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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 80: Kondor 169
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 79: Slade 167
Joe managed to contact two of the Amir’s ministers. His message was simple: This is Doctor Kondor. Armies are approaching the city from the east intending to attack. Alert the guard. Neither of his contacts responded, but he hoped that between them they would find the nerve to tell someone his information. He turned his attention to helping Zeke pack their belongings. They brushed a substantial amount of dirt and brush from some of these, as they had taken the time to attempt a bit of camouflage when they arrived and that meant covering some things with sod and weeds. They had not anticipated needing to make a quick exit.
It then depended on Zeke to transport them back to the castle. Kondor was a bit skeptical.
Zeke extended his right hand, pointed with his fingers, and said, somewhat uncertainly, “Knock and the door shall be opened to you.” Nothing happened, which was about what Kondor had expected, but Zeke looked puzzled and uncertain. He tried again, again with no result.
“Not sure what’s wrong here,” he said, perhaps more to himself than to Kondor. Then suddenly, “Oh, I know. I’m using the wrong hand.” Shifting to put his left hand forward, he repeated the words, “Knock and the door shall be opened to you,” and the mist appeared. “Let’s go,” he said.
As they entered the mist, the world around them faded and Kondor saw nothing at all. “O.K.,” Zeke said, “this is the tough part.”
Oh, this is the tough part, Kondor thought. Up to now it’s apparently been easy, which is why he failed twice.
Again Zeke said the words, holding out his hand, but nothing happened. He stood there silently for a moment, and Kondor wondered whether they were trapped in this nowhere place for which those who traveled it couldn’t agree on a name. Finally he asked, “Is there a problem?”
Zeke paused a moment, biting his lips.
“In order to do this,” he said, “I have to call to mind a clear image of a unique place I want to go. I’m having trouble visualizing the courtyard.”
“Try the bedroom,” Kondor suggested. “We spend a lot of time there, and you might have a clearer memory of it.”
Zeke nodded, and turned toward him. “What if it’s shielded?”
Kondor remembered that they had trouble escaping from Scheherazade’s father’s manor because it was protected against something-or-other which incidentally included opening this kind of passage. That could be a problem.
“Well, I suppose it might be, but if it is we simply won’t get through.”
Again Zeke nodded, turned to face in front of himself, raised his left hand and said, slowly, “Knock, and the door, shall be opened to you.”
An image of a room appeared around them, and with a few steps they found themselves standing in Zeke’s bedroom at the Amir’s manor.
“Time to go find the Amir,” Kondor said, dropping his suitcase, medical bag, rifle, duffel, and backpack there. Zeke also dropped his gear, and they were out the door in a moment.
Reaching the courtroom, they entered directly, recognizing that court was in session. Kondor glanced around and saw that the two ministers he had contacted were standing in the back conversing quietly with each other. He thought there was little time for formalities, so he spoke.
“Amir, I bring urgent news.”
With a hand motion, the Amir silenced those presenting their case to him. “What is it, Doctor?” he said.
“We have good reason to believe that an army is approaching from the east intent on attacking the city. We expect them to arrive today, and we may already be too late to prevent them from reaching the river.”
The Amir rose, and waved to two of his advisors (not either of the ones Kondor had contacted). They bowed and awaited instructions.
“Do you have any more information?”
“Little concerning their plans. They had decided to use the meeting to ambush us, and to draw us away from the defense of the city so that the army could attack without us defending. The Lady Lauren destroyed a fire beast but died in the battle; Lord Slade also fought valiantly to his death, and Lady Shella has gone with him. Lieutenant Smith found the weakness in the enemy versers, and dispatched them all, so he and I are the only versers which remain. It appears from such recon as we were able to do that you are the only city under attack, and that they hope by taking you they can strengthen their position ultimately to bring down the Caliphate.”
Turning to the two waiting advisors, the Amir said, “Send out scouts, east, north, and south. Get extra watchmen in the towers and on the walls, and call in the reserve troops. We must prepare as quickly as possible.”
“Very good, your excellency,” one of them said, and both scurried from the room.
“Thank you for your warning,” the Amir said to Kondor. “You will undoubtedly need to rest from your battle?”
“Not while the danger approaches,” Kondor answered. “We’ll probably get some water and a light snack, and then figure out where to go to attempt to intercept this army, to at least slow them down while you get everyone else ready.”
The Amir smiled. “You truly are heroes of the realm,” he said. “Make it so.”
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 #347: Versers Scrambled. 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: