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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 19: Kondor 178
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Kondor was so shocked, for a moment he stared before he was even able to stammer.
“I--I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“No, I should apologize. I know this is very irregular, and perhaps presumptuous. Usually her father would make such arrangements. However, our father died and left me to run the house, and I do not really know how to do this, so forgive my fumbling efforts.”
“You want me to marry your sister?”
“That is correct. You have met her. Her name is Leah, and she was one of the girls in the Calipha’s entourage. I believe Twice-honored Hero Derek called her ‘Green Eyes’.”
Kondor wasn’t sure he remembered which girl was Green Eyes, although obviously she would have been the one with the light eyes. Derek had spent many hours with them; he had only seen them at a distance until the Calipha had been kidnapped, and then he questioned them and worked with them as a group. She obviously was not the insider--that was Scheherazade--but even when you also eliminated Vashti and the princess, that left four girls who had just been teenagers in the entourage.
Of course, it had been a while since then, and girls tended to marry young in worlds like this, so it was probable that her brother was worrying about her becoming an old maid.
“I’m really not sure,” he began, but was interrupted.
“She is strong and healthy, and will surely give you many fine sons.”
Kondor was pretty sure he wasn’t going to have any sons, and besides he didn’t particularly want them, but that wasn’t something he would be comfortable saying to Mohammed. He should just say no, thank you--but then, he wasn’t sure whether that was appropriate in this culture. He wouldn’t want to create some kind of feud with one of the noble houses. At the same time, it would be unfair to everyone for him to say yes. What were his options?
He nodded, and formulated his response carefully.
“I would be pleased to meet her. You should bring her to dine with me.”
“You should come to our palace. We will entertain you royally, and you will be able to get to know Leah in her own home.”
Several things ran through his head. One was that Leah had been living at the Caliph’s palace for the past few years, and so she was probably a bit of a stranger in her own home. Another was that he was suddenly grateful that Zeke had taken that job with palace security.
“I’m afraid that Zeke and I have obligations here that would prevent us from leaving any time soon,” he began.
“I’m sure the Amir--“
“And so we won’t be able to travel. I am certainly willing to meet your sister. I make no promises about a future, and I think that marrying me would make her very unhappy, but perhaps that is something you need to decide after we have met.”
With something of an air of defeat, Mohammed said, “Very well, Honored One. I will return with her swiftly so you can see what a wonderful wife she would be.”
Well, that gave him some time, anyway.
“If you will excuse me,” Kondor said, “I need to get to some other matters.” With this, he rose and left the room, carrying a last orange with him.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #432: Whole New 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: