Home of Sword and Soul
He looked toward the voice and grimaced. It was the young maid from the brothel. She ran toward him, waving her hands as if greeting a long lost friend.
"How long have you been here exactly?" Zenawi asked.
"One night too long," Omari said under his breath. He forced a smile on his face as he sauntered to meet the woman.
"Well, well, you found me! Why so much joy?"
"I left the brothel!" she said. "I have come to live with you!"
Omari looked at the woman stunned.
"Kapera," she said sweetly. "My name is Kapera."
"Jambo, Kapera," Zenawi said. "It is good to have you. Our post has been too long without a woman's warmth."
"Wait a minute! What in the Seven Winds are you doing?"
Omari's outburst seemed to wound Kapera. She lowered her head and turned away.
Zenawi cut Omari a mean glance. "Here, take this key. We will be back in a few days."
Kapera head jerked up, her eyes glowing. "Thank you, bwana!"
She winked at Omari and ran off to the post.
Omari was furious. He grasped Zewani's shoulders before he could walk away and spun him around.
"What in the Cleave was that? Why did you send her to the post? This is my business!"
Zenawi removed his hands. "The mistress kicked her out. No one quits the brothel. She has no work and would be in the streets otherwise. Whatever business you have you can sort out when we return."
Zenai turned and walked away. Omari considered stabbing him in the back but he needed the money. He shrugged and followed. If he was the cause of the woman's firing he would give her a few coins and send her on her way.
They spent the remainder of the day walking along the coast, the ocean a constant companion. Toward nightfall a large structure loomed in the distance, rising over the swaying palms.
"What is this?" Omar said. "I don't remember a Kiswala fort this far south."
"It's not Kiswala," Zenawi replied. "It belongs to Enzi Chande. He was just a local fisherman five years ago before he built a dhow and began trading with the villages to the south. Now he claims to be a bwana."
"I'm sure the Kiswala are not happy with him," Omari replied.
Zenawi nodded. "A Mikijen force from the north came a few weeks ago to deal with him. They did not return."
Omari stopped walking. "What happened to them?"
Zenawi shrugged. "I assumed they dealt with Enzi then sailed home."
"You assume wrong," Omari said. "They were either paid to join Enzi or they were wiped out. Either situation is not good for us."
"You assume too much," Zewani suggested.
"I'm alive today because I assume too much," Omari replied. "So I guess your plan was to walk right up to the gate and ask if anyone is home."
Zenawi shuffled about and Omari spat.
"We'll wait until nightfall then have a good look at that fort."
Zenawi frowned. "That is the coward's way. We are Mikijen."
"We walk up to that fort in the open and we'll be crab food. I'm waiting until nightfall. You can do what you wish."
Omari dropped his gear and sat. He took out his dagger and began cleaning his fingernails.Zenawi glared at him then sat beside him.