A Long Road Chapter 7 Ficbit – Sun in Glory

Too soon the sparring was over, and he followed the older swordsman through a door half-hidden in the paneling. “My rooms, these remain, even retired,” Alberich stated, poking up the fire burning on the hearth of a small sitting room. “Oversee and assist training, I still can, if not spar for long hours. And Herald-Captain Kerowyn her own larger quarters prefers, where she her Skybolts can receive reports from and plot Valdemar’s defense… eh?”

Lan Wangji raised a hand near, but not touching, stained glass; gold and blues that formed a brilliant rising sun with suggestions of a human face. The energy about the window was calm; not as strong as the cold springs of the Cloud Recesses, but surely as deep as their clear mountain streams. “If a demon were to attack, you should face it here. The glass is charged with spiritual energy. It would protect you.” He paused, and shook his head. “I have not often seen protective energy worked into glass. I would like to meet its creator.”

“Master Cuelin, of the Glassworkers’ Guild,” Alberich obliged, thoughtful. “Retired, he is as well; but still teaching.” A scarred brow rose. “A Sun in Glory, it is. Symbol of Vkandis. A good friend through many winters, and a comfort in this land far from my birth. Tisane, would you have?”

Lan Wangji inclined his head. “My thanks.” He cupped the mug in both hands as they sat; the blue glaze was not as fine as porcelain, but the cup itself was a solid artisan’s work. And the herbs were – different, from those normally served in Haven.

“A blend from Karse,” Alberich offered after his first, tentative sip. “Taking shameless advantage of our lands’ truce, I am.”

It wasn’t true tea. But it had its own warmth, and a green sweetness. “The scent of home is not easily forgotten.”

“Heralds to Valdemar are loyal, but Valdemar does not demand we forget all else. Many peoples we are, but one kingdom.” Alberich drank deep. “Something of Gusu, then, you would wish here?”

Gusu, he had said. Not the Jianghu. At least this Elder understood there was a difference.


33 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 7 Ficbit – Sun in Glory

    1. The energies of Vkandis are likely a sharp contrast to the ‘righteous’ (read: respectable) tyranny of Wen Ruohan.

      I have to wonder if Valdemar will catch that the word translated as ‘righteous’ is more like ‘of proper reputation’ than ‘morally correct’.


      Liked by 4 people

  1. I thought LWJ and Alberich would get along. Alberich is an elder, a principled,honorable, skilled man, and knows what it’s like to adjust to a foreign culture.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh, I like this! LWJ definitely needed to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to be from somewhere else yet Chosen by Valdemar. And poor LWJ’s homesick! No matter how pissed he is at the Jianghu at the moment, Gusu is still home. I cannot even imagine how much he needed to have the Heralds around him right now.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Oh, it’s always nice to find someone who can talk to you. Even if it’s in a second language for both of you. But Alberich and Kero are going to be the ones who get Lan Wangji the most I think. Because they were Chosen as Outland adults, they had to adjust to a new culture that had Expectations. And they’ve been on some very bloody battlefields, having been wielded as weapons by people they didn’t like but had to obey.

    Heck, Kero is also going to be a balm for Wei Wuxian. She’s going to understand doing what’s right and loosing everything. She did eventually get the Skybolts back, but she never expected it.

    Still. Lan Wangji needs elders that can help him talk through some very thorny issues. And Alberich is actually perfect. Because he is Karsite, he was Chosen while the Valdemar/Karsite dispute was still going strong, but Valdemar found a place for him to be able to be useful and needed that did not put him against Karse, that did not even contain the possibility of him having to fight Karse. Alberich is proof that Valdemar will do their best to never ask him to betray former loyalties. As a country, they can make no promises about idiots and fools. Mostly because idiots and fools are remarkably ingenious at getting around measures out in place for their own safety.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Also, being silly keeps the sect heir’s mother’s hatred down to beatings, rather than deciding to have you killed for being a prodigy who completely outclasses her offspring.

        Heck, the fact that Wei Wuxian wasn’t betrothed to Jiang Yanli, the oldest of the sect leader’s offspring . . . that probably fueled the rumors that WWX was really Jiang Fengmien’s bastard. Since they arose (or at least grew stronger) after everyone knew, despite Wen propaganda, who killed the divine abomination. But Yu Ziyuan was always as vicious as a fierce corpse towards him. Didn’t help that WWX was the son of the woman her husband had yearned for. (Jiang may have originated from pirates. Jiang Cheng’s attitude problems, however, seem to come from his mother’s influence.)

        Gotta wonder if anyone will draw parallels to Selany’s first husband dying in a ‘hunting accident’ and WWX’s parents dying in a ‘night hunt’. Because if Madam Yu hadn’t died during the burning of Lotus Pier, I can see Alberich wondering if WWX feels the need for filial revenge against her as well.


        -Finished the anime. They cut out quite a bit, didn’t they?

        Liked by 3 people

      2. There’s a third season coming out soon.

        I agreed that Jiang Cheng seems to have inherited his attitude and a lot of his problems from his mother. But sorry as I feel for him for that, he made a lot of his own lousy decisions as well.

        Canon, after his “duel” with Wei Wuxian, he’s the guy who first declared Wei Wuxian an enemy to all the cultivation world. He didn’t have to go that far.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. So, IIRC, only YZY says that WWX is JFM’s bastard. The only time it comes up is when YZY is losing her mind at JFM post-murder turtle. It never comes up after that. And the closest we come pre-murder turtle was in CR when JZX (the son of YZY’s best friend) saying that JFM treats WWX better than JC, and even then he sounds skeptical! He ends the sentence with “or something” after all. So it doesn’t seem to be a widespread rumor, or a widely believed one.

        And WWX wasn’t betrothed to JYL for a few reasons: JYL was already engaged to JZX (it sounds like the arrangement was created when they were infants) before WWX arrived; WWX is an orphan son of a servant, with low social status, and JYL is the daughter of the leader of a Great Sect (the only daughter of the Great Sects), meaning that there are many, many marriages she could make that are far more advantageous and suitable than WWX; and YZY hates him and JFM doesn’t really care about WWX past being a memorial for his dead friends, so they wouldn’t bother engaging WWX to anyone, much less JYL.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. IIRC YZY is also the only source we have that JFM ever even liked WWX’s mother as anything but a friend.

        And the only “favoritism” that JFM can be said to have shown WWX over JC is either a) prioritizing a terrified child’s trauma over a healthy and privileged child’s pets or b) praising a genius teenager who literally sacrificed himself to save dozens of lives and pulled off a miracle to survive and offering a very mild rebuke to another teenager who literally said they should have left other people to die. And honestly neither of those are favoritism.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. If Lotus Pier hadn’t burned, we don’t know what would have gone down with Jiang family politics. But WWX was revealed as a prodigy on par with Lan Wangji (him being a genius on top of that wasn’t obvious until he made resentful cultivation work), because Xuanwu of Slaughter. Jiang Yanli was at the time uninterested in her Jin fiance, who had insulted her to WWX’s face. As the eldest, she was due consideration as a potential sect leader, if she wasn’t going to be marrying out of the family.

        Dunno if the author would agree, but Madam Yu had to have been worried that an obvious way to strengthen Jiang’s leading family would be to have JYL inherit and WWX sire strong children on her. Relegating YZY’s boy to a cadet branch of the family. And Jiang Yanli not only doted on Wei Wuxian, he clearly cared deeply for her (something Madam Yu didn’t get to have in her marriage, so why should her daughter?), plus she was about the only person who could rein him in when he was doing something crazy.

        It’ll be interesting to see how the other versions present everything: The anime clearly cut content for time. But even without concubines, the Jiang family dynamics were a powderkeg of people having reason to want other people dead.


        Liked by 3 people

      6. Kero WWX
        Margaret Houlihan Hawkeye Pierce. 😀

        Of course, once Hawkeye grew up a little and Margaret learned how to separate style from substance, they got along much better.

        As I once said about a different fictional character of a similar mien, “When X *stops* kidding around, either Very Bad Things have happened, or are *about* to happen.”

        Had another podcast binge today, courtesy of the airlines. And ran into a new miniseries from Freakonomics Radio that immediately made me think of the impending cross-cultural trainwreck in this story (and Vathara’s tendency to feature cross-cultural communication issues in several stories). The new series is all about the study of Cross-Cultural Psychology, with a particular focus on just *why* the USA is so weird (also W.E.I.R.D., yes, they made an acronym for it) compared to the rest of the world (a topic that’s come in the comments threads here more than once in the past few months). Uses some immigrant and expatriate POVs to get a different angle on things. Really quantifies some of the “water” that we “fish” normally aren’t even aware we’re swimming in.

        One of the points that jumped out at me is that “tight” cultures, with strong conformity rules and “know your place” attitudes, strongly correlate with cultures that are under persistent threat. Sound like the Sect lands? Also, *cultural* differences appear to have real effects on things as basic as *visual cognition*, like falling for certain optical illusions. Which threw *me* for a loop.

        Worth mentioning for Vathara’s Research Bibliography: “Rule Makers, Rule Breakers” by Michele Gelfand, who featured prominently in this episode: https://freakonomics.com/podcast/american-culture-1/

        Liked by 4 people

      7. To Reply to Albert:

        After rewatching Untamed, my personal plot bunnies grabbed the supposed friendship of the Sect Leader with WWX’s mom, rumors mentioned about Madam Yu forcing the Sect leader to marry her with her Family’s Power and Influance, and the Sect Leader knowing about WWX before finding him on the street and produced a headcannon that Sect Leader might have been in love or like with WWX’s mom, (We don’t know anything about Her feelings towards him, but she married someone else so…) and she was a Rouge Cultivator, thus unworthy of a future Sect Leader. Madam Yu fell in love with Sect Leader while he liked/loved WWX’s Mom, she was jealous or loved him too much to let him go, forced him to marry her and neither were Happy after that. Because Madam Yu knew he didn’t love her and hated him for it, but couldn’t let him go either. It makes the whole situation in Untamed make a little more sense. Because Sect Leader probably fell a little in love with her over the years, but still hated that he was forced into marrying her, and she is so resistant to talking about it that they couldn’t get anywhere. Then WWX showed up and Reminded her of the other woman, which made her hate WWX. And WWX gave a perfectly good reason to his brother about why the Sect Leader cut him some slack: he is the son of a friend/subordinate and his adopted brother is the future Sect leader. The Sect Leader can afford to be less harsh with WWX. And it definitely didn’t help the situation that WWX is a freaking Genius, so Madam Yu would only hate him more for being better than her son. And then he doesn’t stop speaking up and “offending” people and things just snowballed.

        But that is my personal headcannon to make the whole situation make more sense. It actually kinda fits, especially with what happened when the Lotus Peir was attacked in Untamed. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      8. A possible reading of canon. Another possible read is that Madam Yu may never have forgiven Cangse Sanren for stealing Wei Changze – who was the first disciple of Lotus Pier at that time, and apparently just as much of a genius as his son,

        Liked by 1 person

      9. CSSR was actually a highly sought after bride by all of the sects. She was a student of BSSR, an immortal, after all. Her running off with WCZ was seen as sort of an insult, actually. She had her pick of sect heirs, and choose the servant over them. This is all relatively minor subtext, given we know pretty much nothing about them, but it is there.

        Liked by 2 people

      10. To Reply to Crossoverchaos’s response to my headconnon, is that info in the novel? I don’t remember hearing anything much about WWX’s Father aside from maybe his name in the anime or the Untamed. Unless I somehow missed a anime episode, which wouldn’t surprise me…

        Liked by 1 person

      11. It doesn’t come up in the anime or the Untamed. It is in the novel. Apparently Wei Wuxian took after his mother in looks and his father in inventiveness… which means the Jiang Sect took a big hit in magical power when Cangse spirited him off. And also means Madam Yu had reasons to both want WWX under her thumb and despise him as his parents’ son. Ugh.

        Liked by 2 people

      12. And I apologize hugely for not spelling your name right, Crossovercreativechaos!! T_T my typing skills were severely lacking in my prior post and my phone autocorrected on a few words without me noticing!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Awwww, I just love how these two talk to each other already!! And Albrich being the one who realizes that Lan Wangji would think more of his specific home then the country as a whole… I think I am really going to enjoy this conversation. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Gah… there were supposed to be double-ended arrows between “Kero” and “WWX,” as well as “Margaret” and “Hawkeye.” WordPress apparently took my text for formatting codes….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a question that is probably answered in the chapter: Did Master Cuelin actually manage to infuse protective spiritual energy into that Sun in Glory (I presume he would have done it by intuition)? Or was the protective spiritual energy put into the glasswork by a spiritual entity?

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Devout to the point where, IIRC, Vkandis was essentially saying, “Now son, don’t get a swelled head about this, but I gave the current Son of Sun the opportunity to clean up that mess because you thought the country was still worth salvaging.”


        Liked by 3 people

      2. His options for formal worship are also few. Father Gerichen is probably one of the first Sunpriests he’d met outside his village that was honestly more interested in the welfare of his flock then political intrigue and witch burning. To be fair, being apolitical didn’t seem like an option purely on a survival level in the priesthood of Karse. Of course, I’ve also just binged on some Cursed Winter so that might just be Sunhaven.

        Liked by 3 people

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