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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 69: Kondor 195
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Brown 217
As they settled on cushions on the dais, away from the Caliph’s group, Kondor decided to broach the subject. “So,” he said, “what did he say?”
“I assumed you went to talk to one of the palace advisors. Was I mistaken? Or did you actually have a tryst with a secret lover?” He smiled what he hoped was a teasing smile.
With a shocked look, she said, “I would never! No, you were right. I had a long discussion with Hamath, court astrologer.”
After a moment of silence, Kondor said, “And?”
“Well, he says you’re mistaken.”
“That part was predictable,” Kondor suggested.
She appeared to gather her thoughts. “Well, he said a lot of things. He said that there’s no way you could know that gods don’t exist. He also said that a lot of wise men think it silly to believe that Mithra drives a chariot across the sky, but that doesn’t mean he’s not responsible for the motion of the sun--only that that’s not how he does it.”
Kondor decided this wasn’t the time to suggest that the sun doesn’t move, particularly since it was more complicated than that, because the sun does move, just not in the way it appears.
“Did he suggest how Mithra moves the sun?”
“He said it was a mystery, and much debated by wise men.”
I’ll bet, Kondor thought, but didn’t interrupt.
“He also said it doesn’t particularly matter how Mithra does it, as long as we honor Him for what He does. He said it was not good for you to say Mithra doesn’t exist, but that I shouldn’t argue with you about it, because I wouldn’t be able to cure your ignorance, and you generally know a great many things, you just don’t know this.”
“So then, it’s O.K. for you to be married to an atheist, as long as you accept that I’m wrong about the gods and keep believing. Interesting. Well, I suppose that’s open-minded. And I have a lot of friends--well, no, I only have a few friends, but they all believe in one god or another, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would marry a girl who believed in gods. Just don’t be fanatical about it.”
“You know, trying to convert me all the time, preaching to others.”
“Oh. I hadn’t really considered that. I mean, it’s not something I ever did before.”
“Good. What’s this? I don’t know that I’ve had it before.”
Their discussion wandered into food and other mundane topics for the remainder of the meal, and then they retired to their room.
There wasn’t much to do there. Kondor briefly considered trying to learn one of the board games people played in the palace, but then remembered, “You wanted me to practice combat techniques with you. Would now be a good time?”
“I suppose so,” she said. “Lauren set up a room with padding on the floor. We should see if it’s still available.” And so they changed into something better for sparring, and headed out to find a place to practice.
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 #443: Versers Acclimate. 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: