A Long Road Chapter 7 Ficbit – Disarming

Steel sang through the air, as Lan Wangji pressed the attack forward, and in. The disarm flicked at him; foreign style, unexpected-

But hard as it twisted his wrist he was a Lan, and his opponent only mortal. He held, point just touching where the Guard’s gambeson had a weak spot.

“Enough.” Alberich nodded to them both. “Well done. Disengage.”

The lady in Guard Blues pulled her blunted blade back, wincing. “You are insanely fast. And strong. I didn’t know anyone could be both of those.”

Lan Wangji gave Guard Dicte a formal bow, borrowed practice blade held sect-formal. “Spirits are as swift, and may have no body to slow them.”

“Truth, this is,” the retired Weaponsmaster agreed, pitching his voice to carry to all the advanced Guard students in the salle. “Fortunate, I am, that none such have I encountered in the field. Beyond fortunate, we all are, that Ancar more physical demons has favored. But.” That harsh gaze flicked over them all, commanding attention for what might save his students’ lives. “More blood mages, Ancar we know is seeking. Likely, it is, that some of them will other monsters call. How, then, shall we face them?”

:Without cultivation,: Kellen prompted, as Lan Wangji hesitated. :These are Guards Alberich trusts, that he trains to spread word and new techniques through the Guard and the Army. What will help them?:

Without cultivation. Difficult. “Salt and fire are the most sure ways to affect a spirit,” Lan Wangji answered. “If they become physical to attack, they can be struck in turn. For defense, if you trace a circle on the ground in salt or fire, most spirits will find it difficult to cross.” He paused, thinking of bits from old lectures and scrolls he’d read out of curiosity. But mostly in memory of a beloved voice, describing how rogue cultivators lived and died; what methods ordinary folk tried to ward evil away, what worked, and what might backfire horribly. “There are some herbs that can be used. I will ask an herb-Healer if you have them, or if they can be grown.”

Kellen nudged his mind.

:The rest is… difficult.:

His Companion was warm, but firm. :Which means they really need to know, Chosen.:

Lan Wangji sighed. “For some spirits, the most dangerous – you will need a Healer for defense. Or a Mindhealer.”

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32 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 7 Ficbit – Disarming

  1. Ouch. Allow possession, beat it over the head with willpower of steel? Allow possession, nearly kill the possessed? Or the ‘All medicines are poisons’ approach, just with energy manipulation?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. And the idea that a Healer needs to be your defence- be it a passive or aggressive defense probably depends on the healer in question- will probably be a mindbending concept.

      Don’t most cultures have healers take an oath against doing harm? Or that they at least be very disinclined toward it?

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Oof, it’s a fair bet that teaching non cultivatiors how to defends themselves from paranormal attack is not something that comes up often in the sects. There is so much nasty malicious things out there and Valdemar has no idea.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Another thing is that no one else has healers like Valdemar does. Even what the cultivators consider healing is different (and not open to everyone like Valdemar is)

    Honestly, I think the Healers would be more inclined to it then everyone else is comfortable with. Every Healer we’ve met in the series has been rather practical. And we’ve already seen one not only bodyguarding, but killing enemies as they needed to.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. If the vrondi only bother mages who are not in close proximity to Heralds – in theory Valdemar *could* (maybe) organize what we would think of as professional conference of mages. Depending on just how close that proximity needs to be. Hold it in Haven? – always Heralds around. Heralds peeled off from their regular duties to escort attendees from the border to Haven – which makes it look impractical (especially given the needs for Heralds in this war), but that would be weighed against potential benefit of getting a lot of the brains in one place, for quicker interaction. Hmmm.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s an option, once WWX shows up, assuming he says anything to anyone about nosy air elementals. (Need will speak up as soon as Elspeth returns with her, of course.) At the moment, sending a message via cultivation magic ought to be viable, assuming Lan Wangji can work with Kerowyn for any needed phrenic link to her former mages. Hardorn isn’t placed to intercept something going from Valdemar to Rethwellan, IIRC.

        But something I’m recalling is Kethry’s observation that ‘High Magick’ is often vulnerable to specific hedge magic tricks, assuming you match the trick to the exact spell/summons it counters. If Rethwellan’s mages can track who Ancar has recruited, they could make some informed guesses about what specific counters might be useful.

        Hulda’s a wildcard to this, of course, but Hulda withheld the bulk of her (Imperial) magical knowledge from Ancar, so locally-sourced unethical mages it is. At least unless she decides she needs to pull out magic that no one’s expected, anyway.

        -Albert

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Heck, as soon as anyone realizes that Kerowyn is the granddaughter of a legendary Adept, cultivator-fueled messages should be going out to whoever is living at the old tower, to ask for someone to check through the library for relevant knowledge.

      -Albert

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Other anthology stories make it clear that anyone with Mage-gift will be haunted by the vrondi unless they have an extremely personal connection with a Herald – to the point at least one person with the gift (who had no idea what was going on) was led out of Valdemar and effectively exiled because that was the only way the Companion said they could handle it. (That did not go over well with the exile.)

        Liked by 3 people

  4. I don’t think a healer’s oath to do no harm applies to spirits, or demons, or monsters. If you were a nurse and a rabid raccoon attacked your patient would you feel an obligation to stick to nonlethal defense?
    During the last couple of centuries of Western warfare, doctors could carry and use weapons to defend their patients or themselves.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. *nods*

        The tradition of medics *not* having weapons in Western situations (also other non-coms, like religious and local farmers who just wanted to take care of their fields) was basically an early form of identifying Lawful Combatants.

        It…sort of worked? Compared to what came before. (That church document that gets reported as “you can’t use crossbows” would be better summarized as “stop the freaking war-crimes already!”)

        But once it met up with too many opposing forces who don’t recognize non-coms, it got complicated. I think the US’s first kludge was to have someone with the medics to defend them.

        We just got a Dentist officially honored for WWII actions, because he picked up a gun (after killing multiple guys in unarmed combat) when the guys guarding the sick-tent were neutralized.
        Then the dentist single-handedly stopped the suicide waves of guys coming in to mass slaughter the wounded for long enough to evacuate those under his care.
        He didn’t make it.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. A quote from the link I gave about the Dentist.

        He sounds like one of your characters:

        Salomon saw his first attacker while working on a patient. The Japanese man emerged from the brush and began bayoneting wounded troops lined up for treatment. Salomon grabbed a rifle and shot the man down and tried to return to his patient.

        But two more attackers rushed through the front. Salomon clubbed both, then bayoneted one and shot the other before soldiers started to climb in under the tent walls. The dentist shot one, knifed one, bayoneted a third, and head-butted the fourth.

        Seeing that the situation was desperate and the hospital would be lost, he ordered the medics to assist the wounded in a withdrawal while he provided cover.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. This reminds me of the show mononoke and the medicine seller. That’s one of my favorite supernatural shows. The animation style looks like traditional paintings and the story is beautiful and powerful and keeps things mysterious.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. So, I’ve seen the first few episodes of the anime – in the past, Wen just shoved a river monster into Lan territory and called it good – and wow, Wei Wuxian is really committed to that ‘crouching moron, hidden badass’ routine of his. How much of that is deliberate, how much of that is ‘eat, drink, and be merry, for the tomorrow the beatings may resume’, how much of that is just his natural genius warring with learning to clown as a child, because that kept the abuse down (since it made him seem less of a threat to the sect heir’s position) . . .

    At double speed, it shouldn’t take long to get through the anime, then I can watch Untamed, then read the manga. It’ll be interesting to see how details diverge. It’s already helpful to know that Lan Wangji is being _poetically_ terse.

    I’m not looking forward to when the BL elements get overt, but I watched Shadow and Bone and enjoyed it aside from the Netflix-obligatory yaoi scene, same with Castlevania, so hopefully these ones prove just as skippable.

    -Albert

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah, if I didn’t already know that the netbook original was BL, the subtext in the anime (up through 8 now, five episodes at double speed is good for an hour of PT) would go completely over my head, it’s that downplayed.

        -Albert

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Having (just) watched most of Untamed and all of the available Anime, I would say that Untamed is actually pretty similar to the anime in that regard. Mainly because China has actual laws about what is allowed in the TV shows they film, specifically regarding no overtly yaoi content. So there is that! I was glad, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to that part either (just not really my cup of tea), but I felt like it is left open to interpretation instead of actively confirming it. I also have to say, this is one of the few oriental novels/anime/TV shows I have seen that the different story lines are all fun to read/watch separately without being really jarring in the differences. I would definitely recomend watching both anime and tv show if you can!

      Liked by 2 people

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