Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Captives

At least he got the ink off his face.

Zainab followed behind her boss, stopping two steps behind him when he stared at the tied and blindfolded pirates lying on the dock, fox eyes glittering. This was always the tricky part. Cassim had a vicious streak on his good days. And these wharf rats had gone out and killed some of their people, and enslaved more.

But so far Cassim was just stalking along the bloodied line of them, examining the damage with a professional’s eye. Nodded, and headed back onto the solid stone of the street, raising an eyebrow at Alibaba. “So?”

Not what Zainab would have started with for a question, given Alibaba was still stained with smoke, face pale as ashes. But this was the boss’ call.

“I plan to dump the mate in the dock-master’s office.” Alibaba glanced over where Aden’s crew were talking to some of the merchant survivors they’d pulled off the pirate vessel. “With a copy of the ship’s log. It’s… sketchy. I don’t think the captain read a lot. But there are,” he swallowed dryly, “enough details.”

“Oh?” Cassim drew out the word, dark brow arching higher.

Alibaba took a breath, and handed over leatherbound pages.

Scowling, Cassim took the log, and started reading. Stopped, almost immediately. “Does he have to be alive?”

“The message might get through better if he is.” Alibaba didn’t flinch. “I want word spread everywhere. I want people to know this is what happened to our ships. Our people.” Knuckles clenched, pale with fury. “Spent the trip here copying out the past few months…. We’re going to leave enough evidence that the dock-master knows exactly what this scum did. And what happened to them when we found them.”

“Heh.” Cassim’s smirk had an eager edge. “So either Shahidi gets off his fat butt and does what a dock-master’s supposed to do with pirate slavers… or he doesn’t.”

Either way, Zainab knew, there’d be more blood in the streets. Which suited Cassim just fine.

“The rest of them… I think we killed most of the ones with any guts,” Alibaba said flatly. “Now we’ll see if Shahidi has what it takes to follow the law. If he lets them go….” The blond’s smile was still friendly, but it had that same edge of steel. “Then they’ll be on your turf.”


29 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch5 bit – Captives

  1. I think the scary thing about Alibaba is that he is a King and a merchant.

    Sinbad can blind you with his ‘logic’ until the chaos and dust settles and you wonder why you thought it was a good idea to follow the crazy.

    Alibaba learns about you, finds the ground you stand on and then shows you an idea that makes you go “oooh~” (I’m thinking Girl Genius whenever two Sparks somehow reach the same idea and has that wide eyed happy smile that makes everyone else duck for cover)

    And when the dust settles, you know exactly why you followed him, know why you thought it was a good idea and wish you could go back and shake your past self for being taken in by the crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Pretty sure Kings could qualify as Sparks. Particularly Sinband/Simon, heaven help us all… And I suppose the Fanalis could count as a Jaegar. Minus the accent and the hat obsession.


  2. So people from Balbadd were being taken, was this being aided at all by the Maritime issues going on in Balbadd? Looks like the Dockmaster will get off his butt or be replaced by someone through an unfortunate accident.

    Alibaba is good person but that doesn’t mean that people who hurt others will get off free with him around.


  3. …somehow, I feel like those slavers might actually demand to be arrested, because a jail cell will theoretically protect them from Alibaba and Cassim’s comeuppance.


      1. Ah, so they’re just going to hang. (Whacks forehead) Sorry, guess I was thinking in terms of modern laws, where for the most part the death penalty has gone the way of the dodo. Still might be preferable to having to deal with Cassim again, he strikes me as the type to make ‘examples’ for dragging his people off to be made slaves. (Sure Alibaba wouldn’t let him, but the pirates don’t know that now do they?)
        Everything about the last few snippets has been awesome. I can’t wait for this fic to be finished 😄


      2. Yeah . . . being jailed as the primary punishment for crime is a relatively recent invention.

        Jails used to be used primarily as a place to hold people until you could put them on trial – or rather made sure they actually showed up to trial. Because a lot of people didn’t.

        And you as the prisoner had to pay your jailer for everything from your food to where exactly in the building you were to stay. And how much you paid them determined what your standard of treatment was . . .

        And let’s just say that for a lot of people in various parts of the world at various times have all had the attitude of “If this is justice, then they can keep it.”


      3. >…Oh dear. Er. Hanging was considered humane at one point, you realize. At least in comparison to traditional executions of pirates. *Wry G*>
        So does Balbadd do decapitation or are they a little more brutal to slavers (gibbits etc).


      4. As far as RL, I joke that I am bound to consider the precedent set by ISIS in evolving international standards of law.

        My bunnies say that crucifixion and other such Roman practices are appropriate for Reim. (Does Reim have vestal virgins?) Otherwise I’d note Caesar’s precedent.

        I don’t have any favorite techniques for executing pirates, so I look forward to reading what happens.


  4. Alibaba is a gentle soul but they are hurting his people as surely as Kou has been doing. And no h’reg reacts very well to that.

    Just ask anyone who tries to harm Kouha’s people.

    Or anyone who would have tried this in Sindria. Provided that Generals left anyone of them alive for Sinbad to deal with – I imagine after a certain . . . time frame . . . Ja’far and the rest have an attitude about slavers being anywhere near their king.

    And having the people of Balbadd know what the pirates were doing, especially if the dock master doesn’t do his job, will communicate certain things louder than anything else could have.

    Side thought, I don’t think stuff like this is going to help Alibaba’s “I’m not a king” arguments. Not saying he should do nothing, just that it doesn’t hinder that notion getting or staying in some people’s heads.


  5. To put this in perspective, the guillotine was considered a humane death. And it actually was until the blade dulled. As a side note, it was believed that a body needed to be whole to be able to reach God’s judgement. Thus, the worst condemnation that could be leveled on someone was to tie each limb to s different horse and have them all face different directions and have them go. Look up ‘drawn and quartered.’ Heck, depending on how things went, burning at the stake was more merciful, there was the chance you could pass out from smoke inhalation and not feel it when you go up.

    It’s telling that Cassim and Alibaba have the same reaction to whatever the pirates were doing. And Alibaba doesn’t particularly care what happens to the pirates who get free.


    1. I’m trying to keep the most gruesome stuff off-screen, as in canon Magi. But – yeah. Sometimes the world’s not nice.

      Cassim’s whole problem is that he agrees with Alibaba more than he’d ever want to admit; he just can’t seem to find that hope for himself.


      1. Yeah, the best quote as a summation of history was, ” The history of man is men doing terrible things to other men and occasionally letting women join in.” I’d just as soon not see it but know it’s there as see it.

        And as to jails, even a hundred years ago jails cost nothing because the prisoners were supposed to work and maintain the jail, roads, and other things.

        And that’s why Alibaba is the one with the Djinn in his soul and not Cassim. Well, *knife* right now.


      2. The history of man also includes doing wonderful things, and hopefully letting everyone join in.

        Jails still cost money – if only to pay for building them, jailors, and the rest of the legal system. It’s a lot more expensive, short term, than mob justice. The advantage is that not having mob justice allows a more high-trust society, making everyone richer because they have more time to invest in making food, shelter, goods, etc.


  6. >Side thought, I don’t think stuff like this is going to help Alibaba’s “I’m not a king” arguments. Not saying he should do nothing, just that it doesn’t hinder that notion getting or staying in some people’s heads.>

    I just had a very scary/awesome thought. We know that the Balbadd people in general have very strong opinions about slavery and in particular people trying to enslave them. Also that the King’s purpose was to protect/aid the people and in return they would give him their trust and loyalty.

    This broke down towards the end of Rashid’s reign (and has only gotten worse) but Vathara has indicated that Al-Thamen has been screwing with the kingdom for some time.

    And Alibaba wants to fix this mess. Consciously because it’s the right thing to do (and the whole My Kingdom thing), But there’s also the fact that it’s his family that has done this. The family that Balbadd trusted to guide them has instead lead them into despair.

    Of course in a short while, Ahbmad is going to sign that agreement to make the people of Balbadd into slaves for Kou to get more Fan. And considering the much harder time Cassim and Alibaba are likely giving him/the nobles a much harder time here, he might sign that agreement sooner than OTL.

    If Alibaba finds out about said agreement, I can see him marching up to the palace, using Amon’s fire to simply burn through anything and anyone in his path then holding Ahbmad at sword point while explaining what and what not a King of Balbadd should ever conceive of doing.


    1. >Hmm. Not quite Alibaba’s style.>
      Figured it would be a rage-breaking point for him or something.
      > Now, setting certain agreements on fire and creatively reinterpreting them…. >
      So since the nobles and Ahbmad were the ones that built up all that debt, they’re the ones deported to Kou to serve as hard labour in order to repay what they owe?


      1. >Now, setting certain agreements on fire and creatively reinterpreting them…. >
        So since the nobles and Ahbmad were the ones that built up all that debt, they’re the ones deported to Kou to serve as hard labour in order to repay what they owe?

        Now there’s ‘hoisted by your own petard’ right there. Ironic and Justice Dealt at the same time! Probably won’t be quite so clear cut, but that’d be wonderful to see.

        Here’s another possible idea: Alibaba is essentially, and somewhat unwittingly (cuz, ya know, ‘denial’ and all that) building his own Kingdom right under Ahbmad’s nose. And as he’s not running it as ‘Rashid’s Third Heir’ he could technically claim to be starting a new ‘House’. Completely separate from Balbadd’s ‘officially recognized line of succession’. What’s the bet there’s going to be a *name* for his people before long, if there isn’t already?

        Or, to put it simply, buh-bye Balbadd, hello -insertnamehere-. Yeah, all those pretty ‘treaties’ and ‘agreements’ established with the Kou Empire? Null-n-void. ^~^
        Or some similar, more complex mind-screwy skirting-the-rules shenanigans, same basic idea applies.


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