keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 26: Kondor 141
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 25: Brown 164
The return trip was far more leisurely than the rush to the courtroom. Kondor couldn’t help feeling that rumors about them were moving faster than they were, but the guard was standing down and whatever story was being told clearly involved them. Reaching their wing, Kondor entered his room, followed by Zeke.
“Well, we seem to have talked our way out of that one,” Zeke said.
Kondor snorted a stifled laugh, and nodded.
“I’ll bet you’ve got to explain unexplainable things a lot.”
Again he nodded, then he decided to say something.
“I have a rule,” he began, and then checked himself, “no, maybe I have two rules.”
“The first is, always tell as much of the truth as you think your hearers will believe. I almost never tell anyone that I’m an immortal inter-dimensional traveler, because in most worlds they would have no clue what that is. I usually do tell people I’m an army doctor.
“The second is, let people draw their own conclusions and don’t contradict them. I don’t know what someone is likely to find credible, so if I let them fill in the blanks I know that they believe something about me they find believable.”
“That’s why you did the covert ops thing,” Zeke said. “Everyone has ideas about covert ops and knows you can’t confirm them, so they accept that they don’t know.”
“It has worked well a couple times.”
Zeke nodded. “So what happens now?”
“Well, in case you didn’t notice, everyone here suspects us all of having hidden magical powers. I don’t happen to have any, of which I’m aware.” Kondor smiled at this. “But I expect they’re going to treat us differently.”
Kondor shrugged. “We continue as we have, enjoying the hospitality of the Caliph and avoiding any personal entanglements. Oh, and don’t sell yourself short--you’ve got a rifle and a sidearm, and in this world, as that law someone propounded would have it, those are indistinguishable from magic.”
Zeke appeared to be thinking about this for a moment before he nodded. “Yes, I can see that. So I do have unexpected magical powers. I just didn’t recognize them.”
“That’s probably natural. What a person--or I suppose a creature--can do seems natural to him, or it. If you had asked Derek’s sprite family if they had any special powers, they wouldn’t have said, ‘We glow, and we can fly.’ Those are just normal abilities for a sprite. They see nothing special about them. We see them as nearly magical.”
“So, at least in some cases, magic just means anything someone can do that someone else can’t explain.”
“That’s a good way to put it. So in that sense there is magic all around us--birds fly, fish breath underwater, gophers burrow in the earth, geckos climb walls, all of them perfectly explainable if you know, but seemingly magical if you don’t.”
Zeke nodded, clearly absorbing this new perception of things. “Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks.” He paused another minute, and then headed toward his room.
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: