Whispers of Fire Ch6 bit – Invisible Chains

I never thought Balbadd would be this big.

Still chewing on a few soft eumera snapper bones, Morgiana looked over the canal by the hotel, trying to sort out the city’s dizzying mix of sights, sounds, and scents. The sea itself was a stronger scent than she ever could have imagined; fish and salt and dead plants and shellfish and who knew what else.

All that water you can’t even drink. It’s… strange.

The whole city was strange. Enormous, in a way oasis cities never could be, and so green; even bits of greenery in the poorest alleys, here and there. No dunes would march over unlucky villages in Balbadd’s reach.

Morgiana crunched a bone between her teeth as Aladdin made funny faces at Masrur, her tongue thoughtfully twirling shards to get any last marrow-flavor out before she swallowed. I thought that when we got here, I could walk the streets, like Qishan. I know Alibaba’s scent; in the desert, I could find him. Here? I’d have to have a fresh trail. And it’s so big!

So much bigger than Qishan. Yet despite all the chaotic differences, one thing hadn’t changed.

Fear, Morgiana thought, seeing again the worried glances in near-empty marketplaces. The people here are afraid, and helpless with it. Like Qishan.

But not all of them. It was curious; so strange she almost hadn’t recognized it, in the way one of the guards who’d accosted them had been casually hanging back, the careful looks of some of those in the strangely empty markets sizing up clothes and road dust to figure out where she’d come from, the odd pride of the maid who’d cleaned their rooms as she jangled bits of steel and copper in a hidden pouch. Aladdin hadn’t seen that, and he wouldn’t have been able to hear it. Morgiana had.

Defiance.

Many of the people here looked beaten; some of them were broken. But some… some were just acting.

I don’t have Alibaba’s scent here. Morgiana’s eyes narrowed. But I know who breaks invisible chains.

25 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch6 bit – Invisible Chains

  1. Wheee! I love your Morgiana. I like how she notices things. That bit on ocean scent is evocative – I’m nearly nose blind, but the ocean shore has such a specific jumble of scents it brings vivid memories when I smell it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And perfect demonstration that Fanalis aren’t just muscle. 🙂

    Especially that Fanalis . . .

    Oh Alibaba, you haven’t realized that you leave a very distinctive marker for those who know how to look for such things.

    And look at the good being able to do something has done for people. You broke their chains and reminded them that they were bloodied but not yet beaten.

    Just had a random thought – it makes sense that Sinbad set out to change the world. It was messed and he was fourteen. We all want to change the world when we’re fourteen. We all understand that sometimes you have to say “No more. This ends now.” Sinbad just had some of and quickly acquired more of the power to do so than most teenagers.

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    1. Alibaba really, really does. In more ways than one. There’s a point in Ch 7 where Ithnan suddenly spots a blaze of white rukh and decides to start some trouble… It’s canon that when Alibaba inspires people, he sets off a magical fireworks display!

      And huh. That really does fit Sinbad, yes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ithnan suddenly spots a blaze of white rukh and decides to start some trouble…

        Of course, he does. Because Al-Thamen is a killjoy.

        Plus they are trying to make this place a pit of dispair and rage and hope ruins that utterly.

        It’s canon that when Alibaba inspires people, he sets off a magical fireworks display!

        He just can’t get away from fire pretty no matter what? 😉

        Through I’m hoping it takes them a bit to find the actual source of all that hope. And that it drives them nuts because it’s big, bright, and not magically subtle – and it is still alluding them.

        And after they realize the source of that hope and start reacting accordingly, at some point Ja’far has the following thought.
        “Interesting. Usually the only person who annoys those lunatics this much is Sinbad . . . oh no. No no no no! Not two of him!”

        You notice how our proper h’reg inspire hope in people? They all do it different ways and it’s different kinds of hope but still . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It will take them a bit, because Alibaba’s not like Sinbad. Sinbad is Great Shining Light! Alibaba’s more like a whole host of sparks, flying over a dry forest….

        And hee. I still haven’t figured out exactly when Sinbad’s party figures out Alibaba is a Dungeon-Capturer. As of the bit of 8 I’m writing – not yet!

        (I so want to see Sinbad’s face when he realizes someone might have a Djinn and yet not show off.)

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      3. (I so want to see Sinbad’s face when he realizes someone might have a Djinn and yet not show off.)

        “What?!”
        For once, it was Sinbad with the bewildered the world-no-longer-makes-any-sense look on his face. Given how often he had put that expression on his and the rest of their faces, Ja’far did not feel the least bit sorry for him.
        ‘Good, now he knows how the rest of us feel when things like this happen.’
        Through Ja’far felt a little stupid for not realizing it either. Missing that someone was a Metal Vessel user. Alibaba was friendly but the next one might not be.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Hm, I’m kind of wondering what would happen if Alibaba inspired hope in SINBAD. Somehow I picture a giant mushroom cloud of white rukh and Sinbad bouncing off the walls with energy and dragging Alibaba out to think up Djinn-attack combos with their Metal Vessels as a way of bonding. 🙂 Alladin probably didn’t see why Alibaba making it through a dungeon with him was significant, LOL.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. > Somehow I picture a giant mushroom cloud of white rukh and Sinbad bouncing off the walls with energy and dragging Alibaba out to think up Djinn-attack combos with their Metal Vessels as a way of bonding.>
      Are you trying to make Ja’far BSOD?

      Also I suspect Alibaba would be trying to get away from the crazy.

      Like

      1. What’s BSOD? 😛 And maybe he would at first, but Alibaba canonically goes with the flow a lot. 😉

        Like

      1. LOL, totally! I think his thought process would be something along the lines of “If I’m going down, I’m taking every single one of you with me!” when dealing with the insanity. ^.^

        Liked by 1 person

    1. >Are fish bones normally chewy? >
      Could depend on the fish and how it was cooked.
      Though yes, considering the sheer strength of Fanalis flesh, muscle, bone, teeth etc what we and they consider ‘chewy’ probably differs a fair deal.

      I can honestly see Morgiana taking one of those huge gobstoppers/jawbreakers and just biting off a massive chuck like it was an apple.

      Liked by 1 person

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