keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 85: Hastings 159
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 84: Beam 22
As the next session began, Lauren described finding herself in a pristine forest, finding a road, and winding up in Wandborough. Doctor Conway interrupted her.
“So, you went to the same universe twice?”
“This actually was the third time. I didn’t mention it previously because I thought it would make the story too confusing, but I did tell you that when I was in Philadelphia I met a sorceress named Bethany.”
“Yes, you did.”
“At the time I thought Bethany was confused, but it was very strange--she claimed I was Laurelyn of Wandborough, and that I’d taught her centuries before after studying with Merlin. So it seems that I was in this world in about two thousand four, then I returned in the age of Camelot, and now I was back sometime around the thirteen hundreds, plus or minus. I immediately met a bright young girl who decided I was the famed Laurelyn who had saved the town centuries before, which they were apparently still talking about sometimes, and I offered to teach her to read and write, and then I discovered that her name was Bethany.”
She continued unraveling the story of teaching Bethany, of unofficially adopting the girl when her father died, and of taking her on a quest to find what remained of Camelot and perhaps to locate Merlin. Their encounters with werewolves and vampires were included, and meeting Morgana, and finding the grove only to be ambushed by Horta and Jackson, whom she had already killed in Philadelphia in the future, along with Tubrok, whom she had encountered with Horta when she was with Merlin in the past.
This took her to TerraNova, the space colony where she reunited with Derek and Joe. Again the doctor interrupted.
“So it seems that Joe is connected to worlds where you get together with other people like yourself--he was there when you met Bob Slade--and Derek is always there when you’re in some kind of future world.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” she said, and paused. “You’re wrong about Joe. He wasn’t there when I met Derek, and he wasn’t there in the world I just left before I came here, where Bob and Derek both were. But so far, you’re right, I’ve met Derek three times, and every time it was some kind of futuristic world. I think that’s just coincidence, though--Derek’s stories have him in past worlds sometimes, and modern worlds, and elsewhere.”
She talked a bit about her relationship with Raeph; it was a melancholy discussion at that point, and she moved from it quickly. She also gave only a sketchy account of boarding the approaching ship, fighting the dragons, and surviving the detonation only to be adrift in space for a few hours until her spell ended.
Her visit to the tropical island was next. “I was there a long time,” she explained, “but I couldn’t tell you how long if someone hadn’t told me. I exercised and practiced my skills as well as I could alone in a tropical paradise. I felt like I had been given a chance to rest, recover, but also improve, so I tried to do that.”
She mentioned the prayer that repaired her disintegrator rod. Before long she was telling of her effort to combine magic, psionics, technology, and body skills in one attack, and how the ground opened and swallowed her but instead of dying she landed in another place, which she has concluded was the edge of heaven. There she met Saint Peter, who told her that she had been on the island for “a hundred seventeen years, if I remember correctly”, gave her three objects, and sent her through a door “back to the world of the vampires, this time hundreds of years in the future.”
This being the most recent of her travels, she provided abundant details, of meeting Ana, connecting with Bethany, fighting vampires; of Derek’s transformation and learning to open the domes; of Bob’s arrival with his bride Shella; of releasing Merlin from the acorn; ultimately of grabbing hold of Tubrok and using the same spell to destroy him that she had used to destroy Horta, and so being sent out of that world in a blaze of fire, and landing only half conscious in the foyer of this hospital.
“And that’s how I got here, and why I reacted as I did when your people grabbed me. I certainly am sorry for that; I hope everyone is all right.”
“Oh, well, you did quite a number on quite a few of them, but they survived.” Doctor Conway rose. “This seems like a good place to stop. I will see you again tomorrow.” Again he took his chair and left the room.
Wondering what they would discuss next time, Lauren decided to read his mind as he was departing. She managed connect just long enough to pick up something about having Marilyn type up the notes, and realized that she didn’t know who Marilyn might be.
Then she realized she didn’t know who anyone might be. There were at least a dozen people caring for her, on shifts, changing her sheets, cleaning her clothes, bringing her food, escorting her to the bathroom, and otherwise attending to her needs, but the only names she bothered to learn were Doctor Conway and the man who tried to rape her. It was as if these people weren’t people, but nameless captors. From their perspective it made perfect sense for her to be held here. She was treating them very badly.
She would have to fix that.
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 #306: Versers Refocused. 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: