keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Garden of Versers
Chapter 89: Kondor 150
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 88: Hastings 160
“It’s not an airtight case,” Kondor said, “but it’s an excellent bit of deduction and a very likely suspect.”
Derek had just explained to him why he thought Scheherazade must have been involved. “I figure,” he said, “that it’s worth trying to ask Bilhah whether she actually did tell Sch’hery about seeing the scarf. As organized as they are, they probably told her to say so if questioned, but we have two chances there. One is that this is a detail they overlooked, and the other that if I’m reading her mind when she answers I might know if she’s lying.”
“Might?” Kondor asked.
“Bilhah is Egyptian. She’s been in Arabia a lot of years, and if she thinks in Arabian I can make some sense of her thoughts, but I don’t know a word of Egyptian.”
“Right. So we have reason to think that Schererazade intentionally led the princesses into that ambush. That one of the entourage was part of the plot would explain why the attackers didn’t kill any of the princesses; the only severe injury among them was Vashti, who leapt in front of a sword aimed at Derek so was in a sense accidental--they hit the wrong person. The questions now, though, are why Scheherazade would be involved in kidnapping the princess, and with whom she is conspiring?”
“Yeah, I thought about that, too. Her father is the Caliph’s nearest living relative, a cousin of some sort, apart from his daughter, of course.”
“If he wants the throne, though, why not just kill her? Then he’d be first in line of succession, right?”
“I don’t know,” Derek said. “Maybe we should get Shella in here. She probably knows about succession.”
“Good idea,” Kondor said. “Zeke, run see if Shella can join us for a moment.”
“Yeah, I want to talk to her about something else, anyway,” Derek said. “But that can wait.”
Kondor reviewed what Derek had told him. “You’re right,” he said. “Scheherazade had to have been leading you into that trap. She had to know where she was supposed to go. She might not have known what was going to happen, though.”
Shella entered the room. “You need me, my lord?” she said.
“Yes,” Kondor said. “Derek here has put forward a pretty good argument that one of the girls was involved in the kidnapping, and we’re trying to figure out why. It seems to me that if the Caliph dies, his daughter becomes Caliph--”
“No, my lord. The Caliph has no son. If he dies today, the throne probably passes to his cousin, although there is the possibility someone would contest that. The expectation is that the Caliph will live long enough for his daughter to marry, and then his son-in-law would become heir to the throne.”
“So perhaps the kidnapper wants to marry the princess?” Kondor suggested.
“I don’t think that works,” Derek said. “Sch’hery’s father is next in line for the throne, and he’s married. His wife is rather ill, but I don’t think she’s died yet. That means her father can’t marry Rathi now. But if her father isn’t behind this, then Sch’hery would be working against his interest, and her own, by working to make someone else the Caliph’s son-in-law.”
“Right,” Zeke said, “and it couldn’t be a love interest, could it? I mean, I suppose it could, some lover has persuaded this Scheherherzer--whatever--that he’s going to marry the princess, and then when he becomes the Caliph he’ll kill the princess and marry her.”
“It’s been done,” Shella said, “although I don’t think Prince Acquivar was going to become heir to his father-in-law’s throne.”
“No, we’re missing something,” Kondor said. “Someone has a way to benefit from kidnapping the princess that doesn’t involve killing her.”
The room grew silent as everyone was lost in thought.
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: