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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 14: Slade 157
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 13: Brown 180
Slade wasn’t really comfortable with the idea of Derek spending a week or so plus travel time down south at Vashti’s father’s amirate, but he couldn’t really find a real objection. His feeling was that were something to happen he would be short a valuable resource, that Derek had made a significant difference in all their adventures so far and would undoubtedly do so again. Of course, he now had Lauren--he was thinking that he had her as part of his team, but he wasn’t quite sure how that would work, since in the past either he was on her team or they were both on Joe’s, but she was a team player when need arose. Lauren couldn’t turn into a sprite or shoot knockout darts, but she more than made up for that with her many skills, and she could fly. Besides, although none of them had been to the Amir’s estates, Lauren had managed to deliver them to locations she had never visited many times using a combination of techniques, so retrieving Derek in a hurry was clearly possible, and Shella could reach him telepathically to let him know if there were trouble.
Besides, it wasn’t as if they had asked his permission. They simply informed him that they were going to be away for a couple weeks celebrating Vashti’s birthday with her family. He had thought about devising some reason to go with them--as royal adviser he arguably should know the Caliph’s vassals to some degree--but then couldn’t figure out who should go and who should stay, and didn’t want to leave the Caliph defenseless. In the end, he didn’t make the suggestion, and simply wished them all speed and the hope that they would return soon.
He mused that it was another of those quiet times. He never quite knew what to do with himself during those. Of course, he was sparring with Lauren and going through his practice, but that was a small part of the day. He lazed about with Shella quite a bit, made it to breakfast most days and dinner more regularly, polished his weapons and his leathers, and sometimes wandered the palace and grounds. Quiet, though, really meant there was nothing interesting, no fighting, no intrigues, no threats. Since they had quashed the bandits and buried their fire beast, the eastern borders were quiet. Since the matter of the Caliph’s successor had been settled the court was somehow less agitated. There was nothing to do but do nothing, and Slade was not particularly good at doing nothing.
Be careful what you wish, he thought. After all, you once wished to be a friend and ally of the djinn and of the Caliph of the West Wind, and that brought you some trouble along the way. Well, yes it did, but it was exactly the sort of trouble he missed now. It was something to do.
And of course the fact that Lauren had arrived still portended that there would be more to do ahead; he just had to be patient enough to wait for it.
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: