Garden of Versers; Chapter 60, Slade 146

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 60:  Slade 146
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Chapter 59:  Beam 15

“I think,” Slade whispered, “I see a sentry.  Yes, I’d say that’s what that is.”

They had been walking almost two hours, covering a good five miles along the edge of the ravine.  Shella whispered back, “What shall we do, m’lord?”

“Not sure,” he answered, “but maybe I’ve got a plan.  First, I want you to use the insignificancy spell, so the sentries don’t know you’re here.  Then contact Joe, let him know to start bringing the cavalry--horses will get here in considerably less time than we took walking--and follow me.  Anything you notice about the bandit camp, and anything I mention about it, tell Joe so he knows what’s happening here.  If you have questions, read my mind or something.  Just stay unnoticed and let Joe know what we’re doing.”

“And you, m’lord?”

“Me?  I’m going to go introduce myself to that sentry, and see if he’ll escort me into their camp.  Hello, my good sir!” he cried, and moved into the open faster than Shella could object.  “I seem to be bit lost.  Could you possibly point me to the Twin Rivers Caliphate?”

The surprised sentry recovered quickly, drawing a curved sword which might have been a scimitar or a falchion, Slade was never clear on the differences.  He said something, but Slade was not much of a linguist and couldn’t guess what language he was speaking.

“English?” Slade asked.  “Or maybe you call it Anglic, Anglais, Anglo-Saxon?”

The sentry said something else, and waved the sword menacingly, and Slade raised his hands to shoulder height, palms forward, to suggest surrender.

“Nope.  No good.  We’re just going to have to find someone who can translate for us.”

The sentry stepped close and reached for Slade’s sword; Slade slapped his hand, which surprised the sentry, who apparently did not expect such a challenge.  “Come, now, no touchies.  You have your sword, I have mine.  I’ll keep mine right there for the moment.  So, take me to your leader, or something like that.”

Still staring at him uncomprehendingly, the sentry said something else unintelligible, but waved his sword in a way that Slade took to mean walk this way.

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” he said.  “I like the large boulder that appears to mark the path.”  Slade paused as if admiring it.  “It was a good hiding place for you.  Do you always hide there, or do you sometimes watch from that rise over there?  Shella, I hope you’re getting all this.”

They descended the path slowly, and Slade kept a running commentary as he surveyed the camp below.  “As we expected, the tents are covered with dried plants to make them blend into the valley better.  There’s still water here, but it’s not flowing, or at least it doesn’t appear to be from here.”  He stopped and rubbed his hands together, then wiped them on his leathers.  His escort prodded him with the point of the sword.  “Don’t get pushy,” he said.  “We’re moving; we’ll get there.”

As they started passing people, he kept stopping and asking, “English?  Anyone speak English?”  He also commented on the arrangement of the camp, the livestock, everything he saw.

Eventually they came to what appeared to be the center of the camp, an open tent where an older, well-muscled and scarred man sat.  A somewhat heated discussion ensued, in which the older man seemed to be scolding the sentry, while the sentry seemed somewhat lamely to be defending whatever it was he did.  Finally the older man released something of a verbal ejaculation, waved the sentry away, and turned his attention to Slade.

“And who are you?”

“Nice place you’ve got here,” Slade answered.  “Looks like maybe forty men, plus probably almost as many women to cook, clean, and provide other feminine services.”

“You did not answer my question?”

“Oh, I’m sorry; how impolite of me.  Robert Elvis Lord Slade of Slade Manor, friend and ally of the djinn and of the Caliph of the West Wind.  I don’t think I caught your name?”

“Why did that imbecile of a sentry not take your sword from you?”

“Gee, now who’s being rude?”  Although Slade waited a beat, the bandit showed no inclination to provide a name, so Slade continued.  “It was obvious he wasn’t going to give me his sword, so I didn’t see any reason why I should have to give him mine.  After all, fair’s fair, right?”

“But you were his prisoner.”

Slade laughed.  “Me?  His prisoner?  You have no idea how silly that is.  I’m sorry, but the notion that he could have taken me prisoner is just so far beyond any known reality--and I’ve known more than my share of realities.”

“Well, you are now my prisoner, and I demand you surrender your weapons.”

Your prisoner?  I don’t even know your name.”

“Surrender your weapons!”  The bandit drew his own sword.

“Honey, this is going to get difficult.  Do me a favor and keep an eye out for their fire beast.  If you see it, do something about it.”

As the bandit lunged for him, Slade easily drew his sword and dagger, parried the incoming sword strike, and sliced the inside of his attacker’s sword arm.  “You can surrender now,” he said, “or someone else can surrender after you’re dead.”

The bandit glanced at his wounded arm, and fell into a more professional stance.  He shouted something in that other language, and Slade bore down on him with both blades.  The pair began dancing around under the overhead canopy as other bandits approached, drawing swords.  As he passed the open side, Slade cut the guy lines so the flaps closed, obscuring them from view.

“Well, this has been a nice workout, but at the moment I don’t have time to practice,” Slade said, and ran him through; “so I hope you’ll excuse me while I disappear.”  He pulled his sword out and before the man had hit the ground Slade had begun casting his own insignificancy spell.

A moment later when bandits burst into the tent, they went immediately to their fallen leader, but it was too late.  They looked around and rushed out of the tent, Slade sauntering out behind them.

He walked over to Shella.

“I’ve often wondered,” he said, “just how much I had to do to someone to cease being insignificant.  I don’t expect I can actually stab anyone and not have them notice me; but I’ll bet I can use this blaster effectively.”

“If it works, my lord.  I don’t know how well technology is working in this world.”

“True; but the blaster is pretty reliable, and I’m not really thinking of killing anyone with it.”  He scanned the surrounding chaos, and found an angry and frustrated looking man standing with sword drawn with his back to another larger man, and with careful aim hit the one with an invisible ball of kinetic energy.  The man was knocked forward, whirled around, and attacked the man behind him.  “A few more well-placed shots like that one,” Slade continued, “and we’ll have this place in an uproar.

“We should probably see whether they have horses somewhere,” he said, “and keep an eye open for that fire beast.  I mean, maybe it retires to the elemental plane of fire between outings, but we shouldn’t count on that.”

“As you wish, my lord,” she replied, and they walked arm in arm through the surrounding melee.

Next chapter:  Chapter 61:  Kondor 146
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twelve other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #291:  Versers in Action.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

See what's special right now at Valdron