Jasmina’s Chamber

Somewhere in the desert, a cloaked figure sits atop of a mountain cliff and looks over the expanse of sand and rock before him.  His camel sits to his right, a small fire to his left, several bags piled up behind him.  The moon slides out from behind the clouds, revealing three other figures struggling across the dunes, some distance below the cliff.  The three figures below sit atop camels, with long-barreled Turkish rifles strapped to their backs.  The cloaked figure ponders the trio below him, formulating a way to scale the mountain and escape their searching eyes.  He knows that they will soon find him, that there is nowhere to hide in this stretch of desert.  The moon hides behind the clouds again, and the desert pan goes from silver to dark slate once again.  The cloaked figure thinks of a pink antechamber in Al Ainish, to the wine dark eyes of Jasmina, to a bowl of maracuja she holds in a golden vessel.  The camel behind him gives a soft grunt and turns her head.  A nighthawk circles over the cloaked figure’s head, seeking quarry between the ochre rocks.  In Jasmina’s chamber there was incense, laughter, and poetry.  Here, in the desert, there is only pursuit and the struggle to survive.  The cloaked figure crawls over to his travel bags, and fishes out a small leather sack, tied shut with a thick string.  He opens the sack, and deposits the Dragon‘s Scale into his hand.  Once again, the moon jumps out from behind the clouds and shines its accusatory face on the cloaked figure.  He raises his head suddenly and gasps, startled.  The emerald in his palm sparkles slightly.  The wind picks up and pushes at the hood of the cloaked figure, wanting to expose his face.  Down below, the three riders take a sharp turn and begin heading towards the mountain where the cloaked figure sits.  He sees them change their course.  He slips the emerald back into the sack and then into his robes.  He knows what he must do know.

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