Monday, September 13, 2010

Dark World: Back on the Trail

(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)

When they got home—when they reached the subterranean terminus, that is—Dr. Fleming looked around. “I had little opportunity for sightseeing last time.”

“Once we’ve rested up, I’d like to go exploring,” Darren said.

“No,” Clio replied. “Not unless we can reach Father from here. Can we, Shafer?”

“Call me Rick. No, you can go a lot of places from here, but the Dark World is different.”

“But the Tehros know about it, don’t they?”

“Not the new guys. The original group maybe did, but they died out, and the next group—the Veuti—found out, because they went exploring in the Dark World and never came back. But these guys don’t even know the old language. I think only Mantong did.”

“He didn’t even know English well,” Dr. Fleming said.

“He knew it; he just talked funny to bug people. He hated English-speakers.”

“How is it you’re stupid and well-informed by turns?”

“I’m not stupid. My momma used to tell me, ‘stupid is as stupid does.’”

With that, he selected a destination and left in the cart.

“Diplomatic to the last, Victor?” Darren said.

“He is stupid and well-informed—”

“Most people are. He just thinks it’s all a game. If you think about it, he’s knowledgeable most of the time; the information simply doesn’t matter to him.”

“It’s still infuriating. Let’s go get our bearings and figure out our next move.”

It was early evening when they emerged, and Dr. Fleming decided the first order of business was to find Miss FitzHugh a place to stay the night. “There’s a hotel a mile down the road. From what you’ve said, I doubt you bothered getting a room before coming out here.”

“I didn’t, but I don’t need your help. I can get my own room.”

“You could sleep in a tree, as is likely your wont, but you’re a friend of a friend, so I’ll treat you like a lady regardless of my feelings. Unless you brought cash, you may find it useful to have someone of good local reputation vouch for you.”

Thus only a few minutes later, a lady from out of town got a room courtesy of a good word and fifty dollars cash from Dr. Fleming, whose wealth was better known locally than his character, and a council of war convened in a corner of the hotel dining room.

Next: Council of War

I'm going to do another recap, and I'll also wander into some theological topics for a little while. Then we'll get into a bit of a long arc in Dark World.

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