A Long Road Chapter 16 Ficbit – Well Warned

MindHealer Crathach, and yes,” Wei Wuxian agreed. “I know, no one wants to involve strangers in sect matters. But the Heralds are already involved with your sect. They may not know cultivation, but they know enough about how their Gifts work to draw some obvious conclusions. Queen Selenay saw the first array, she knows the Nie built a cultivation back door into her land. And she has enough enemies on one border. She needs assurances that you won’t use the arrays for invasion.” He took a breath. “If we can tell her your sect members need her people’s help, then… Qinghe Nie has good reasons for an alliance, and Valdemar can get the assistance of cultivators – magic Ancar has never fought – if their war with Hardorn flares up again.”

“If.” Nie Zonghui grimaced. “You mean when.”

“Nie-xiong.” Nie Huaisang flipped open his fan. “We can’t know that.”

“Yes, we can,” Nie’s First Disciple nodded, short and sharp. “A man stealing power from bloody murder, sharing a border with a kingdom full of spirit-guardians? That’s going to last only as long as he thinks he can’t crush them like rotted bamboo. He knows Queen Selenay wants him dead. So he’ll strike first.”

Wei Wuxian sighed. “And about that blood….”

Wen Qing tensed as he drew out the last word, and tensed tighter as her brother winced. Oh no. She’d already seen strange looks from those of Rabbit Hole at some of their cultivation techniques. After which the local grannies and midwife had carefully invited her to sit and sip tisanes, while they asked exactly what was up with dotting blood in places, after all you didn’t want to do that in the woods, my no, there were bears….

“Heralds have some very… clear-cut concepts of energy manipulation using blood,” Wei Wuxian stated, very carefully. “So! I need to warn you both, and Lan Wangji, about what they call blood magic.”

19 thoughts on “A Long Road Chapter 16 Ficbit – Well Warned

  1. Well, now Lan Wangji gets to be on the pointy end of ‘everyone knows’ a method is damaging. Poor guy! At least he had Kellan to help vouch for him.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. At least one point in the cultivators’ favor:

    Unlike “traditional” blood magic, cultivators very specifically have to use their OWN blood in order for the techniques to work properly – the blood of J. Random Passerby Off The Street just doesn’t cut it as a substitute.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And Valdemar has a tradition of Stupidly Brave Heroic Sacrifice killing or at least maiming the worker doing it– so if they work it right, the “using your own blood” thing might slot into there, rather than “blood magic.”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ooh, good thought — and “it does matter that it’s your own personal blood” is probably something Kellen would fill them in on.

        ….I am sort of getting the feeling “we need this guy as a Herald” was partly “we’re going to need to establish mutual trust with somebody or everything is going to get more disastrously stupid than usual very quickly.”

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m reminded of a scene from a novel where the climax has the protag (who only learned about magic recently) hog-tied and about to be used as an unwilling host for a dark-aspected Voodoo deity, with the entire ritual being fueled by his friends and shipmates being used as unwilling human sacrifices.

    The protag tries to kill himself by biting off his own tongue, and botches it (let’s face it, that can’t be easy), *but* it turns out that even a minor *willing* sacrifice of one’s *own* blood carries more “weight” than several unwilling sacrifices. And that, plus some outside help, gives the clueless protag some degree of control over the ritual from the inside.

    Hilarity and awesome ensue.

    So, regarding Valdemar, if the Bards start importing Jianghu stories of Brave Noble Cultivators using their own blood in desperate Herald-style last stands… basically a propganda/education/hearts&minds campaign to underscore the difference between “good” and “bad” blood magic in the minds of the public.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lets not do Bards. Lets do puppet shows. It will allow costumes and music and story telling and give the idea that this is something very different and from far away. Much less scary to have monster and hero stories from the other end of the continent . Also if they can have very exotic and different costumes it will attract the kids.

    Liked by 2 people

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