Sitting back in my seat, I could still hear the screams of my people. Their begging to save Mondrago, their cursing of the vipers that had betrayed us all…and their wails of agony when the town began to smolder into the ash it now is…yet they would have the city returned to the desert than to have those creatures take it, and turn it into their nesting grounds of lust and greed.
Jiymal didn’t know what to do, or what to say. He was my fathers faithful servant, and now follows me as my exile begins. He rubbed his turban wrapped head for a moment more, his eyes looking into the one I had left, and I could see on his visage that this pained him too. I placed a hand upon the older man, his peppered beard soon was lowered and tears landed upon it like the dew of the morning.
“I have failed you my friend…” I say softly, but his head shook for a moment, a sleeve to his cheeks, and a hand to my own that cupped his shoulder in comfort.
“You have made us what we are Sultana…Mondrago was nothing but a dream, a dare, and you had the courage to take it, and make it the most amazing memory any of us could have…”
“But…it’s no more..”
“So what? You are alive…your people have found a sense of worth that they had yet to know.”
“I should of–”
“What? Risked everything on your own heart? No…that would be more painful to endure than watching the palace go up in smoke before the sun had set.” he gave my hand a tight squeeze and cleared his throat as Akidami opened the door. His eyes where bloodshot and his body ridged as granite as he opened the cabin door and sat in the chair next to Jiymal.
“How is your eye?” he began, though he would not look at me. Our people feel great shame if they cannot help one another to the utmost…I could see in his own mind, he had though himself a failure as well. Yet, I could also see his displeasure for my self “discipline”.
I ignored the question, the atmosphere silent, save the waters that splashed against he hull below and the heavy breathing of the exhausted souls within the room. There within my cabin laid my handmaid Rhea, a sweet girl who knew nothing but hard work and kind words, Erehwon my musician, and the supporter of the old tavern, the Laughing Djinn, Akidami of the swift brothers, who lost his twin in the fire and has been broken since…and Jiymal, my dearest friend, who was the reason I was able to leave Mondrago with more than a broken heart and pride.
The silence overtook me, and I found myself falling asleep only to be awoke moments later to find Akidami’s head upon my chest. He was weeping softly, and I had notice he had torn his sash twice…his heart was truly in pain but it was his words that caused me to break the firm facade of strength I was holding onto as much as possible…
“I…will never let Mondrago die…as long as you live…so it shall…be the phoenix you have always been to us…be the phoenix we need you to be Sultana and rise again. In some way…some shape…some form. You came to us, a convicted girl of New Babbage, lost and childish in your means…and you grew amongst us into a ruler that stood in the face of adversity, and held her head high when the negative words of the world wished you down. You showed us all what it means to follow a dream…until it’s death…don’t let us down now…don’t die.”
His words faded into sobs, such things I would of never hoped to of heard from such a strong man as him. I knew then, when he took the boldness to lay in the lap of my own, knowing it could of caused his namesake to be shunned across our culture, I had no choice but to place my hand on his head. My blessing, and let him release the anguish that he had built up…and allowed my own to join him in sorrow.
Hours later, Jiymal woke me and beside him stood the captain who nodded lowly, a hand upon his chest as to show respect even unto my fallen position.
“Sultana…we now approach Port Babbage, your room has been secured with one, Tesla Tripsa. Is this ok with you?”
The man spoke loud and slowly…I wish people would realize that because I spoke of another language…I was not deaf or dumb. I cleared my throat and rose noticing Akidami was no more upon my lap but looking outside the window with folded arms. He was back.
“Yes, this is fine” I say quickly, the English broken but still clear as to what I spoke. The Captain rose and nodded and then turned to leave closing the door behind us all. Erehwon yawned and rolled to sit up, the static build-up in her hair only causing me to laugh slightly. Such is the life of a G.E.N.I.E…such is the life of all of us when trapped within metal for so long.
“Ehhh…we there?” she said through another yawn. “Ya habibi! How long was I out?!”
“The entire trip…” Akidami said still staring out the window.
“It’s time for us to depart…” Jiymal stated, wrapping my coat around me, the obvious change in temperature filtering into the room. It would take some time for us all to get acclimated to the soot, the water, and…the culture. He gave me a tight squeeze, like a father would his scared child before they faced a great test…and when the people in the room looked at me and saw the cold stare my good eye gave the port as we pulled in, they knew then I was facing a fear.
The girl that could stand against giants.
The girl that could fight against greedy and lustful people who wanted power and pleasure seeing her stance as a young unlearned leader, a chance for them to make their “moves.”
The girl that had to walk alone and sacrifice her heaven so that many would not face hell…
Now had to walk the streets again she swore she would never return too, to relearn herself with people she thought she could never grow close too…and try to fight the memory of her own homeland so her heart wouldn’t break repeatedly each time Mondragos’ falling was mentioned…
Yet when they emerged from the ship, the stares already beginning, the whispers already rising, and the chill already settling in, she saw the Duke and Duchess of Argylle there to recieve her with open arms and an empathetic smile, she knew that she would keep the request that Akidami had asked of her before he too returned to his own facade of strength…she would rise again from these ashes.
((Hopefully this will help to slow the IM’s I get regarding Mondrago’s fall, but yes, Cala Mondrago rather you knew it, visited it, or cared of it, is no more, and though I do appreciate the sympathies and kindness from everyone…I have been rather sharp with those who have asked me ALREADY, if I will bring it back. The answer is no…rather the economy changes or not. I’m glad it is missed so much for people to be asking the question, but it really is salt on an open wound. New Babbage is my home now, and will stay that way rather I’m understood or not, and for those who don’t want to let my previous NB life go, then don’t, I’ll still be here anyway. -winks- Thank you and happy SL to you all.))