An entourage of trumpeters on horseback joined by scantily clad dancing girls; acrobats and fan bearers paved the way for drawn carriages. Matt stopped at one of the merchants to get information. “So, what’s that all about.” he said in English. 

“Not good English.”

“Sorry. What language do you speak?” Matt activated his translator implanted in his ear. “Arabic,” He asked.

“No Arabic good either.”

“So, what?” Matt asked.

“It depends.” In PASHTU dialect, he asked. “Are You Afghan?”

“Well, no I’m not.”

“Is that a Dari accent?” Lenny asked tongue in cheek.

“Now you’re pulling my leg.” Matt laughed. “Got a name?”

“Lenny the Merchant, from Brooklyn,” The merchant finally said in English. “Who are you?”

“Matt Stewart.”

“Where are you from Matt Stewart?”

“The Bronx,”

“Oh, that explains it. That sure sounds like a Brooklyn accent to me.” Now both were laughing. “You really are from the Bronx?”

“As a matter of fact, yes I am.”

“Yeah am I’m really from Brooklyn.”

“Go Dodgers.”

An eye-catching extravagant surrey rolled by. In the carriage were three royally dressed men accompanied by a beautiful woman with long black hair dressed in elaborate costumes. As they passed many waved and cheered the exotic woman in their midst.

“Who’s the babe?”

“Are you kidding, that’s Alexa the royal Princess?”

“I thought Jihan was the Princess?”

“After today they’ll be sisters. End of argument.”

Not everyone was happy to see the carriage. Some turned away in disgust, cursing as the procession passed.

“Not all is happy in paradise.”

“Forced marriages tend to do that.”

They all stopped at a good-sized pavilion and the royals hurried into the hall.

“That’s the Hall where important events take place

“Well I’m going down there.”

“Are you nuts?” Lenny told him following.

“The weddings to take place today, right?”


“I’ve got to find a way to get inside.”

“Only the families are invited inside.”

Matt grew hopeful when he saw Desert Dwellers standing outside the hall. “I know those guys. I was in their camp the other night.”

“You must have the luck of the god’s buddy.” Lenny said.

“We’ll see. Thanks.” Outside the hall, Matt introduced himself to the men. Then a voice came from behind him.

“How did you get here?” Matt turned to see Omar.

“You have no idea how good it is to see you.”

“Couldn’t stay away from the princess, could you?” Omar laughed hardily. “Well my friend, come inside with me, and get one last look at her before she weds.”  


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