Versers Versus Versers; Chapter 59, Hastings 181

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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 59:  Hastings 181
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Chapter 58:  Beam 52

Lauren found herself staring from an eastern tower balcony at a sunrise over distant mountains, watching huge shadows rapidly recede across open wilderness.

She couldn’t sleep.

Somewhere out there was that ambassador, the emissary who had come from and returned to the castle in the eastern mountains.  Although it was much too far for her to see, if she relaxed she could look directly at it, not because of the emissary but because of the half dozen versers who were guests there.  On the other hand, even without that beacon she could reach out and find the mind of the poor man whose mind had been damaged.

He could have been killed.

It was her fault.

She wondered whether teaching Joe and Zeke psionic and magical skills was careless on her part.  After all, she knew that these skills were dangerous even when they went right, and far more so when they went wrong.  She had taught Joe to read minds, and to tap into the language center to understand someone’s language.  She had suggested that he use both at once to be able to understand the ambassador’s thoughts.  She knew that using two skills at once increased the chances one would fail.  She knew that the more times you used a skill, the more likely it was that you would botch.  That was just natural--cutting vegetables made you better at cutting vegetables, but the more you cut the more likely you were to slice a finger.  When you did dangerous things, sometimes you got bad outcomes.

She sat on the balcony as she continued to consider this, pulling the provided cushions into a comfortable nest around her.

Of course, many useful skills were also dangerous.  She learned to drive a car when she was seventeen; when Trevor was thirteen she could not imagine that in four years he would be old enough to operate a motor vehicle.  She wasn’t sure she had been old enough at seventeen, but that was the age in New Jersey, and most parents knew that you couldn’t really persuade a kid to wait another year or two.  A drivers license was a coming-of-age event, a rite of passage, an “almost an adult” step in life.  Cars were dangerous, but we taught children how to drive them because they were too useful in life not to learn.

That of course was the reason she had been teaching Joe and Zeke:  these skills are too useful in the verse not to know them.  There were worlds where children learned basic magic in preschool, where telepathy was the normal mode of communication and telekinesis the ordinary means of moving objects.  Versers needed to be equipped for what might come to them in the future, and that meant having skills, unusual skills, powerful skills that might save them or someone else in a pinch.  Those skills sometimes went wrong, and particularly when you were trying to learn them.

No, this was an accident; it wasn’t really anyone’s fault.

She considered telepathically contacting the emissary--having both read and healed his mind, she knew the frequency--but then, he did not know they had injured him, and there was no reason to alert him to this.  Better to leave things as they are for now.

She did not know that she had fallen asleep.

Next chapter:  Chapter 60:  Brown 191
Table of Contents

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 #339:  Verser Tensions.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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