Whispers of Fire ficbit – Keep your cool

Worst. Night. Ever, Alibaba thought blearily, rousing with the rest of the caravan in the chill dark before dawn. People were shivering now; they’d be baking soon enough. Feels like all the dungeon monsters decided to run through my head.

Which meant it actually wasn’t the worst night ever, because he’d rather face Amon’s dungeon a dozen times than that one horrible evening in Balbadd-

Time to get moving, Alibaba told himself firmly. With the rest of the caravan. Who I’ve got to convince not to kill me. Without letting on that maybe there’s a reason they really should look at me cross-eyed. Which is going to be hard to do if Amon is sucking up the heat before it hits me, people notice a cool breeze in the middle of the desert-

Waaaait a minute.

It was preposterous. It was crazy. It’d make the rest of the caravan think he was crazy.

On the other hand, it was the kind of crazy everybody would be glad to have working for them. Especially the lady’s harassed son and her fuming daughter-in-law, who’d had to put up with being criticized for everything from how she spiced the stew to how she folded a veil.

Picking up his bedroll, Alibaba headed for the most cantankerous old lady in the caravan. “Good morning, Grandmother.”

“Hmph!” A stick jabbed roughly his way. “And what’s good about it?”

“I was listening to your tales of this route yesterday.” Alibaba gave her a respectful bow. “It’s been years since I traveled this way; I’d be honored if you’d tell me more.”

Repacking part of his wagon yet again, the old lady’s son stared. Serving overnight bread and some corned meat to her small brood, his wife blinked, looked at him askance, and shook her head.

Yep. They think I’m crazy.

With his best merchant manners, Alibaba swept her another bow. “A trade, Grandmother? Your tales, for a bit of help on the road?”

“Well!” Gray hair seemed to bristle under her hood, as she straightened an old back. “At least some youngsters know what they don’t know.”

Alibaba held out an arm for her to grab, and grinned.

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16 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire ficbit – Keep your cool

  1. Now *that* is cunning. Anyone looking at them would think it was the help Alibaba gives her that is making today an easier journey, and because she’s so old any claims of a cool breeze will be passed off as senility. And all it cost him was a little bit of dignity.

    (And he may have a very harassed family disposed to think kindly if him.)

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      1. Later . . . after Sinbad’s Djinn hear about this.

        All of them are laughing, through some at least have the manners to try to stifle it. Vaalefor is not one of them.
        Amon: “Laugh it up fuzz ball.”
        *goes off to pout. Not the he considers it pouting. Mortal children pout. He is a great and powerful Djinn. He is the Spirit of Dignity and Austerity. He does notpout.*

        In a bit
        Alibaba *rubbing his forehead*
        Aladdin: “What’s wrong?”
        Alibaba: “The Spirit of Grumpiness and Fire is being grumpier than usual. He keeps muttering something about laughter and people not respecting his dignity.”

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Nice. It’s good to see Alibaba remember to use his merchant and trade training. And be charming.

    And cunning. Because while the others might think he’s crazy for drawing that old woman’s attention to himself, I bet the son and the daughter-in-law will be grateful for the break. Prevent tempers from continuing to fray more than the heat and tiredness would cause.

    Besides from earlier comments you made, the desert is going to hand them plenty to be stressed about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Alibaba lasted three years as a caravan driver; there’s no way he managed that without learning a bit about people, too.

      …Not to mention, that’s just Alibaba. He sees someone in trouble he can do something about, he does it.

      And yes, it will pay off. 🙂

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  3. At least it worked, right?

    Says every King after they have explained their idea or what they did and someone asks them if they are crazy.

    Ja’far: “Oh spirits preserve us, there really are two of them.”

    Because one hand, yes they need the help. On the other, he’s already getting another headache which he still firmly blames on Sinbad. Because Sinbad. Having a co-conspirator in headache-making (even a largely unwitting one) does not diminish his responsibility.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *G* Ja’far will at least be able to relax when this particular king encounters yet another lovely lady. Because unlike a certain Idiot of the Seven Seas, Alibaba is more likely to trip over his own feet than sweep a girl off hers.

      …On the other hand, some girls find that cute. And then there’s the Fanalis who loves to toss him skyward.

      Maybe he hasn’t dodged that arrow after all….

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    2. >Ja’far: “Oh spirits preserve us, there really are two of them.”>
      And he starts panicking and starts looking around for a spare King-wrangler because he can’t keep tabs on two Kings and if somebody doesn’t sit on Alibaba, Sinbad will start getting reckless again and everything will end in hurricanes, fire and treesap. T_T (don’t ask about the last one, he’s trying to repress).

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      1. I suspect that when he sees that Alibaba tends to listen to Morgiana and Aladdin to a least some degree, Ja’far will kidnap those two to ram at least some king-wrangling lessons into their heads.

        Because he doesn’t have time to let Alibaba find his own wrangler. The longer Alibaba is running around loose, the closer Sinbad is going to get to critical mass. And Ja’far REALLY doesn’t want to go through another leaves and snakes incident etc

        Liked by 1 person

      2. On the other hand. Alibaba and company learns some new words in Parvetian when that realization hits. Heck some of his fellow Generals probably learned some new words. Except for Drakon and Sinbad. Sinbad is alterating snickering and saying “That’s an interesting combo” and Drakon is pretending that he does not know any of these lunatics and idiots.

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