Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Ink

A/N: Heaven would be a place where repairmen show up on time and with the correct parts.

…On a lighter note, Cassim probably hates me.

“Going to go fight with Cassim again?” Aden gave him a dark look. “Don’t think we don’t know, lad. They keep upping the odds when you fight.”

“Good,” Alibaba shot back. Though no, it wasn’t good, he hated fighting Cassim. Hated seeing the calculation in his brother’s eyes, as Cassim judged just how close he could get to flames before Alibaba flinched. “I need someone to fight me, Aden. I need them to be serious. Because there’s someone in the Empire with a Djinn, someone who’s trained for over ten years, and if I have to face them….”

The captain grimaced. “No word from Sindria, then?”

“Nothing definite,” Alibaba sighed. “I think maybe I should have taken Jahan’s advice.”

“You usually do,” Aden said warily. “Which bit was this?”

Alibaba tried not to blush. “Um… find a lovely lady, wrap her in silks, and write the message to Sinbad on her… well….”

Aden’s fist thumped the center of the wheel, as the man cackled like a desert hyena.

“It’s not funny,” Alibaba muttered, feeling his cheeks flame. “It’s not… he’s a hero….” Oh, he was so not going to win this one.

“Ah, one of these days we’ll have to drag you into a tavern, lad.” Aden reached out to pat him with a rough hand. “Go help with the rigging; we’ll want to catch every scrap of breeze to put into port before the fog lifts. The sooner we have these blackguards off my ship, the better.” A toothy grin. “I’m sure Cassim will be glad to see a fresh catch of slaving pirates!”

“When he’s been wrestling with account ledgers?” Alibaba sighed. “I’m going to owe him a good fight, just for that….”

“I’m going to kill him,” Cassim growled, tapping his quill pen against the account ledger like a cat’s irritated tail. “I’m going to mangle him. I’m going to chase him and his damn fire around and around until his head spins and he falls over without me even touching him. Goes off chasing pirates and leaves me with-!”

Behind him, somebody snickered.

Cassim swore the steam ought to be rising off him like a tea kettle. “What was that?”

“Nothing, Boss,” Hassan said lightly.

Sure it was. Damn it, why had he ever let Anis teach them to read? Nothing but trouble. And numbers. Lots and lots of annoying head-breaky numbers, and you couldn’t even stab them.

31 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Ink

      1. If you ever get into a situation where you can write off murder as a capital improvement, you might want to look into finding other business to transact.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was thinking “knife holes in the ledger sheets” rather than “threw corpse of doc official into water; write off on poor rope, sacks, X pounds of stones”… But yes. Murder, for Cassim, //would// be in the operating expenses, wouldn’t it…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. How would you even quantify murder on your ledgers? Expense off the knife/murder tool due to too much work?

    Or recognise the murder and associated costs as an intangible asset which would generate future profits? Goodwill (the accounting version, not the layman version)?


      1. I’m curious now, what would >a fresh catch of slaving pirates< look like on the accounts?

        Are they inventory? Expense? Revenue??

        I'm coming up with accounting policies for Alibaba's non-existent trading company…. I hate you right now…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Personnel management costs. Employee health insurance policy investments.

        …thank you. I now have a mental image of some poor accountant being forced to //audit their books//. Mind, the only accountant who could actually do it and survive would be Ja’far —

        No. No, bad bunnies. Do //not// give me a mental image of Sinbad offering Ja’far for such a service. Don’t —

        *falls under a horde of cackling mad rabbits*


      3. >Could be worse. Could be Vittel! (Canonically – good assassin. A horrible accountant….)>

        Which isn’t that surprising. Complex business accounting of the sort that he was doing is something that people tend o need training for. His goof up was in not trying to get help as he got in over his head.

        Cassim on the other hand seems to be keeping his head above water with just five months of basic off-and-on training by Alibaba.


      4. Which just means he has a gift, and should keep doing what he’s doing. That’s how Ja’far ended up where he did after all.


      5. They can’t be selling the pirates as slaves, because Ali-Baba doesn’t hold with that. So can’t be inventory. Sentencing them to a term of confinement or labor would require being able to hold them, and setting up some sort of officials. Can’t have been summarily executed, as they haven’t been buried at sea. Executing them on screen would, I guess, contradict the tone of Magi.


      6. You don’t want to learn more about accounting, trust me. You know that stupidity of politicians that go along the lines of:

        “This sounds like a good idea, we are sitting in our little ivory tower but we have considered all the factors so let us pass this law”


        “Oh, no! This happened and even if it is happening to 1% or the population, I will pass a law that will make life difficult for the other 99% AND it would not even really impact the 1% it is supposed to help”

        This is happening in the accounting world. Every. Year. Just replace the word ‘law’ with ‘Accounting Standards’.

        That said, I think that the murder thing would be off the books or intangible assets, and the pirates caught may fall under ‘Bounty Receivable’ or ‘Goodwill’ depending on what they want to do with them. Or even ‘Other/Miscellaneous income’ from the money stolen from the pirates.

        *smirk* This may be one rare occasion that misc income is higher than revenue.


    1. Are you murdering rich people for inheritance? Then the plan is an investment, until it happens. Perhaps the plans are big enough to be capital. This is the sort of thing that gets riskier the more you do it. Either have a long cycle time, and carry expenses and costs across that time, or do it once and diversify.

      Are you a hitman? Then maybe your tools and skills can be counted as capital. Depending on the jurisdiction, tools may need to be disposable. Set the upfront payment accordingly.

      Are you killing passerby for what they are carrying? Count the loot as income. The route that travelers take, and maybe ambush locations, dump sites, and housing may count as capital.

      Are you a government official trying to make your population more profitable by getting rid of costly people? Then you are probably going to screw things up worse, but maybe you can hide some money in a Swiss bank account, and retire to the third world.

      But seriously, unless you are a secret policeman, you probably aren’t telling the tax man about your murder related expenses. (Because secret policemen are pretty much the only people who can get away with the government knowing about all the murders they commit.) Unless you are a mercenary, you probably are not telling investors. Absent compliance with government regulations and investor expectations, there probably isn’t much reason to strictly follow best practices.


  2. Sorry (not sorry) Cassim but if you hang around a king for any length of time, you will be frequently saying those words.

    I bet nails that Ja’far will also be saying those words at some point in this story. He probably says them regularly enough that when he hasn’t said it in a while, the other Generals start worrying about an imposer. But Sinbad always dispels their doubts with a quick round of annoy my favorite assassin.

    Well writing that letter to Sinbad on lady’s . . . . body probably would get there and be received . . .

    Sinbad is a hero and crazy awesome Alibaba. This does not stop him from being a womanizer of the highest water . . .

    Let’s just say there is a reason Ja’far is always face-palming and/or pinching the bridge of his nose. Or forgoing subtlety to dangle the idiot upside down or give him a quick zap with Sei, Or both. Or all of those things . . . (and terrified by the fact he doesn’t want his life any other way – while maybe Sinbad being a little less crazy and too curious for his own good . . . sometimes . . . when he is being especially crazy or curious and getting them into sooo much trouble . . . but trouble isn’t boring . . .)


  3. As hilarious as the thought of Cassim being forced to do paperwork is, the comments are what have made my night. Also, I can think of several people in Balbadd who Cassim could kill and then file it as a capital improvement!


    1. Yeah, maybe, but sooner or later you want a government that works well enough without needing to murder people every so often. If for no other reason than people learn from the example you set, and sooner or later someone is going to come along who is better than you.


  4. *snrk* Cassim *is* a feral Ja’far/early Drakon mix! Got the grumpiness towards his King, and the ‘aegh, paperwork, kill it lots!’ What is it with Kings, can they not make friends without attempted homicide?

    And murder of officials would be written off as a charity expense, and thus tax deductible. And one or two targets of opportunity would be Pro Bono.


    1. >What is it with Kings, can they not make friends without attempted homicide?>
      But that would be boring. And Kings can’t do boring even if they want to.


  5. Unless these pirates are new recruits. I know someone compared Alibaba to a Pirate King earlier. In which case expenses would include housing, equipment, food, and training. Very expensive and aggravating.


  6. Oh Cassim paperwork is the least of that which you deserve for all the trouble you caused, its called Karma for a reason.
    I hope that he’ll survive this arc because Alibaba might need a minder since Aladdin and Morgiana would probably go along with his plans .


    1. Hah, I get “Sometime this week, probably. Call us back if nobody shows up in two weeks.” Direct quote when we called the company!


    2. *Snrk* Well, does “between 1 and 5” count as a time? And that I only hammered out of them ’cause there’s a dog in the house. Sane repair people do not want to encounter the dog, and thus are slightly more amenable to telling you an approximate time. Sometimes.


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