The next day Hasib slept in late, the long night of keeping watch for the Barc and several days of travel had taken its toll. It was well past lunch when a Ramili child snuck into his darkened room and woke him with a gentle whisper. Hasib awoke almost immediately and he sat up so that he could pat the child affectionately on the head.
Uncle Hasib, the funny greenish man was looking for you earlier, the Ramili child said sitting down on the bed with crossed legs.
“Was he now? Did he look angry, happy or excited?” Hasib asked, sand circling around them both as they spoke.
He looked slightly concerned, but Hamar told him that you were sleeping in and that he had better not disturb you or she’d kick him out, the child replied.
“Well I definitely needed the sleep, but threatening to kick him out is a little bit too drastic,” Hasib answered with a smile.
Well, Aunty Fariha went on a walk with him not long ago, so obviously it wasn’t too urgent
“So you woke me up because…?”
Because I wanted to talk with you and also Hamar said you have things to attend to today and before nightfall.
“I have been away for a while, so it doesn’t surprise me,” Hasib said, stepping out of his bed.
Hasib grabbed a tunic from beside his bed and lifted it over his head. With a quick glance in a mirror on one side of his room, he motion to the child to follow him.
“Come on, I’ll race you to my office,” Hasib said as the child jogged over.
The child picked up speed and they were side by side as they dodged through hallways and ended up in a narrower corridor. Hasib jumped onto a set of draws to avoid another young Ramili and the child moved ahead.
“Hey wait up!” Hasib called with a laugh.
The child didn’t wait however and ducked under the arm of a maid while Hasib was forced to pause and let the maid through first. The maid barely had time to say a quick hello and ‘be careful’ before Hasib was dashing through the corridor once again.
They came to a set of spiralling stairs that led down to where Hasib’s office was situated and the child began running down them in front of Hasib. With a swift movement Hasib leapt over the railing and fell straight to the floor below. He took a moment to steady himself after the short drop but straightened as the child reached the bottom of the stairs. Hasib reached out and grabbed the child by the waist hoisting them upwards and onto his shoulders. The Ramili child clung on as Hasib began jogging down the hallway, making sure he bounced as much as possible. The child laughed and continued to pull on Hasib’s hair even as he came to a stop.
Again! Again! The child called down.
“Not right now, you’ve grown bigger and I can’t carry you for such a long time,” Hasib answered.
I have grown up a lot, the child agreed slipping from Hasib’s shoulders.
“Indeed, now how about you try and find Abdar or the green man, as you call him. I’ve got some stuff to do in my office but if you send him this way when they arrive back I’ll appreciate it,” Hasib said, patting the child on the head again. “I might even be able to reward you with a treat.”
The child’s eyes lit up at the offer of a treat and with a nod he ran back along the hallway. Hasib watched him run with a smile and then sighed. He looked into the room he was in front of and crinkled his nose into a sneer.
“Alright, let’s get to work,” Hasib said aloud.
Hasib set to work making calculations about the amount of food and water they had. He still had to investigate the well water more as there was a possibility it was only an underwater pool. Hasib hoped that it was an underwater spring, since that would solve many of their problems.
The crop room was still in early stages of planning and although it looked like it was working so far, the area would have to be improved with research over time. Hasib began sketching designs and ideas on a large sheet of paper.
Inventions and creating unique objects had always come easy to Hasib. His creativity and unique thoughts were first developed at the glass fields. Glass could be moulded into many shapes and with dedication and hard work Hasib had found that he enjoyed creating things other than potion bottles. Malek’s camp mostly created potion bottles since they were the main suppliers for several stores.
From glass making Hasib created inventions to help the workers stay cool or ways to quicken the process. His inventions had been used gratefully by Malek’s glass camps ever since, though Malek was never told who had come up with them. Hasib didn’t want to get in trouble with Malek and as a teenager everything he did seemed to make Malek mad.
Hasib was deep in thought and concentration when Abdar entered the room an hour later. Abdar had to call out his name several times before Hasib was brought back from his focused place.
“Working hard, I see,” Abdar said, leaning to look over Hasib’s shoulder.
“Yeah, trying to see if there is a better way to get the plants sunlight without them being withered and burnt,” Hasib answered shaking his head. “I’m sure I’ll come up with something.”
“Well I can’t understand a thing you’ve written down, but I’m sure it is an organized sort of chaos,” Abdar said with a smile.
Hasib motioned for Abdar to take a seat and reached to pour himself a drink of water, which he only just noticed had been placed on his desk.
