Whispers of Fire Ch3 bit- Why did it have to be snakes….

Flames licked into the sky in this secluded cove; thin, translucent tongues of yellow, orange, and pale blue. The rocks and surf they hissed from were dark with salty smoke, then shrouded white with a wisp of steam. And almost blending into the dark crags, blue-scaled bodies lazed in flame like living ropes of azure and onyx.

Alibaba stared at what had to be the biggest nest of basking salamander kraits anywhere, and wondered if they could feel his heart pounding harder than the waves. “They’re lethal, right?”

“If they bite you? Most of the time,” Jahan agreed. “They’re very good-natured, though. For snakes. I’ve seen my own grandchildren pick them up to play with them. Which has earned them all a swat or two.” He hmphed. “Gentle never means safe. If they think you’re trying to eat them they will bite.”

And people did kill them, Alibaba knew, for the rare scales that let fire flow off them like rain. Rare, valuable skins, almost never seen; though looking at the living creatures now, he recognized the same patterns as the silky gray lining inside Jahan’s over-tunic. No wonder the man hadn’t been afraid to pluck him out of the ocean, flames or not. “Why are you letting me see this?”

“A secret for a secret,” Jahan shrugged. “If the wrong ears heard it, your name might be as deadly as their venom.” The old merchant smiled. “Besides. You need to practice. And let you throw fire around near the kitchen gardens? I’d never hear the end of it!” He waved at shore, sea, unimpressed kraits. “You won’t burn anything here.”

“Practice.” Alibaba tasted that word like it was in Tran; foreign, and filled with shades of meaning he might never suspect until it was too late. “The Sinbad stories didn’t say anything about practice.”

“Of course not; the man sprang full-formed from the heavens with perfect command of earth-shaking magic,” Jahan said dryly. “Or so some of the stories would say.”


6 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch3 bit- Why did it have to be snakes….

  1. Alibaba, don’t you know that stories always cut out the boring parts?

    Because while I am certain watching Sinbad practice using his Djinns’ powers and full equip could be and often was highly amusing, it’s probably not that interesting to simply listen to.

    And Sinbad has enough story-telling sense to know that talking about the hero spending a couple of hours for months trying to figure out magic (because I bet his Djinn were just as good at explaining what he needed to do as Amon is) sometimes resulting in absolutely nothing and/or having on his butt because he isn’t used to having these body parts might be funny but kinda of interrupts the narrative. Also people came for the high-stakes adventures, not the slap-stick comedy.

    You know, staying in Balbadd was probably another reason he was a little slow of picking up some of the skills he needed to learn – Alibaba was not going to be too crazy practicing fire around a bunch of easily burnable stuff and their equally burnable people.

    Especially if he was up enough on the stories to know that Amon-included fire possibly being able to burn stuff that isn’t usually burnable or easy to set fire to.

    Liked by 1 person

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