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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 25: Brown 164
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 24: Hastings 143
It was going much as Zeke had said--the guards arrived, Bob talked to them, and now they were being whisked down the halls toward a room they had not seen, the throne room, the court where judgments were issued. To Derek, it was something of a blur, but he heard Bob remind him that the Caliph was to be addressed as “your Potency”. Soon they were there, and they were announced--or rather, Bob was announced. He stepped forward and took the floor, and the Caliph addressed him.
“Lord Slade, I am given to understand that you have some knowledge of this creature that has invaded our palace.”
“Well, I suppose that the answer to that is yes, although I can assure you that your palace has not been invaded. I am going to ask my associate Derek to explain.”
Now it was his turn. He stepped forward, and noticed Bob fall a step behind and to his right. He also recognized that Joe had taken a position behind him and to the left, flanking him as well as could be managed.
“Your,” he began, and cleared his throat, “Your Potency. I am Derek Jacob Brown, and what you see is the person I was born. However, I was the subject of several--I hesitate to call them ‘accidents’; ‘unexpected events’ would be a better description. I am truly only one person, and it is always me, but I have three names, because the consequence of these events is that I am able to change into Ferris Hoffman,” and as he said this he did so, the magic suit resizing to fit, “and Theian Toreinu Morach,” repeating the transformation to the smaller size. “Morach is a sprite, and has a long history and his own family. Ferris,” and he morphed back to the middle form, “is a sort of transitional form, although he has been instrumental in saving my life more than once--including perhaps earlier today when I was overlooking your beautiful city from the air and a hawk attacked me.” He turned his mind to being Derek and returned to his human form.
The Caliph stared for a full minute before speaking.
“Lord Slade,” he began, “I knew that you must be a remarkable man when I heard that you were a friend and ally of the Caliph of the West Wind. His power and influence are not unknown to us. However, I never thought to see such a wonder as this, and in a member of your retinue. It causes me to wonder what hidden powers you might have.”
“Oh, well, I dabble a bit with other things, but really I’m just a fighter.”
“A very good fighter,” Shella opined.
“Well, yes, a very good fighter, one of Odin’s chosen warriors preparing for Ragnorak, the war that ends the world. My wife is the sorceress. Joe is a doctor and scientist in addition to being a decent fighter, and I’ve only just met Zeke, who is a friend of Joe. So we have some surprises, but honestly, who doesn’t?”
The Caliph nodded.
“We are sorry for the trouble,” Slade continued. “It didn’t occur to us that a sprite flitting about outside the palace would create such a problem.”
The Caliph looked thoughtful for a moment, then spoke. “Thank you for explaining this. I shall of course give orders that hawks not be launched at small creatures flying around the palace for the short term future.”
That appeared to be the end of the interview. Derek almost collapsed, catching himself and taking a few deep breaths before managing to turn and walk away.
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 #280: Versers Reveal. 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: