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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 86: Kondor 202
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Slade 196
Dusk had settled by the time they reached the palace. The gates opened, and they rode into the courtyard and dismounted. Kondor had a blinding headache and was exhausted, and as he left the horse he nearly collapsed.
Zeke rushed over to help him. “You idiot,” he said. “Even I can see that you’re dehydrated, close to heat stroke. Here, drink this,” he said, putting a warm canteen to Kondor’s lips. “Don’t give me any guff about not drinking the water. I drink it, and I’m fine so far. You’re going to be sicker if you don’t drink something than you’ll get from just about anything you could drink.”
Kondor sipped at the water. If Zeke was right, he would need fluids--but he couldn’t drink them too fast, or he would just vomit them up again.
“Thanks,” he gasped, pulling his lips away from the canteen. Leah approached, concern on her face.
“Is he all right?” she asked.
“No, he’s not all right,” Zeke answered. “But I think he’s gonna live. Can you get some fresh fruit? Something juicy, like oranges.”
“Or grapes,” Kondor added. “Mohammed said you would have grapes.”
Leah nodded, and touched her hand to his cheek.
“You’re hot,” she said.
“Of course he’s hot. He needs to rehydrate. Get some fruit.”
“You need to lie down,” Zeke said. “I’d rather not do that in the courtyard here. Let’s see if we can get you inside, and maybe there will be a couch or something there.”
Kondor could not do more than nod, and leaning on his friend he stumbled toward the front door. The steps were more of a challenge than they should have been, but soon they were in the front hall. It was darker, but it wasn’t actually cooler. Still, there was a divan close at hand, and Zeke soon had him stretched out on it.
“More water,” he said, “at least until the fruit arrives.”
Reluctantly Kondor acquiesced, sipping at the canteen.
“Leah!” Zeke called, and a blurred form that was rushing past suddenly stopped and came toward them. She was carrying a bowl of figs. Zeke looked at them.
“Well, not much juice in them, but better than nothing. Here, I’ll try to feed him a few of these; you go try to find something with more juice in it. Even if it’s lemon juice, although in that case you’ll need to find some sugar for it.”
Kondor accepted a fig from Zeke, who kidded, “Well, you can’t say I don’t give a fig, can you.” It was dry, but Zeke encouraged him to take a bit more water. Before he’d gotten to his second fig Leah was back with several large round citrus fruits.
“Grapefruits,” Kondor said. “Well, they’re better than figs, I suppose. Not sure how to eat them, though.”
“Like large oranges, I would think,” Zeke said. Producing a knife, he started to peel one of the large spheres, and then handed a section to Kondor, who proceeded to eat it. It was bitter, but his body craved the liquid, so he devoured it.”
“O.K.,” Zeke said, “you need to slow down a bit. But if you’re up for it, maybe we can move you. I think they’re serving that supper they promised, or we can get you to your room and let you finish these there.”
Kondor sat up. He was beginning to recover. “I’d probably better get some food. Hopefully there’s some liquid I can drink.”
“O.K., then. Leah, lead us to the dining hall.”
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 #448: Inventive Versers. 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: