Whispers of FireCh8 bit – Bearing gifts

“He’s lying to us,” Cassim said flatly.

“Oh, and we’re telling him everything,” Zainab shot back, tapping her Fogblade. “Come on, Boss. Alibaba’s leaving stuff out? He’s a boss. Of course he does. But lie?” She rolled her eyes. “Why the hell do you think you never took him into the gang? He couldn’t lie if you set him on fire. He just doesn’t work that way.”

Sure he didn’t. “He works fine for the nobles,” Cassim growled.

His lieutenants… blinked at him. “Um, Boss?” Hassan ventured. “Who’s the guy who keeps passing us info on the big houses’ guard schedules, and what they order?”

Details, details. “I don’t trust him,” Cassim said flatly. “The last time things went bad for him, he just ran. He’ll do it again.”

“Boss….” Zainab wet her lips. “I have some people I talk to in the palace staff. One or two of them knew Anis a long time ago, they like people who knew her…. Boss. They say Abhmad went out of his head that night, and Sabhmad was about as ready to stop him as a wet dishrag. Abhmad didn’t blame us for the fire, and King Rashid dying. He blamed Alibaba.”


For a moment all Cassim could see was red. That was the Fog Troupe’s score, how dare any noble give the credit to Alibaba again….

But he was the leader of the Fog Troupe, and he didn’t go cutting down someone just because they brought him bad news. That was a good way to get your people killed.

So he took a breath, and held it, until the blood stopped rushing so much in his ears. Let it out, and looked at Zainab again.

She hadn’t moved, even if she was sweating a little. “He ran, Boss. You know it, I know it, he knows it. But if he hadn’t run, he’d be dead.”

Alibaba dead. He… didn’t want that. Mostly. When he had his head on straight. “But he ran.”

Zainab nodded, relaxing a little. “We’ll watch him, Boss. We’ve always watched him. If he turns on you- we’ll give him to you. Gift-wrapped.”

17 thoughts on “Whispers of FireCh8 bit – Bearing gifts

  1. At least one good solid whack from the clue hammer. Unfortunately Cassim has a very thick skull so this is going to take awhile to really get through.

    I wonder if they are aware that part of the reason that blaming was so effective on Alibaba was because he blames himself for it.

    But very likely, Ahbmad could have had him killed right then and there if Alibaba hadn’t fled. Heck, he probably shouldn’t be in Balbadd at all. Not if he wants to keep his skin intact. And not because of Cassim.

    And it’s not credit, Cassim. Credit implies it was a good thing. You might think it was but you know prefectly darn well that Alibaba does not consider stealing to be a good thing. Also someone died. Alibaba is compassionate enough to be sympathetic if it had been a stranger. But it wasn’t a stranger – it was his father and while he was obviously not as close to his father as he was his mother (they didn’t have the time to develop that kind of closeness), he does seem to have developed fondness and affection for King Rashid. Blame implies that one did something wrong. They are saying that he did something wrong. Something that you did. He is being held accountable for your actions. Actions that would have gotten him killed. That is not credit.

    And if you wanted credit for being the one to rob the treasury, then you should have started bragging about it and correcting the score WHEN IT HAPPENS NOT SEVERAL YEARS LATER.

    Arrggh . . . logic fail. (I know – he’s irrational on this topic. Still argghh . . .)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. So…how much of Cassim’s irrationality is regular old hatred and how much is caused by his Magic Tool’s apparently cursed nature? Or have I misread the situation as presented and the weapons dealer didn’t give Cassim tools that screw with his head?


  2. There’s one like that really sticks for me: “When he had his head on straight.”

    Is… Is that Cassim admitting he has issues? That maybe he needs to reasses the situation? If it is, it could be a good thing. Or a “needs more Acme Brick clue x 4 editions”. Like a whole apartment complex’s worth of them…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. *Reaches in and whacks Cassim* Bad Cassim! Victim-blaming is wrong! *Whacks him again* I volunteer to hold one of the clue-bats, because seriously! I’m almost hoping the Fogblade was messing with his head, otherwise Morg might be needed for the raw power to get through that thick skull! *Rolls eyes*

    Liked by 3 people

  4. While I doubt he’ll have to run this time, Alibaba would kidnap a lot of people along the way instead of leaving them to Kou. But Cassim is obviously not acting rationally right now, what prompted him to believe that Alibaba was doing anything for the nobles? He just asked his smugglers to make things very difficult for them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Okay, please clarify, as all I know is what I’m reading from you, I haven’t read or watched canon: Cassim has totally oblivious for (apparently) 3+ years that Alibaba has been getting the credit/blame for the theft of the treasury? I find that really hard to believe. In fact, he strikes me as the sort who would have started advertising the next day about having pulled it off. If it’s canon, well…. my suspension of disbelief would precipitate out SO FAST. … Maybe I don’t want to go look it up.

    I’m also having real issues with the King having apparently lost track of one of his sons for years, but that pretty clearly is canon.


    1. *Wry G* Not the treasury. The death of King Rashid – which Cassim doesn’t think much about.

      As for having lost track of Alibaba for years – I’ve tossed it with a few people, our best guess at making sense of canon is there was an assassination plot against Anis, either just before or soon after Alibaba was born, and she bolted and hid.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. Seriously. Someone needs to /sit/ on Cassim and keep tap-tap-tapping him on his forehead while calmly and slowly and levelly explaining what is reality and what is his blind hatred on repeat until he gets it.

    Also: after Morgiana’s analysis I’m amused by his ‘I don’t trust him’ line here. You trust Alibaba, Cassim – at least, you trust your read on him – you just let your hate blind you to what he’s actually doing… and to what he’s actually likely to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “He couldn’t lie if you set him on fire. He just doesn’t work that way.”

    *mentally catalogues Alibaba’s Guile Hero moments*

    …Are you sure. Are you sure his exacting honesty couldn’t be more of a you-guys-specific phenomenon. Are you sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. *EG* It has been the better part of 7 years since she’s dealt with Alibaba on a day to day basis. And she’s mostly right. Lie directly? Alibaba’s not really good at that. Neglect to mention something other people might decide was very very important? Well, yes.


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