“So what’s happing?” Hasib asked after taking a welcomed drink. “I heard you were looking for me earlier and Hamar shooed you away.”
“You have yourself quite a guard dog in her,” Abdar said with a chuckle.
“Don’t let her hear you say that or you may not last long in camp,” Hasib answered.
Abdar sat up straight and his jaw clenched. Hasib noticed this movement and took a seat, maintaining a relaxed aura. It was stressful enough for Abdar without Hasib turning serious so he chose to remain calm and friendly.
“I wanted to talk to about a couple of things, but firstly as to why I’m here,” Abdar stated. “So please listen to me.”
Hasib nodded and motioned for him to continue. Obviously Abdar wasn’t there for a friendly chat in that moment but for a serious conversation.
“I was sent by Malek to track you both down and take Fariha back to his camp,” Abdar said his gaze focused on Hasib. “He said that if I did that, he would overlook my ‘flirtation’ with Fariha and I could keep my job. He also added that I should end my relationship with her.”
“And you said that you wouldn’t, I assume?” Hasib asked, shuffling some papers.
“No, of course I had to agree to it,” Abdar stated, and Hasib looked confused. “At the time I had no idea where you had gone, not even the rough direction. He had some of his people note that much down and offered the information to me once I accepted his terms.”
“Right, so you intend to take Fariha back to him?” Hasib asked, crossing his arms.
“Hell no, she’s so much happier here,” Abdar stated with a firm shake of his head. “I may incur the wrath of Malek but at least I know that I went with what I believe is right.”
Hasib chuckled and Abdar just looked at him as he’d gone mad.
“This is serious, you know?” Abdar stated with a frown.
“I know, and I’m honestly sorry,” Hasib said calming down. “But I personally don’t see how that creates such a serious expression on my best friend.”
“Malek will search for us when I don’t return,” Abdar answered. “He’ll probably kick me out of the camp and take Fariha back.”
“I won’t allow it,” Hasib said, his eyes darkening. “If Fariha truly wants to go back she will, otherwise he has no rule over her decisions.”
“You don’t get it, he will come here. Here to your home,” Abdar stated. “This is your place of refuge but Malek won’t be forgiving for hiding Fariha here.”
“I understand, truly, but I am a man now and so are you,” Hasib said. “It’s about time we stop fearing a man that scared us as children. I’ve moved on, but I understand that for Fariha and maybe for you it will be hard to take those steps. You’ve taken the first by moving away, now it is time to step out of his reign.”
The two men fell silent and Hasib took a deep breath. It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought about it. Malek had an entire camp of people who were loyal to him. Not just a camp but an empire who relied on his business and would do anything to help him out.
Hasib, on the other hand, had a camp of Ramili who he loved like a family. He wouldn’t even ask any of them to fight against an angry half-orc army. The Ramili however would stand up for him and that would only end in death. The Ramili were strong, but their numbers had been reduced by the Barc and Hasib was still training up new warriors.
“So are we just going to wait?” Abdar asked, interrupting Hasib’s thoughts.
“It’s the only thing we can do,” Hasib answered. “I’m not going to hide away.”
“Very well, neither will I then,” Abdar stated with confidence.
“Any other business while we are here?” Hasib asked, his eyes still dark.
“Well, it’s about Fariha…” Abdar said slowly.
“Continue,” Hasib said, smiling across at his friend.
“I would like your blessing before I ask her to marry me,” Abdar stated, his eyes looking straight at Hasib.
“You know you don’t need my approval to get married, you love each other so that should be all that matters. Whether me or Malek agree shouldn’t factor into the equation.”
“But it would mean a lot to me and Fariha when she finds out. She views you as her closest family now and it would put her at ease to know that you support us.”
Hasib gazed thoughtfully at Abdar for a moment. His friend had loved Fariha for as long as Hasib could remember them talking about girls. Not only that but he tried to protect her and although he was still learning to stand up against Malek, he was learning.
“I can’t think of a man more worthy than you to take my sister’s hand in marriage,” Hasib answered warmly. “I was in fact starting to wonder when you’d ever propose. I thought you’d be well married by the time I returned to Malek’s camp or at least that you would have proposed before now.”
“The timing wasn’t right,” Abdar answered with a smile. “I’m still not sure whether Fariha will accept it yet. She’s still uneasy about everything that has gone on.”
“Well, I wish you the best of luck anyway,” Hasib said, standing up.
The two best friends shared a hug which ended with several heavy slaps on the back.
Next Chapter (Fourteen) ~ Coming Soon