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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 46: Slade 15
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Slade had no idea what vesting meant, but it sounded important, and the invitation seemed very formal and official. He'd attended his best friend's bar mitzvah years ago (now a lifetime ago, he shuddered to realize), and felt courtesy probably demanded he appear here. So he made the trip.
The vesting ceremony involved the declaration that Mica was the designated heir to all of Torelle's lands, moneys, and titles. It struck him a bit odd that there was nothing for Torrence or Shella, but then he remembered that this was the way feudal dynasties were built. So he said nothing as the young man was knighted and vested, and joined the others at the party. Torrence was there.
"So," Slade said, "next year you'll be twenty-one. What's planned for you?"
"Nothing much," Torrence said. "I'll be my brother's squire this year, and maybe next year they'll grant me knighthood, but I'll probably just stay here living off my brother's generosity."
"Well, you could visit me. I'm always up for company. And besides, I could use a decent sparring partner who knows a few tricks I haven't seen."
"I think I'd like that. What about Shella?"
Slade frowned. He hadn't really thought about this at all; it was more a spur of the moment idea, and he was clueless as to how it would work. "I guess she could come," he ventured; "if she wants. There's not any more to do at my place than there is here, probably less. But she's welcome to come along."
About that moment, Slade noticed Omigger, and decided it was time to duck before the aging wizard began trying to persuade him to be the guinea pig for some anti-aging experiments. Excusing himself, he circled over toward Filp and Wen, and scooted them out of the room as company. He still enjoyed their company despite the illusion of age difference between them.
He did visit with Omigger and with Torelle before leaving, and promised the wizard that he would let him know if he found any reason for his perpetual youth. Then he departed.
Years had fallen into a pattern. Some of the people had changed--his castellan had retired, and his household manager was aging and delegated more of his duties to assistants--but the routine remained the same. Slade fell comfortably back into it as the year continued. Summer gave way to autumn, and autumn to winter, and then spring returned. But with spring came a surprise he should have expected, but had forgotten.
Torrence and Shella came to visit for the summer.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #35: Quiet on the Novel Front. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: