Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Message

A/N: You’re getting a bunch of fic fragments lately because RL has been… busy. Hoping to have some energy to come up with something else interesting tomorrow. 😉


Aladdin saw people paler than Alibaba, and darker than anyone who’d been in Sahsa’s caravan. Silks, and cotton, and exotic furs; a dozen different accents laughing, and arguing, and trading….

Well, they should have been trading, Aladdin thought, as the three of them passed through yet another near-empty marketplace. But there weren’t that many people buying and selling-

He caught Morgiana’s open-mouthed sniff, and slowed down. “What is it?”

“Fish. Dyed cloth. And – everything else you’d find in a market.” She took a deeper sniff. “It was here. But not during the daylight.”

“So the markets are running when no one’s looking,” Sin said quietly. “That’s interesting.”

Something about the way Sin said interesting made the back of Aladdin’s neck prickle. Or maybe that was the sight of a new trio of guards headed their way, a gold-decked noble in the lead.

“You there!” The noble huffed, turban bleached white as clouds. “State your business.”

Morgiana blinked at him. “We’re travelers.”

Baba’s staff through his belt, Aladdin tried to look very well-traveled.

“A likely story.” The noble turned his nose up. “Disreputable strangers, hanging around the marketplaces, with no trade permits? You’re affiliated with those accursed smugglers. Take them!”

“Smugglers?” Sin chuckled before anyone could move. “I don’t see how we could be smuggling anything. Of course, if the noble gentleman would care to properly inspect me for contraband….” He reached for the knot of his improvised garments.

Aladdin tried not to giggle at the sudden squawk from noble lips. Even Morgiana’s eyes were dancing.

“Rude – uncouth – that’s not necessary-!

A few tangled moments of outraged squeaks, and they were free.

“Whew!” Sin whistled as they finally slowed down near a canal, leaning on a wall with red-painted markings. “Ja’far wouldn’t have let me live it down if I ended up in jail before we even made it to the hotel… eh?”

Morgiana squinted at the slashed characters, then glanced at Aladdin. “What does it say?”

“Down with the monarchy.” Aladdin frowned at the odd rectangle of red-inked paper someone had nailed to the wall. “What’s that?”

“Something I don’t think any of us should touch,” Sin said quietly. “It was left as a message. Let’s not make it one for us.”

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18 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Message

  1. “Baba’s staff through his belt, Aladdin tried to look very well travelled.”

    *snorts* Don’t know why, but that line gave me the giggles. Like, the hysterical kind. Maybe because I can sort of imagine Aladdin’s wide-eyed look of innocence. ‘Who, me?’

    Reading these snippets makes me sad I can’t read the whole chapter. Gosh darnit, I’m so eager for this fic!

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    1. *G* That was exactly the look I had in mind!

      Amusing thing is, he is well-traveled – crossed half a continent!

      Will post these chapters as I’m sure I’ve got them set; as ’tis, a bit I’m working on in 6 had me editing a bit of 5 a day or so back. Now starting on 7….

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  2. Looks like Ahbmad is trying to be seen doing something at the behest of Banker/Kou about the ‘accursed smuggler’ problem.

    Though given the fact that the market is running often enough at night that Morgiana can easily smell it indicates said methods are……..less then effected. *G*

    To me this means one or more of three things:
    1: The guards and nobles are so freaking inept that they never manage to catch them or think to search the city at night etc.

    2: Varying numbers of guards (up to all of them) are on the take. The smugglers market is probably the best source of food, cloth etc that they might have and so don’t try very hard when the nobles aren’t watching.

    3: The smugglers/Cassim/Alibaba use informants etc to make sure that the market is never set up where the guards will be investigating that night.

    As for why the nobles are so gung-ho about catching them, Banker is probably slowing the flow of Fan in order to motivate them. Well that and Cassim’s Fog troupe acting like a mix of locust swarm and Carmen Sandiego (descend on the manors, take everything that isn’t nailed down and then break out the crowbars to take the rest, those nails are valuable).

    Getting repeatedly robbed down to the bedrock is probably irritating the nobles that have risen to prominence in Ahbmad’s court.

    I say ‘risen to prominence’ because I find it very hard to believe that all Balbadd nobility (particularly those that served under Rashid) would be pants on head stupid about economics. I mean this was a city that was built on trade/smuggling/piracy.

