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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 42: Kondor 186
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Brown 208
As they settled on the cushions on the dais, Kondor pulled Leah close to him.
“It sounds silly to say it,” he said, “but I hope you don’t mind being close to me. Anyway, you’ll have to get used to it at some point.”
“No,” she replied, “you’re right.”
A large cup of wine and several peeled oranges were brought to them immediately, along with a couple of plates. Then several servants began bringing platters of finger foods.
“Go slowly,” Leah suggested. “There will be a lot of food. Don’t bother with anything you don’t like, and don’t worry about taking too much of anything you do.”
Despite his experience as a professional cook (first on a spaceship and then on a sailing vessel), Kondor didn’t always recognize everything they offered. There were scallops and mussels, and several kinds of fresh water fish, plus some kind of poultry that he decided was not chicken, hard boiled eggs that he thought were, bacon, lamb, fresh vegetables, fruits including figs, baked bread products laced with honey, some spicier dishes--he lost track of everything. Although of course he had seen some of these things at regular meals, much of it was apparently only served at special occasions. He recognized a couple things from Derek’s wedding and from the ceremony naming the heir to the throne, but he didn’t know what they were. Leah identified a lot of it for him, but she didn’t always know the English words for things, and he didn’t speak enough Arabic or Farsi for that to help and didn’t want to risk using the language link.
It wasn’t long before he realized he had eaten more than enough. More oranges were brought to slake his thirst. He realized that Leah had also stopped eating. She had had several glasses of wine and was looking a bit drowsy--but the candle had not yet reached its end. He put his arm around her and pulled her close, snugging her against his robe. She reached an arm around his waist and settled there. He thought she might fall asleep, but that didn’t worry him. He would wake her when it was time to go.
Sitting like that wasn’t entirely comfortable, and after a bit he decided to lie back on the cushions, drawing her onto his chest. She made a noise that sounded like she was comfortable, and he stared at the ceiling for a moment before he also closed his eyes.
He was awakened by Zeke.
“I don’t normally like to wake people up,” he said, “but I thought you’d want to know that the candle burned out a few minutes ago. You’ll be more comfortable in that bed upstairs, I’m sure.”
Kondor stretched. “Yeah. Thanks.”
“Do you need help getting her highness up the stairs?”
Kondor smiled. “I think we’ll manage. Leah. Honey. Wake up, dear. It’s time to go upstairs.”
“Mm-hmm,” was the response.
“I guess you’ve got this,” Zeke said. “I’m going to go get a bit more beer and some of those honey sesame seed things, and then I’ll be going up to bed myself. Call me if you need anything.”
“Right,” Kondor said with a chuckle. “I really don’t see that happening.”
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: