Con Version; Chapter 12, Cooper 4

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Stories from the Verse
Con Version
Chapter 12:  Cooper 4
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 285

Using his horn spoon, Brian scraped up the last of the rich brown pork gravy from the turnip and carrot stew.  He pushed back the bowl and leaned back in his chair with a gentle, grateful smile to his host.  The meal had started with a braided bread loaded with butter, and cups of hot tea.  After that, the stew had been ladled into the bowls by the chef.

“Danke,” he said to Wilhelm who was puffing on a pipe.  The sweet smell of burning pipe weed, the crackle of the fireplace from the nearby kitchen, and the yeasty scent of rising bread for tomorrow all lulled him into a musing ease.  A young servant girl came and gathered the empty bowls.

This Wilhelm was dressed in good, sturdy clothes, and his house was well fitted as well.  The three servants--the maid, the chef, and an old gray haired man with hard hands who was snoozing in a chair by the fireplace--were all well-dressed too.  Struggling for his German, he began to indulge his rampant curiosity.

“Welches Land ist das?”  What country is this?

Wilhelm gave him a surprised side eye, and smoked another curl of his pipe’s airs before replying.

“Schweiz.  Wie kommt es, dass Sie so weit gekommen sind Moor?”

Brian studied that.  Switzerland.  And, hmm, how is it, ah, he had it.  How is it that you come so far, Moor?  Brian was a tallish man, very fit, and despite what some might call something approaching a monk’s tonsure for his hair, a Calvinist.  But the key feature on his face other than frameless glasses was his dark skin.  A German American man had met a very lovely Black American songstress, and he was the grandchild of this union.

So to a European of pre-electric times, he might well be considered a Moor.  That is, of course, if this was what it appeared to be.  He had not yet verified that this was an Earth-like place just because this part of it was.  For all he knew, he could be floating on an asteroid made of chunks of an Earth that Exploded.

“Es ist eine lange Geschichte.”  It is a long tale.

Wilhelm shrugged, and nodded, and so Brian began to explain in his halting German about being an inter-universal traveler.  He did not get into his suspicions that this might be a virtual reality as that would be too complicated.  After a bit, Wilhelm began to grin.  And looking about, he saw the two waking servants and Hans all listening with smiles.  Finally, he finished, and Wilhelm pounded the table with one hand while laughing boisterously.  The others laughed as well.

Brian stared at them in puzzlement.  Finally Wilhelm calmed down enough, after the older man by the fire bobbed his head up to see what the fuss was to say something.

“Sie haben es mir gut zurückgezahlt.  Ein feiner Scherz.”  It took some effort and rephrasing to get the idea across.  You have repaid me well.  A fine jest.  Brian shook his head on the inside, but smiled calmly all the same.  He had spoken every word in truth, and his listeners thought he was a comedian.  But taking the opportunity, he began to ask the dozens of questions that bubbled up in his quick brain.

First he verified that this was Europe; and it was in the thirteenth century after Christ’s victory over death.  This was Wilhelm’s phrasing, and Brian could tell he was a devout Christian man.

Wilhelm was of the Tell noble family.  He was a minor offshoot, and helped guide the affairs of the village just up the road a bit.  Otherwise, he brought items down the mountain with his son to sell in the larger town in the valley, Wenbrunnen, and brought items back up when ordered for the village.  He use to make cheese wheels, but his cheese press building had burned down last year in the middle of the night.

“Es ist schwer.  Die Steuern der Deutschen sind hoch.”  It is hard.  Taxes from the Germans are hard.  A bit more talking, and he realized that the Swiss in the mountains were ruled by the Germans, and the taxes were eating up a lot of the little pleasantries that the village used so that they sent out the same number of cheese wheels, but got back less.  Wilhelm assured him that his visit was no hardship--he was a minor nobleman, and decently well off--but some of the peasants in the uphill village Anderberg were finding things tight.

The candle had run low, and so Brian was led upstairs by the older servant holding a candle in a brass holder.  He asked him why he had not eaten, and the man mumbled an explanation while rubbing his stomach.  Apparently he could not eat past lunch, or his stomach would bother him all night.  The bed was stiff, but the blankets heavy and warm, and as he drifted off he smiled as he heard the familiar cadences of a story being read to a child in the rooms below.  He still had more questions, but they would have to wait for the morning.

Next chapter:  Chapter 13:  Takano 88
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #498:  Characters Restart.  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:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Re Verse All

In Verse Proportion

Con Verse Lea
Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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