A Long Road Chapter 8 Ficbit – Drama

Alberich kept his face perfectly straight, as the others started and yelped over each other. Let the young man have his moment of drama.

Besides. It was so rare that he got to see Herald-Captain Kerowyn gape like a stuffed fish.

He’s the one who broke the Wens out-? What the-?”

“How did-?”

“Young man, why would anyone-?”

“Quiet.” Talia drew herself up to all her slight stature, leveling a fierce gaze at anyone still babbling. Turned that sternness on Lan Wangji. “You realize this makes it far more likely that the Jin’s story of what happened to those horrible arrays is true. The Wen from that prison camp might not have the strength to use the puppet curse, but Wei Wuxian obviously does.”

Lan Wangji bowed to her, hands circled. “Monarch’s Own. I pray that he does.”

Talia opened her mouth. Closed it. Breathed out, long and deliberate. “Please explain.”

“Wei Wuxian has never attacked a civilian.” Lan Wangji lifted his gaze, sought them all. “Nor a child, nor any woman bearing child. On the fiercest battlefield, the spirits he controlled herded innocents away. What little time we had apart from the fighting, Wei Wuxian devoted to unraveling the puppet curse. He wished to end it. He prayed there would come a day he could break it, and leave the victims alive.”

Talia set her jaw, every inch the Queen’s most trusted advisor. “You believe if Wei Wuxian had the arrays, they would be safe.”

Lan Wangji nodded once, as if making report to a battlefield senior. Though this battlefield was politics. “He would use them to find a counter. To spread that counter to every sect and rogue cultivator he could.”

“He might.” Kerowyn had her arms crossed, fingers of her left hand tapping thoughtfully against leather. “He just might.”

“A necromancer,” Dirk started.

“Horrible undead magic-user, enemy of Valdemar in all the legends, I know. But.” Tapping fingers stopped. “From what we’ve seen, not an idiot.”

38 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 8 Ficbit – Drama

  1. /“From what we’ve seen, not an idiot.”/
    -Elsewhere-
    WWX: “Oooh, this looks interesting. I’m gonna go poke it.”
    Wen Ning: “Master Wei, no.”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. That’s not actually an idiot, though. That’s merely “too curious for his own good”.

        Not to mention that he’s not irresponsible enough to start poking while squishy civilians are still in range — he’ll at least get them out of the potential blast radius, first.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I sincerely hope Wei Ying has all those notes but based on cannon I have a horrible feeling he has some of them and the Jin have the rest mostly because of Xue Yang’s whole existence. Arhg he was bad enough with demonic cultivation he does not need blood magic on top that to be a sadist.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Wen Qing to Wei Wuxian: You can have the notes after you have eaten a reasonable amount, and I will confiscate them when it is time to go to sleep.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. *Rueful* Wei Wuxian would actually disagree with you, at least at some points in his life. He doesn’t exactly regret driving Wen Chao insane before killing him… but with a few years’ distance, he probably would have rather just killed him straight-up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On the other hand, taking extreme filial revenge for his parents’ best friend likely made Jin think carefully about how hard they could push Jiang in their time of weakness.

        East Asian cultures don’t need 1984 to come up with the idea of the guy in power stomping on the necks of those in worse positions to reinforce the bluff that he’s in charge ‘by nature’: It shows up in their fiction on its own, I assume there’s real-world custom behind it.

        -Albert

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Lovely fic bit!!! (I say, not having been able to get the time to read ch 7 yet. Maybe while i’m waiting at the doctors office today? One can hope!)

    Their reaction isn’t WRONG per se, because you’ve pointed out before that WWX is the first person recorded in this part of the world that has figured out non-evil necromancy, right? If historical and personal (Kero’s) anecdotes about people that mess with the dead are all BAD, it’s easy to understand extreme caution.

    And they aren’t immediately going ‘kill with fire!’ because stopping and /thinking/ and doing their best to make a good decision is what heralds are all about (with varying degrees of success there because they are people, lols)

    After he shows up, and they maybe have a chance to realize he’s got the Ghost Speech gift or whatever they officially call it, they might feel better about what he’s doing. It’s always easier when you can understand some of what a thing is after all. (Also, I don’t know if it’ll happen, but I imagine WWX will be VERY interested in meeting other people with Ghost Speech? Like, someone who could help him with better shields for it? His do work and all, but being self taught in the middle of a pit of zombies can’t make for the best ones?)

    The not an idiot part got a giggle, just because WOW is that a subjective thing with WWX! XD

    Liked by 4 people

    1. it’s easy to understand extreme caution.

      And they aren’t immediately going ‘kill with fire!’

      That’s a good point. They’re understandably alarmed — but they are listening.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. *G* It does indeed.

        Though that also gives Kero even more reason to be wary. Idra came back through the use of an ancient spell and the energy of the anger from about 500 present and former Sunhawks. (So yes, precedent for resentful energy use too!)

        Wei Wuxian does it with a flute and an Attitude. *G*

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I thought you very carefully set it up so Kero *didn’t* have to eat her words about the necromancer?
        The way she said it sounded like “this is the ‘everyone knows’ stuff, that we have to examine”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Five Heralds. Alberich stayed silent. Talia’s first utterance after the mic-drop was “Quiet!” (right?)

    Obviously Elcarth was the “Young man …”

    So I’m guessing “He’s the one …” was Kero and “How did …” was Dirk.

    I would have expected that Kero would have also been silent during that first stretch. Given that her training and experience includes scouting – which includes sneaking, meaning you stomp on your impulse to make noise when you are surprised or startled. And also given that she has been a battlefield commander – for which it is a benefit to pause rather than make “random” exclamations. 😉 I guess she must be REALLY flustered?!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “The Wen from that prison camp might not have the strength to use the puppet curse, but Wei Wuxian obviously does.”

    How much “fiddling” does WWX need to do in order to use resentful energy for things other cultivators “fuel” from their golden core?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a good question. At the beginning he needed a lot. By the time he’s resurrected in canon, he apparently has it nailed. So… it’s likely at this point, which is after he’s had a couple years to calm down from Sunshot and before everything went completely to hell with the Qiongqi Pass ambush, he’s got it well figured out.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I feel like Skif and Wei Wuxian have a lot in common personality-wise and that if he was there Lan Wangji would have someone to point to as being like the really frightening necromancer. That would either calm everyone right down or terrify them with ideas of what Skif with necromancer powers would be like.

    Black Angel

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Honestly, I read it as more Kero pointing out that that’s how Valdemar sees them. And to be fair, there is just a tiny, tiny bit of difference from “Ghosts of those who swore themselves to the gods in life, come back(and note by this point, she’s thinking “Grandma Tarma” in there, and maybe Warryl? Did we ever get what happened to Warryl? I assume he stuck around too if Tarma is, given she (might?) have showed up in Mage Winds as scary ghost person) It would probably reassure her if she realizes that most of them were convinced, not ordered.

    Also, Idra was specifically called back as part of the Oathbreaker spell/rite. There’s a lot of decent precautions in that(though given they couldn’t find a mage to call it on Ancar, annoying). Though yep, Necromancy!

    However, I’m really loving how Albrerich is paying attention to all this. Especially since he knows what he would be willing to do in the situation, and what he would not.

    And now I’m amused at the thought of Skif with Necromancy, but definitely terrifying. He’s got a lot of potential darkness lurking there. Also, Lifebonded not quite yet at this point, I believe. That’s going to be an interesting thing(Also, Mage Winds is where I think Lackey kind of started poking at what it’s for.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have it confirmed that Warrl went along with Tarma, and as of Mage Storms she’s among the spirit-Kal’enedral.

      And I’m going with the definition of lifebonds as they were illustrated in Last Herald-Mage and more defined in Mage Winds: they tend to happen when someone with strong Gifts and a tendency to depression meets a good, compatible person who can support them and is more emotionally stable.

      In this pair, I’m firmly on the side of, WWX is the stable one….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Which reminds me delightfully of that one post floating around tumblr pointing out that in a Star Wars crossover, LWJ might look like the paragon Jedi and WWX is already rocking the Sith wardrobe, but emotionally speaking the average garden rock is more likely to Fall than WWX is and LWJ is holding onto his serenity by his fingernails.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Which doesn’t mean WWX doesn’t have his share of trauma or couldn’t use a therapist (considering his self worth), even the most stable person can use some help sometimes, just that he deals with it differently.

        Liked by 1 person

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