Ended up dealing with a bunch of RL stuff (roofers, oh boy), so ficbit tonight instead of essay bit. 🙂 This is a fic I’m trying to slowly sneak up on….
A/N: AU from canon – what if Alibaba missed meeting Cassim when he first hit Balbadd? There’s one other AU element, based on something we know is possible in canon; bunnies wanted to play with it…. Magi, not mine.
Noon hammered the moving caravan dry as old bones. Oh, they had plenty of water for camels and people, enough that a mouthful when anyone got parched was no big deal. The next oasis was less than a week away. Yet the sun seemed to pound any desire to talk out of the rest of Alibaba’s fellow travelers, making the toughest driver shade his face with a wrapped veil.
I don’t get it, Alibaba thought, helping one of the most cantankerous old ladies in the caravan up into a wagon’s shade whether she liked it or not. It’s not that hot.
Then again, he’d been up against fires hotter than even the desert sun. Maybe he’d feel hot again in a few days, as Amon receded into an awesome, terrifying memory.
Until then, he’d take advantage of it, and just keep walking.
“Maybe it’s a sign,” one of the drivers muttered.
His burlier partner clapped him on the back. “Oh, a sign, sure. A sign the dung you gathered for the fire wasn’t dry yet, that’s all.”
“How can it not be dry in this heat?”
Listening to the bickering, Alibaba edged a bit back from the night fire, and watched flickering flames crackle back to full strength.
Coincidence. A really weird coincidence, but – it just has to be.
All the same, he took his share of the thick stew and retreated from the main fire as fast as decently possible. Because while he might know the way fires and lamps had flickered near him the past three nights was a purely natural coincidence and nothing to do with bad luck, evil omens, or annoyed desert spirits, a lot of his fellow travelers didn’t have so much faith in the universe. He was already collecting odd looks for his lack of sunburn.
Which didn’t make any sense. Even if he hadn’t felt hot he’d still wrapped around a veil to keep out travel dust. Why should he have burned any more than the rest of them?
Darn blond hair. Are all people from Reim supposed to burn?