“Allamu has secured a place in a large, well-guarded caravan headed for Urom,” Qaansoole said as Sabit savored a bowl of fragrant broth. “We have at least five days before they leave, so there is plenty of time to arrange provisions. One night’s reunion with an acquaintance of old will hardly delay our journey.”
The archer smiled kindly at Sabit. Her eyes held no hint of reproach. Yet, Sabit looked away quickly, her gaze sweeping over tidy chamber that Qaansoole’s relations had provided for the small group’s comfort. In the corner, Allamu listened closely to Qaansoole’s son, Qays, as the boy fought his way through the twisting vowels and consonants of a parchment held in his tiny hands.
Allamu had barely spared any vowels and consonants for Sabit since their belated meeting in the marketplace. His all-night vigil spoke to his loyalty, but was his silence a sign that that loyalty had been pushed too far?
“Why do you allow him to teach the boy to read?” Sabit asked Qaansoole.
“Despite my current relations with his father, Qays is of a royal line,” Qaansoole replied. “Allamu—also born a prince—says that good kings have many scribes to keep their books, but great kings rely on no one to learn whatever knowledge they will.”
Sabit stared at the back of Allamu’s head. “‘Knowledge’?” she spat out the word like a rotten apricot, the new scar on her wrist throbbing. “Reading leads to the ways of dark magic.” Allamu’s neck tensed, but he said nothing.
Sabit slurped her broth. Qaansoole mended a torn tunic. Qays’s reedy voice tripped over the words of an ancient poem. Time passed. Allamu said nothing.
“I am not going to Urom,” Sabit declared.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Bazaar of Death is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/