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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 55: Slade 18
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Slade was not surprised to receive an invitation the following spring to attend Torrence's ceremony of knighthood. It was one of the things he'd mentioned in his letter. He wondered what Torelle thought of his other requests. But he immediately prepared to attend the ceremony.
Of course, with all the preparations necessary for the ceremony, Torelle was quite busy, and it wasn't easy to get a few minutes alone with him to discuss things. But Slade was persistent and insistent, and so the opportunity was made.
"I take it," he asked, "that you approve of my idea."
"I think it's wonderful; I appreciate what you're doing."
"And what does Torrence think?"
Torelle paused and stared at his long-time friend. "You really do ask the strangest questions," he said.
"You haven't asked him?"
"I haven't told him. Of course he will do it. What else is there for him?"
Well, Slade could think of a lot of "else" he could do, but it was probably unimaginable for his more pedestrian friend.
"I want to tell him."
"Of course you will. He will be pleased."
"No, I want to tell him now, before the ceremony. It would be nice if you were present, but I don't think we should plan the boy's life without his consent."
Torelle blinked several times. "Why not?"
"Well--well, because where I come from, it's not done. People are people, and they get to plan their own lives. You got to plan yours."
"My parents were ineffective. I had to plan my own life."
"Just--let's not argue about it. Get him in here so we can ask him."
Torelle shrugged, and ordered one of the servants to fetch him. In a moment he arrived.
"Yes father?" Dressed in his full armor, he looked every inch a knight. It surprised Slade, who still thought of him as a boy.
"I thought your father was going to talk to you about this, but he thought it better that I do it." Slade collected his thoughts. "As you know," he continued, "I have no heir and never will have one. So I'd like to designate you as heir apparent of my keep, and all that I own but a few things which I'll probably give to friends or something. But I don't want to do this if it's not something you want. Anyway, it's fine with your father; you would have to move to my place, and I'd be expecting you to take on many of the responsibilities of running it--but you pretty much do that already when you're there. So, what do you think?"
Torrence went down on one knee, somewhat awkwardly in the armor. "I'm honored, sire." Then he stood again. "But you will probably outlive me."
"Almost certainly, I'd say. But I could die tomorrow; and anyway, assuming you marry and raise a family, it will be difficult for me to outlast your line. And being the vested heir to my fief--is that what it's called?--is different than being the brother on an allowance in your father's. I think they'd say it 'holds better prospects'. But don't let me push you into this. I just thought your talents were being wasted, and you deserved a chance to be master of your own domain."
"No, sir; I don't feel pushed at all. I would be pleased to accept the honor."
"Good," Torelle said, "then it's all settled. I told you it wouldn't be a problem."
"Yes, but you should have asked him anyway."
"Have I ever told you that you have the strangest notions?"
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 #39: Character Futures. 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: