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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 33: Kondor 183
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Kondor skipped breakfast, mostly because he wanted to avoid encountering Mohammed and Leah before dinner. When he and Zeke reached their private dining room, they were already there awaiting them. The formal greetings began with Kondor.
“Excellency. Lady.” He bowed slightly toward each as he spoke to them.
Zeke echoed him, “Um--yeah. Excellency. Lady.”
“Honored ones,” the Amir replied, and Leah said the same.
“Please sit,” Kondor said. “I’m sure the food will arrive momentarily. I trust the accommodations are comfortable,” he continued, realizing that there was probably nothing he could do about them if they weren’t.
“Oh, indeed. Not, of course, like home, but less work.”
The food arrived, including a bowl of oranges for Kondor, wine for the others but that Zeke had beer. Putting a few things from the tray onto a plate, Kondor took a bite and swallowed.
“I think the first thing,” he said, looking at Leah, “is for me to ask you whether you still want to marry me. After all, I told you a few things yesterday that I’m fairly sure you were unaware of, and you’ve had the night to think about them.”
Mohammed interrupted. “Leah will certainly marry you if you wish it,” he said.
Without taking his eyes off the girl, Kondor said, “I’m asking her.”
“Well, m’lord,” Leah said, and Kondor thought that that would have to go--sure, Shella called Slade that, and Vashti used it for Derek, but he just wasn’t comfortable with it. She was continuing. “I wasn’t entirely unaware of all of that. Amira Vashti had told us some of what she had learned before she married Derek. But I did think about it last night, and I still think you are the best option. If you’ll have me.”
“How romantic,” Zeke muttered sarcastically.
“Hush,” Kondor said to him, then to Leah, “I, too, have thought about it, and I think we are agreed. That is, yes, I will have you.”
He thought she smiled; anything else was lost as Mohammed clapped his hands together and said, “Excellent. We shall begin making arrangements for the wedding.”
“I think,” Kondor said, “we should contact the Caliph. He might be offended if we don’t at least ask to hold the wedding at the capital palace. After all, we’re talking about a Hero of the Realm marrying an Amira who is one of the Calipha’s closest friends.”
He wasn’t sure why this would disappoint Mohammed, but the man bounced back quickly. “You are, of course, correct. I shall dispatch a messenger in the morning.”
“And I will inform our host of our engagement, and let him know that we are asking the Caliph to hold the wedding there. Also, we will have to determine where we will live after the honeymoon. I don’t have a place of my own, but we have rooms at the Caliph’s palace and also here, and I presume that there are rooms at your place as well. But we can discuss that between now and the wedding.”
“I’m sorry,” Mohammed said. “What is this honey moon?”
“Oh, you don’t have that custom?”
Zeke volunteered. “The idea is that right after a couple gets married they spend the first week or so alone in some really nice place, like a vacation spot, just being together and, well, doing what newlyweds do. I think originally it was a month, but most people can’t afford to stop working for a month so it’s been shortened to a few days, maybe a couple weeks.
“Of course, I’m not sure where they could go that would be better than one of these palaces.”
Kondor nodded. Probably if they held the wedding in the capital they should stay in his room there. Or they should move into the Slade’s room, which was a bit larger and more suited to a couple. On the other hand, Zeke would probably have to return to the Amirate with the Amir’s people, although certainly there would be people from all the Amirates--it was starting to sound like it would be a royal wedding. Well, it wouldn’t really. Derek and Vashti’s wedding was a big deal, and he didn’t think his would be as big as that, but he was also sure that when the Calipha married that would be a much bigger event.
“This calls for a toast,” Zeke said, as he peeled an orange and squeezed the juice into an empty cup for Kondor, then raised his stein. “To Joe and Leah; may they find happiness and love together.”
Mohammed echoed, raising his glass, “To Joe and Leah,” and the couple also raised glasses and drank from them.
There was a moment of silence before Kondor said, “Well, this is dinner, and there’s no more food until breakfast, so we’d better eat.” So saying he stuffed food in his mouth, and the foursome ate in silence for some time.
When they were finished, Zeke said, “If you will all excuse me, I need to report for duty.” As he stood, Kondor did as well.
“Yes,” he said, and struggled for something else to say. “It has been a time of hope and promise. I expect that there will be many people trying to help with the wedding arrangements. I look forward to it.”
Then awkwardly he bowed slightly, and turning left the room.
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 #437: Characters Relate. 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: