A Long Road Chapter 16 Ficbit – Consider This

What did he think, now, knowing that Wei Wuxian had been at war and calculating every stratagem, every gesture, every ghost called up to haunt his enemies?

Green fires. Swarming crows. A manic flute, as the fierce corpses of a woman and child cornered a wailing, fear-maddened Wen Chao. The way Wei Wuxian had just looked at him, red eyes so terribly cold….

:Chosen?: A worried nose against his hair.

:I am unsure what to think,: Lan Wangji admitted. :If Wei Wuxian calculated that maddening fear, instead of being half-possessed with ghostly rage and hate….:

Kellen huffed. :Well. If I were a cold, status-obsessed, do-everything-proper hidebound idiot, I’d say that proves he’s very good at politics.:

Lan Wangji flinched.

Long lashes fluttered in a deliberate blink. :But I know you, and so I’m beginning to know him. Forget politics. Sometimes war is just war. He lost so many students, so many, and without his core all he would have had that night were the fierce ghosts he could talk into killing for him and whatever demonic cultivation he figured out in the Burial Mounds. If he calculated politics at all, that came later. Right then, at that moment? I know Alberich, and Kantor. Wei Wuxian wasn’t thinking of politics. He was thinking, here is the man who destroyed my people, I am going to provide a brutal object lesson as to why that was An Extremely Bad Idea.:

“He was cold.” Lan Wangji flexed his fingers, grounding himself in the feel of hair and wood. “Wei Ying was never cold, before.”

A huff of air. :You don’t know that.:

“I know-”

:No, you don’t know that, Chosen. You knew him for a short time when he had no worries save avoiding Lan Qiren’s punishments and staying out of Madam Yu’s bad graces. After that – well. Sunshot. And rescuing the Wen survivors, and the constant worry of what he might have do to keep them all alive. I have known many, many Heralds under that kind of stress, and “cold” is one of the saner reactions. “Reckless and suicidal” is far more common.: A gentler huff. :Lucky for both of us, your beloved is more a Healer than a Herald. They tend not to take stupid chances and kill themselves. Die by overwork, sometimes, yes – but as long as there’s someone around to sit on them, usually they snap back out of it.:

14 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 16 Ficbit – Consider This

  1. And that explains canon, where the only people able to sit on him after Jin Ling’s celebration gave themselves up to try and protect their shared people. You can really tell sometimes that all three of the Burial Mounds sibs are healers.

    Wei Wuxian grew up partially on the streets, in Yiling. (Literally going back to the gutter he came from which is it’s own special horror.) In a town stubborn enough to stick it out that close the Burial Mounds when the sects basically leave them on their own, he lived long enough to be found. He is very, very capable of ensuring survival.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. *Chosen? CHOSEN!*
    “…eh?”
    *Stop imagining yourself sitting on WWX, you’re starting to get a nosebleed.*

    B/c really, LWJ’s reaction to “WWX needs someone to sit on him to keep him from overworking himself to death” would be “I volunteer.” 😀

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I do realize that Lan Wangji didn’t really know Wei Wuxian (thus why I like the fact that the Untamed gave them TIME to get to know each other before the war) but at the same time… it almost feels like Kellen is saying that Lan Wangji can’t trust his own feelings/observations/instincts because they are wrong. And yes, I realize he was young and not experienced, but he is also supposed to have been at least intelligent. I don’t know, I 100% agree that Kellen has a really good point about how Wei Wuxian would react, but I also feel like it would mean that Lan Wangji can’t trust his own judgment anymore. Because if he is that wrong about what he sees in someone he really cares about, how wrong could he be about everything else? Including Valdamar and the companions? I know he isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I also have personal issues with someone telling me I can’t trust my own memory/judgment or instincts, because they claim everything i remember is wrong. And that messes with my head, because if I cant trust my own perception, or memory, how can I be confident about Any decisions I make? That is probably just my own ADHD All or Nothing quirk, and could be that it has nothing to do with this situation. Even if he was abused and manipulated by his Sect. Awesome tidbit, I’m really looking forward to more of this conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well… having untrustworthy judgement or memory or whatever frequently depends on the context. The might be utterly trustworthy in some situations or regarding some people, but not in others.

      One perceptions, and therefore judgement, can easily be twisted by one’s own desire or imagination or hope or fear.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I think it’s more a case of Kellen pointing out that WWX had lived an entire life before setting foot in the Cloud Recesses, and that LWJ‘s (presumably) sheltered upbringing does not necessarily match WWX‘ experiences.
      It’s the equivalent of adopted street rat meets bigtime business heir, with the heir maybe intellectually knowing that people starve, while the ex-street rat knows from bitter experience.
      And I sincerely doubt that the monosyllabic „thou shalt not gossip“ LWJ ever sat down with WWX and listened to him, because that involves asking a LOT of questions.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Wei Wuxian also has discipline in what he says, to be a motor mouth, and keep his own council.

        I can sometimes talk a lot, but without extensive structure and preparation, I wander all over the place. It takes a very generous audience to listen to that.

        It is still possible for me to have the discipline to avoid stuff I keep my own council, or even very close council on.

        Wei Wuxian does not drive some very touchy audiences to murder, while speaking off the cuff, and at length. He also keeps secrets.

        Lan Wangji has absolutely seen calculated mostly public faces from WWX. He has only seen those faces.

        And, he has back calculated, based on WWX being very careful and precise, and on Lan speech habits.

        Wangji’s experiences are real, /and/ he does not entirely know WWX, and is extrapolating in ways that may be pretty seriously wrong.

        (I may be making the same mistakes at work. We are a lot of people who keep some of our cards very close to our chest. So, I know a lot of nothing, and can project many different things on what I do not know.

        Maybe I should open up, about some of my concerns about policy, and basic viability of the business. /Not/ talking to anyone is basically making me depressed enough that I’m almost willing to burn every possibility of a future career simply to get some stuff off of my chest in a more public place.

        I take some very special gifts for granted as being baseline normal for everyone, a false assumption, and it is still false even for coworkers with very similar work skills. But, I am often wrestling with ‘how do they not see this, are they /all/ insane?’

        If I am gonna go nuts, and thus ensure I fail at $Hard_Thing anyway, might as well go big early, and risk ticking off the people who can terminate my attempt at $Hard_Thing.)

        Liked by 2 people

    3. I don’t think Kellen is telling LWJ that LWJ’s memories of his *observations* are wrong.

      I think Kellen is pointing out to LWJ that LWJ’s *interpretations* probably missed the mark, mostly because LWJ did not have enough correct information to draw valid conclusions.

      Learning to make a distinction between “this is what I saw” and “this is what I think it means” can be tricky – *especially* for highly intelligent people, because they learn early to draw conclusions and make [useful] inferences.

      Learning to be careful about that distinction between “this is what I saw” and “this is what I think it means” is a master-level function.

      And being ready, willing, and able to reassess one’s conclusions when one has more and better information is a *good* thing.

      So, circling back around to what you said was so disconcerting to you: “No” to questioning memory and observations; “Yes” to questioning instincts and feelings.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ok, that makes a lot of sense, and makes me feel better. My brain tends to lump memories and observations in with instincts and feelings, because they seem to be one big tangle to me, but I do see your point

        Like

      2. Oooh, mystery novels use this all the TIME!

        Like, you’ll get some evidence– slurring, wobbling, THEN someone INFORMS you that the person was clearly drunk, and further stuff is built on that– and then at hte end you find out it was a stroke, or that the person has seizures, or was poisoned.

        Liked by 2 people

    4. I think it’s more that he needs to check his assumptions— because he makes conclusions based on observations that are formed by the assumptions, and hasn’t double checked a lot of them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Example, “You are angry and intermittently explosive – it must be the resentful energy.”

        Instead of, “You and Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli (for all she was quieter about it) are angry and intermittently explosive – hmm, maybe losing your sect leaders and most of your sect members to ambush and murder has something to do with this…..”

        Liked by 4 people

    5. Just to throw this in with everybody else’s comments…. LWJ might be doing a bit of “all or nothing”-ing himself? He starts this excerpt so rattled by finding out his previous interpretation (that WWX was being scary because the ghost path was messing with his head) was incorrect that he jumps instead to… well, he hasn’t quite landed, but he’s very disturbed by the idea that WWX was being creepy on purpose, and I think Kellen is trying to remind him both that he doesn’t know everything about WWX (such as all the past experiences that contextualize his decisions) and that he does know WWX (enough for Kellen to have formed an idea of his character partly through LWJ’s memories).

      Liked by 3 people

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