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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 30: Hastings 177
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 29: Takano 5
After the crisis, things seemed to get quiet rather abruptly, Lauren thought.Actually, on reflection, they had been slackening slowly; the crisis just brought it into focus. Derek and Vashti had already left the palace, reducing her martial arts class to the four girls who now were at the palace without her. She had been sparring with Derek and with Bob, but Derek was gone and Bob was at the palace while she was at the Amirís castle. She no longer had Shella. Really, her only sparring partners were Joe and Zeke (the castle guard quickly recognized that they were no match for her), who were also her only students. She discovered that she had quite a bit of free time. She continued sparring with Joe and Zeke, two on one, but she had to be particularly careful with Joe because his skepticism made him resistant to her healing magics. She also continued, slowly, teaching them new psionic techniques, trying to figure out what was easy enough for them to learn without too high a probability of too bad a botch. Generally Joe was a step ahead of Zeke, so she had Joe teach Zeke to improve Joeís ability. Zeke, though, wanted to learn magic. Joe sat in on a few sessions, but it was obvious that he couldnít learn anything because he kept trying to reduce it to some kind of different mental power. In any case, the classes in magic started with a lot of discussion about the nature of the supernatural realm, of gods and spirits, of the difference between answered prayers and channeled energies, and while Zeke listened with rapt attention and asked some excellent questions, Joe quietly but obviously discounted the entire explanation as mythological hokum. After Zeke had learned a few very simple magics which Joe said were just the two of them fooling themselves, Joe let Zeke continue without him. She had tracked the other versers to a city on the eastern side of the wilderness nestled in the foothills of the distant mountains, using a combination of scriff sense and clairvoyance. She checked every day to assure herself they were still there, and every couple of days contacted Bob with an update that didnít really change much. She asked if perhaps Zeke could borrow that excellent primer on magic he had, and Bob said he could certainly read it next time they were together, although he himself hadnít mastered everything in it and didnít really want to part with it. Otherwise there wasnít that much to do. She poked around in the kitchens but it was obvious that her presence made the staff nervous and they didnít want her help. She practiced her acrobatics and her archery but there were simply more hours in a day than she could fill with useful activities. She spent time in prayer and study, but she knew she was a long way from praying without ceasing and wasnít likely to get there soon. She spent a fair amount of time on one of the shaded balconies staring out across the river at the eastern farmlands, pastures, wilderness, and distant mountains. She knew trouble was brewing, but she didnít quite know how they should prepare 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 #327: 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: