Sand and Bone 7, coming into power, and the powers of the dead

Now that Flight of the Scions has end its first run for subscribers, time to focus on Sand and Bone.

Sand and Bone 7: Broken Silence

You know all of Sand and Ash where Rutejìmo suffers for his self-centered decisions, ends up having a spiritual rebirth, and finds his way as the silent caretaker for the dead and dying? Up to this point, I haven't shown the advantages of becoming a kojinōmi. They don't really have the flashy powers of the warriors or sages, none of the throwing fireballs across the desert or teleporting through shadows. However, they do have a few but powerful abilities. The problem is, no one tells them how to use them or even that they can.

This chapter is also the point where I begin to fail the entire basis of the series: Rutejìmo has power. And not in a small measure like running a little faster, he demonstrates one of the kojinōmi most terrifying abilities right off the bat: how to kill someone with a single phrase by stripping them of their magic and clan.

What I found interesting is that this parallels the events in Sand and Ash except that it is Rutejìmo doing the “killing” and he doesn't even know how he does it. It also ties into a something I wrote in chapter 26 of Sand and Ash:

“So,” he said, “what do you think I'd feel if I saw you in danger, Mapábyo?”

Mapábyo shrugged.

Gichyòbi nodded. “Exactly. I don't need to save you. I will because you are Shimusògo and useful to our city. You are also a pretty girl—”

Kidóri glared at her husband.

“—and it is in the city's interest to save those who need it, but it is a choice I made, not a compulsion that commands me.”

Mapábyo looked down. “Oh.”

Glaring, Kidóri thumped her husband with her fist. “He's also not one of Chobìre's shits.”

Rutejìmo smirked at the insult. Chobìre was the spirit of the moon and night. He was also the enemy of everything the day clans stood for.

“Oh yeah, that too.” Gichyòbi rolled his eyes. “But I said that already.”

“Really?” said Kidóri, “when?”

“Yeah, I said it's in the city's—”

“You would do it because it is the right thing.” Kidóri thumped her husband.

“Yes, dear.”

Rutejìmo grinned.

Mapábyo straightened. “What about Rutejìmo?”

Gichyòbi looked at Rutejìmo. His hand rested on his wife's hip and he stared for a long moment. “I'm strongly suggested to save him.”

Rutejìmo felt a shiver of something coursing along his skin. “A suggestion?”

“It isn't a compulsion, it isn't Wamifūko, but something else. I respond as if you are clan, but I know you aren't. I've seen other warriors do the same. You,” he pointed to Rutejìmo, “will never be a warrior, but there is more than one clan looking out for you. Maybe every clan that walks the sands?”

“Plenty of warriors have tried to kill me, Chyòbi.”

Gichyòbi pointed a finger at him. “Don't test me, boy.”

Kidóri pulled Gichyòbi's hand down. “Have you ever noticed that whenever you flee for the city, there is usually half a dozen clans involved in the fight? The last time you were running from those archers, there were at least a dozen warriors on both sides killing each other. Does that seem a bit unusual for a single courier carrying a treaty?”

When I was writing this book, one of the major complaints I heard was that Rutejìmo wasn't powerful at all, he wasn't a “hero,” or (according to some) not even likable. I don't think I ever intended for him to have these powers but as I worked out the chapters and knowing where I was ending this book, I realized that it was the right place.

This book is where Rutejìmo comes into his full power. It ties into him realizing who he was in the first book, finding his purpose in the second, and finally how he shines.

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