdemar. Also looooots of mildly alcoholic drinks, in true tradition of fantasy worlds that are sorta kinda set in a medieval era. Which, well, I do hope someone warns LWJ? XD

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Given how much Heralds like to party when they can, they’re probably gonna be collectively, hilariously, baffled by the way LWJ (and other Lans? Do we ever get told if that’s a clan wide reaction, or a LWJ special?) reacts to even a mouthful of hard liquor. Also, once the funny wears off, worried. I wonder if the healers might be able to help with that? Because it’s a pretty big liability as it is. One drink and he’s out and then erratic? And he doesn’t remember anything the next day? Blackouts can be VERY convenient for the wrong sorts.

        WWX is probably gonna fit right in once the Big Drama passes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Especially if he assumes it’s merely an oddly spice fruit drink, not something to be avoided. If he hasn’t warned Kellen about his need to avoid alcohol, Kellen may not see a need to alert him that this particular beverage isn’t as innocent as it seems.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Humans have been making alcohol out of absolutely anything we can forever, and his region does have apples. Though the Valdemar version should be uniquely spiced/flavored though? Hmmm, and, thinking on it, as a Lan (everyone seems to know they don’t drink alcohol) he might not have interacted with enough alcohol types to be able to differentiate well, especially if he has the non-alcoholic version first.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Kellan has probably been warned about the alcohol, but from the standpoint of a basically religious prohibition. I don’t think Sizhui ever drinks alcohol in canon, but I do see a lot of things with the premise that the reason for the rule is that the reaction is a clan wide thing.

        The real interesting thing will be the Niè throwing themselves between the alcohol and Lan Wangji. Niè Huaisang was there for Lan Wangji’s drinking, after all!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Here have two examples of the Twin Jades of Lan drunken shenanigans

        (From the chibi series and the audio drama respectively)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’d like the first two chapters very very much, and look forward to a third chapter. This looks like a good start with everyone meeting in peace and exchanging names. Also Talia just reeks “harmless”. “peaceful” They can ask basic questions and get answers with Kellen vouching for the truth in the conversation.
    I think with WWX on his way they need a basic understanding of each other fast.

    Liked by 1 person

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