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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 13: Brown 180
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 12: Beam 44
The boat ride down river took most of the day; Vashti said it took twice as long to drive the boat upstream, and Derek’s relatively unsettled stomach from the rocking and heaving of the boat had him skipping lunch, not looking forward to dinner, and thinking that he might suggest they try returning by the land route. It wasn’t just that the riverboat rocked just a bit side to side and rose and fell slightly on the swells, it was that every time the oarsmen pulled together it accelerated slightly and settled again, causing it to shift asynchronously in three dimensions. Sometime in the early afternoon he excused himself to become Morach and fly above the ship, on the claim that he wanted to see the land a bit better, but really just so he would escape the continuous stirring.
Vashti mostly lay in the sun sipping wine. She was modestly dressed, of course; Derek noted that bikinis were not approved attire for women outside the bedroom in this world. He wondered whether that was something to which she would have to adjust one day, but since it wasn’t going to be today there wasn’t much point in worrying about it.
They had agreed to spend her seventeenth birthday on her father’s estates, the Amirate of the Southern River Bend. That, Derek realized, made her as old as he appeared; mercifully she was not yet taller than he, and at five feet he had expected she would be. There would be a party, probably a week of partying, to celebrate, and her parents were both going to be home for it. Derek was a bit nervous, not having seen the Amir and his wife since the wedding, but so far he had gotten along well with them.
It was dusk when they disembarked. He ate a light supper that first night as his unsettled stomach attempted to readjust to being on terra firma (a phrase Derek appreciated more after having been on the “infirma” ground of the boat), and although he went to bed a bit hungry he would not have done otherwise. He would catch up on food at breakfast.
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 #323: Verser Crises. 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: