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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 18: Slade 6
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 17, Hastings 6
Slade did keep the bottle in which the djinni was trapped. He wanted to remember the moment and even wished he had a camera. Omigger cast a few incantations, and Filp rummaged through some of the junk, but before long they reached the same conclusion: there was nothing here worth carrying out. "Then we are ready to go."
Suddenly they were swept up by a wind and rushed out of the room through the darkness. To Slade, it was like being on several of the Six Flags roller coasters at the same time, and he was enjoying it despite almost swallowing his matchstick; but Filp's screams somewhere behind him were definitely terror, and he didn't hear any squeals of pleasure from the other two.
They emerged from the dungeons, but were not outside. Light streamed in through the open windows of a stone building. "Hey, guys, isn't this something?" Slade said. "They rebuilt your grandfather's castle. I wonder which one of us gets this one?"
He turned and looked at his companions. Omigger looked quite pale, and was wiping his beard on a cloth from his pocket. Torelle was definitely green, and not so steady on his feet as usual. Filp was curled up face down on the floor with his hands covering his head.
"It's all right, guys. Ride's over. Take a moment to find your legs and your stomachs, and then we can go get some cotton candy and throw up all over again."
If there was humor in that, they didn't get it. "Torelle is closest to the line by descent," Omigger replied. "This will be his home; he will probably make application to the king for recognition of his title as baron."
"Baron Torelle of Corlander," mused Slade. "Has a nice ring to it. Congratulations."
"Thank you," Torelle responded, not quite too dazed to remember his manners.
Just then two men entered the room, armed and armored. They drew weapons, and one spoke. "Halt! Who are you?" Then his eyes found the fighter. "I beg your pardon, your lordship. I did not realize you had returned."
"Thank you for your vigilance," Torelle said, forcing himself to stand erect and trying to sound more noble than he looked. "These are my cousins, Omigger and Filp, and my good friend and companion Slade. They are to be shown reasonable courtesy whenever they are here."
Realizing he was being introduced, Filp stood up.
"Please tell the mess sergeant," he continued, "that we would like some lunch in about an hour. Then please tell the castellan that we will need to hire some household staff, at his discretion, including a cook and kitchen staff. There's no reason why the mess sergeant should have to handle meals for my guests on a regular basis; he has enough to do feeding you lot."
"Yes, sir. Will there be anything else, my lord?"
"I don't think...yes, send someone back to escort my guests to rooms to change, and make sure they find their way to the dining room. That will be all."
Slade watched this with amazement. Torelle fell into the job like a fish into a lake. Realizing that he was going to have to do this when he got to his own new home, he started making mental notes: mess sergeant, castellan, household staff, reasonable courtesy. But the guards were leaving.
"I hope you will accept my hospitality," Torelle said. "It's been a long journey, and at least a few hours of rest will be good for all of us."
"I'd like to get around to seeing my share," Filp said.
"Of course, you are welcome to continue your journeys whenever you wish."
Filp thought only for a moment, looking around the room as if for some invisible presence. "You know, lunch is sounding pretty good right now. Where's my room?"
Three other soldiers entered at that moment. "If you gentlemen will excuse me, these men will show you where you can wash and change for lunch. I'm going to inspect the grounds, and will meet you in the dining room in about an hour." And with that, Torelle left the room.
Slade abruptly realized that everything was about to change. Their foursome was dissolving; Torelle would have his title, Omigger his enclave, Filp his fortune, and there was nothing to hold them together. He didn't yet know where their castles would be, but they would be at least several miles from each other, and possibly many miles from here. He followed the soldier who led him to his room, lost in his own thoughts, wondering which way his life would turn next.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with the first six chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #22: Getting Into Characters. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: