keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Con Verse Lea
Chapter 18: Beam 126
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Hastings 237
As they reached the road, Bron asked, “So, what next?”
“Good question,” Beam responded. “I’m not sure what we’re doing at all, yet, what we eat, where we sleep.
Ashleigh said, “I think Mother is expecting three of us for dinner. She would have no problem with us sleeping in the main room, but we wouldn’t have any privacy.”
Beam nodded. “Is there an inn or hotel or somewhere we could rent rooms?”
Ashleigh stared at him blankly.
“You don’t have inns or hotels. Pubs? Bars? Taverns?”
“The nobles have those in the cities.”
“So, where do travelers stay?”
“They usually stay with family, sometimes with friends or with strangers willing to give them a place for the night.”
“That must be awkward, at least.”
“Well, how would so many people find places to stay without reservations?”
“There aren’t many travelers. Why would there be?”
Beam puzzled for a moment, looking for reasons for there to be travelers.
“Traders, peddlers, salesmen, people who sell goods. Teamsters, truck drivers, people who bring products from where they’re made or grown to where people buy them.”
“You come from a very strange land,” Ashleigh said. “Why would there be any of those things? If I can’t make it myself or buy it from someone in the village, why would I need it?”
It was all very strange. Saving up rice to buy something. No transportation of goods. Wait a minute.
“I’ve seen trucks on the roads. What are they doing?”
“They are mostly taking rice to the cities to support the nobles.”
“How do they pay for this rice?”
“Pay for it? They own it.”
“But you grow it.”
“It is their land, their rice. They leave us some to feed ourselves and to buy what we need from each other, such as fabric to make our clothes and pots to cook our food.”
“And this works?”
“It is our responsibility to provide food for the Son of the Goddess and his family, and for the soldiers that protect him.”
Beam walked along in silence, letting this percolate a bit. Then something struck him.
“So, why are you an outlaw, and what do the outlaws do?”
Ashleigh looked away toward the trees.
“Praise to the Goddess and to her Son. The soldiers take too much; they don’t leave enough for the people to live. We steal it, and give it to people who need it.”
Kind of like Robin Hood, he supposed, except that the money was the food. She wouldn’t know who that was. Neither, it struck him, would any of his companions. Not important. Fitting into this world was not going to be easy. He did not see himself working in a rice paddy.
“Let’s get back to your mother’s place; don’t want to keep her waiting.” They turned and started down the road.
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 #463: Characters Unsettled. 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: