2014’s A Bride’s Story, Volume 6, is the 6th tankōbonof Kaoru Mori’s Otoyomegatari 19th century Silk-Road historical-romance manga.
Having married Amir off to the Karluk clan, Amir’s Halgal clan is experiencing buyer’s remorse. Another ally, the Numaji clan, feels entitled to possession of Amir (to replace Halgal wives abused and killed by their husband). Not having received the replacement bride, the Numaji retaliate by ejecting the Halgal from previously shared pasturage. This could mean the end of the Halgal.
Halgal leader Belqat has a brilliant plan.
Belqat appeals to another, related, clan, the Badan, to join in an attack on the Karluk. The Karluk are townsfolk who have previously been able to resist nomad incursions. But with two clans against them? Surely they will be easy prey for the proud warrior clans. Together, the Badan and the Halgal can crush the town’s defenses, slaughter its inhabitants, and take its wealth and land for their own. Amir and her new family will die, but eggs, omelette.
The Badan’s clearly villainous leader Al-Tamus welcomes the scheme. He has a sweetener: thanks to Russian meddling, the Badan have an enormous supply of cannons, rifles, and ammunition. With these, they can shell the town at their leisure, then sack the remains.
There are only three trifling problems with the plan.
- While the townsfolk will be at a serious disadvantage, they have firearms of their own, not to mention walled defenses.
- Amir’s brother Azel has no desire to see Amir and her family die for an old man’s foolish greed and takes steps to ensure Amir’s survival.
- Al-Tamus cannot be trusted.
Readers should be aware that poor Azel seems to have trouble keeping his shirt on.
Readers of a delicate nature may want to quickly flip past those pages.
Don’t expect the comedic hijinks of the Aral Sea chapters. This is a straightforward military tale, pitting nomads confident that ability to slaughter and rob townsfolk confers the moral right to do so, against a community for whom the author has encouraged reader sympathy. People die violently in this volume and not all of them deserve it.
This volume offers many morals.
- Fucking meddling Russians, am I right?
- Leaders shouldn’t habitually abuse underlings and expect loyalty.
- Be very certain before setting off on military adventures exactly what it is your allies expect to gain.
- Most importantly, underestimate determined goat-riding old women at your own peril.
The art is, as ever, beautiful even when the events depicted are not. The series as a whole is narrative potato chips; having rediscovered the series, it does not take much to prompt me to read just one more volume.