Whispers of Fire Ch9 bit – Wedding Prep

“It’s not the first time they’ve been away from me,” Sinbad said gravely. “I’ll make it up to them later.”

“For that we need to have a later,” Alibaba said grimly. “I don’t know how, we’ve been watching the port, the caravan routes, the messenger pigeons – the Kou Empire’s pulling something. The whole palace is stirred like an anthill.”

Masrur frowned, and Ja’far nodded. Whatever was amiss, Abhmad could have sent a message to the Sindrian delegation, if he’d wanted to. Evidently, he hadn’t. Which meant Alibaba was likely right, and the Kou Empire was behind this. Though how-?

“Magical communications, possibly,” Sinbad mused. “Or someone sneaking through on a flying carpet.”

Aladdin twitched at that one. Interesting.

Sinbad seemed to ignore it. “So what’s going on?”

“Outside of the palace sending servants out to buy all the red silk in town?” Alibaba lifted a hand, voice taking on an oddly familiar distracted note as he ticked off fingers. “Already sent word out for people to ship that into port if they can, Fikri could make a profit and it lets us get some friendly ships in if things go wrong…. The goldsmiths are getting orders for new festival-wear. There’s a demand for rock eels and eumera snapper. The spice merchants are getting cleaned out of saffron and spikenard, the perfumers are almost wiped out of rose attar, and some poor kitchen maid is searching the whole market for oranges.” Alibaba gave Sinbad a rightfully suspicious look. “If there’s an orange anywhere in the next two nations, this time of year, I haven’t heard about it. It sounds like a palace celebration. But the timing’s all wrong.”

Red silk, oranges, and gold jewelry. Ja’far tried not to wince, even as Masrur’s frown deepened.

Sinbad… blinked. “Ouch. That poor young lady.”

“I know,” Alibaba said impatiently, “that’s why I think it’s the Kou, classic put your lienee over a barrel by demanding the impossible-”

“No, no,” Sinbad waved it off, “though yes, that poor girl is going to have a hard time, maybe someone can slip her some preserves to bring in as a substitute… well. There’s no easy way to say this.” A hint of a grin played over his face. “Alibaba, you’re about to become a brother-in-law.”

“…What?”

Prepared by many, many years of past experience, Ja’far had Alibaba by the shoulders before the young man could actually try to strangle his king. Barely. Alibaba was fast.

Sorry. If anyone strangles him, it’s going to be me.

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31 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch9 bit – Wedding Prep

  1. Alibaba is starting to realize that Sinbad is dangerously flippant about some things.

    Though good for them to realize what is going on with just the grocery list.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. And doing it so traditionally, I notice, that no one from Balbadd could even tell it’s a wedding.

        Of course they are, besides other concerns and potential sneakiness, Kou’s official stance is that other cultures are stupid, pure evil whose existence is preventing world peace. So I bet you dollars to doughnuts that these wedding preparation do not contain any element of a Balbadd wedding ceremony. Because if they were purchasing anything commonly used in Balbadd weddings, it would be part of the speculation about what is going on. But from what we can see, it is all Kou’s traditions and that is no way accidental either.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry. If anyone strangles him, it’s going to be me.

    Yep. It’s the General’s First Rule for Others Dealing With Sinbad: “I understand that you want to strangle him. I sympathize. A lot. But I have had to put up with far more of his nonsense for far longer than you have and in ways you cannot imagine. Therefore if anyone is going to strange him, it is going to be me. Or one of the other Generals. Just as soon as we work out who is the most deserving. Or he finally pushes one of us too far. Whichever comes first.”

    Liked by 3 people

      1. *Nods*

        Be fair, it is difficult not to get caught in the wake of a King. Even when you are a King.

        Just seems to be matter of who gets sucked into whose whirlpool of insanity. It helps if like Alibaba did here, if you strike first. And don’t let him (either him) get too many words in edgewise.

        On the other hand, people who have deal with Alibaba are also frequently beset with the urge to kill him. For different reasons because Alibaba’s sanity is different from Sinbad’s. But still . . .

        Liked by 2 people

      2. He could do both? Except he’s not allowed to die. Aladdin would do something nuts, like seal his rukh in a chair cushion, if Alibaba died.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “It’s not the first time they’ve been away from me,” Sinbad said gravely. “I’ll make it up to them later.”

