Home of Sword and Soul
Omari stood beside Kadira. Three elderly women faced them holding staffs in their withered hands. He said something to Kadira then attacked the women. One of them stepped forward, stabbing him with her staff. Then he was on his back, looking up at the three women as they lifted a carved head from his aching chest.
"Wake up and serve," the women said.
Omari remained on his back, trying to understand what had just happened to him.
Omari sat up suddenly, gripping his shirt over his heart. It was dark, the night sky spotted with dense stars. Zenawi knelt before him, his face curious.
"Are you okay?"
Omari ignored Zenawi. He poked and felt about his chest with both hands before opening his shirt. A ragged scar rested over his heart.
"What in the Creator's name is this?" he said aloud.
"Omari, what is going on?"
Omari finally looked at Zenawi then remembered where he was. He closed his shirt.
"Nothing. Just a bad dream."
He stood then proceeded toward the fort.
"Wait!" Zenawe called. "We need a torch."
Omari blew out an exasperated breath. "No, Zenawi, we do not need a torch. If we light a torch they will see us."
Zenawi looked puzzled. "'We don't want to be seen?"
"Not yet," Omari answered. "It will ruin the effect."
Omari put the strange dream and wound behind him. First things first. He moved with care through the dark woods, thankful for a full moon. He stopped at the forest's edge, signalling for Zenawi to do the same. On a closer inspection the fort in a sorry state. The pockmarked walls showed signs of wear, and in certain section hole punctured the stone.
"This fort is old, probably as old as the Kamit temples," Omari whispered.
"You've been to Kamit?" Zenawi's voice shook with excitement.
"Shut up," Omari barked. There were no guards to be seen, but a soft glow stealing through the wall breaches indicated activity inside. Omari looked about then smiled as he located Enzi's dhows.
"Now you can make your torch," he said.
Zenawi when to work, locating two thick branches then wrapping the ends with palm fronds. Omari inspected them then took them from Zenawi.
They crept to the dhows. Omari took out his flint then lit the torches. He climbed aboard the first dhow, sword in one hand, torch in the other. Once he located the pitch barrels on deck he set in on fire. He rushed out of the first dhow then did the same to the second.
"Come on!" he ordered.
He ran to the wood's edge then watched gleefully as the dhow burned. Raised voices came from the fort; moments later a dozen men rushed to the dhows.
Omari jumped to his feet, sprinting into the fort through a wall breach. The fort courtyard was empty as he hoped. It didn't take him long to locate Enzi's lair, a large stone room at the rear of the fort. He took a glance behind him; Zenawi was just entering the breach, his face still confused.
"Keep up, damn it!" Omari shouted at him. He ran to the stone room, stopping only to gingerly open the door. Enzi lay sleep in an elaborate bed, his snores filling the opulent room. Omari took out his dagger.
"What are you doing?" Zenawi whispered.
"Eliminating the competition," Omari replied.
"You can't do that! It is not honorable!"
Omari stopped and glared at Zenawi. "You have a lot to learn about being a Mikijen."
Omari went to Enzi's bedside. He raised his dagger, then blinding pain struck his chest.
The pain flared again. Omari fell to his knees, dropping the dagger. The blade rattled against the stone floor. Enzi sat upright.
"What is it? What's going on?"
Omari looked into the merchant's eyes, grimacing with pain. Zenawi stood at the door dumbfounded.
"Assassins!" Enzi shouted. "Assassins!"