A Long Road Chapter 14 Crossover Ficbit – Explanations

“Theo? I think you may have gotten a little too close to a lot of resentful energy.”

From the way the youngster’s face scrunched up, that meant absolutely nothing to him. Alberich held his tongue.

:You want to see how he’ll explain it to our children,: Kantor mused.

:I wish to see if he will explain,: Alberich agreed. :Not all teachers do.:

:No, only the good ones.:

:I would call you a flatterer, old friend.: Alberich huffed a silent laugh. :But I know you mean it.:

“Oof, where do I start?” Wei Wuxian wondered aloud. “It’s a little complicated. Even back where I come from, people get confused about this… you all know people have energy inside them, right?” He looked around the class, meeting each pair of eyes in turn. “It’s what you use to move around, and use Gifts, and just live. People get energy by eating good food and breathing good air and being around things that make them feel things.”

Theo perked up a hair. “Like Bards do?”

“Yes, like Bards do,” Wei Wuxian agreed. “And musicians; music makes people feel a lot. And when they feel, some of their own energy goes into those feelings,” he raised a hand, and pushed it slowly outward, “and radiates out from them, like heat from a fireplace.” He lifted a brow, and gave the class a searching look. “So then what happens to everything around the fireplace?”

Payden looked at the cultivator askance, like he was wondering if this man would be smart enough to come in out of the rain. “It gets hot?”

“Exactly,” Wei Wuxian nodded. “People’s energy – people’s emotions – leak into the world around them.” He breathed out. “And this is where it gets complicated. Fireplaces can make things hot, but they cool off pretty fast. Emotions tend to stick around, and sink into a place. And when most of those emotions are dangerous – fear, and hate, and people dying – well. Places can get dangerous, too. They can make you feel what other people felt, and that can be… really bad. An old slaughter-ground, a graveyard someone desecrated, a battlefield no one held prayers on….”


19 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 14 Crossover Ficbit – Explanations

  1. Personally, I often wonder if some of the “energy impressions” that people report are not just insufficient cleaning of places that “smell like stress.”

    Of course, I am also the world’s least ghost-reporting Celt, whereas my dad lived in a notoriously haunted fraternity house with an Underground Railroad secret passage. And swears it had a ghost, not just pranksters.

    Of course, a fraternity house might well be insufficiently cleaned….

    Also, it is very likely that I would just not notice any ghosts, or that I am immunized from tramping way too many Civil War and other US battlefields at a young age. I’ve never been to Gettysburg, which is allegedly ghost central, but I have been to most of the big ones. Nada.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m quite sure some of them are alternate sensory inputs, some are traditional explanations*, and some are not-formally-categorized.
      At the very least!

      On the other hand, my favorite camping ground when we visit the in-laws is Bull Run. (on the third hand, if you were going to design a way to radiate good vibes, that complex would be THE way to do it)

      * I’ve never seen something, but I have had Really Bad Feelings about Something where there was no viable route for information, and while my family allows “I had a bad dream” as a reason to call out of the blue, it’s like the difference between hearing a buzzing bug in the brush and hearing a rattler, one worries you, the other bypasses worry and goes straight to action.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. He is so very GOOD at explaining things to people who have little to no foundational knowledge. That’s a fairly rare talent, especially also grouped with the will, skill, and patience to teach children or other beginners. Alberich is no fool, he’s gonna call dibs on this excellent teacher before anyone else at the colligium gets a chance to!

    Really lovely fic bit, I could see and hear him saying all this clearly!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. There’s a downside to the mortal side of things, all right.

      Especially if that “love” retains any shade of “possessiveness” to it. Recipe for a murderous ghost that is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Which is unfortunate, since our little monkey brains predispose us to at least a bit of ‘mine!’ in regards to the things we love. This isn’t always a BAD thing, see the woman with her baby earlier in the story. Her protectiveness and possessiveness let her hang on to take care of him, and there’s very VERY many stories of ghosts leading searchers to lost people. But she probably would have snapped quite badly if he had died (which he WAS going to if Wei Wuxian and Arnor hadn’t shown up) and then lots of innocent people would have been hurt if not killed.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. He’s not just explaining, he’s giving an explanation they can understand, with examples they have familiarity with. He’s ‘letting them in on the secret.’ But Alberich has a gigantic clue being handed to him right now: Wei Wuxian understands what resentful energy is and where it comes from, and other cultivators don’t.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Purely from the dead and dying, so far as I can figure out. Wei Wuxian’s explanation here also includes the living producing resentment.m, if I understand correctly. He’s in a position to know a lot more than the others…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. The Jianghu is somewhat light on religion, even by individuals. They don’t trust gods, they don’t trust spirits, and they don’t have strong philosophical systems about what happens to the dead. (Unless there’s a Buddhist sect hidden somewhere; and Buddhism is sort of a religion of anti-god, anti-spiritness, at least in some ways.)

      They also are constantly torquing off the living and the dead — unlike the Japanese who have entire folk religions out of appeasing and purifying Bad Stuff, and at least notionally try to have consensus instead of driving anyone Too Far.

      OTOH, if WWX is a priest/shaman, it would be normal for him to have put more thought and investigation into this stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The woman in The Tale of Genji who gets so jealous that as a living person, she demonically possesses her rival — that’s a classic Japanese example of resentful energy coming from the living and messing with the living.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. WWX doesn’t need/want a job interview. He is only one person and has more than enough work and responsibilities. He is the expert on making/teaching talismans, one of the better sword teachers even in theory for the Wen, etc. Valdemar as a whole is very short on money, personal, and expertise. The Wen refugees are in even worse shape. The Wen Remnents as a group have three powerful cultivators, one of which is dead, one of which has lost part of his magic, and the last is not a sword fighter.
    Alberich might covet WWX as a teacher but WWX has other things to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Societally, shamans and religions tend to go where other people don’t want to go, and deal with stuff that is considered too dangerous or too much of an edge case. Philosophers, too, at least in the traditional way of things. It tends to produce figures who are somewhat outside of society’s roles and professions, but also who are people who have the status (and duty) to go anywhere and help anyone.

    The funny thing is that, in this world, the Jianghu’s sects think they are the ones dealing with all this stuff for Iftel; but they don’t have anyone dealing with what is unmentionable and too dangerous for their own society. They don’t even allow themselves to realize what they don’t have.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I ran across an amusing concept in the novel This Curse Is Just Awesome.

    MC transmigrates to a world that senses him as an intruder. His “system” is actually the world itself, trying to tell him to get out.

    Obviously the MC can’t just magically leave. So after warning him, the world curses him to be unable to cultivate. In fact, any attempt at cultivation drops his strength, as does any help or encouragement, or any positive step for health.

    So the MC starts chainsmoking to gain strength…. And of course, all the usual heroic snarky remarks now have a purpose, because he wants people to snark at him and stand in his way. It’s a sort of anti-cultivation novel.


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