Whispers of Fire Ch8 bit – Reasons Why

There was a sigh from beside him in the bed, that wasn’t sleepy at all. “So that’s why you’re doing it.”

Startled, Alibaba glanced at Aladdin.

The young magi was sitting up, braid slipping over his shoulder as serious blue eyes studied his friend. “You don’t want to be king. You don’t think you should be king. So… you’re doing things you think people won’t want in a king, because they have to be done and somebody needs to do them.” Thin shoulders shrugged, confused. “Why?”

Oh man. Why? Why would anyone ever think he could be king, his mother had been a palace maid, no one was going to listen to him-

But Aladdin was listening. And he’d seen the smugglers listen.

So I have to tell him the truth. “I’d be a lousy king,” Alibaba admitted, shoulders slumped. “And… it’s got nothing to do with being brave.” I’m not that, either, even if you think I am. If I were, I’d try anyway, right? “There’s a lot of reasons. But two of them are big ones.” Deep breath. Keep it – not simple, Aladdin’s not dumb, just young. Keep it blunt. “First off, a king has to be… hard inside. He can’t help everyone. He can’t. He has to say what the law is, and then do what’s right by it. And come down hard on anyone breaking the law, no matter what. If you don’t do that, then the people never know what might be the right thing to do next. And if they don’t have that confidence,  if they don’t know they can do what they planned to do tomorrow without getting jailed or executed or losing everything – then no one can trust anyone else, and the kingdom falls apart. Maybe it exists in name, but if the people can’t trust their own laws, then… then there’s no hope.”

“And you want to help everyone,” Aladdin said, half to himself.

“The other reason – I don’t know enough,” Alibaba said bluntly. “Not about war, or laws, or other countries. Not about everything. My- the king trained me in trade. I know trade. I can be a good merchant. I don’t know the rest of it! If Abhmad would listen to me about trade and economics… then, maybe, together we could make one decent king. But if I were king, I’d have to ask other people for advice, just like Abhmad did. Maybe I’d make better decisions about who to trust than someone like the Banker. But with the Kou Empire trying to take Balbadd over….”

“Maybe isn’t good enough,” Aladdin concluded.


18 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch8 bit – Reasons Why

  1. Good solid reasons . . . through nobody, regardless of their position, can help or save everyone. You just can’t. Because you aren’t perfect and you cannot be everywhere. You can only do your best. And sometimes your best just isn’t enough. Or what you are facing is something that nobody could have predicted or stopped.

    Through it is a good point that the laws need to be applied consistently and that is another area where Abhmad might be failing. After all, he doesn’t think anyone below his social class as worth anything so why not punish the peasants more harshly for crimes that his nobles either get away with or a slap on the wrist for? Or ignore his country’s own laws when it benefits his own interests . . .

    And yes, you need more information. Still you can’t know everything. Rashid had to take advice sometimes. Because he knew a lot but he didn’t know everything. And yes, bad advisors can cause a lot of damage. Especially in a place already heavily damaged.

    But Abhmad without some very serious drumming in of sense – and canon that took losing his kingdom and having to live outside of it to do that – is never going to listen to you Alibaba. He doesn’t understand or doesn’t care to learn enough to understand what he is doing wrong.

    And if he is still king, even if he does start listening to you, what is to stop him from deciding not to listen to you again in the future? Considering there are foreign powers who know perfectly well that Alibaba was Rashid’s named heir, it wouldn’t be difficult for someone to convince him that Alibaba was plotting to usurp him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ouch. The sad thing is, Alibaba is completely *right* about he and Abhmad. Then again, Sinbad didn’t know most of what you do know and less then what you don’t know when he started out, and look how he turned out!

    Then again…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Oh Alibaba…

    This reminds me of something Jack Welsh (former CEO of General Electrics) once said when asked if he would enter into politics after he retires.

    The difference between politics and running a business is that in politics, you can’t just fire the people who are not performing.

    Please note I’m paraphrasing the above sentence.

    Frankly, if you know how to trade and run a company, you already know:

    1) How to negotiate
    2) How to deal with people and get them to compromise, if not agree with you
    3) How to scruintinize a contract and pick out the loopholes
    4) How to weigh your options and make a quick decision when necessary
    5) How to make alliances (joint ventures)
    6) How to ask for advice and judge if the advice is sound based on the situation
    7) How to deal with unexpected upsets and potentially change it into an advantage
    8) How to make hard decisions when your employees act up against the company’s ethical views

    The difference you have as King is that you can’t fire your executives if they are idiots *coughNoblescough*

    Then again, dealing with Nobles is a good reason to not want to be King…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Aye – easy to see why Sinbad thought earlier in the story that you’d need to a major housecleaning of noble born vermin before living in that palace would be tolerable.

        Of course, that Sindria’s counterpart to such people is a motley collection of the few, the proud, and the utterly badass might have been a factor in forming this opinion. 😉

        Liked by 3 people

  4. True that. Imo Nobles + magic =EVERYTHING IS ON FIRE!! because nobles tend to be decadent deadly courts w/o the court. Tip: when the Beggars Curse is Real… And the thing about magic is that cutthroat society turns out to be a bit more literal…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like this, and the conversation about it.

    I’d argue that making those decisions – deciding who to help when you can’t help everyone – doesn’t actually require that someone be… hard inside, as Alibaba puts it. In my opinion someone who feels it intensely and cares deeply is probably one of the best people to make those decisions everything else being equal.

    What it actually requires is something that Alibaba doesn’t think he’s very good at – even though he is. That’s being able to feel that empathy, to care deeply and invest oneself in the situation, without it stopping you from acting. Or from carefully considering the best course and use of available resources.

    And it’s also only true that a King – anyone really – can only help some people in the short term. When it comes to allocation of resources, when everyone needs something and there’s only so much to go around, then you have to pick who you help. But while those you don’t choose continue to suffer, and may even die… If the scenario is not an immediate short term situation then while those people are suffering part of the solution – part of helping people – is finding out how to rectify the circumstances. How to fix things to put it broadly. And for all that that burden would wear on Alibaba and he would feel it, it’s also something he’s /already doing/.

    Alibaba is already choosing who he helps and how, just by deciding to focus on running the smugglers and leaving Balbadd to Cassim and the Fog Troupe instead of sticking to them as he did in canon.

    Further… even if this is a dangerous enough situation where they cannot afford the understandable mistakes a new and half-trained ruler would make… Quite frankly SOMEONE needs to be in charge. Ahbmad is currently that person and that’s /part of the problem/.

    Granted, I /like/ Alibaba’s democratic solution from canon, and hints imply that he’s going to be trying something… similar if not the same here. But I also know that, even if Alibaba doesn’t recognize the possibility he has a very good chance of being the person who ends up democratically elected to be in charge. Unless he’s got another really good candidate to suggest /and/ can convince people of some of his reasons why it shouldn’t be him in charge. Even then most people are likely to say “Oh, alright. That makes sense. Once things calm down/you have a chance to finish your lessons – /then/ we’ll elect you. In the meantime be an advisor/apprentice to that guy you suggested since we all like you so much anyways.”

    Liked by 2 people

  6. correction: when Magic is real, A Survival trait is Goodness. Because if you practice Evil you’re liable to get angry ghosts and Demons after you.Not a safe lifestyle choice!

    Liked by 2 people

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