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by Will Molinar
Description: Meet Omar Rabini: merchant, aristocrat and fool. In the desert land of his birth, his family has risen to prominence and fortune. But not all is right at the Rabini household. After the death of his father, it is up to Omar to rectify the situation by seeking out the treasure of a long-forgotten king of a distant land. Traveling with his loyal servant, Omar makes his way across the trackless desert land of ancient Semonote. Along the way, Omar comes in contact with two warring factions. Both sides have been fighting in the desert for untold generations and both hold the key to unlocking one of the greatest mysteries of the land. Switching alliances back and forth between the two groups brings Omar closer to his final goal--and closer to his own damnation. By the end, he discovers one must be careful what one wishes for.
eBook Publisher: SynergEbooks, 2007 SynergEbooks
eBookwise Release Date: November 2007
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [334 KB]
Reading time: 230-323 min.
My hands shake as I write. I cannot believe it has come to this! Oh twisted fate, what a wretched whore you are! What a foul texture to feel draped about my humble shoulders in this accursed place. What a wicked predicament I find myself in. How did this happen? My own perspective I dare not trust. My own mind is suspect. The light of this foul room will not last forever.
Ah, but forgive me, dear reader! You know not the full tale. How could you know? I have not yet recounted it. I go ahead of myself. I will start at the beginning as it should be. I am Omar Rabini III. Perhaps you have heard of me. My family is quite famous in my nation of Karesh, the Land of the Five Sands it is called. It is a mercantile land and my father, may the powers that be rest his soul upon their bosom, was a powerful member of this select chaste.
After my father's untimely demise, it was placed upon my person the mantle of leadership of the family. Of course I accepted the responsibility with the quiet grace of my manner. It behooves me to mention the entire clan of Rabini at that time consisted of my brother and I.
My mother, praise be to the exalted one that dwells in the heavens above, died in childbirth with my brother, dear Cendrick. Our father, may the almighty grant him everlasting peace, raised us as any man would: with a stern eye and a sterner hand. My mother I remember as a kind woman with a sweetness about her.
Cendrick, may he find the all encompassing truth he deserves, was of a more of a rebellious man than I. Perhaps some lingering guilt over the matricide of his birth caused him to act this way. I will never know. But whatever the reason, he was prone to wild pranks and flights of fancy. His rakish behavior became the stuff of legend during our childhood.
I was the responsible one. Five years his senior I took it on myself to father the boy and look after him to the best of my ability. Our own father, bless and keep him in the afterlife, was much too busy with his chosen vocation to bother with such mundane activities. His work took him to far off lands around the world entire. I longed to travel with him all throughout my childhood.
I admit this affected me in ways I cannot fathom. Perhaps many of the choices I made along this journey were the direct consequence of such a tortured upbringing. Oh, blasted destiny! How you torture me so. I am whipped with the irony. What I would give to be back in that tender moment of irrelevance, free of my current predicament. But I continue to waver. Forgive me.
As I say, father's affairs demanded he travel to many places and to meet many peoples. He spoke some seven languages and was acquitted with the knowledge of various local customs. He needed to be. I daresay this ability to learn and decipher languages and customs of foreign lands rubbed off upon me. I spoke four languages myself and the aptitude has not left me even during this entire disastrous affair. I rather say my diplomacy skills were in high demand in mine own business affairs. I was educated in the finest schools by the finest instructors.
My brother occupied his childhood with foolish games. He excelled at that and the physical. While I was busy learning he was busy playing. His scholastic acumen was an after thought, something to be considered only when absolutely necessary. It is shame because Cendrick was not an unintelligent man. But he was always more concerned with women chasing than with books. He was the popular one, with men and women alike. The boys adored him for his martial prowess and his athletic endeavors, the women for his physical beauty and stature. He was well liked, extremely so, while I was the object of their jokes.
Do not be misled. I relished the role of father figure to young Cendrick. And no doubt the other children found me intimidating. The only way for them to feel good about themselves and to be at my level was to knock me down with childish insults, most often about my weight. I am not the fittest man to ever walk this earth, that I admit with no qualms. But there is a robust hardiness to my physique. I consider myself stocky rather than fat. I was actually quite an accomplished wrestler at one point in my adolescence. But other matters needed attending to and it fell to me to do them.
So my brother being the miscreant-perhaps too harsh a word but forgive me for being bitter, my friends-it lay upon me to continue the family business after our father's demise. He was an importer of rare items. Exotic rugs, jewelry, spices, all manner of finery was my family's domain. We were quite well off due to this occupation. As children, Cendrick and I wanted for nothing. As adults, I preoccupied myself with running the business as best I could.
I learned much under father's tutelage. The mercantile craft is a surly, underhanded trade! I can tell you this with certainty. They say there are no rules in a knife fight and that goes double in buying and selling goods. It is a cut-throat game of underhanded dealings. Had I known it would prepare me for the most incredible adventure any mortal could ever dream of, I would have worked even harder at learning.
The nefarious persons so attached to my father's business were no where to be found when he needed them the most. There is little loyalty when situations go sour. Not only were his reputation and future productivity in jeopardy, his very life became forfeit. I will spare you he details of his downfall. Suffice it to say, it was the geneses of my current predicament.
As I said, my duty and responsibility was clear. The family name was mine to uphold to the highest standard. The importing side of our enterprises was gone, run dry by the lack of contacts that father had worked so hard over the years to cultivate. There were neither buyers or sellers. We were without capitol or partners, thanks to my father's destructors. Jealousy is a wicked fiend at the best of times and this was fast becoming the worst. We were destitute. All of our loans were being called in and we needed money as a man sentenced to death needs a reprieve.
Neither my brother or I were married. Though surely my lecherous sibling had sired a bastard or four, there was no legitimate progeny to lay our troubles on. I myself sacrificed any potential affair with women, any potential courtship for the good of the family.
We were on our own.
In actuality, I was on my own. I had a plan to right this ship in the sea of storms we were traveling upon. But Cendrick would have nothing to do with it. He called me a fool to believe in it. But I was determined, fervent in my belief of redemption.
You see, dear reader, in my father's travels he saw and experienced many things most men never imagine. Father would tell us stories running the gambit from the very macabre to the fantastical. I believe Cendrick never bought into them, lacking the imagination I possessed from a very young age. I ate up the stories like a sweet nectar. I could not get enough of them. They invigorated me like nothing else. The worlds he described were incredible.
Even as a full grown man-and I am well past my third decade of life-father would never let me accompany him on his trips. Yet he continued to tell stories of distant lands, of things beyond my current imagination. These stories grew more rare as the years progressed. But one recent escapade drew my attention like none other had. He spoke of the Land of the Blasted Sun. A land of swirling sand. A land with an ancient history and a long perished people. They were a people so wise they had discovered the secret to immortality.
I know how you must feel. I felt the same giddy anticipation upon discovering the possibility of such a world and people. He also spoke of endless riches buried beneath the sands, a treasure so grand it defies the mind's comprehension. Oh disastrous fate! I tell you now some things are better left buried.
So my plan was simple if not obvious: I would seek out the riches across the sea as men have done for eons beyond count. I remember the day I left my home with acute accuracy. Our palatial estate, once so warm and inviting, was now under siege by creditors. At one time it housed our family along with many servants. Now that our industry debts were being called in, there was no telling how much longer I could keep the hungry jackals at bay. We needed money and more of it than I dare think on. Our homestead in peril, I was preparing to defend the name of Rabini to the best of my ability. My brother was less than inclined to believe I could be successful.
"You are a damn fool," he said.
I stood at top of the staircase, my pack slung over my shoulder. My other bags were already loaded on the carriage, ready to depart on my first grand adventure. I did not have the energy to spar with him. I smiled instead.
"My dear Cendrick, always your words of kind praise inspire me to great heights."
"Spare me your prattle, Omar. Your tongue can wag until it falls from your mouth and that will not save you. You have lost before you even begin."
He stood in the center of our main living quarters, leaning against a plush couch. His customary red robes were the color of rubies, deep as blood. His head wrap, in contrast to my more conservative garb, was white with a bright sapphire placed in the center. Our family crest adorned the clasp at his throat. He was a scoundrel and knew how to dress the part. He crossed both arms.
"Do you really expect to succeed on your little sojourn?"
I sighed. Always the pessimist, my brother.
"Why else would I bother to attempt it if I believed otherwise?" I walked down the steps.
"You are either insane or a worse fool than I thought to believe in father's stories. They were meant to entertain us as children and nothing more."
This raised my ire as I reached the ground floor. "And your extensive experience tells you this, Cendrick? If you have a better idea than I to improve our situation than by all means, share it!" The problem was, he did not.
"The stories were the ramblings of a demented old man."
"Why you ungrateful lout!" I said and stood before him. "How dare you say this about father?"
"Look where it got him," he said and stepped up to me. We were the same height. "He is dead and buried and you will follow him. You cannot see this because you are blinded by your beliefs."
"Life is believing, Cendrick. You are constrained by your lack of conviction. You have never believed in anything except your own happiness. How can you think to know the answer to another's?"
Cendrick scoffed. "To believe in this, this fool's errand is little better. At least I do not waste my life in study as you have wasted yours. Where has it gotten you? What pleasures have you experienced? You and father have not really lived, not at all! You spent your time nose down in books while the rest of us have lived. What do you have to show for it? Do you have any friends, Omar? Any lovers to dream about beside some passing whore? Any real experience to take you to the grave? Tell me!"
I was shaking with anger but I controlled myself. I had not fought with him in some time, not in the physical sense and I was in no mood to do so again then. Some of his words rang true. Perhaps this was the true reason for my impending trip.
"Cendrick, perhaps I have not lived life to the fullest. Perhaps I have no real friends to confide in. But I, like father, did what I thought was best, best for our family. If you cannot understand this, than that is your affair. I go now and whether you can conceive of the reality or not, I do what I believe is the surest course to restore our family to prominence. I bid you good day."
He stood there and shook his head. I left and heard his last remarks, the last thing he ever said to me, as I walked beyond the threshold of our family estate.
"You are a fool, Omar and you will die as such."
These words haunted me throughout my journey. It remains to be seen if he spoke the truth or not.