Whispers of Fire Ch13 bit -Terror

This is a very scary part of town.

Sabhmad would be the first to admit that just about any part of town was scary for him. The city, the docks, the palace….

Which in a way let him relax. Sort of. In a knees-to-jelly way. After all, this wasn’t court. The people here weren’t going to want to talk to him.

Stab him, maybe. But probably not talk to him. Much.

And General Barkakk could probably keep anyone from stabbing him. Which meant he’d still have to talk. Eep.

“Keep breathing, my lord,” Barkakk’s voice came through the curtains. “We’re almost there.”

There being a small merchant shop tucked in amongst the dock warehouses that people didn’t talk about. Mostly. Dock-Master Shahidi had eventually talked, after a few subtle reassurances that no, nobody was going to come down on him for doing his duty to execute pirates. Of course not.

Sabhmad swallowed, trying not to think too hard about exactly why Shahidi had needed that reassurance. Abhmad had thought….

No. Abhmad didn’t think. He just did it, and assumed everything would work the way he wanted.

The real world didn’t work that way, even for a king. Maybe especially for a king. And it didn’t do any good to say he couldn’t have stopped Abhmad, even though he really couldn’t. Not without starting a small civil war, because he definitely wasn’t down as legal heir and Abhmad was the oldest and most of the courtiers were going to follow the money and-

Sabhmad braced his forehead against his fists, and made himself breathe slowly. Think. He had to think. And not panic. Because he was going in to help these people, they could do something together that he couldn’t do on his own, and maybe, just maybe….

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15 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch13 bit -Terror

  1. Ahhh… As someone who has experienced panic attacks, this speaks to me. Poor Sabhmad. It’s much easier to live with anxiety when you don’t have to think too far ahead.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Panic attacks suck.

      OTOH, I can say that if you survive them long enough you start regarding other potentially life-threatening situations as not that scary. Oh, intellectually they’re certainly scary, and you wouldn’t want to go looking for danger. But after your system hits you with enough “OMG I am going to die,” cycles… oh, life-threatening danger? Okay….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D’aw, Sabhamd is now a King Canidate in my mind. Stupidly brave, willing to take a chance, and grabbing at a maybe. Not crazy enough to be a King though. To my mind, a King is like the Avatar, and the King Canidates are like yaoren. Thereto stomp on it before it gets that far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sabhmad at least tries. We can at least give him points for trying and bonus points for fighting past anxiety to do it.

    And not even trying is one of the reasons that Abhmad is getting on everyone’s nerves. Because he doesn’t try. Because trying to actually be a merchant king involves actually reading those treaties yourself, doing the numbers, negotiating, etc, AKA a lot of hard work. It’s not physically demanding work but it is hard work. And Abhmad is lazy. He wants all of the reward while putting in none of the effort.

    It’s almost as if he just expects to work a certain way because he said so.

    Don’t know if he is simply too thick to realize that despite the Banker’s “best efforts” to restore the nation’s finances, they never seem to get any better. OR if every time the coffers do get back to something reasonable, the Banker convinces Ahbmad to waste the money somehow, someway. For example, since I doubt seriously that Ahbmad knows the market value of anything, it would be pretty easy to overcharge him for stuff. Or for the Banker to claim that it costs X when it actually costs Y and he pockets the difference . . .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right. He’s smart. If he doesn’t know, I’m being he has suspicions.

        I refuse to believe you’ll end this with Balbadd being taken into the Kou empire. So I’m guessing right now that it will somehow end with Sabhmad and Cassim running the country.

        Of course with my luck I’m not only off course but on an entirely different continent.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cassim may be the next king of Balbadd as far as the marriage treaty goes.

        Canon, Alibaba made it a republic. Our hostess is using the most serene republic (Venice) as a guideline. In universe, Reim is a probable Rome analog and model republic. Using the Roman Republic as a model, I can make a case for Jahan and the dockmaster being elected consuls for the first term.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m seeing some similarities between Sabhmad and Alibaba, both of them brace their heads with their hands to force themselves to calm done enough to think, how cute. Seeing similarities between the two of them and lack of similarity in Ahbmad… makes one think that theory that he might not be as legitimate as everyone believes have some merit.

    Liked by 1 person

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