A Long Road Chapter 12 Ficbit – Reason For Insomnia

There are evil ghosts who hate Heralds. Ice skittered down her spine. I don’t think I’ll sleep well tonight.

For more reasons than one. Wen Qionglin and Wei Wuxian were bound. He had to feel how much it had hurt Wei Wuxian to leave Lan Wangji behind. Yet they’d still done it. And beyond that…. “It might be safer if you vanished,” Talia said sharply. “More practical. If Valdemar looked at the world as just politics and advantages. We don’t.”

Yes, Valdemar was a kingdom like other kingdoms, dealing with alliances and the cold calculations of what nations they could trust, which would always be enemies, and how to balance those in between. But King Valdemar had founded Haven to save his people from evil. How could they abandon others who’d escaped it, and come so far on their own?

Calm. Stay calm. Talia breathed out, and deliberately met their eyes. “Give me some time. A week if you can. At least a few days. I’ve kept a Companion’s forced-march pace when I had to. It’s exhausting. You’ll travel faster if you’re rested.”

Wen Qionglin’s face went blank; Wei Wuxian’s expression didn’t change. But there was a definite twitch of amusement.

Why was that funny?

The way Crathach’s shoulders straightened, he wasn’t amused at all. That irritated concern was a Healer who wanted to stick a stubborn pair of patients into a warm bed and not let them up for days.

“I second Herald Talia’s advice.” Crathach folded his arms. “I’d offer you both cots in the House of Healing, but I know you wouldn’t take them. I wouldn’t.”

Talia shot him a questioning look.

“Heralds and Trainees can come in for Healing at any hour of the day or night,” Crathach elaborated. “As well they should; we don’t want to lose anyone because a prank or an assassination attempt left someone too dazed to realize they were dying. But no sane ghost-path cultivator would stay under the same roof with the man who believes his magic is inherently corrupting and needs to be purified out of him. By force.”


18 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 12 Ficbit – Reason For Insomnia

  1. These two are so great! Well, all four are, but I’m mostly thinking of Talia and Crathach this time. Talia because she’s worked herself into a position where she feels she can reasonably ask for some time to work with them in the area, and Crathach for being both a healer and intelligent. Also, Crathach is radiating some serious Wen Qing energy which should be very comforting to our lightly haunted duo.

    And Talia has no idea how many seedlings these two will pick up from the area. Hey, Heralds can’t get all of them. And you can’t visit a major city without bringing something back! And look, seedlings (of all kinds) are infinitely better than kitschy knickknacks you have to dust. There’s a thought, they pick up a few seed packets or some vegetables or fruit while interrogating the seller about how to grow them. Oh, you don’t know? Ok. (And then head to the poorer districts to find someone who does. As many fantasy cities reimagined videos I’ve seen point out, there should be farms and fields for acres and miles around a city in medieval times, or medieval inspired settings.)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. He has every reason to be cranky. He’s a Healer, he’s seen some of Lan Wangji’s memories of the Sunshot Campaign and has enough war experience to guess what Wen Ning’s gone through as well. He wants to grab them and stuff them in a soft warm bed where they can hide for a week.

        …And he’s sensible enough to know if he tries that there will be mass chaos and possibly bloodshed, because these two are rightfully twitchy.

        So he’s going to go slowly. And be grumpy about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. IMHO crankiness is highly associated with, “of course things go wrong. Of course we have to try two or three or more things before we finally get to what works. Okay, let’s get started….”

        Which is a lot more helpful as a healer than “it must be X, take Y and stop bothering me.”

        Liked by 4 people

  2. There is clearly an interesting bit between the last excerpt and this one! Dare I hope “there are evil ghosts who hate Heralds” came up in the context of “I determined how much trouble you deserved by talking to your dead enemies”?

    And Crathach’s doing well with the terminology, I think?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. If Vathara were more a comedy writer, I’d be half-expecting a baby companion (the “black colt” (ahem!) of the herd) to follow WWX and WN back to Rabbit Hole. Not for Choosing or anything, but they’re Fun, and Exciting, and WWX is a child magnet… Hilarity, of course, would ensue.

    WN cringed inwardly. *Don’t say it, cousin, please don’t–*

    WWX gave WQ his best Pleading Eyes: “He followed us home, can we keep him?”

    WN felt a stab of despair as his sister began to swell, like a balloon about to burst–

    A soft white nose nuzzled her hand, and a pair of bright blue eyes joined WWX’s. The Balloon Of Wrath suddenly deflated, as one of WQ’s hands wandered into the Companion colt’s mane of its own accord.

    “This,” the doctor snarled halfheartedly at the Terrible Necromancer who was currently radiating Utter Innocence like the sun, “is all *your* fault.”

    “It usually is, isn’t it?” the Terrible Necromancer agreed cheerfully.


    “Thanks for your letter — we were turning Haven upside *down* looking for him. His parents are… well, once I take him back, he probably won’t have an unsupervised moment until he goes on Search.”

    “Ah… about that… there’s a *bit* of a problem….”


    …the Herald *stared* at the tableau before them. One sleeping healer, propped up against a tree with a book in her lap. And up against her knees, a muddled pile of Companion colt, toddlers, and one infant, all fast asleep and using each other as pillows.

    “…we try to separate them, and they’re *all* going to cry bloody murder, aren’t they?”

    “I fear so….”


    Liked by 4 people

  4. Annnd more misunderstandings abound…. Crathach should have enough of an idea of Lan Wangji’s personality that if he believed he had to purify Wei Wuxian by force, he would have done it already! Because “by Force” inplies Lan Wangji would not ask. Which, I admit the whole “Come back to Gusu” doesnt sound like he is asking, but Wei Wuxian should also remember from their deciple days that Lan Wangji would drag him if he felt nessesary. The fact that he DIDN’T… Granted, Crathach doesn’t know about Lan Wangji’s latest revelation, which would definitely change the game. And he doesn’t know Lan Wanji quite like Talia does, but he should also have some idea from Talia what the beliefs engraved by your family’s brainwashing are not nessesarily the correct ones…. Also, I now have an unneeded excuse to reread the fic, because I can’t remember if the Novel Canon has the idea that resentful energy can actually harm the body, or if that is strictly an Untamed thing… and I am ashamed to admit that despite the fact that parts of it bug me, Untamed Canon is the first version that pops into my brain for some reason…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Crathach is pretty sure LWJ wouldn’t. Pretty sure. But he’s also sure that WWX doesn’t know that. And is unlikely to believe it without a lot more time. Meaning asking him and Wen Ning to stay there would be cruel. And possibly dangerous, if they get too twitchy.

      And novel canon is interesting. Because everyone who’s not Wei Wuxian or stuck in the Burial Mounds with him apparently believes resentful energy harms the body, despite Wei Wuxian being a living counterexample.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. LWJ can get off power chords in seconds.

        This triggered an image that I must inflict on someone.

        See, there was a cartoon called Justice Friends, part of the Dexter’s Lab show, and one of the characters was Valhallen. The Viking god of rock. Who fought using his mighty axe….

        LWJ + 80s metal band styling= 0.o

        Liked by 2 people

      2. He’s probably very familiar with the kind of lengths that folks will go to if they think it will protect those they love, *especially* when those they love are hurt.

        Liked by 1 person

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