keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 6: Brown 179
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 5: Kondor 155
Derek was very much enjoying being married.
Of course, he realized that it helped immensely that a twice-honored hero of the realm married to the daughter of a noble house pretty much lived in luxury. They had guest quarters in the Caliph’s palace where they were fed and offered all the luxuries the medieval Arabia of fantasy held, and several times a month they could take a break by going across town to her father the Amir’s city residence where the servants doted on them. The young maids tended to twitter, giggle, and blush around them, while the older women smiled warmly and the men tended to leer a bit and raise their eyebrows suggestively, but Derek didn’t mind. What they were imagining was certainly one of the benefits of being married, and one that he and his wife, Amira Vashti, were enjoying. Yet they were also spending time just talking about their lives—hers up to this point, his several previous lives in various worlds. There was so much he had done which was so entirely outside not only her experience but her imagination, from fighting a poltergeist to running a school to facing dragons on a space ship to programming computers to becoming a sprite to battling vampires to being an international spy. She thought her life mundane by comparison, yet it was filled with little bits that were new to Derek, because she had grown up in this world so reminiscent of the Arabian Nights and he had heard only fragments of stories about such a place.
When they were at the palace, they spent at least part of the day in the company of Calipha Rathi, still part of her protective entourage. However, she was now spending part of her days with her betrothed, a cousin her father had agreed would succeed him as Caliph and thus would marry his daughter. Derek felt sorry for Rathi, as it would be most of a decade by the time the boy was old enough to marry, by which time she would be in her late twenties, but he realized that was how things were often done in this world, and the decision was a political necessity at the time.
Almost every day when they were at the palace they spent some time in what Derek called the gym, working usually with Lauren on their self-defense combat techniques. Things were comfortable and safe now, but they weren’t likely to stay that way even in this world. He didn’t get twice honored for heroism dining in the palace; they had gone on dangerous missions, and on one occasion that was just supposed to be a morning shopping trip Vashti was nearly killed—maybe was killed, saved by prayers Derek had never dared pray before. He made sure that their combat training with Lauren included work with weapons—the knife because it was simple and readily available, the chain because he had learned it himself and knew its advantages. He also practiced fighting as Ferris, the half-sized winged version of himself, simply because he was not adept at fighting in that form and had felt the disadvantage in the past.
She spoke Arabic and Farsi better than he spoke either, and they were valuable languages in this world, so he made sure they spoke in those languages frequently to improve his own abilities. Her English was very good, but there were worlds of vocabulary beyond anything she knew, so they spoke English for her benefit as well.
Every few days he took some time to practice the aerobatics as Morach, and this still drew a crowd of observers at the windows, but as much as he enjoyed it he knew he couldn’t really share this with Vashti, and so he did it more for practice and then hurried back to be with her.
They were talking about making a trip downstream to her family castle, just so Derek could see the place and spend a bit of time there. Vashti had rooms there, but since she had been with the Calipha’s entourage since she was twelve she had not done anything about the décor, and thought that she and Derek should redecorate the place even if they weren’t going to be there often. After all, he didn’t know how long he would be in this world, and that was one of the places they could call home while they were still here.
It’s good to be married, he thought. It’s not what you expect, but part of that is that there are good parts you didn’t foresee. He had no complaints.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #319: Quiet Worlds. 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: