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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 41: Kondor 161
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 40: Beam 50
After some practical experimentation, Kondor was beginning to understand both the benefits and the limitations of some of his new skills.
The clairvoyance was most intriguing. It seemed that he could easily see readily identified places, like behind this door, or the room across the hall. He could not see the castle in the distant mountains--but he could see his room at the Caliph’s palace, and he could see the remains of the bandit camp they had destroyed in the wadi. Further, he could expand his view. He could view a place whose location he already knew, and then move the viewpoint from there to places within sight, and use that position to move to the next location, and so on; but then--and this surprised him--he could drop the view and return to it later, going directly to any of the places he had previously viewed. In this way he began working his way up the wadi toward the mountains, hoping that if he did it right he could locate the castle.
The audio component, the clairaudience, was more frustrating. Again, he could set the viewpoint (or as he thought of it the microphone) anyplace he had been or remotely viewed, but as it was sound only he couldn’t really see where it was or move it spatially other than by moving toward or away from sounds. Still, he presumed that once he found the castle he should be able to find places where listening would be useful, and switch to the audio feed.
He found considerably less use for the olfactory, gustatory, and tactile senses.
It struck him that Derek must do something different, combining multiple senses in one skill. He had been sickened by the sight of the burned man when he was listening to the report, which meant he was getting audio and video feeds simultaneously. He’d asked Lauren how to do that, but she just said that was quite a remarkable idea and she’d never tried it, other than using the clairvoyance to find something and then trying to do the clairaudience at the same time.
He communicated with her telepathically every day, and more so with Zeke, just for the practice, knowing that this was a skill on which he might sometime rely. He also read the minds of just about anyone he encountered, again so he would improve his ability. Lauren’s idea of reading an opponent’s mind in combat intrigued him, and he wondered whether you could do that fast enough to react to what was about to happen. He also played with the chopping blade and the force wall, but wasn’t sure how they were working as he wasn’t really using them against anything. He didn’t do much of anything with the pyrogenesis, because after all this wasn’t a place where more heat was often wanted.
Clairvoyantly traveling up the wadi, a little each day, was taking him days. He finally asked Lauren how she had managed to find the castle as quickly as she did.
“I did it much the way I found my staff when the spaceship exploded,” she said. “You remember that?”
He did remember that. He had mentioned it to Shella not so long ago. “Right. You used that scriff sense to tell you what direction it was, and then just ran the clairvoyance out in a straight line toward it until you found it.”
“You should be able to detect the direction to the other versers, not from your remote viewpoint but from here, and if you keep the clairvoyant viewpoint on a straight line you’ll find them eventually, unless somehow you don’t see them and overshoot. Of course, there’s another way.”
“From wherever you are, run your viewpoint straight up into the air and look around. You’ll see much farther from there. Then, if you don’t get sick from flying, you can move the viewpoint toward whatever you see in the distance, and with a bit of push you can accelerate that motion to leap to the target.”
He stared at her open-mouthed. He should have thought of that.
He found the castle that afternoon.
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 #333: Uncertain 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: