One Is Interesting
Location: Irem Zhat al Imad: Marketplace - Alhambra
Date: 10/07/2014
Cast: Lamya & Siroteph
Plot: The Hollow

One is Interesting


Irem Zhat al Imad: Marketplace

The market place is a riot of enticing color, noise, and smells - of hawkers calling out their wares from small blankets to open tents, of shop owners yelling to one another across the stone road that runs through the heart of the city square. Here one can find street food beside carpet and candles, and spices and meat next to exquisite metalwork and jewelry. The cafes are open all hours. At night entertainers—dancers, fire-eaters, acrobats, story-tellers, snake charmers - roam the well-lit street as Imads fire and the pillars of the great Library tinge the blackened sky a fiery orange.

To the south, the main road heads towards a limestone-white temple rising above the other buildings. From the market, the road turns west towards the harbor.

The locals were becoming more accustomed to Siro's presence out in the city, since returning from his time chasing his sister's stolen effects in far away lands. As days went by with the Amir walking about in the markets, speaking with the city's denizens, and working with its people, the fear of the man had faded some, the rumors about him had faded as well, and in general, he could walk about without crowds completely parting ahead of him now unless it looked like he were in a hurry to get someplace.

Today, Siroteph was sitting in one of the many shops serving coffee and meat on sticks, quietly discussing an exhibition of martial skill, sponsored by the Palace, a push for recruits to fill the ranks of the guard and the army. However, this meeting is interupted when across the market, a trio of alcolytes, young would be priestesses from the Temple of Umm, are set upon by a dusty, withered man who throws himself at their feet and loudly brays, pleading with them for blessings and drawing no small amount of attention their way.

The city is where Lamya flourishes, far more than the harsh conditions of the desert. The black-clad woman moves through the crowds of the capital with ease, winding her way through bodies that have stopped for one reason or another. She's just another covered woman making her way through the heat. At least until the would-be-kingpin hears the loud braying of a whithered man. Lamya folds her hands together in her sleeves - quietly checking the placement of slender daggers - and pauses on a streetcorner to watch the display. It's a street corner that happens to have a cafe that serves meat on sticks and coffee.

Siroteph's attention is drawn mid-thought from the conversation at hand to the ruckus. The market was by no means a quiet place, but this was a tense noise beyond haggling dispute, and it keyed his senses. Siro excused himself briskly and rises from his seat to step out onto the street, towering tall just beside Lamya when he looks out to witness the going-ons.

"Shades of death have seeded my soul, Priestess, please, I beg Umm cleanse my soul," he rattles on, growing louder and more desperate, reaching out to take handfuls of the foremost alcolyte's robes. Siro's hand moves to rest on the hilt of one blade beneath his own robe, waiting a moment longer for the mad man to come to his senses on his own.

When the towering Amir comes 'round towards her, Lamya quietly takes a step away. It's just a simple side-step to place some more distance between them as the young thief tries to keep aware of her surroundings, and keep her options open. The show is watched with concern for the acolytes. "He has been Touched," is quietly murmured, "or has broken into the yak milk that has sat too long." Ferrrrmented.

Siro glances sideways to the covered woman and admits, "I can not tell." Which was a little troubling. The man did not move as though he was drunk or ill, but Siro did not see any manner of death haunting the man now, no spectral beings crowding the man.

…The man who was beginning to bawl and cause more upset. The young women looked rather beside themselves. If they were older, if they were more trained, they might have the wisdom of how to calm the man but now they only look anxiously to each other and assure the man that Umm smiles on all who call to her, providing little by way of comfort.

Siro frowns deeper and starts to cross the market, letting his long shadow fall over the man. The man does not notice, and continues to crawl and scramble after the women backing up from him, crowding into each other.

Siro may not be accustomed to casting two shadows, but he does today. A long one falls over the man who Lamya has claimed is 'touched,' but a shorter one falls behind him. Of course the shorter shadow is standing, female, and more three dimensional figure. But these are details of language; Lamya shadows Siro. "The djinn you think?" the diminuitive Alhambra offers yet another suggestion to the Amir about what could be causing this man's madness.

Again Siro looks down to the woman, slightly taken aback that she had followed. He considers the suggestion, another with true merit. "Possibly," he answers. He steps forward to take the fretful wretch by the back of the neck and clothes, speaking more clearly, "Release these ladies of the Temple," down to the man.

This is when the man cranes his head back to stare at Siro uneasily. One hand at a time release, the young alcolytes skitter back, and Siro lifts the man up to his feet. "Return to the temple and calm your spirits," Siro tells the young women, who all three thank and depart to do just that.

Siro starts to turn to walk away with the man, but pauses after just half a step to look back to the woman that had shadowed him. "Would you walk with us? I suspect that you have a wisdom about you that might prove beneficial."

As the acolytes pass, Lamya pockets a few coins in one of their hands with a sly wink. Just an offering to the temple, or something to distract the girls from the encounter they just had. But really, Lamya is known among the temples; she was half raised in one after all. When Siro seems to have things in hand the small woman starts to fade back into the shadows of the street, only to stop when she's addressed. "If you wish it so," she says with a dip of her head, deferring to one obviously of higher social standing.

"I do," Siro says simply, with a small dip of his head. "It would be a favor," he adds, before turning to walk the man who was now starkly quiet and still save for stiff legs through the market. The crowds were quickly forgetting the disruption and getting back to the business of haggling.

Siroteph leads both strangers through the souks to a small guard post, where they are able to commandeer a quiet room with no windows and only three solid walls - the fourth being bars - to deposit the man. Siro remains standing outside of the bars, fingers still absently playing at the hilt of the weapon while he considers the man, who in turn looks more ot Lamya than Siro, what with Lamya being significantly less intimidating on the surface of things. "Do you know much of the madnesses that might twist a man's mind?" Siro asks curiously, clearly to Lamya even if he does not look to her.

