Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Visitors

About 5 months later:

“You’ve been to Balbadd before, Mister Sin?”

“Oh, many times,” the barely-clad merchant said cheerfully, heading for a trail that melded into a road as if he knew exactly where he was going. “The capital city isn’t as big as Napolia in Reim, unless you include the islands. But there’s far more trade going through it. No one needs a license to trade here… well, they didn’t last year. Things have gotten a bit confused in Balbadd since King Rashid Saluja died three years ago, and trying to work it out with letters just made us all scratch our heads! So some of my company came to see what was going on for ourselves.”

“The king died?” Aladdin blinked. I wonder if Alibaba knew that. He talked like he’d been away from here a long time. “Who’s the king now?”

“Abhmad Saluja, Rashid’s oldest son.” Sin glanced at the fields set back from the road, frowning a little at young arrow-leaved plants Aladdin had never seen before. “The Saluja royal family has ruled here for generations. They’ve done a good job keeping their nation out of most wars; they’d rather trade than fight, any day. And most other nations are willing to let them. After all, it’s good to have someplace for people who don’t fit in to go.”

“Who don’t fit in?” Morgiana gave him a sidelong glance.

“If you don’t have anywhere else you can go, go to Balbadd. Or Sindria,” Sin smiled. “I have to say our king got the idea from King Rashid. It means we end up with a lot of troublemakers, sure – but they tend to wipe each other out in back alleys if they’re that bad. And the good people, the ones who are just a little strange, like the ladies who want to be blacksmiths or the young men who want to work silk… well, if where they come from doesn’t like that, we can certainly use them!”

“But if you go to Balbadd because you can’t fit in….” Aladdin frowned. “Then why did he leave?”

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12 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Visitors

  1. Ah Sinbad, looks like trade isn’t the only trick you learned from Harun . . .

    And good question Aladdin . . . because where do you go when one of the places people who have nowhere else to go becomes one of the very places you must flee? Especially when your bad tape has you convinced that the only other safe haven will not only turn you away but confirm every awful thought you have of yourself . . .

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  2. Wow, that last line. Aladdin’s brutally on-point, as always.

    ‘I wonder if Alibaba knew that.’ YES, GEE, I WONDER, AHAHA *cough*. …Them collecting these puzzle pieces should be fun.

    I don’t even know which Sinbad bit to point out because it’s all great. He’s like a sheathed dagger pretending to be a paperweight.

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    1. >I can’t wait to see the look on Sinbad’s face once he figures out who “Merhdad” is….>
      Probably a ‘My, isn’t this interesting’ look.

      And all his generals get shivers up their spines.

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  3. So Alibaba is still going by Mehrdad publicly?
    Wonder how Jahan is going to react to having another king, Sinbad, in the vicinity to the chaos already flowing in Alibaba’s wake.

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  4. Well it’ll be interesting to see how Alibaba’s plans/schemes/crazy ideas have shaped Balbadd.

    Fortunately it seems like the city is still there so hopefully Kou/Al-Thamen haven’t dropped the hammer (yet).

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