The wind swept buffeted the flaps of the tents busily and the heroes each felt like they were frozen; paralyzed by the uncertainty of what to do next.
Sheikh Khaldun and his son were still in the tent with Jamal and Yodfah. No noise could be heard, but the ogre retinue they brought made enough noise milling about to thwart any eavesdropping the heroes could do where they stood. The massive warmonger genie Khaizuran stood, arms folded at the mouth of the tent, staring with hatred at the Khaldun’s genie guard but posing a formidable deterrent to enter the tent.
Having quickly whispered to his party, the feeling of panic grew in Faruq‘s stomach; Yodfah was not to be trusted! The wine almost certainly was a ploy!
Faruq‘s brow was furrowed in frustration, his eyes cast downward, his robe stained again with his own blood.
Why must I always fail? I have lost so much… we have lost so much. Auntie… Chaka… my younger brothers… the Cyclone of the Four Quarters… Ayyam… Fadiyah… my leg… I am cursed, surely. Even Kilisaan’s ‘promises’ have not been kept… Sachiel does not answer me, and who knows how many are dying in Wasat? I promised to keep Fadiyah safe and failed. I was blind to the Grandfather’s test and failed. Even now I cannot keep an honest man safe. My enemies have no fear of me and I am powerless to combat them. I truly am a ‘little mortal’ as Diliram said… what is the use… perhaps this is my fate…
Faruq dragged his sleeve across his watering eyes and pulled his hood again over his head. Reluctantly, embarrassed, he struggled to stand, avoiding eye contact with his companions.