    However said genre-savviness probably hurt them when the Banker started working with Ahbmad as his so-called decisions destroyed the Balbadd economy. At which point they either left for greener pastures (the islands or other Kingdoms) with what they had left or broght up the matter to the King. At which point they were likely striped of everything and either executed or exiled.

    Ergo all that’s left is the stupid nobility that loves the situation and has filled in the gaps. Meaning Alibaba is probably going to have some extensive housecleaning of the court if and when he gets stuck with the throne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *snrks wryly* Some of the answers to that show up a little later in 5. Some show up in 6.

      Basically, there is an implication that Balbadd has been targeted for more than just the last three years.

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    2. Combination of all 3. Some are inept, some don’t want to catch them, and Cassim’s pretty good at figuring out who can be bribed. 🙂

      Carmen Sandiego locust swarm. Hee. 🙂

      And good point. I’d bet a lot of savvier nobles are out in the islands. Meaning they may have heard something interesting by now…

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      1. >And good point. I’d bet a lot of savvier nobles are out in the islands. Meaning they may have heard something interesting by now…>
        Ten to one they’ll recognize Alibaba for who he really is as well. Sure they’ll help him but after the dust settles and if Balbadd isn’t conquered etc they’re going to need somebody as king.

        And this son of Saluja has definitely been showing he’s worthy of the title (least more so than his brothers). The fact that he’s a Dungeon Capturer chosen by a Magi is just icing on the cake.

        But he’s Rashid’s son so they’re going to have to ambush him with the whole kingship thing. Otherwise he’ll try (and likely succeed) at talking his way out of it.

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      2. I’m actually not sure how many of the nobles would recognize Alibaba. Jahan’s one of the rare people who saw the third prince as a prince outside the palace; who knows how much of the court saw him. Plus the smartest nobles were probably avoiding the court as much as possible even then!

        As for ambushing him with the kingship – Alibaba is very fast on his feet…. 😉

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  3. *uncontrolled giggling*

    Baba’s staff through his belt, Aladdin tried to look very well-traveled.

    Oh Aladdin, you are so cute . . .

    “Smugglers?” Sin chuckled before anyone could move. “I don’t see how we could be smuggling anything. Of course, if the noble gentleman would care to properly inspect me for contraband….” He reached for the knot of his improvised garments.

    Oh Sinbad, never change. (Through he might want to work on his alias crafting ability – or he was just certain that Ja’far was going to yell “Sin!” at one point so it didn’t matter.)

    Oh yes, that sign is definitely a message.
    Hopefully when Aladdin runs into Alibaba, their reunion goes better than it did in canon.

    Predication for the future:
    There was a smile – no a smirk – spreading across Sinbad’s face. It was a familiar smirk. Ja’far had seen it numerous times in the past, each more hair-raising than the last. He fought the urge to sigh and just made his preparations. In other words, prepared to take on anything up to and including dungeon monster while also being ready to leave the country at a moment’s notice.

    Ja’far had lost track of just how many times both had been necessary since he met Sinbad.

    A quick glance showed his fellow Generals had also seen that smirk and understood what it meant too. Good, it might be enough to see them through whatever mess Sinbad got them into this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I headcanon that given the number of canon times Sinbad has gotten them dumped into unpleasant places with clothes, weapons, etc. confiscated, Ja’far by now carries a stock of odd negotiables that have nothing to do with coins. So he’s well prepared for Balbadd!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would make sense.

        Just thinking that they have also had misadventures and adventures where their stuff wasn’t confiscated but still got left behind because they had to leave now and had no time to pack.
        So his advice for traveling with Sinbad is:
        {1} only bring the essentials
        {2} it can be easily replaced if lost, stolen, or confiscated.
        {3} if you aren’t using it that minute, keep it packed in a carrier that you easily grab and run with
        {4} if possible, keep your bag of stuff within arm’s reach
        {5} be prepared to improvise when all or some of it is lost, stolen, or confiscated.
        {6} brush up on your trading skills – you will probably need them at one point for food, clothing, weapons, etc.

        I headcanon that the only item that Ja’far carries outside of Sindria that cannot be replaced is his household vessel.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. He’s been stripped naked too many times!

        By now, they probably don’t consider you a full member of the team until you have been stripped naked by irate guards, etc.

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