Lamya follows without a word more. She's been in a jail before, but luckily they haven't built one that can hold her, so she's not to worried about visiting another one. Thank Umm, she gets to wait on the right side of the barred wall though. "Many things might twist a man's mind," she answers quietly. "But this man does not have the look of the poet about him, to claim his soul has been blighted, yes?" Blue-shadowed eyes are turned back towards Siro's captive. A moment of contemplative silence follows this statement. "I heard of another, last week, who came in from the desert. Gaunt and thin, sated by no food or drink. He too claimed some pox upon him that the priestesses could not cure."

Siroteph listened with a small frown. It was true he was not so up to date on happenings as he should be, what with his being busy organizing aid for Amber. "No, he does not seem a poet," Siroteph agrees as he steps closer to the bars. "I do not suppose you know who the traveler is? Or where he might be? They may need to be quarantined away from the city, if it is an illness," Siro begins. "And questioned of where they have come from-"

Turning his attention more into the cell, Siro demands more sharply from the captive, "You, what is your name? Where are you traveling from?"

The man starts, looking back to Siro, stammering, "Asid," first, in answer to his name. "A camel herder, and only that…I…I do not know where I came from…I was turned around in a sand storm an lost my way, saved only by a merchant caravan…but I fear they have scarred my soul for a mouth of water. It is as she says," he says finally, lifting a shaky hand to Lamya.

"Hakim," Lamya indicates the earlier traveler's name was. That's Hakim with an extra phlem sound in there. "But he will be of no use for your questions I think, for he prayed for the final mercy, when water would no more have anything to do with him." The veiled woman watches the camel herder, a look of pity coming into her dark eyes.

Siroteph frowns deeper at the news of the man. He might still turn up the ghost of the man, if he remained - which surely he did, if he brought that final mercy unto himself. "We will have to keep a close guard on this one then," Siro rumbles quietly, "To be certain he does not have the same prayer granted." Siro turns away from the bars and considers Lamya again, belatedly introducing himself. He generally assumed most in the city at least knew of him, but it was a polite none the less, and prompted introductions in return, without questions of a name. "I am Amir Siroteph. Who should I describe in the reports on this mystery as aiding?" Apparently, he assumes that Lamya's aid is not limited to just this short questioning.

Those delicate hands of Lamya's have been folded back into the sleeves of her abaya. "I suspect that there will be others traveling into the walls of our city with such things. One is interesting, two…" The quiet words trail off. "You may indicate that A'idah Bint-A'isha has aided you." Lively Reward. A'idah Ai'sha.

"A'idah Bint-A'isha," Siro echos with a small turn of an ugly grin at the corner of his mouth. Who was he to say anything about people skirting the use of real names? And it would not be in good manner to call her out on a falsehood directly. Instead, he assures her, "I will ensure that record tells just such a tale. Should more of these cases arise, if none can tell me where to find such a name, might I count on you coming to the palace unbidden? Or is there a way to leave word should I need to speak with you again?"

"They say at the temples, Good Amir, that if one calls out to the gods an answer will come. Though it doesn't seem to hurt to leave an offering upon the altars, either." While Siro cannot see her smile, he can see the way her cheeks rise up towards her eyes, surely indicating a smile behind that veil. Who knows, it might be as ugly as his. "If none can direct you to me, then perhaps try that."

Siroteph dips his head acknowledging the unspoken bargain struck between them with her explanation. "I will remember that, A'idah," he rumbles quietly, before looking back into the cell. The man has collapsed into a ball in the corner, hugging his stomach in his arms and wailing quietly into his knees without a single tear spilled. Siro's smile had been fleeting, and the frown returns when he sees the state of the man. "With Umm's blessing, we will learn what is happening quickly and his suffering will not be long. I do not believe he will be much help now though, he looks as though he was wandering for some time in the sands."

"It may be worth the effort," Lamya states before leaving, "to remove his clothing, burn it and scatter the ashes to the four winds. Bathe him, scrub him clean, and feed him. Observe the reactions. They," the mythical they, "say that those taken by the efrit are given a mark upon the sole of their feet."

"I believe you are correct," Siro agrees again. "I believe a doctor to examine him can see to that being done with some manner of dignity left in tact." Even the crazy deserve to be treated with honor apparently, at least according to Siro's ancient and conservative traditions and views. He gestures aside and tells her, "His suffering does not need our witness, let us go."

"It may need our witness," Lamya indicates. "But you may find it is intended to have witnesses all the same." Even in the abaya her shoulders can be seen to move, a shrug offered to indicate she has reached the end of any wisdom she might have. "But I would not wish to take up all of the time of such an august person as yourself, Amir."

Siro ushers her with gestures, keeping his hands from otherwise touching her while being near enough to subtly herd her toward the hall away from this small cell. He follows just a half step behind, of course. "I would say that I have time for any of our citizens…but it is true, I should give my time this evening to finding those appropriate to care for this man and begin investigating other possible cases. I thank you for your time, coming with me here."

As she's being ushered out - herded even! - Lamya assures the Amir, "Should I find others that seem of similar affliction, I will indicate to those strong enough to carry them," which is clearly not her, "that they should be brought here." In his name, though she won't say that now. He can infer, though.

Stepping out of the post, Siro dips his head once more, offering again, "I thank you, A'idah Bint-A'isha." He takes a step back from her, adding, "Go with Umm's blessings," before he turns himself to make his way quickly down narrow market walks toward the Palace.

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