    And within the ruhk, unseen and unheard for the moment, seven voices immediately respond with “Yes, you will. Through if you could stop losing us in easily avoidable situations that would be great.”

    Jeez, Kings. Even their own Djinn want to strangle them sometimes.

    Well, it is one of the signs. Those closest them frequently express a desire to kill them and they will just as they get out of this mess, mark their words and yet somehow never actually get around to carrying out that promise. And rain down pain, misery and death on anyone who tries to do it for them.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Much preferring this first meeting between Alibaba and Sinbad to the one from canon!

    It’s probably good for any future relationship between them that Alibaba comprehends the crazy right from the start.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, it wouldn’t be fair if Sinbad was allowed to be completely sauve while dignity remained the purview of people not named Alibaba Saluja. 😉

        Also Sinbad probably has mythic status for a lot of people – hearing stories about a lot of what he has done and survived, it might be hard to remember that Sinbad is a person with all of the flaws and such that entails.

        Alibaba (and others) have to know and understand that Sinbad is, well, human. He isn’t perfect. He isn’t always right. He makes mistakes. There are things that he doesn’t understand. That isn’t a bad thing. Because nobody’s perfect. Nobody is right all the time. Everyone makes mistakes. Nobody understands everything.

        But that can get hard to remember when talking about or to a guy you know has conquered seven dungeons (and having been through one, Alibaba probably has heart attack just thinking about trying to get through seven of them would be like), founded a successful trading company and later a kingdom, forged a powerful alliance, while finding time to fight non-dungeons monsters and have other adventures. He has had help doing most of that. But still, it would be hard to remember that for all his power and nerve, Sinbad of the Seven Seas is only human.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sinbad’s a Hero! Takes time to realize he can be flat-out wrong.

        Yeah, especially since in many stories, the Hero is always right and always saves the day.

        Unfortunately real life doesn’t work that way.

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  5. Not being up on the traditions of Chinese wedding traditions, I missed what this was about but assumed that Abhmad had been a trifle too indiscreet. How this happens shall be, interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you seen China, or Chinatown during Chinese New Year? Red everywhere, oranges on display and red lanterns and firecrackers, not to mention the lion dances. Now take all these and cram it into one household and add in gold jewelry and ornaments and you have a Chinese Wedding.

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  6. Just had a thought but have you read up on how the Chinese celebrated the year of the Water Dragon about four years ago? That was when red and gold/yellow was swapped out for blue and green (trade fire for water) as the fire colours became weak/unlucky and the dragon is strong enough to over power the luck brought by the fire colours, etc etc. The reason I’m bringing this up is that, given this is a wedding between a princess with a water Djinn and a king of a nation surrounded by water, I would expect the lists to include jades and blue silks.

    In fact, it can be seen as a subtle snub to both Abhmad and Kougyoku that the empire didn’t care enough to think that the traditional colours should be changed due to the location and the water based status of the pair. Don’t forget, water brings luck too, that is why ‘Sui’ in Feng Sui is the character for water.

    Also, did you know that the Chinese wear white to funerals? Well, white and black but imagine if the Kou delegation arrived to find everyone in the streets wearing white.

    “But sir, white is the colour of purity and is blessed to wear white to weddings.”

    A more superstitious person would have to postpone the wedding in light of such an ominous welcome. Aren’t soldiers supposed to be particularly superstitious? *EG*

    Also, oranges are called ‘Gum’ in Cantonese, which is also the word for gold. To have oranges on display during the wedding is to represent the couple having a lot of money. Now, Alibaba mentioned that there are no oranges in two nations to purchase for the wedding of a king heavily in debt and a princess whose countries currency is currently worth nothing in Balbadd. Nice little symbolism there.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe the nobles are dressed in white to symbolize rebirth?

        Because from their point of view, the old country is dead and has been reborn as part of Kou?

        Or purity because the Kou do think of themselves as better than other people?

        Or both.

        Green also has symbolism for resurrection and new life in many cultures. So maybe their new life as semi-citizens of Kou?

        Brown is often symbolic of poverty and humility. Or they just want to say you are slaves and therefore as low as the dirt?
        Practical because they will be doing dirty work anyway?

        (Anyone wants do color and clothing Magi speculation: https://shiorimakibawrites.wordpress.com/2016/09/02/magi-colors-and-costumes/)

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