Like a royal leader, Asim the Overseer led the caravan of trekkers. He sat tall in stature and rode an Arabian horse a direct descendent from Earth. He handled his prize horse with competence and respect. He possessed a menacing gaze with eyes that were brilliant bluish Gray and seemed out of place against his dark complexion. Men feared him and with good reason, He held the power of life and death in his hands.

Asim always travelled with his trusted comrades. All of them orphaned as children. For a gang for survival now the most feared men on the planet. The entourage traveling across the desert as dusk was falling was mostly different bands of desert dwellers.

Omar was Asim’s must trusted comrade. A big burly man with piercing black eyes, contrasted by a voice sounded as if whispering. Asim and were as brothers. He had grown to be Asim’s protector and voice of reason.

He had spent the ride conversing with the many camp leaders. Among the groups were all the camps from the northern desert and beyond all the way to the outlands. Omar knew they were key to keeping supplies flowing and made a special effort with them.

“What about this upcoming wedding?” Omar asked but Asim kept riding as if he didn’t hear, but after a moment Omar rode to catch up to Asim. When he finally caught up to him, the two stared silently at each other for an awkward moment.

“What’s on your mind?”

“What are you planning to do?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re going to let them marry off Jihan?”

“I’m going to do as am told.” Asim started to ride ahead.

“Well it was only a matter of time before they started meddling with the people that we care about.”

“I don’t have time for this.” Asim insisted.

“Maybe you need to make time.” Omar said keeping pace.

“What’s your point?”

“We’ve known Jihan since we were children.” Asim slowed down to a trot. “If it wasn’t for Jihan’s family who took you in and cared for you until you were old enough to rejoin the desert.” Asim stopped his horse. “Then Jihan ignored her family to sneak out and see you.”

Asim smiled. “She learned the ways of the desert. The girls taught her to dance in our old desert tradition.”

“She taught you to read and write. She helped all of us.”

Asim’s smile left his face. “And now she marries the Basrilian.” For a second there was fire in his eyes. At that moment, much to Omar’s surprise Asim returned to his gallop.

“You owe her, we all do.” Asim continued to ride away. “But you choose to do nothing.” Omar knew Asim had heard him this time but said nothing. “You like to pretend you’re strong.” He decided not to press the issue.


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