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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 122: Slade 129
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Slade looked around, his eyes and his brain slowly adjusting to the bright wide open space around him, the flintlock still in his hand.
He then began to laugh.
His laughter woke Shella.
She propped herself up on one arm and looked around. “Where are we, my lord?”
“I have no idea,” he replied, “but I know where we aren’t.”
“Where we aren’t?”
“We aren’t in the woods being ambushed by half a dozen civil war era soldiers intent on stealing our treasure. They’re going to have to explain several dead or wounded to superiors who we can be pretty sure didn’t authorize their little excursion--whatever we think of General Wilson’s ‘honor’, I can’t see him saying, ‘Sure, you men can have a day pass to follow that fellow, kill him, and take his money.’”
“No, my lord, that would not be in keeping with what we know about him.”
“And they don’t have the money for their troubles.
“So, what do I do with this antique?” He set the butt end of the rifle on the ground and looked at it.
“It seems an awkward design for a polearm, my lord, but that it occasionally makes a loud noise, throws up a poor smoke screen, and hurls a small stone.”
Slade nodded. “I think the ‘hurls a small stone’ part is supposed to be its primary function; the explosion is a side effect and the blade an afterthought.”
Shella shrugged. “Arrows are faster.”
“Indeed, and probably more accurate. These have better range, I think, but that’s about all that can be said for them.”
“We could try magicking it to use as a stave.”
Slade twisted his lip as he stared at it. “Mmm--maybe. It’s a bit heavy and awkward for that, too. I guess for the moment it’s a walking stick. Feel ready for some walking?”
“Where, my lord?”
“Well, I don’t know where, but you’ve probably already noticed that we’re not alone here.”
“Yes--there is another verser somewhere, that direction.”
“He seems to have arrived first. Maybe he knows something useful about this place--and there’s nothing about our location to commend it for a campsite. Are you alright?”
“Me? My lord, you were the one fighting. I could barely keep track of where you were.”
“Well, I took a beating, certainly, but I’m fine now.” He recovered the dagger and the blaster, sheathing and holstering them. “I think that’s everything. Let’s see what battles this world offers.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #265: Versers in Motion. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: