Joined: 21 Apr 2011
|Posted: Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:20 pm Post subject: Al-Mubarak Hasim....
|Part 1 - A Plan Begins to Form
Lashiek Merchant District, Araby
The reconstruction of Lashiek's harbour front and merchant ward following the battle for the city had largely been completely by labourers under the command of Bretton overseers. Since that construction had been completely few ships other than those from Bretonnia and the Elven Kingdoms had arrived in Lashiek or elsewhere in Araby. In the winter of 2524, representatives of Imperial merchants sailed into Lashiek’s harbor and attempt to re-establish trade with the Arabian nation. Although greeted with much fanfare and excitement and much to the dismay of the traders, merchants and locals who welcomed these other foreigners as a possible counterbalance to the growing presence of the Bretonnian knights, within days the ships lifted their anchors and returned to sea. This is where Hasim’s story begins…
As the stars above twinkled faintly in the night sky and the sliver of the crescent moon casting long shadows across the shuttered stalls and canvas awnings of the warehouse district. Hasim walked down the dark alleys between the warehouses and stalls without a torch for guidance, a pair of scimitar armed guards flanking him closely, their eyes darting from shadow to shadow. They prepared to meet in secret, quiet words were whispered the days prior, the time and place only known to a handful of trusted individuals.
Upon reaching a nondescript warehouse Hasim knocked on the door four times and after waiting fifteen seconds a fifth tap was made. Immediately following the fifth knock, the sounds of locks being released reverberated through the solid wood frame and without a word the door opened and the three men entered. Crossing through the half-filled warehouse, passing sacs of dried spices and grains Hasim reached a hatch in the floor which was opened by the doorman, with a few words in Arabic to his men allowing the merchant to descend down a ladder into the cellar leaving his guards to stand watch with the doorman.
“Hasim, good you are here, we have been waiting,” stated a voice from the gloom in the dimly lit cellar.
As he stepped off the final wrung of the ladder, Al-Mubarak Hasim viewed the eight other men who stood in the cellar. He knew them all; in fact many of them were men he normally would not be willing to stand in the same room with, but these were extraordinary times.
“I assume you saw this,” stated the silk trader Osman Sal-Kalid as he pressed a piece of parchment in the Hasim’s hand.
With a nod Hasim indicated that he had seen the note, it was the royal proclamation that had emerged the palace of Sheikh Abbas’s, emblazoned with his signature and seal earlier in the week. What was strange about this was that Tariq was still in Bretonnia, where rumours had emerged that he was being forced to marry a daughter of some infidel lord.
“The question is what are we to do about this proclamation,” inquired another merchant? “It could ruin us all.”
“What can we do,” exclaimed an exasperated spice trader. “The infidels infiltrate every part of Lashiek. We can’t even meet in public or at a decent hour, we must creep down dark alleys like the thieves and murderer that Kali Babbas employs. We all require authorization to maintain our trading houses, this authorization comes from the Sheikh himself, but what this letter tells us,” as he waved his own copying in the air, “is that the infidels are truly in control. Our Liberators have become our occupiers and they seek to enslave us all.”
“Calm yourself Sulumen,” hissed Hasim, “I did not invite you to come here without a plan…”
Upstairs Hasim’s two guards stood watch with doorman. Every so often muffled sounds of raised voices came up through the trap door. For two hours they stood, occasionally going to one of the small windows to peer out into the night for signs of life. In the early hours of the morning Hasim, emerged and with his guards he left the warehouse.
As the three men returned to the deserted Hasim, turned to Farouk his head guard. “Go to the harbor and awaken the captains of the ships listed here” as he handed him a folded piece of parchment. Tell them to meet me at first light at my manor. Then go and awaken Ali and send him to me immediate.”
With a nod the Farouk took the paper and turned on his heel and heading towards to the harbor. While the merchant and his remaining guard returned home not to rest, but to begin to carry out the plans that had been discussed….