Whatever else, if you were taking care of a horse, you felt like all was right in the world. At least, that’s how it had usually been. Now, it wasn’t soothing your soul the way it always did. As you brushed down the coat of the stallion in front of you, you wondered why.
You were busy working at the caravanserai The Merchant’s Home. It was the most popular one, and had the most employment opportunities, so you usually found yourself there. You had worked at others, though: The House of Wo was run by an ajami mage from Kara-Tur and was also quite popular (mostly for the food Wo made, usually involving what he called ‘noodles.’), and The Darni House, which was a sort of high-end caravanserai. They all had their regular workers though, so for someone like you who needed work on an off-and-on basis, The Merchant’s Home was, well, home.
That wasn’t the only reason though; the last time you worked at Darni House, a group of al-badia riders came in, apparently with business in the city. You were excited to serve their horses, but quickly had to back away when you saw who they were: Riders from the House of Hanif. Your House. Well, your former House, the one you were exiled from. You had made peace with it a while ago, but you still remember, as a teen younger than Faruq is now, how you clashed with Blood Riders along the Ghost Route. You fought bravely, but when one of the Blood Riders seemed to recognize you, the other desert riders from the House of Hanif thought you had led them into an ambush, and so left you at one of Huzuz’s gates. Fortunately, you were taken in by Aunty, but you always had that pain in your heart. And you never did find out how that Blood Rider knew you…
So it was city life for you now. Mostly, you worked with the different caravanserai, bringing your expertise to the care of the horses and camels people brought in. You made a few contacts along the way: Minak al-Zafyi, who could supply animals of all kinds; and Janci al-Kriman, and agent for the livestock dealers in Huzuz. He was an interesting one; apparently, no animal ever dealt by Janci could ignore an order he gave. Either the man was an incredible trainer, or, more likely, he had some magical aid in his animal dealings. You remember a story once about a man who thought to ride off with a horse he hadn’t paid for; the horse ignored its rider and galloped right back to Janci… who had a contingent of the guard waiting. You really liked that story.
You saw Nabil hanging around, and walked menacingly toward him, a hand on your new scimitar. He held his hands up defensively, and sheepishly backed away. Nabil al-Rashad was an unscrupulous horse dealer, and he was no doubt here to see if there were any animals unattended to. You shook your head at the man, relaxing your grip on your weapon. The hilt was always warm. You had to admit, taking on the little sha’ir’s mission certainly made life more interesting! It also made you miss the life of adventure that being part of the House of Hanif involved, though; it had awoken that spirit in you that wanted the freedom that comes with being an adventurer, and serving a great Sheik. You shook your head at this revelation and put it aside; your leather armour needed repair, and you needed to see the Al-Thuria leatherworkers before nightfall.