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Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 30: Brown 165
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 29: Slade 140
Now that the danger of hunting hawks being sent after him had been abated, Derek became Morach frequently. He found he enjoyed being the sprite, doing the aerobatics he had learned and practiced. He also noticed that sometimes when he did them, people gathered in the palace windows to watch. He was apparently more entertaining than birds in that regard. He also practiced drawing and aiming the bow, but didn’t fire any arrows, mostly because he did not wish to have to land to retrieve them--although they were not much larger than toothpicks, his scriff sense would direct him precisely to any of his possessions, including these, rather reliably, unless he specifically disowned them.
He also decided to practice being Ferris, and particularly to see what he could do in the toddler-sized body with his martial arts training. At first the wings, not strong enough to fly but only to glide, were an impediment putting him off balance, but as he worked with them he found that they could help with his jumps and flips, and could also drive his body forward to put more force into strikes and kicks, if he timed it well. Ferris was not really as good at anything as either Derek or Morach, but then, Derek had rarely spent any time as Ferris, so he was only moderately familiar with the size, shape, and balance of the body.
He missed Lauren. None of his present companions ever practiced weaponless combat; they relied strongly on their skills with their guns and swords and magic. He had those things, of course, but as a spy he had seen the importance, the value, of being able to defend himself if he had no weapons at hand. He had trained in that, but as Derek. Morach had only limited ability in that regard, being so much smaller and lighter, and so much more dependent on the aerial maneuvers he had practiced. He continued his training as Derek, as well, as he was not sure what they would be asked to do in this world, but with Slade here there would probably be a fight at some point. That seemed to be Slade’s calling.
He tinkered with the psionics. Everything came easily here--that is, everything he felt he could practice. He wasn’t comfortable reading minds, as it seemed an invasion of the privacy of his companions. He summoned a number of insects and also small birds, which he got to land on his windowsill or sometimes on his sleeve. He used his various clairsentient abilities to explore the palace, exercised the panoramic vision, and dabbled with telekinetic control of small objects and the water in his room. On particularly hot days he created a cool breeze for himself; it was never cool enough for it to make sense to try creating heat. Most of these skills he had been unable to use in the spy world, but practicing them now reminded him that he had more abilities than anyone would suspect.
He had not learned any of those “outer powers”, the real magic that drew on the supernatural. Merlin had only gotten as far as helping him understand and focus the skills he already knew, which were all mental, psionic. Shella was here, though. Maybe he could get her to teach him some of her magic; he could offer to teach her some of his psionics, as she didn’t use a lot of those. Anyway, it was a thought. Right now there were a lot of things he could practice.
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: