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Stories from the Verse
For Better or Verse
Chapter 93: Brown 83
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 92: Slade 79
Morani's prediction proved itself quite quickly. Before he and Morach, that is, Derek, could finish breakfast so that Derek could show him the plants from which the ingredients came, several of the elder sprites, including one of Derek's teachers, arrived. One spoke.
"Morani," he said, "I am Dorin Ellander Sinth."
"Yes, Master Dorin; I do know of you. How may I help?"
"There is a rumor running through the forest all night and into this morning, a rumor that says your son shot a human yesterday."
Derek thought it very rude that they should speak about him in front of him, whatever their reasons. He piped up. "Master Dorin, I'm able to speak for myself. I did shoot an arrow at a human yesterday. I was testing a potion which I expected would put humans to sleep. I hope to teach sprites how to make it, so that the murders by these monsters will be ended. My father knew nothing of this until after I did it."
Master Dorin looked at him keenly. "You realize that you took a great risk. You might have killed the man."
"He might have died if he fell and hit his head, or if he landed on his weapon. I tested the potion on several animals, and they all lived. My concern was only whether it would be strong enough to affect humans, who are larger than most animals. If it took two or three arrows to put one to sleep, there would be a serious risk that an effort to do so might kill the man. One was enough, so that's not a problem."
The elderly sprite nodded. "And now that you have this potion," he said, "what will you do with it?"
"I'll teach as many sprites how to use it as will learn," Derek said. "I'll use it to stop the killings. And once we have taken enough guns away from enough men that the humans know we are not helpless, I'll go to the cities of the humans and tell them that we won't put up with their actions anymore. We want them to stop killing us, or we'll stop them."
"So, you would have war?"
"I would have peace; humans won't give us peace because we tell them we are defenseless and beg them to leave us alone. They'll only give us peace if they believe we're dangerous when attacked but friendly if respected. Then, and only then, do we get what we want."
"If your idea of demanding peace fails, what then?"
"If it's necessary for an army of sprites to invade their homes and cities and put them to sleep by the thousands, so they'll understand we aren't helpless, I'll raise and lead such an army myself. I hope that a few men stripped of their weapons and their dignity will make the difference, but humans can be very stubborn and quite stupid at times."
His teacher spoke. "Where did you learn so much about humans?" he asked.
"Praetor Annorella, I can't explain how I understand men. Perhaps it's that somewhere inside me there is something of the mind of a man. Perhaps it's only that I've thought about why they do what they do and found explanations that make sense. If I'm wrong about men, then they'll kill sprites until we're all gone. If we do nothing, that'll happen anyway. If the elders have some plan to stop the killings, I'll gladly defer to your wisdom. Waiting until there are too few of us to survive is not an option; killing humans is not an option. I offer our people an option. If you haven't got another, at least you should permit us to try this one."
Master Dorin nodded. "You speak well for your age, and you have much wisdom." He looked at his companions, as if seeking some consensus from them. "I am ready to learn. Teach me how to make this potion."
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #198: Verser Trials. 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: