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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 10: Hastings 189
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Beam 58
It was probably about an hour for the party to cross the remainder of the cave, which gave Lauren a better sense of how genuinely big it was. She wondered how long her light would last; in her experience it remained until either she or someone else dispelled it. She did not really imagine, though, that it was permanent--although it occurred to her that it might be.
When they reached a suitable camping site not far from the exit, Tiras barked out some sort of order, and several others in the group began doing the same. The tribe was efficient, breaking into four groups, setting up tent sites, unpacking and caring for the animals, building a fire, preparing and cooking the meat, and posting watch. Tiras and Sheegoka had both vanished very swiftly; Lauren stopped someone passing and asked, “Where should I set up?” The answer came with a finger point toward a scrappy young man again in oriental dress, which although not universal seemed to be popular in the group.
He seemed rather busy, but Lauren approached him slowly and when close enough began, “Excuse me?” He did not respond immediately, as he was working on prepping one of the animals for cooking, so she repeated, “Excuse me?”
He paused and looked at her.
“I’m sorry to bother you. I’m Lauren, and I was told that you were the person I should see to find out where I should set up for the night.”
The man--boy, perhaps, probably between Derek’s and Joe’s ages--looked around then pointed. “Does that shelf work for you? It’s out of our way, but within the watch area of the camp.”
“Thank you; that will be fine, I’m sure.”
“Do you need anything? Help?”
Pondering just a moment, Lauren said, “No, I think I’m fine--only I didn’t get your name.”
“I’m called Taz. That’s enough name for me.”
Lauren smiled at this. The leaders of the group had longish, sometimes extravagant, names; this man who was acting the foreman was satisfied with a single syllable.
“Thank you, Taz.”
She half-pulled half-levitated her wagon over toward the shelf. There was a sort of natural staircase in the rock leading to it, but nothing the wagon could negotiate. Besides, she would want a look at the space before she tried to decide how to move into it. Telekinetically lifting herself she flew to the shelf and examined it.
It would be tight, but if she brought up the wagon and positioned it to one end, then spread her sleeping bag inside the edge, she could put one or two of her magic oil-free lamps between her and the wall such that if anyone approached after the light filling the room failed the light from the lamps would shine past her without shining in her eyes. It took about five minutes for her to do all this. She would finish it with her comfort bubble, but not until it was time to retire.
She leapt to the cave floor, catching herself with the telekinesis before hitting it, and headed toward the cook fire to see whether she could help.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #355: Versers Resettling. 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: