A Long Road Chapter 15 Ficbit – Rest

Talia lifted her head from Rolan’s mane, blinking off melting shards of ice. Behind her air shifted as Companions surged to their feet; breath huffing, hooves ringing, steadying Alberich, Selenay, Daren, and so many others. Around her fear and shock was finally ebbing in the crowds, even as she tasted a hint of blood in the air from the injured, now being swarmed by Healers. Everywhere she could see shaken people picking themselves up; injured, some fine robes torn and stained beyond repair, yet alive. The storm was over, sunlight slowly filtering back through the clouds….

And the air rang with longing.

As a harpist, the duet would have made her want to weep for sheer beauty; two expert musicians, playing with all their heart and soul. As an Empath-

So much love. So much sorrow.

Peace, Lan Wangji’s blue-shimmering notes poured out. Lay your burdens down, and rest.

You were angry. You wanted to hurt someone. I understand. Wei Wuxian’s eyes glowed red, ember-red; red as the energy carefully, gently pulling the last bits of darkness from that shattered skull. But you’ve done enough. Hated enough. Killed enough.

Everything that harmed you has ended, guqin and flute sang. Rest.

The last black smoke wisped away. Only scattered bones remained.

And ghosts, Talia realized, leaning on Rolan’s warmth as the shadowy crowd thronged the riverbank. So many ghosts.

Black flute lowered, Wei Wuxian blinked, and stooped to lay a hand on the rust-pierced skull. “His name was Lyre. He was… a ledger keeper? There were accounts he had seen that came from mines in the West, in Orthallen’s lands. Something about them struck him as off. He was coming to the Collegium to ask for help checking the numbers, everyone knew Lord Orthallen was loyal, he was sure he had to have calculated it wrong….”

Talia breathed out, and took careful steps toward those pitiful bones. “He never made it.”

“No.” Wei Wuxian straightened, flexing fingers stiff as if they’d been in deep snow. Looked past her, toward where Selenay and Daren were still shaken. “Bury him with honor. In death his spirit drew resentment toward it, and became the heart of death and darkness… but in life, he tried to do what was right.”

19 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 15 Ficbit – Rest

  1. and that monster of born of ghosts was terrible thing for all of Haven, but in life was a good man trying to do what was right-im interested in what Selenay decide, as well as what rumors, thoughts and sicussions will be sparked from that revealed origin of that darkness…

    and i thik the funniest part is that orthalan was unaware of having created this monster

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Or, tried harnessing it as a type of Gashadokuro. Because, well… *Orthallen.*

        THEN he’d have run screaming. A very short distance, before he died screaming.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wei Wuxian has Opinions on what to do with vengeful dead. Only some of that comes from his time as a ghost cultivator. I’m so lesser the boys got to showcase their talents like this! Bards suddenly get a lot more credit!

    I will never forget the author’s note of one fic that described the difference between their method of putting ghosts to rest:
    Lan Wangji’s song “Rest”
    Wei Wuxian “go the f&$$ to sleep.”

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Oooooh, bittersweet resolution, because yes the monster is gone, but they showed that the monster began with a good person trying to do what was right, as the very worst often do.

    Honestly I’m a bit surprised it started there, and not much much longer ago, just because Haven has been sitting there sprawling across the river for a long time, and Orthallan can’t be the first very bad person to use it to dispose of inconveniences.

    Or is it just that Lyre was the catalyst and draw for a whole lot of more direction less resentment power? And/or that Orthsllen was responsible for so MANY bodies in his lifetime and that compounded things?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Might have something to do with how Ms. Lackey writes the series, while Orthallan was probably not the first, he was certainly the one to get close to the crown and entrench himself in, for multiple generations. And he was very very Subtle. Which can cause even more resentment than someone who is overly cruel and evil, because those who fall victim can’t see a way to fight them. Take Albrich for example. He was trusted and a herald but even then he couldnt convince his peers of what he had noticed until it became obvious, with the assassination attempt by her husband. And even then they didnt believe really believe him about Orthallan until they tricked him onto exposing himself. It reminds me of Senator Palpatine from Star Wars, someone who was an expert manipulator with power who operated very very carefully in the shadows, usually using others as puppets of sorts. Or like the lovely Chief Cultivator Jin, and how he arranged things? I could be way off base, but that’s what I think. Kinda like the tale about the snake or scorpion that convinces an animal to carry them across the river and stings them anyway?

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Fic meta here: Orthallen was definitely not the first, but he was one of the absolute worst, he did it over a long, long period of time, and he was VERY subtle (to the point Alberich took years to catch on to him, and then was afraid of telling anyone but the smallest group of people what he suspected).

      But the worst part, from a magical and resentment perspective, is that he was doing all this with the express purpose of undermining and destroying a divinely supported monarchy. He set up assassins on the battlefield that took out King Sendar and Groveborn Taver, set up an utter and absolute cad to marry Queen Selenay, was actively plotting with the guy to have her killed once she had a child so he could be regent, poisoned Queen’s Own Talamir, tried to assassinate Queen’s Own Talia on multiple occasions (both direct violence and public opinion messes), let her and his own relative walk into Ancar’s trap to kill them, worked with slavers and child abusers, and (we suspect) was directly behind getting Hulda in to mess up Elspeth from the time she was born.

      And that’s the people we know about. It’s implied from various bits in the Exile books and other places that a lot more went on behind the scenes, but no one could prove it. He was pure poison, and a lot of spirits would have utterly hated him.

      Even so, most centuries that would have just been low-level nastiness in the river the Companions could handle. But with the echoes of the Cataclysm coming back? That’s a lot of weird and aberrant energies whiplashing around, and Haven is on top of an unsuspected Heartstone.

      It’s stated in canon in one of the Mage Storms books that even the gods don’t know what’s going to happen!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I have Take a Thief. It’s directly mentioned that the owner of the building Skif and his thief-brothers and Master lived in was owned (and subsequently deliberately destroyed) by someone in cahoots with Orthallen. At the mausoleum, where Skif (and Alberich in his bully-boy costume) eavesdrops on a conversation between the owner and the man hired to burn the building down, the owner specifically mentions “My Lord Orthallen” as his patron.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. In a pagan/animistic context, there’s probably a lot of reasons why something like this would happen at one point and not at another.

    Maybe one of the temples that isn’t popular anymore, and which finally ran out of priests/priestesses, used to do ghost appeasement ceremonies, and now they’ve stopped.

    Maybe all the little old ladies who used to drop sacrificial garlands all died off.

    Maybe the sacrificial cookies shaped like humans were forbidden to be dropped off the bridges, because they were a safety hazard.

    Maybe they stopped having the holiday where everybody ran around naked in the dead of winter, because who the heck is stupid enough to run around naked in the dead of winter?

    Or maybe it’s just because the time rift thing is coming up, and of course neither Heralds nor the Jianghu know about the tsunami of magic that is coming their way.

    Stuff like that.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. /And ghosts, Talia realized, leaning on Rolan’s warmth as the shadowy crowd thronged the riverbank. So many ghosts./
    “…and so now you may go to your res-”
    “Thank you but no. We would prefer to go with Master Wei Wuxian back to his home.”

    -Sometime later-

    “Call in the bets! Who had a new ghost showing up?”
    *Hands go up all over the place*
    “And who had more than one ghost showing up?”
    *Some hands go down*
    “Right, we’ll start counting and figure out who was closest.”

    WWX: “Am I a joke to you people?”
    Wen Qing: “Do you really want an answer?”

    Liked by 6 people

  6. I hope Selenay sees to it herself. After all in a fairly direct way he died for her. How many of those people probly died trying to serve the Queen, or the Monarcy? Might be why it was.so hard for the Companions to clear the resentment-the rage was rooted in the subversion of righteous acts. Spirits and Gods love a technicality. Especially ones that can remind people of their promises.
    Also I wonder if the “everything that harmed you has ended” ever backfired on WWX. It’s not the most healthy but the “they’re gone but I’m still hurt!” Is a very real reaction.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That would be a very honorable thing for her to do. I hope so too. Maybe dedicating a monument to them. “It is with our deepest regrets and is also our highest honor that we now erect this beacon in honor of those ordinary people who have died unjustly while in service of the crown.”

      Liked by 2 people

    2. He dealt with that with Vienne already. And he’s not saying, “they’re gone.” He’s saying, “you’ve hurt long enough. You’ve done enough. You’ll be ok. You can put the hurt down now.”

      Liked by 1 person

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